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Old June 11th, 2013, 04:32 PM   #16
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

Ron, at the end of the day, the VG20/30s are cheap 8 bit 4:2:0 consumer Handycams so if you need a more professional (Sony) camera, consider the F3.

As for banding, this may be an issue with the NTSC versions but I have never seen this present in any pictures from a PAL VG20. I recently sent some 50i and 50P clips shot with my VG20/Zeiss combo to a professional independent broadcast editor who edits TV commercials, TV series and short films on Lightworks, Edius and Avid NLEs. He is very highly regarded in the Australian high end digital HD market so works with pictures shot from several different camera platforms, sent from crews working right around the country. He was astounded by the quality of HD from the VG20/Zeiss combo saying he had edited pictures from cameras costing five times as much which didn't look as good.

PS: The only negative comment he made was concerning temporal aliasing which is why he recommends always shooting 50i as opposed to 50p for any work intended for DVD, BluRay or broadcast TV.
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Old June 11th, 2013, 06:19 PM   #17
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

In 60p the picture was great. I wonder if the difference in 24p mode is the NTSC vs PAL. Anyway thanks for the recommendation on the F3.
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Old June 11th, 2013, 07:13 PM   #18
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

Huh. I haven't seen any banding shooting 24p.

And I wouldn't call them cheap consumer video cameras - if your consider them consumer cameras, they're actually on the very high end of pricing (esp as most people just use their iPhones now). If you consider them pro/prosumer cameras, then yeah, they're decently cheap (assuming you already have the lenses, batteries, etc).

In the end, the best way to get good audio is either having built-in XLRs, or completely separate sound. While Craig's solution is novel, it does add a layer (or two) to what is already a tough thing to wrangle, that is to say, good sound. It involves an extra cord (at min), the DR40, batteries for the DR40, and making sure that the levels from the DR40 are playing nice with the sound input on the VG20/30. All w/o having access to a simple knob to adjust either sound input or headphone levels.

Cords tend to pick up buzzes or get lost or broken. Batteries die. Sound recorders can malfunction,/get lost/dropped etc. Even extra bit of gear is an extra bit that can go awry (nah, WILL go awry at some point).

All of the above can be avoided by using a camera with a simple XLR input.... which puts you into the AF100/FS100/AE 50 pricing zone at a minimum. I tend to agree that, for the price, the VG series produces the best bang for the buck. The relative ease of use, toughness, and picture are all good values.

But quality sound isn't one of them. Not saying it can't be done, rather that it can't be done easily or 100% predictably. For a one man crew, or a no-budget indie, that can be the death knell if you're relying on the camera to give you great sound with no hassle. In other words, depending on the producer's/shooter's need, the VG30 might not be for them, regardless of bang-for-buck image quality.

One last thing - virtually every camera now being used under the $10K mark is a 8 bit, 4:2:0 camera. The Panny AF100, Sony FS100, FS700, the Canon Mark II, Mark III, 7d, C100 - all are 8 bit, 4:2:0 cameras. Even the $14,000 Sony F3 Craig mentions records 8-bit 4:2:0 color space internally.

Which means - at least to me - that the VG20/30 pricing is appropriate, at least as video quality goes. Only you can decide if those XLR inputs are worth the extra dough or not (and it sound like they are).
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Old June 11th, 2013, 11:02 PM   #19
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

Hi Ron

The audio quality on the EA-50 is the best I ever had .. My Panny AC-130's were awful despite being the same price ..I guess the VG30 just doesn't have enough space to put XLR sockets on it?? It's a pity that Sony don't make an XLR module like Panasonic do for their smaller cameras so you can have the XLR functionality when you need it. What I really liked on the 50 was the totally adjustable input levels on the XLR (My Panny's gave you -40, -50 and -60db only) Also the auto level control on the 50's XLR channels is awesome.. you can flip to auto and there is none of the old fashioned "pumping" ...audio level is simply maintained for you thruout a clip and very accurately too.

All cams have their quirks so you might just have to work around this one if you want the VG30

Chris
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Old June 12th, 2013, 01:42 PM   #20
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

Well said John. That sums up my feelings about the VG30 perfectly. I tried it and it is not for me. The picture was nice. Chris the EA50 looks interesting. I am also looking at the NEX FS100 and the Canon C100. This is a great forum where you can go and bounce ideas off of people that have the expertise to give an informed opinion.
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Old June 12th, 2013, 06:09 PM   #21
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

Thanks Ron. To me, the FS100 remains the best bang for buck camera for those needing more control over the image plus XLR inputs. The AE50 looks interesting, bust at only a few hundred less the FS100, I'd say it's over priced by about a grand (I couldn't find anyone selling w/o the servo lens, which no doubt adds just about that much to the cost).

Simply put, the FS100 is going to produce the better image of any Sony short of the F3 or higher camera (and yes, even better then the FS700, who's real strength is in high speed shooting and 4K upgradability).

Of course it all depends on what you need the camera for. Wedding/church shooters seem to love the form factor of the AE50. There's no ND wheel in the FS100 (a complete non-factor to me, but to some a huge thing).

For me, the Canon C100 is insanely over priced. It seems to have all the negatives of the C300, w/ few of the benefits. And while I'd never buy the C300 either, it does have the magical 4:2:2 50Mb/s that some shooters have to have to get on TV, and it can dang near see in the dark. Of course, even at $14,000 on sale, it still won't do 1080 high speed shooting of any kind and is still an 8 bit camera.

And there's always the AF100, but it seems to be a tough nut to crack as far as getting stunning images out of it, uses MFT mount, and is no-where near as sensitive as the Sony flavors.

Truth is, if you want XLR inputs and a large sensor, there's only so many options. For me, as much as I love the VG series, my next camera has to has XLR inputs and a SDI port. I'm hoping to squeeze every last drip out of the VG20 b/c a wave of 10/12 bit cameras can't be far away.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 08:15 AM   #22
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

I thought there was an optional XLR module for the Vg30? Could be wrong but the last time I looked, I thought it was too expensive for what it did so I built my own. Just because a manufacturer puts an XLR socket on a piece of audio equipment does not immediately make it 'professional'. I have seem many audio mixers with XLR sockets wired so that any balanced microphone plugged in is immediately rendered unbalanced and subject to hum and noise. It also depends on the quality of the pre-amps and A/D conversion chips and good ones tend to be expensive.

Unfortunately there is huge amount of ignorance and misunderstanding surrounding audio with consumer gear. The VG20/30 use 'unbalanced' 3.5mm stereo aux mic sockets so ideally, you would simply plug in an unbalanced stereo microphone. There are plenty of these available very cheaply and they will work well.

However, if you have a good quality, three wire balanced shotgun mic such as the Rode NTG3 or Sennheiser 416, you're at a loss. Assuming for a moment that the VG20/30 audio pre-amps are of 'acceptable' quality and you wish to use your balanced XLR microphone, you still can. All you need to buy is a cheap transformer equipped 'XLR to 6.5mm' converter. They are only $15 on ebay and to use one with the VG20/30, you only need to correctly wire up a 6.5mm socket to 3.5mm mini plug.

These converters are designed to do two things at the same time: they match the low impedance required by your XLR microphone and convert it to a signal suited to the Vg20/30's high impedance microphone input. They are small enough to tape on or under the camera but I built my own custom adapter around one of them but added 48 volt phantom and a 'gain control' knob so that I could set the audio levels without referring to the camera's menu.

see: Hosa Mit 435 Audio Adapter Phone Mono 6 3 mm M 3 Pin XLR F | eBay

PS: Hosa also make a pre-wired XLR socket to what appears to be a 'stereo' 3.5mm mini jack on a short flying lead. Although it looks like the perfect solution, it may in fact be a balanced, mono TRS plug so you would need to check the wiring diagram.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 11:28 AM   #23
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

OK guys I just ordered the Sony NEX-FS100UK form B&H to replace the NEXVG30. Thanks for all your help. I think the FS100 will suit my needs well.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 04:35 PM   #24
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

Excellent choice Ron as you get the F3's superb sensor in the FS100. Although it is virtually the same size as the sensor in the VG20/30, it has far fewer but larger photo sites or pixels: designed for HD video, not stills.
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Old July 22nd, 2013, 12:41 PM   #25
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

Hey guys I sold the VG30 and bought a FS100. I have a couple of batteries and a charger that did not get returned for sale in the classifieds section.
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