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Sony NEX-VG10 / VG20 / VG30 / VG900
Interchangeable lens AVCHD camcorders using E-Mount lenses.


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Old September 22nd, 2011, 02:55 AM   #1
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Which lens for the vg-20?

I will most likely order the VG-20 when available. I own a XH-A1 and shoot events. Id like to try my hand at movie style shooting, and the VG-20 is in my price range.

Question:
Would the VG-20 18-200mm lens model take care of most of my needs, or do you think I should order the "body only" model? What lens would be a "must have" starter lens for movie style shooting wide close ups.

Jeff
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Old September 22nd, 2011, 06:37 PM   #2
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Re: Which lens for the vg-20?

Actually, I have the same question. If you seek out reviews, you'll find users tend to either love it or hate it. Photozone gave it a fairly good review, as did Ken Rockwell. PZ praised the build quality (better then most in this price range) and didn't hate the optics. Ken pointed out that on the long end it's great for portraits - better a fixed lens at 50mm anyway.

It has positives - great do anything focal range, decent build quality + optics, and it's the only big zoom that will totally communicate with E mount cameras.

Negatives - it's slow - real slow. Optics, while good, will never match even a decent Nikon or Canon prime, and certainly can't touch higher end glass. Because it's a an E mount, there's going to be less potential for it keeping it's value upon resale (simply a much smaller potential buyer pool then if it was a Nikon or Canon).

Intangibles - I personally think it's a sweet looking lens. Which goes a long way in convincing people you're a "real" movie maker on a low budget indie, or if you're a first time feature maker, or if there's a skittish bride-to-be.

It's slow lens, but all the NEX cameras released this year seem to be very good in low light - even the inexpensive 5n. And being slow isn't always a negative - it relieves at least some of the need for a mattebox/filters when shooting outdoors.

That said, $600 can buy a lot of lens that, other than the full connectivity to the camera, are technically better (Tamron 17-50mm, The Tonk, lots of Nikon glass) - but again, they won't autofocus and the like - and you have to buy an adapter. Canon compatible glass in particular will be a bi#$@ to use because you won't e able to change the F-stop.

And of course, there's a good chance that Sony will be coming out with another huge range zoom next year.

Long response I know, but here's my bottom line: If you're going to be shooting a narrative film or video I'd think primes are a better bet. But if you're run and gunning, doing event work, or weddings, I'd think the 18-200mm is pretty much a no-brainer.
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Old September 22nd, 2011, 07:00 PM   #3
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Re: Which lens for the vg-20?

A big sack full of primes would be super for "film-making", but is going to be expensive.
I have found that the 18mm-200mm E lens with a Vari ND filter, plus a single fast (f-1.4/1.8) prime in the 24mm to 50mm range specifically for low light shooting will cover an awful lot of bases.
IMO, it's a good starting point- you can always add additional lenses later.
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Old September 22nd, 2011, 07:25 PM   #4
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Re: Which lens for the vg-20?

Thanks John and Robert....

Yes,..seems the VG 20 with zoom and a prime is the way to go for my money. I will wait 'til January or longer before getting the cam....by then maybe Canon or others will one-up Sony's VG-20. : ?)

Jeff
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Old September 23rd, 2011, 06:31 PM   #5
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Re: Which lens for the vg-20?

Or RED....
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Old September 25th, 2011, 04:35 AM   #6
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Re: Which lens for the vg-20?

The RED and Canon cams are likely to be above the $2K price point of the VG20 -- but we'll see on November 3rd ;-)

On lens choices, I'm leaning away from the $800 SEL 18200 and towards the $400 LA-EA2 Alpha mount adapter, which opens the door to the wide range of Alpha-compatible lenses and (at least according to Sony) full auto exposure and PDAF.

With a http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-18-50mm-Aspherical-HSM-Sony/dp/B002332JV0 and a http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-70-300mm-Telephoto-Minolta-Cameras/dp/B000B8T6DI, I'll spend about the same amount of money, gain an extra f-stop at the wide end, and cover most of the 18-200's zoom range.

Cheers,

Bill
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Old September 26th, 2011, 12:17 PM   #7
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Re: Which lens for the vg-20?

Well, the lens is "only" $600 when purchased as part of a kit, while the body only version will cost around $1,600, so it's not quite so bad. For what it's worth, I just did an ebay search and didn't find any used ones - meaning people who get them with a kit tend not to be selling them.

The $400 adapter will be slower to focus then a naitive E mount lens, you can bet on that. Personally, I'd wait a bit linger and see if Birger is coming out with a Nikon/Canon electronic mount. Also, Sony itself has hinted it may be doing just that.

Either way, the adapter is a piece of gear that will likely not maintain a decent resale value for long given all the facts (this is already Sony's 2nd attempt at the mount, the possibility of Sony & 3rd party mounts coming down the line soon, and better E mount glass).

That said, the A glass is good and (previous to these new cams) could be gotten at a good price.
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Old September 26th, 2011, 09:37 PM   #8
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Re: Which lens for the vg-20?

Just in case you'd like to see some examples of images with that
lens, you can take a look here:


Now granted, this is with the FS100, but it is the exact same lens.
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Old September 26th, 2011, 10:17 PM   #9
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Re: Which lens for the vg-20?

Quote:
Just in case you'd like to see some examples of images with that
lens,
Which one is that lens? Several have been mentioned in this thread.
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Old September 26th, 2011, 11:22 PM   #10
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Re: Which lens for the vg-20?

Sorry I didn't make it more clear. I was referring to the lens the OP
asked about....specifically the Sony E mount 18-200 lens that comes as
a 'kit' with several of their cameras.....in my case it was with the
NEX FS 100, so it isn't a 'apples to apples' comparison (since the camera
has a lot to do with the image quality as well) but thought it might
be a little helpful. On the FS 100 anyways, the lens seems to produce
pretty decent looking images, I would guess the same would be true with
the VG 20......
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Old September 26th, 2011, 11:44 PM   #11
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Re: Which lens for the vg-20?

...and with the NEX 5n and the NEX 7 perhaps, do you think Gabe? Not apples to apples but the same codec and bit rate, I believe. (Pardon me if I veered off-topic slightly but it surely is an interesting unfolding)

Great video, Most enjoyable. Well done. Much more than a camera and lens choice...
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Old September 27th, 2011, 01:36 AM   #12
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Re: Which lens for the vg-20?

John,

You are absolutely right....I forgot about the NEX 5 and NEX 7, mostly
because I'm not as much of a stills guy (although now that I have a
FS 100, I may just have to get one for my 'running around' stills
camera with the bonus that it can be my 'B' video camera). I would
guess, that they too would produce pretty decent images with the
E mount 18-200 lens. I know it gets a bad rap, because it has
'funky' focusing, and variable aperture, but I am really impressed
by the quality it can produce. And one more thing I will be
posting soon......the OIS is just amazing on this lens. I did
a test shoot today, with the OIS on, and tried a handheld shot
to simulate a 'slider' move. Now I'm sure it is not as good as
what you could get with a real slider, but that being said,
you may be surprised. I'll let you decide for yourselves
once I get it posted (either tonight or tomorrow.)
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Old September 27th, 2011, 03:54 AM   #13
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Re: Which lens for the vg-20?

Thanks to all of you for posting...

Gabe, thanks for the video, really a nice job. I will most likely order the "kit" VG 20 with the lens and get another wide angle lens for real wide closeups. Movie type shooting is new to me, so I have a lot to learn about lighting etc. My goal is to make low budget music videos for fun and hopefully a little profit. ha

Im wondering if the Canon 5dmkII might be a better choice for music videos over the VG20. Camera audio is not an issue, since the band or artist will be lip-syncing to pre-recorded material. Any input to compare the two will be appreciated.

Thanks again,
Jeff Hinson
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Old September 27th, 2011, 04:26 AM   #14
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Re: Which lens for the vg-20?

I don't know much about HDSLR's as I don't use them. I think the 5D
would give you quite a bit more of the 'shallow depth of field' look...
that is one reason it is so popular, it is a full frame sensor, which
is even bigger than the 'Super 35' or 'APS-C' types. There is a lot
of things I don't like about still cameras trying to be motion cameras
though.....one of them is time limits on my takes. Then there is audio,
moire, aliasing, batteries that run out quickly and countless other
things. However, lots of people get very good results with the HDSLR's,
so you have to look at what works best for you.

So the one more thing I was talking about with this lens is the OIS.
It stabilizes the shot VERY well! It's not as good as being on a
tripod or anything, but it's pretty good. Just for a lark today,
I tried doing a handheld 'slider' type move with the FS 100. Now
I don't know that the VG20 will have the OIS, but I thought I had
read that this was something that would only work with this 18-200
lens, which made me believe the OIS was a lens thing. Anyways,
it's not as good as a dolly/slider move, but it looks pretty
decent considering it was just a handheld walking shot.

Handheld 'dolly' move - YouTube
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Old September 27th, 2011, 05:02 AM   #15
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Re: Which lens for the vg-20?

Thanks for posting the OIS demo...looks great.
I dont know if I could hold my breath that long though...haha

Id like to have both, an interchangeable lens camcorder and a dslr that accepts the same lenses. The VG20 and a mid priced Sony dslr may be the route to go. I could sell my XHA1 and get a dslr.

I cant afford to be in a hurry. ha
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