VX2000 Works Well as a Travel Camera
by Paul Tauger, Winter 2003

I'm an advanced amateur who makes travel videos. I recently upgraded, with some trepidation, to the VX2000 -- it was the only viable 3-chipper, given the abyssmal low light performance of the TRV950. I was very concerned that the size and weight of the VX2000 would be a problem when I travel.

Having just completed a few weeks in India, and 10 hours of video, I'm happy to report that the VX2000 worked out extremely well. I replaced the Sony strap with a longer one that allowed me to wear the camera like a bandolier, tucked under the opposite arm. This distributed the weight well, and eliminated any "slip off the shoulder" concerns. I used an Optex .65 bayonet-mount wide angle adapter. The Optex is full zoom-through and is threaded in front, permitting the use of screw-in filters. I kept a standard Hoya UV filter in place and had no vignetting problems at all. I also used a low-profile circular polarizer but, frankly, found the color saturation so good with the VX2000 (nice rich blue skies) that I had little need for the polarizer.

I did notice that the optical image stabilizer wasn't as effective with the Optex in place. Without it, I was able to use the VX2000 at 24x zoom (full optical zoom, plus half of the digital range) with surprisingly stable results (I was shooting gazelles from a jeep). With it, anything other than extreme wide angle would get shaky.

In addition to the camera and lens adapter, I carried a Lowepro Minitrekker backpack which contained extra batteries (though I never needed them), an Adorama minipod with miniature head, filters, a rubber lens shade for when I didn't use the Optex adapter, and a Sharp MD-MT15 minidisk recorder and Sony ECM-MS907 microphone for recording ambient sound, street musicians, etc. The backpack also carried my sunglasses, a light jacket, and small purchases I made along the way.

Neither the backpack nor the camera was uncomfortably heavy, and I toted them around for hours at a time. On occassion, I'd leave the backpack with our driver. When I left the Optex behind, too, the camera became absolutely light weight. At no time did I regret going with the VX2000, as opposed to trying to find a considerably smaller and lighter TRV900 (the 950 was never a possibility).

And, needless to say, the VX2000 produced some spectacular images -- saturated, contrasty and sharp in a variety of lighting conditions. Autofocus was a bit touchy on heavily back-lit subjects (and I like the occassional sun-induced lens flare) and when it was very foggy (not surprising -- no contrast). Low light performance was simply staggering -- I could shoot by the light of a single candle with only minimal graininess and no chroma noise that I could detect. I should note that I've only previewed the video on the camera's LCD screen. I'll be loading it into the computer and beginning editing over the next few weeks; any flaws will reveal themselves during the next couple of months of post.

At any rate, I hope this will provide some reassurance for anyone considering the VX2000 for travel videography, but concerned about the size and weight.

Questions for Paul Tauger? This specific article can be discussed in detail at our Sony VX2000 Companion forum.

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Written by Paul Tauger
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