NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony Alpha and NEX Camera Systems > Sony NEX-VG10 / VG20 / VG30 / VG900

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old October 23rd, 2012, 07:00 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: L.A. California
Posts: 61
NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

I want to make a little documentary about people who like to take their sports cars to race tracks.

The story I'm trying to tell is that these cars aren't just for taking to Cars & Coffee, and cruising PCH, instead there are some people who push them to their limits at local tracks several times a year.

I plan to cut in lots of track footage from GoPro cams inside and attached to cars, as well as footage I shoot from around the the track.

I also plan to have interviews with the drivers.

There are a number of 1/3" semi-pro cameras for $2000-3000 that are very ergonomic, and even have XLR inputs and PCM recording. But, most of the footage I see from them looks like it was from a cheap camera.

DSLR footage always looks great for interviews, but in any other situation the subject is out of focus most of the time. That's great for an art film, but I'm going for a more mainstream look.

Ergonomics on a DSLR suck at a race track where you are in a hot, sunny, dusty, and otherwise miserable environment. A camcorder which has a good viewfinder, and one that can stand the heat would be nice.

A $20,000 2/3" CCD ENG camera would be ideal, but I can't even afford the rental.

I think the VG30 (assuming it's similar, or better than the VG20) is the ideal compromise.

My question, is, can I keep the subject, a speeding car, in focus easily? Can the depth of field be deep enough to show context such as the other cars around it?

My goal, though lofty, is to hopfully get Top Gear quality racing footage along with some beautiful interviews.

For audio I have a DR40 and access to some good lav and shotgun mics.

I have a really long time to complete this project, so I plan take my time learning shooting skills, and story telling skills.

thanks,
~Jay
Jay Morrissette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 24th, 2012, 11:11 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Kirkland, WA
Posts: 460
Re: NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

** Note: just noticed you're the same chap from my BRZ thread.... still, I'll leave this here since I already typed it.

What you describe is exactly what I shoot professionally. For years I used a Sony NX5U (shooting for Ford Racing, Mazda, etc.), and I recently sold it and moved to an Alpha A77. Both types of cameras will work. My friend that does the Subaru Rally Team USA videos also made the switch, in his case to a 5D mk2, last year. Both of us did it because of the creative possibilities large sensors allow. Shooting Lucas Trucks, Rally America, Formula D and Global Rallycross is about as rough as it gets for cameras.

Now, in terms of the VG30 you'll be missing a couple major benefits of a traditional video camera and that's a steadycam function and a fast auto focus. In fact, having a steadycam feature was one reason I picked the A77 over the VG series myself. If the camera doesn't have steadycam you will need a rig - a good one, like a redrock, if you want to go handheld. I like to go incognito with the A77 when i can, people can be intimidated by a big rig (I also have a rig, fwiw). Regarding autofocus, personally I don't use it much anymore, so its not a big deal, but I did when I first started years ago - nothing wrong with it. Over time, I found I was faster and more accurate, but I didn't get there overnight.

No matter which camera you get, if you're shooting trackside you'll need to budget for both a wide (24mm equiv) and tele (200mm) zooms to get full coverage. And given how often events go into the night, you'll kick yourself if they're not f2.8s. That means adapters on the VG. Primes are a pain to shoot with in a fast-paced track environment, though I know lots of guys that use them (they also shoot 24p for some insane and misguided reason.)

In the end, it all comes down to your own skillset and your goals to determine exactly which is right for you. If you have specific questions, I'm happy to answer best I can. If you're really undecided, rent a VG camera from someone like borrow lenses and see if you're comfortable with it before committing.
Ryan Douthit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 25th, 2012, 05:58 AM   #3
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 576
Re: NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

Canon XF100 isnt a cheap camera and has a great image and all you require.
Lee Mullen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 25th, 2012, 07:44 AM   #4
Space Hipster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 1,593
Re: NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

You say you want to keep speeding cars in focus. The large sensor cameras will make this job even tougher. The smaller 1/3" chip sensor cameras will have a wide depth of field, keeping more of the scene in focus.

And if you get the VG30, a variable ND filter is a must. The sensor will suck in daylight to the point where you'll have to close down the iris to around f22, making for very poor images.

That said, I've owned the VG10 and now own an FS100. You can certainly use these cameras in the manner in which you require. The 18-200 kit lens is a very usable lens and in bright daylight the auto focus is pretty good. I've shot lacrosse games with it on auto focus and it looks great. For panning fast cars on a track, it might save your shot. The VG30 also has the power zoom, which will come in handy.

Sony will have an XLR attachment that will give you better audio on a VG30, for about $800.
Glen Vandermolen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 25th, 2012, 08:00 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Ottawa, ON
Posts: 471
Re: NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Douthit View Post
Now, in terms of the VG30 you'll be missing a couple major benefits of a traditional video camera and that's a steadycam function and a fast auto focus. In fact, having a steadycam feature was one reason I picked the A77 over the VG series myself.
Note that the VG30 teamed with the 18-200 SEL lens does have a 'steadycam' function -- the Sony OSS is built into the lens, and is very good. As for speed of focus, I've never noticed an issue when shooting with that combo, but then again I've been shooting with various rigs and formats for thirty years and haven't got around to using autofocus so my opinion is that autofocus is unnecessary -- it may well be true that the autofocus on some devices is not 'fast'. But as recommended, rent and try -- I've used the VG20 a couple of times, and the FS100 more frequently. Both suit me fine, though the FS100 is a more convenient tool in terms of features built-in.

Cheers,
GB
R Geoff Baker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 25th, 2012, 11:32 AM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 139
Re: NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

The main trouble you will run into is that 200mm is too short for a racing circuit. You could get a 70-400 for the VG30 but that leaves you stranded when the cars come close.

The best 1080P60 option in my opinion is a Panasonic AG-AC160A which has a 28mm-616mm zoom range. It will be much easier to focus, it has proper audio and a proper form factor... but it costs more
__________________
SONY α77 :: Panasonic X900M :: Sony DSR-PD170P :: Miller DS5 :: Premiere Pro 2.0 :: Cineform NeoScene
Laurence Janus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 25th, 2012, 01:25 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: L.A. California
Posts: 61
Re: NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

Thanks for the replies, that is all very helpful.

In two weeks there will be an auto-x that I can experiment with. I think I'll rent a VG-20 for that. That same weekend I am doing sound for another project, maybe we can try the VG-20 on that as well since it's a 3 day rental. They used a T2i, and they had problems with it overheating.

For the race track I'll need a circular polarizer, will that reduce enough light, or will I still need a ND filter?

When you say f22 harms the image quality, what does that mean? In film, doesn't it just make the image sharper?

I don't know why Sony charges $800 for their XLR adapter, that's nearly Rupert Neve, or API price range! And yet it still records to a lossey codec.

Would any of you recommend a used 2 year old camera? Is it possible that I can get something more pro, for a lot less money?

Ryan, will you be in Southern California any time soon? I'd love to shadow you and see you work.

thanks,
~Jay
Jay Morrissette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 25th, 2012, 01:57 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Kirkland, WA
Posts: 460
Re: NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

Since a 200mm lens (70-200) is a 370mm on an A77 or about a 320mm on a VG30, I don't think you need anything longer. Having the flexibility of a f2.8 is more useful for 99% of the shots you'll be doing than going with a slower 400mm.

I don't use ND filters on the track. Just a polarizer (always tons of glare on the track). If it's too bright at your preferential f-stop just increase your framerate (unless you HAVE to shoot in full sunlight at 2.8.) I usually shoot races between ~1/180 and ~1/500. The "180 rule" doesn't really apply to action sports and 24fps is... well, I have very strong opinions against 24fps in action sports. As for f22 that just brings everything in focus, though, I can't recall ever having enough light to shoot cars at f22, but it won't "harm" your image quality if you choose to do so, it will just (arguably) harm your composition.

You won't need the XLR adaptor. The sennheiser lavs I use have an option for 1/4-inch output, and you can get several quality shotguns with 1/4-inch (that said, I personally use XLR, but I don't think it's in any may mandatory.) Check the gear you have access to, and then make the call.

If I was just getting started I would seriously look at the Canon XF100 (not having used it, mind you, just recommending on specs alone and my experience with the XF300.) If you can start with a camera that does everything well, you can focus on story telling and composition and not the fiddly bits of getting a DSLR to do what you want. (Though, I know many seem to like that part.) The only major issue I see with the Canon XF100 is that the zoom is pretty short at 10x.

I don't have any plans to shoot in SoCal right now - the season is winding down. But things pop up all the time.
Ryan Douthit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 26th, 2012, 02:49 AM   #9
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Zuerich Switzerland
Posts: 98
Re: NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

Check the JVC GY-HM600 f12 @ 2000 LUX much better (& cheaper ?) then the Canon XF 300/5
Werner Graf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 26th, 2012, 07:11 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Plantation, FL
Posts: 238
Re: NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

That JVC 600 looks like a great camera, i'd swap my Panny 160a for it but it's missing 1080p60.
Very disappointing, especially when cameras are going north of 60p now.
__________________
Mark Ahrens
www.heritagefilms.net
Mark Ahrens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 26th, 2012, 12:19 PM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Zuerich Switzerland
Posts: 98
Re: NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Ahrens View Post
That JVC 600 looks like a great camera, i'd swap my Panny 160a for it but it's missing 1080p60.
Very disappointing, especially when cameras are going north of 60p now.
OMG
It is a great Camcorder for 5k

I dont know what else can do 50p - with this price? Canon C100 Canon XF 300 PMW1/3/200 nope

Go for SONY F3 CANON C500 SONY PMW 350 SONY FS 100/700 and burn a lot of lolly's $
hold the heavy gear and/or Rig it up for XXXX extras $
Werner Graf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 26th, 2012, 01:56 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Plantation, FL
Posts: 238
Re: NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

Panasonic
-700/900 line have had 60p for 2+ years.
- under $1000 (Last Xmas it was the TM900 was going for $600 - 3MOS- focus ring - granted it's a handycam, but c'mon)
-AC90 - $2K
(all smaller chip cameras)
Now, i'm no Panasonic fan boy . . . i recently replaced my Canon XHA1s with the AC160a and i'm totally turned off by the build quality and there's quite a lot that i'm not thrilled about. But it's a very capable camera and fit the bill for me.
Now, one may say 720p60 is fine, but 1080 allows for reframing in post which is indispensable for some sports applications.
__________________
Mark Ahrens
www.heritagefilms.net
Mark Ahrens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 26th, 2012, 02:06 PM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Zuerich Switzerland
Posts: 98
Re: NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

1080i vs. 1080p

1080i vs. 1080p | Home Theater
Werner Graf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 26th, 2012, 02:22 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Plantation, FL
Posts: 238
Re: NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

First of all, that article is over 6 years old.
Second, it has no bearing on my application; sports highlights for college recruiting.
For me, the advantage of shooting 60p is the ability to slow down footage without sacrificing resolution.
__________________
Mark Ahrens
www.heritagefilms.net
Mark Ahrens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 27th, 2012, 02:06 AM   #15
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Zuerich Switzerland
Posts: 98
Re: NEX-VG30 or traditional camcorder?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Ahrens View Post
First of all, that article is over 6 years old.
Second, it has no bearing on my application; sports highlights for college recruiting.
For me, the advantage of shooting 60p is the ability to slow down footage without sacrificing resolution.
Sorry for my post. but no need to by a little grumpy...
But it depends on the hardware where you present your material and this was clear from the article...

For Slowmo: Don't pan during shooting, use High Shutter speeds and good contrast plus dedicated software for slow-motion:
Timewarp Fluid Motion, Twixtor with 1080 25p can slowdown till 10%

AND 50p does not bring automatic doubled Datarate, because the followed pictureframes are not so different from each other.

One more thing:
Why Are We So Obsessed with Camera Specs? | The Black and Blue

Last edited by Werner Graf; October 27th, 2012 at 04:57 AM.
Werner Graf is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony Alpha and NEX Camera Systems > Sony NEX-VG10 / VG20 / VG30 / VG900

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:42 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network