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Old November 6th, 2011, 12:46 AM   #1
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Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

At this link you can follow the progression discovery of an issue with the Sony Nex VG20, but I feel it is very important to DVInfor members to be aware of this issue, before buying:

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-avc...ml#post1694558

I actually bought this camera, with the belief that it would fill and replace my Canon EOS DSLR. The advertised features clearly seemed to mean that I was finally going to get back to my preferred camcorder form factor. Unless Sony changes something in the firmware, I am afraid that we did not get what we were hoping for. In fact, they have crippled this camera, giving it less adjustment functionality than the VG10.

I do think the image is spectacular but there is simply no way I can currently find to adjust some basic parameters. There appears to be a complete lack of ability to adjust contrast, saturation, or sharpness. The only exception to this may be by invoking the Cinematone setting, which seems to reduce these somewhat, but not enough for decent film making purposes.

I have been in touch with Sony support, and to be fair, they haven't even seen the camera yet. I am told I will be able to speak to someone on Monday about that. I am hoping that I have missed something somewhere, but the complete lack of mention of the advertised features gives me reason to think otherwise. Again, I hope Sony is planning to change things with a firmware update.

In review once again, here are the advertized features that are not aboard, from what I can tell. This is text right off of Sony's website.

Eight White Balance Modes

These help you get the shot by optimizing the camera for specific shooting situations. Select from Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, and Custom modes.
Only 4 settings..

Six Creative Style settings

Control how the camera processes your images with six finishing styles: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset and B&W. You can even fine-tune contrast, saturation, and sharpness to your personal taste.

Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO)

Dynamic Range Optimizer improves results with backlit subjects and recovers details hidden in shadows while maintaining highlight detail. Settings include Auto, Level with a choice of five operating levels and Off.

I am attaching a .pdf of the website below for those who want to see the actual page.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Sonypage.pdf (173.8 KB, 1141 views)
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Old November 6th, 2011, 05:37 AM   #2
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Re: Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

Thanks Chris for all the work you have done.

Ive cancelled my VG20 order with B&H until or IF these problems are solved. The way I read the VG20 ad was that it would have all the capabilities of the NEX-5N, which I own and love. The VG20 having the same capabilities plus the interchangeability of the the lenses between the two seemed too good to be true.....and evidently IT IS.

If Sony decides to update the firmware back to semi-pro status,where it should be, I may order the VG20. Im glad I kept my XH-A1. Canon has never let me down.

Thanks again,
Jeff
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Old November 6th, 2011, 10:14 PM   #3
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Re: Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

I feel the same way Jeff.

Bad enough that an earlier version of the camera has those presets (a camera that's still for sale BTW); bad enough that a still camera costing a 1/3 as much has those presets - but the fact that Sony's own website and several authorized dealers listed those features as being on the camera is beyond bad business - it might actually be criminal.

Has it really come to this? In a time when corporate greed and mismanagement is headline news nearly every day, Sony's decision seems even more bone-headed. Seriously, taking away features that should be there might be stupid, but advertising (for months no less) that those features are indeed on the camera is beyond the pale.

My next cam will now def either be a Panny or Canon - I just can't reward a company in any way that treats its customers this way. Oy.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 11:19 PM   #4
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Re: Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

Just as an update, B&H now has the VG20 description page back up:
Sony NEX-VG20 Interchangeable Lens HD Handycam NEXVG20 B&H Photo

Interestingly enough, under the section "exposure control' in the specs page, it still has this listed:
Creative Color Modes Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, B/W

So does Sony's link from B&H:
"Six Creative Style settings

Control how the camera processes your images with six finishing styles: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset and B&W. You can even fine-tune contrast, saturation, and sharpness to your personal taste. "

Prosumer NEX-VG20
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Old November 7th, 2011, 01:44 PM   #5
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Re: Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Vincent View Post
I feel the same way Jeff.

Bad enough that an earlier version of the camera has those presets (a camera that's still for sale BTW); bad enough that a still camera costing a 1/3 as much has those presets - but the fact that Sony's own website and several authorized dealers listed those features as being on the camera is beyond bad business - it might actually be criminal.

Has it really come to this? In a time when corporate greed and mismanagement is headline news nearly every day, Sony's decision seems even more bone-headed. Seriously, taking away features that should be there might be stupid, but advertising (for months no less) that those features are indeed on the camera is beyond the pale.

My next cam will now def either be a Panny or Canon - I just can't reward a company in any way that treats its customers this way. Oy.
_____________________________________________________________________

Well said John !

Ive been drooling to get this camera for a couple of months and now this! Im still hoping all the presets are hidden somewhere yet to be discovered. Ive had no experience with Sony using Canon exclusively until I purchased the new NEX 5N. It's such a great camera I was expecting the VG20 to be even better and a perfect duo with the 5n.
I may go the VG10 route. I just need to calm down and be patient...hard to do isn't it. haha

Jeff
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Old November 7th, 2011, 03:20 PM   #6
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Re: Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

I spoke with various levels of support help at Sony this morning, ending up with a very business like and candid gentleman by the name of Charlie. I found out some interesting things:

1. The VG20 is not really released for general sale until the ninth of November. The camera was released for presale to the Sony Style store on the 1st. That is why I got mine before others did.

2. Support has not seen the camera they were able to access some technical information. At a lower level of support, the tech told me there was a page on the handbook he had about selecting the missing properties. He indicated there seems to be a selection on the intitial menu page indicated, that I don't have. After that, I was passed up the chain. I meant to confirm that he was sure he was looking at a VG20 handbook, but was passed up before I could ask.

3. At this point, Charlie was unable to rectify the problem. He is uncertain whether it is firmware issue, or if they messed up on the advertising end. He will follow up and get back to me.

Hopefully, we will have a bit more clarity on the issue within a couple of days.
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Old November 7th, 2011, 06:27 PM   #7
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Re: Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

Amazing!!
This seems to be an unprecedented screw-up.
A huge company releases a fairly major product and doesn't seem to know what features it has.
Worldwide product discriptions are released and in place, but may or may not be correct.
The product ships with firmware that may, or may not be correct.
I've been around for a while, but this is a new experience for me ;-)
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Old November 7th, 2011, 07:32 PM   #8
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Re: Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

This VG20 "featuregate" is another example of a company where the execs are asleep at the wheel. Let us not forget that Sony allowed their Playstation user accounts to get hacked.
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Old November 7th, 2011, 08:10 PM   #9
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Re: Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

Sony's been bleeding money like mad - over a billion this year alone:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/busine...deM_story.html

So obviously all divisions of the company are under pressure to deliver. Unfortunately, if this decision holds up for the VG20, Sony will be doing exactly what they are trying to avoid. Simply put, this most recent move is as unfriendly to would be buyers as could be imagined.
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Old November 7th, 2011, 09:08 PM   #10
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Re: Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

Hey guys. :I am tickled pink someone is making this type of technology available. I am not looking at this as conspiracy. And frankly, I can understand why the company would not want this camera to operate as good as their $5,500 FS 100. However, given the capabilities at the lower end of the Nex line, it seems a shame to cripple this camera which is supposed to be the Nex flagship.

The people I dealt with seem fair and concerned, and I am glad I had someone to talk to about it.
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Old November 7th, 2011, 10:46 PM   #11
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Re: Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

Don't forget that between the Japan and Thailand disasters, Sony has not exactly been having a banner year... in some ways it's amazing they have been able to deliver much of anything at all!

From my experience, the "engineers" put some features in (or "out") that really aren't known (things like the LANC in the A/V jack). Marketing probably puts out a certain amount of information based upon "near final specs", and with a NEW product, there may or may not be changes/revisions/deviations from the original specs.

The odds actually favor the features being there, but for whatever reason not available or active - I heard the A77/NEX7 have been heavily criticised as there was a last minute upgrade of the Bionz processors, and there were numerous glitches with the existing firmware... now those cameras are affected by the Thai floods, so probably only a limited number of cameras made it into the wild with "problems".

I would guess if there's enough of a negative feedback, that a firmware update might open up the additional features, presuming the hardware will support them, which again I suspect the odds favor...



And Jeff - I would HIGHLY recommend against trying to match the sensor of the VG10 with the NEX5n - you'd probably end up with a larger number of image matching issues than the menu limitations imposed by the VG20...
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Old November 7th, 2011, 11:18 PM   #12
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Re: Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

I agree Chris - no conspiracy. Rather, another galatically bad business decision regarding their camera line. Let's put it this way - if Sony had put an SDI out and a ND wheel in the FS100, they would have effectively killed the the AF100. Dead on the spot.

And while I'm glad the support people are being helpful, it's certainly not them who made this decision in the first place. The VG20 - even with everything it's supposed to have - was questionable for the price (as Steve Mullen as so correctly pointed out).

As is, it seriously limits anyone who has designs on shooting any sort of narrative work. It also badly shakes any sort of faith a consumer might be seeking in a company that already has an extremely poor customer service reputation. Starting with the E mount last year, and 3 new S35 video cameras this year (plus a host of still cams with video), it looked like Sony was making a clear, conscious, decision to shake off that reputation.

Hopefully, this is just a SNAFU - perhaps you accidentally got a pre-pro camera, or a very early production model with improper software. It's happened before, and with all the new products (plus horrible flood in Thailand) you can see it happening.

But, given the total lack of early reviews from English speaking sites, the poor treatment VG10 owners have gotten, and their own bad rep, I don't have high hopes. Fingers still crossed though...
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Old November 8th, 2011, 10:16 AM   #13
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Re: Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

One of the things I reported as not being on board was the Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO), decribed as:
..
"Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO)

Dynamic Range Optimizer improves results with backlit subjects and recovers details hidden in shadows while maintaining highlight detail. Settings include Auto, Level with a choice of five operating levels and Off. "

So there is no misunderstanding, .there is actually a back light correction tool on board the camera. It is either an off or on affair and is total automated. There is no slider or any other method of adjusting.
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Old November 8th, 2011, 11:05 AM   #14
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Re: Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

So as it stands right now, the VG10 has more control over the image/video/presets than the VG20 with the current firmware......correct?

Someone said the "official" release date is tomorrow the 9th of Nov. Maybe that run will have better firmware.
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Old November 8th, 2011, 11:42 AM   #15
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Re: Buyers Beware: Sonys Nex VG20H does not have advertised features.

Jeff:

I don't have the 10. I do know that my DSLR have various styles and 3 extra styles I can adjust and save contrast, saturation and sharpness in. I can install technicolors specially prepared picture styles to allow grading. I don't have any other NEX product, but I am led to believe that there is control of some sorts in those products. In the VG20 you do have manual control over exposure, through gain, iris and shutter. Its just that you are stuck with the contrast, sharpness, and saturation setting that Sony gives you in Standard or Cinematone shooting.
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