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Old December 13th, 2011, 09:42 PM   #1
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First English-language VG20 hands-on w test footage

From The Camera Store in Calgary, AB, Canada

They beat me to it! (I don't mind, they're great folks - I bought my GH2 from them last year, when I couldn't find one in the States).



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Old December 14th, 2011, 12:09 AM   #2
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Re: First English-language VG20 hands-on w test footage

Yeah that's great, honey.
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Old December 14th, 2011, 12:53 AM   #3
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Re: First English-language VG20 hands-on w test footage

Calgary’s nice, cold as hell in the winter; I have fond memories of that place.

Nice family outing, nice family. Nice video.

Remind me; what was he reviewing?
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Old December 14th, 2011, 09:12 AM   #4
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Re: First English-language VG20 hands-on w test footage

Yeah, I saw that too. Not really a proper review (and always be a wee wary of a review from a place that actually sells the product), although it was fun to watch. As is true of a lot of their reviews, not much in the way of actual footage (looks like the majority of the review was actually shot with an AF100).

What little footage there was immediately shows why you want to be able to control the blacks/contrasts, etc - the snow was blowing out a lot of the footage.

Credit where it's due - he did point out the lack of features, rightly pointing out that a proper DP would likely find the camera too limiting; that the camera seems to be aimed essentially at soccer moms. And he was mystified as to why the 5n has more features; asked for a ND wheel.

But he did love the mic, which other then the size of the sensor, seems to be the camera's greatest strength.
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Old December 15th, 2011, 07:55 PM   #5
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Re: First English-language VG20 hands-on w test footage

would like to see more footage, but what was there looked better than the AF100 that was shooting it. It would be nice to see some real world comparisons to the AF100 and FS100, the next step up in a real camcorder at more than twice the price. There would obviously be shortcomings, but could they be worked around by someone working with a minimal budget, would the end user see much of a difference.
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Old December 15th, 2011, 08:55 PM   #6
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Re: First English-language VG20 hands-on w test footage

Yeah, a proper review is desperately needed. Chris B has done a little side by side with his vg20/Mark II, but I'd like a more comprehensive test in a variety of situations.

The AF100 continues to drop in price, but not enough to make it a real option in my book. The footage from the Af100 is so up and down - and I don't think I've ever seen such a variety of differing opinions for any camera. Some people love it, but so many higher end shooters have sold their AFs for either the FS100 or F3 that it's given me serious doubts. I mean a ND wheel is nice and all, but in the end it's all about the end image.
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Old December 18th, 2011, 07:45 AM   #7
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Re: First English-language VG20 hands-on w test footage

Okay folks, I have finally posted my hands-on comparison of the GH2 and VG20. I am a one-man operation, so the sound and the edit are a little rough, but I hope that everyone finds it useful nonetheless:

Hybrid Camera Revolution: Sony NEX-VG20 and Panasonic DMC-GH2: Side-by-side Comparison

One of my most interesting lessons learned is that I need to stop being so hard on the VG20's moire problem. Under the right (wrong) circumstances, there are moire challenges that even the GH2 can't deal with.

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Old December 18th, 2011, 02:35 PM   #8
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Re: First English-language VG20 hands-on w test footage

Hey Bill, thanks for the test - the lack of any kind of testing for this camera is borderline strange...

That said I'd echo some of the comments on Vimeo - a horizon shot can only show us so much, esp when the lighting conditions are changing so rapidly (as they do during the magic hour).

Human subject shot downtown during the same time would be a better real world scenario. Ditto that for a low light test - something similar to Philip Bloom's "cigar tests" with with the/AF100:
philipbloom's Channel - YouTube

But again, thank you for the effort. Having played with the camera, how would answer the question you posed: A VG20 at $1,600 or a GH2 for $800-90?

Pretty hard to argue bang for buck doesn't go to the Panny (esp given the hack). The only clear advantage the VG20 would seem to have is a better on-board mic, and headphones.
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Old December 18th, 2011, 04:38 PM   #9
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Re: First English-language VG20 hands-on w test footage

Interesting comparison... I noticed HUGE audio differences (Panny was "muddy" at best), and the low light was not even close... I suppose the horserace goes to... VG20.

SO, it really comes down to does the VG20 offer enough better bang for the $ to justify its pricetag? That's the kicker for me, expecially when the NEX cameras come into the comparison. I think I'd wait for the NEX7 to come down when supplies finally become available.
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Old December 20th, 2011, 12:05 AM   #10
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Re: First English-language VG20 hands-on w test footage

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Vincent View Post
But he did love the mic, which other then the size of the sensor, seems to be the camera's greatest strength.
All the NEX have the same sensor -- other than the 7 which has 24MP.

As far as the mic. Yes it's great BUT to cancel the rear noises it has elements aiming toward the rear. In wind, these elements pick-up the sound and feed it into the sound as a terrible out of phase sound in the rear. You must use the dead cat. But, I don't know how well it work in heavy wind.
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Old December 21st, 2011, 05:21 AM   #11
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Re: First English-language VG20 hands-on w test footage

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Vincent View Post
Hey Bill, thanks for the test - the lack of any kind of testing for this camera is borderline strange...

That said I'd echo some of the comments on Vimeo - a horizon shot can only show us so much, esp when the lighting conditions are changing so rapidly (as they do during the magic hour).

Human subject shot downtown during the same time would be a better real world scenario. Ditto that for a low light test - something similar to Philip Bloom's "cigar tests" with with the/AF100:
philipbloom's Channel - YouTube

But again, thank you for the effort. Having played with the camera, how would answer the question you posed: A VG20 at $1,600 or a GH2 for $800-90?

Pretty hard to argue bang for buck doesn't go to the Panny (esp given the hack). The only clear advantage the VG20 would seem to have is a better on-board mic, and headphones.
John - thanks for your kind comments. The guys on Vimeo are right - this was a rush job - I had to turn the camera in the next day, so I looked for a shooting opportunity by the side of the road. Not the best venue or time of day for a test.

On which camera to buy - I would have to say that the GH2 (now $900 body-only at Amazon) is the best value for money (even with the addition of an external recorder and lighting).

In the right hands (obviously, not mine ;-)), either camera can produce great images. If money is an important, but not overriding consideration, and you need out-of-the-box low light sensitivity and better audio control & monitoring - get the http://www.amazon.com/Sony-NEXVG20-Interchangeable-Handycam-Camcorder/dp/B005KOZN08.

Cheers,

Bill
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Old December 21st, 2011, 05:35 AM   #12
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Re: First English-language VG20 hands-on w test footage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Interesting comparison... I noticed HUGE audio differences (Panny was "muddy" at best), and the low light was not even close... I suppose the horserace goes to... VG20.

SO, it really comes down to does the VG20 offer enough better bang for the $ to justify its pricetag? That's the kicker for me, expecially when the NEX cameras come into the comparison. I think I'd wait for the NEX7 to come down when supplies finally become available.
Dave - I apologize, I had the output level from the Zoom H1 to the GH2's mic input set too low. The muddy sound was my fault. I have remixed the tracks in the video to bring the GH2's audio level up and the VG20's level down.

You're right about low light, though. Unhacked, the GH2 is pretty much unusable above ISO 1600.

That said, for me, the NEX-7 is not an option. For those of us who occasionally shoot hour-plus events or performances, and want an interchangeable lens camera for less than $4000, the GH2 and VG20, with their unlimited shot length and resistance to overheating, are the only game in town.

Cheers,

Bill
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Old December 21st, 2011, 02:03 PM   #13
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Re: First English-language VG20 hands-on w test footage

Levels may have been part of it, but on headphones, the difference was shocking - the VG20 was very "present", with a full soundscape, big difference that I don't think low levels would entirely account for? And for me, low light performance is important.

Not sure it justifies the VG20 pricing, I think that's where the camera falls a bit short... the bang/$ ratio seems off, and the resales of the VG10 certainly reflect that, they are closer to the price point I would think these cameras justtify. With the NEX5n/7 at significantly lower points of entry (excluding the 3X retail the 7 seems to be bringing for the few available ones on eBay!), they tend to make more sense.

It's still a little early to know how the thermal performance on these newer Sonys is, but the manual for the A65 looked pretty promising, didn't seem to have the warnings that were in the A55 manual, and 29 minutes is a workable clip length, even for long form events, it should be fairly easy to stagger start/stop cycles as long as the camera isn't overheating!

My thoughts are that if it's a "hands on" camera, I'd prefer one with the most efficient user interface (that tri-nav looks pretty darn good...). I have video cameras for free run, but I'm pretty confident in their built in "brains" to nail the shot without much intervention.
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Old January 3rd, 2012, 11:22 AM   #14
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Re: First English-language VG20 hands-on w test footage

Another English language hands-on from Notes on Video:

Notes On Video: The Sony NEX-VG20: What I like

I find it interesting that he calls the VG20 a "consumer camera" - but bemoans the lack of XLR inputs.

Overall he liked the camera, and didn't seem to care about lack of picture profiles or color control.

FWIW, the camera was on loan from B&H, and there are B&H sponsored links on the site.

Bill
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