The New Sony NEX-EA50UH Camcorder
The NEX-EA50UH Camcorder initiates Sony’s new EA Series of camcorders designed for cinematic event videography. The camera comes with an 18-200mm servo zoom lens, the first E-mount lens with servo zoom. The NEX-EA50UH also features a new APS-C sized Exmor CMOS sensor and delivers Full HD 1080p at up to 60 frames per second.
The popularity of HDSLRs among videographers can be credited to their film-like video quality, thanks to their large image sensors, and the prospect of capturing professional grade HD video and high-resolution still images with one camera. The NEX-EA50UH was designed with this in mind and it improves on the concept by combining an APS-C sensor, E-mount lenses, and DSLR quality still photographs with a camcorder form factor, servo zoom lenses, timecode, and professional audio recording capabilities. It also has some truly groundbreaking features that videographers could only dream about before now.
To accommodate Sony's first E-mount lens with servo zoom, the NEX-EA50UH sports a rocker-style zoom lever. The rocker zoom is a familiar feature for long-time camcorder users, but those who are familiar with interchangeable lens systems may wonder, what good is a zoom lever if you're using a prime lens or a manual zoom? Sony's answer to that question is a lossless digital zoom. The effect is achieved by cropping the image sensor in real-time, which changes the angle-of-view with no sacrifice in resolution. This is possible because the sensor has a native resolution that’s much higher than 1080p to begin with.
Another effect of the HDSLR revolution has been the widespread acceptance of the Secure Digital memory card. The SD format has grown by leaps and bounds and now offers videographers professional grade read/write speeds and dependability at previously unheard of prices. The NEX-EA50UH supports SD/SDHC/SDXC and Sony Memory Stick formats. However, it also features an FMU slot for connecting Sony’s HXR-FMU128, a flash memory unit with a capacity of 128 GB. The NEX-EA50UH can record simultaneously to SD/MS and an HXR-FMU128 for an instant back-up.
While an HDSLR might be classified as a professional grade still camera that also happens to shoot good video, the NEX-EA50UH might be classified as a professional grade camcorder that also shoots great still photographs. It may be a curious concept, but this camcorder is serious about photography. Not only would the 16MP APS-C CMOS sensor be right at home in the body of a DSLR, the NEX-EA50UH also features a dedicated shutter release button, a mechanical shutter to eliminate rolling shutter artifacts, and a hot shoe for using traditional flash units.
While the NEX-EA50UH doesn't look like a typical camcorder, it is particularly handsome with the viewfinder diopter tube, a shotgun microphone, and the 18-200mm servo zoom lens attached. Another nice design attribute is the shoulder pad, which slides backwards to accommodate a comfortable shoulder-mounted position. Some familiar features have carried over as well, like the top handle, a meaty handgrip with adjustable strap, and a shock absorbing microphone mount. HDSLR users who scoff at the size of this camera might think twice next time they have to assemble their shoulder rig. What’s more, for its size, the NEX-EA50UH is surprisingly light weight.
With all of these unique features it is important to bear in mind that, above all, the NEX-EA50UH is a great video camera. It yields a cinematic image that will hold up nicely next to Sony’s NEX-FS100U, but the EA50UH’s slightly smaller sensor lends itself to a more manageable depth of field that documentarians and event videographers will appreciate. Moreover, like other NXCAM series camcorders, the NEX-EA50UH uses the high quality and post-production friendly AVCHD format. With variable frame rates of 24, 25, 30, 50, and 60 fps in 1080 HD, the NEX-EA50UH is capable of great slow motion effects and it supports both NTSC and PAL formats.
|Sensor||Exmor APS-C CMOS|
|Lens Mount||E-mount (18 mm)|
|Recording Format||HD video - AVCHD
SD video - MPEG2
Stills - Format not specified
Audio - LPCM/AC3
|Frame Rates||1920 x 1080
59.94p, 59.94i, 50p, 50i, 29.97p, 25p, 23.98p
1280 x 720
|Frame Guide||4:3, 13:9, 14:9, 15:9, 1.66:1, 1.85:1, 2.35:1|
|Recording Media||Memory Stick
|Monitor||3.5-inch LCD, 16:9 XtraFine 921K (1920x480)|
|Outputs||1 x HDMI Type A
3 x Component (RCA)
1 x A/V Out (RCA)
1 x USB Type Mini A/B
|Audio Input||2 x XLR (3-pin) Line/Mic, 48 V|
|Audio Output||2 x RCA|
|Built-in Microphone||Yes (Stereo)|
|Headphone||1 x Stereo Mini|
1 x LANC
|Simultaneous Rec.||Yes (Memory Card + FMU) HD/SD|
|Timecode and TC Out||Yes (HDMI)|
|Focus & Exposure Assist||Peaking, Histogram, Zebra|
|Continuous Rec. Time||780 min|