New Sony Handycam Lets You Change Lenses

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Sony just announced its release of  the first Handycam camcorder to accept interchangeable lenses. It also features a quad capsule spatial array stereo microphone that captures spectacular audio. I’m talking about the NEX-VG10.

Not only does it offer the flexibility of an interchangeable lens system, it's one of the sleekest-looking prosumer camcorders you've ever seen in a compact form factor.


The NEX-VG10 features a large Sony Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor with 19.5 times the surface area of sensors used in conventional camcorders. It’s the same sensor format that Sony uses in its Alpha compact DSLRs. The sensor lets you shoot AVCHD video at up to 24Mbps at full 1920x1080/60i HD resolution, which is ideal for recording onto Blu-ray media. The big, beautiful sensor also lets you capture 14-megapixel still images. The camera stores its recordings on Memory Stick or SD/SDHC media.

 

The NEX-VG10 comes with an 11x zoom 18-200mm Optical SteadyShot image-stabilized lens. It has an effective 35mm equivalent focal range of 27mm-300mm. But the camera is also compatible with all of Sony’s smaller, lighter E-mount Series lenses, which are optimized for video with silent operation and autofocus. An optional LA-EA1 adapter lets you attach Sony Alpha and Konica Minolta A-mount lenses, including Sony’s G lens and Carl Zeiss lenses.

 

If you want to capture high-quality HD video, you will of course want to capture high-quality audio to go along with it. The NEX-VG10’s quad capsule spatial array stereo microphone contains four microphone capsules that are sensitive enough to pick up detailed front-side directivity and stereo separation. But if you want more audio options, a microphone jack lets you connect external microphones, and a stereo headphone jack permits audio monitoring.

 

The NEX-VG10 features a 25-point autofocus system and lots of modes and settings to help you get the exact shots you want. Six creative style settings include Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset and B&W; you can also fine-tune contrast, saturation and sharpness if you like. A dynamic range optimizer recovers details hidden in shadows when shooting backlit subjects. Eight white-balance modes include Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash and Custom.

 

With the burst mode, up to seven frames per second, you can catch fast action still-image sequences. To eliminate blur, an Anti-Motion Blur mode quickly takes six consecutive shots, grabs the best data from each shot, and creates a single super-sharp image. Similarly, in low-light environments, a Handheld Twilight mode takes six consecutive shots and combines them all to create a single image with proper exposure. A
High Dynamic Range mode takes three consecutive shots with different exposure settings and combines the best highlight and shadow details into one shot with more contrast than any single exposure can contain. If none of the special shooting modes appeals to you, the NEX-VG10 offers full manual control of Iris, Shutter Speed, Gain and White Balance for video and still shooting.

 

Like any good DSLR, the NEX-VG10 features Anti-Dust Technology to keep the CMOS sensor clean. A special coating on the sensor's low-pass filter repels dust, and a vibration system automatically dislodges any dust that does manage to settle on the sensor. When it’s time to review your captured footage, you can do so on an HDTV via the camera’s HDMI output, or you can simply use the swiveling 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD.

 

The NEX-VG10 isn’t shipping until September. But if you click the little “Notify When In Stock” button on the product page, B&H will let you know when you can grab one. We have a hands-on review of the NEX-VG10 in the works, so keep an eye on B&H Insights for that article in the near future. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this new camera system, we encourage you to post them in the Comments section! 

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i dont realy have any qusetions i think this only gives some gre answers to a procamcorder with a lens at a reasonable price

Looks like a winner to me! Send me one to evaluate for a year.

Gotta wonder about the ability to film in low light with the APS chip. How good is the lens quality? However, great start to a new line of competition. 

I like everything except AVCHD.  If they could find a way to stick a couple of balanced audio in's than you'd have something unstoppable.

 I can shoot full HD on a Canon EOS 550D T2i for under a thousand. How much will this camera cost? 

This camera technically shoots in a progressive format. Even though it states that it records in 60i(which it does) , it's really a progressive image in an interlaced container (psf). When you bring it in to an NLE, you can easily tell the software to de-interlace it without artifacts.

 I would buy 3 of them if they would have LANC interface. 

Looks like a winner to me! Send me one to evaluate for a year.

 CAN YOU GIVE ME PRICES OF NEX-VG10 AND LET ME NOW IF IT IS BE POSSIBEL TO USE OLD CAMERA MINOLTA 9000 LENSES ! ?

Looks like a great camera for shooting B-roll and certain DOF looks that even my pro camera can't get.

Seems like it could have been a great camera only if it could shoot video in 1080p, sony is hardly trying to catch up to the market. canon, panasonic, jvc and i dont know how many other cameras can record hd footage in 1080p and this one with the price it has, and it cannot do it? i mean come on, id rather save up and pay double for the AX2000 which is able to shoot 1080p and sd video as well. Come on sony, get with the program 

The camcorder takes record on tape or on CD or both? If it does on tapes, loading window is undernead or by the side?

Thanks,

David

It's a bid by Sony to compete against the likes of the Canon D5 MII, which can shoot full HD in very low ambient light. Indie filmakers might be interested, but there is already a considerable stable of aftermarket goodies for the Cannon, et al., and the Sony lacks the DSLR's large image display means the POV will be the filmaker's head, a real limitation.

Kind of neat tool, but I wonder where the market really is...

David J

I see that it will take an adapter that will allow me to use my Sony Alpha lenses.  Can anyone verify that it will retain all other functions, including autofocus, when using the adapter?  Will there be a body-only option?  (I don't need another lens!)

I would like to know if I can use my good old Hexanon lenses on this camcorder, or if there will be an adapter to Canon EF lenses.

Wonder will Sony include XLR inputs?

11 lux???????......

It's the beginning of a whole line of large sensor video cameras, but it's not a competitor to the 7D or 5D yet, unless they fixed the moire issues that the Canon's have... and even then, here's some downfall's: The 3" screen, tilting or not, is almost useless except for composition, because you need a larger screen and/or extreme magnification like the 7D to focus. I have that same LCD on my Sony Z7U, and it's very difficult to focus without a monitor. The AVCHD format is limited to 24mbps, about the same as HDV, whereas the Canon produces twice that much at almost 50mbps. The minimum fstop on the included lens is 3.5 wide open up to f6.3. That's nowhere near as fast as Canon primes, and for those looking for low light and narrow depth of field, it defeats the purpose. As for production sound, the audio is not much better than the Canon's, because you only have a stereo mini input, not balanced XLR's. For professional audio, you still need double system sound. However, I am excited about the world of large sensor video cameras. My only comment is, what have they been waiting for?..... it's all about marketing of course, and we are the guinea pigs!

This is an appeal to JVC, the only major camcorder builder left I can think of: PLEASE MAKE A DEAL WITH NIKON or I'll really see myself shopping for an Alpha or micro4/3s for my stills so I can carry only one set of lenses on my travels. Exchangeable lense pro and prosumer camcorders are gamechanging for us independent professionals.

Does it support 24p?

 Sony has never played well with Mac. So I'll pass.

I have a cannon HD camcorder that while viewing my captured vedio I can pause it and snap a still picture of what I see on the screen of the camcorder. Is this possible with this New Camcorder?

 I have a Canon T2i and the HD progressive video is gorgeous, but there is a killer limitation.  The T2i is manufactured the same for all markets and the EEC says if a camera records more than 29.9 minutes or 4 gig, whichever comes first, it is dutied as a video camera, so there is a firmware chip in the T2i that limits that camera, wherever it is sold in the world, to the EEC customs limitation.

I do symphony orchestras and that is a killer limitation for concerts, though I do use it for soloists at rehearsals and for creating TV spots.

ja...this is an ALPHA DSLR recicled  into a HANDYCAM.  smart.  they have the parts an lenses,  a lot of those  looks really good to me, nice design. send me one and a let you know how it works ...

I'm very excited about large sensor camcorders. The manufacturers are finally starting to give us what we want. Hopefully they'll do it well.

I'm hoping that they will offer one more like the Z7 or EX3 with XLR audio inputs, a big HD viewfinder with peaking and zebras (at the same time), picture profiles, real manual control, real lenses with iris rings and non servo focus (i.e. ones that you turn mechanically and have real control of), good zoom control so you can do slow creeping zooms, more format options (1080p, DV-CAM, XD, etc), 4:2:2 10 bit imaging, etc.

I may get the VG10 when they first come out, but I really want a more robust professional camera and I want it NOW!  :)

 ...and I want the lenses to be fast, and I'd love to use my old Nikon lenses on it too, and I want it for less than $10K, and...

It MUST be a camera I can operate by my self as a one man band too. I need to be able to shoot handheld or on a tripod, and monitor the audio, alone. Run n' gun ENG style, not film style (i.e. with a small army to baby the camera). No focus puller, no no AC, no sound tech' (sorry soundies), fast and light, with full manual control. 

A LANC control for a zoom controller would be nice.

cannot see a hot shoe on the handle...useful to put up video light for indoors and night shoots....pls advise.  Malaysia. email:      rajsingh90@hotmail.com

I've been keeping an eye on this camera for a while so I think I can tackle some of the questions I see here from what I've read.

This is marketed for the consumer in mind so that means limited recording formats, no xlr inputs, no zebra graphs or histographs, and limited manual control. It's also why they're shipping it as a kit with the 18-200mm lens without a body only option for those of us with lenses already. There are rumors that they might "repackage" this with more manual settings and recording options and market it as their prosumer model. They are also announcing a pro cinema 19k model early next year.

There's also a photo button that allows you to take 14.6 MP jpeg only pictures. There is a flap on the handle that exposes two shoes, a sony proprietary and a standard one and it'll support sony's duo memory stick or sd card.

Now about the adapters. This is using the same E-mount as the sony nex cameras that were released last month and there are alreadly adapters for nearly every mount and if not there probably would be soon. These include leica, nikon, canon FD, pentax, contax etc....Just do a search on ebay. However with any of these adapters including the optional alpha adapter sony offers, you lose the ability to auto focus.  Only the E-mount lenses will be able to auto focus and currently there are two available, 16mm, and 18-55mm.

Personally, I'm excited about the a5xx alpha pellix cameras that they are working on. It will allow for potentially ultra fast auto focus and fast fps. But like the nex and vg10, I'll wait until they actually come out or at least officially announced before getting dissapointed yet again on limited framerate and recording formats, obtrusive menu's, and lack of video manual controls :)

While the lens zoom range is impressive, there is no information as to the aperture of the included lens. Will it be a constant aperture throughout the zoom range or will you get light loss as you zoom in to the telephoto end? I believe the aperture of the lens will be a huge influential factor in deciding whether this camera and lens will work well in low light and give good depth of field control.

Another clarification:  Although Sony reports the frame rate as 60i, it is actually a progressive 30p stream that is placed into a 60i container.  This is good news, as you're basically getting true progressive 30p via 2:2 pulldown.

For an ongoing, comprehensive round-up on this product, visit the User Group on Vimeo.  You can also follow the User Group at its corresponding Facebook Page and Twitter stream.

Hey does the camera have 24p ? This camera is seriously lacking an XLR input or two and if it had those inputs it would truely rock. Redo the camera SONY!!!!

It says in the B&H spec sheet this camera is only 11 lux. How can that be? It is too high! Does not make sense.

WOW, WOW, WOW! Sony beat both Nikon and Canon to the game. 5DII, D300S, D90 etc. are not real camrecorders but a hassle posing as one. This appears to be the real deal. Sweet!!

Where can I pay?

"It's exactly where the market is - everyone is striving for shallow DOF, it's really the last hurdle to get a true film look"

LOL, nub.

So true, after this last "hurdle", all Arri, Aaton, and Panavision motion picture cameras will be obsolete. Hollywood and all indie filmmakers will be throwing their film cameras into the trash. That damn last hurdle! Thank goodness it's finally been licked!

Do some people just talk/write for the sake of seeing their own words?

 Film will live for ever!

I really love cams with interchangeable lenses just like Canon XL series and to me this camcorder are welcome and I will try to get one to prove it,... thats is it!!!

I've never owned a Sony camera before, just Canon and Panasonic.  What's the output format of the data and how easy is it to work with?  I hate having to convert a bunch before I can view and edit.  I really don't want to use Sony software either.

Also, how well does it work with low light?  What's the ISO?

If you think film is dead think again. Go over to zacutos webs site and look at their film vs dslr comparison. assuming the sony is comparable to a 5dii in quality, the biggest difference between them is films ability to keep detail when the object is overexposed (the light bulb episode). In their test outright ISO goes to the DSLR but low ISO or ASA goes to film every time. I have a 5dii and I love it but there is still a lot of room for improvement. 

I would like to see what it costs? Compair apples to apples...??

Is it available for a test somewhere? What does the manufacture recommend for software to produce a finished product?

Such a large sensor for 11 lux min requirement at 30fps at auto gain (max gain) is bulls. It needs to be around the 3-4 lux min. This model is a great start to the competition but how knows how much noise does it have when it ask for 11 lux min?

it looks like it does not have manual volume control....crucial if you are doing interviews and  you don't want to catch background noise in silent moments...what good is an external mike and a headphone if you have no control?

do I have to get a beach box to add to this? and would it even overide the AVC? and that would make it clumsy as hell ....