The New Sony NEX-EA50UH Camcorder

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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
Resolution 16 Megapixels
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
59.94p, 50p
480 (576)
59.94i, 50i
Frame Guide 4:3, 13:9, 14:9, 15:9, 1.66:1, 1.85:1, 2.35:1
Stills Shutter Mechanical
Recording Media Memory Stick
SD/SDHC/SDXC
HXR-FMU128
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
GPS Yes 
Built-in Microphone Yes (Stereo)
Headphone 1 x Stereo Mini
Built-in Speaker Yes
Remote IR
1 x LANC
Simultaneous Rec. Yes (Memory Card + FMU) HD/SD
Timecode and TC Out Yes (HDMI)
Assignable Buttons 6
Focus & Exposure Assist Peaking, Histogram, Zebra
AF Face Detection
Continuous Rec. Time 780 min
Dimensions Not Specified
Weight Not Specified

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Is the face detection focus not going to work when manual white balance is selected? This is how most sony camcorders work & it is a REAL BIG PROBLEM!

Nothing has been released just yet on specifics for the camera but when switching the mode to manual on alot of other cameras certain auto features like face detection do turn off. As of right now we do not know for sure but it is possible that this will be the case with this camera as well.

Does this camera have optical image stabilization?

The included zoom lens does have optical image stabilization.

How does the NEX-EA50UH downsample from the sensor native resolution to 1080p? Does it line skip like the NEX still cameras or does it do something different?

The information released on the camera does not yet state how it is downsampled from the sensor. As Sony releases more hopefully this will be advertised by them.

Is there any word on the suspected price point?

It is currently available for pre-order for $4500.

Pre-order Here:

This is now changed to $4,200

When can we anticipate the nex ea50 to ship, and just out
of curiosity is the lens available by itself?

Camera expected availability: October 15 2012
No word yet on the lens selling separately.

I currently own 2 NX5U cameras and am adding a third in a few days, seeing this one might be a interesting addition giving more flexibility with DOF and shoulder style however we feed these into a Tricaster over SDI and don't see SDI listed as a feature. Can you confirm that this will ship without a SDI connection.

Hello Bryan -

As far as we are able to confirm - SONY has not built SDI into this camera.  If you have additional questions please e-mail us:  AskBH@BandH.com

Will it be possible to purchase this without the lens (body only)?

At present it is only being sold body and lens together.

Hi, do you know if the handle is rotative like the pmw-ex1r ?
Thanks to answer.

The handle on this camera is fixed. It doesn't rotate.

I hope this camera has built in ND selections. Can anyone confirm that? Also, it seems to have selectable picture profiles. Would I expect to achieve a nice cinema look with that? I hope so because their standard cinema settings are terrible, just adding a bit of sepia and reducing saturation, which is totally unusable.

The camera does not have built in ND filters.
There are 6 picture profiles, no word what they are pre-set at yet though.
That being said, for a cine look, alot of that will be achieved using a variety of lenses that this camera allows for.

The specs seem to indicate no ND. However, the camera seems to have ISO selection -- which you would think would allow modifying the sensitivity to light. There are also variable ND filters that might be used. Unfortunately, at the moment, I only see those filters for 77mm. Also, there's the issue of moire and aliasing; do we know if the images are processed as stills or video?

Thanks for your feedback,

Jim

Aside from the taking dedicated still photos the information is recorded through AVCHD video.

Will it be able to carry over a clean live feed over the HDMI?

Yes, it has a clean, uncompressed 8 bit 4:2:2 HDMI output signal.

This is great news that it has 422 Hdmi out.

I was thinking of switching from my vg20. Is there going to be better control over things like contrast, white balance, sharpness, etc...?

The most important feature for both the VG-20 and the NEX-EA50UH is the large sensor they have. This creates a high quality image that can be projected very large as well as creating a shallow depth of field with a pleasing soft background. This single feature puts these cameras above their competition.

That being said you will find that the NEX-EA50UH will have greater, more professional level controls than the VG-20. More sophisticated format, gain, white balance, controls will be available. Other features are 2 channel XLR audio, Linear PCM audio, time code, user bit and built in GPS will be very appreciated by pros. Also there is the HXR-FMU128 flash memory unit for long uninterrupted shooting or simultaneous back-up recording.

The combination of large sensor, motorized zoom, shoulder mount, long recording will make the NEX-EA50UH a big hit for wedding/event, documentary and movie shooters.

I am not sure how you can get a shallow depth of field with the kit lens, which has the aperture of F5.6 at telephoto zoom.

It is not enough to have a big sensor to get a shallow depth of field, you need to have a fast aperture lens as well. So, if you are going to use this camera kit, forget about a shallow depth of field, especially at a telephoto focal length.

And for the sake of argument, I refer to a shallow depth of field of an FF DSLR with a fast aperture lens of F1.4

If F1.4 is the reference for shallow depth of field, wouldnt ALL zoom lenses fall short?

I have one of Canon's "Nifty Fifty" lenses with F1.8. I get awesome DOF. You are right, however, A large sensor AND fast glass is necessary for a good shallow DOF.

Can you comment on the low light capability of this camera. The Specs on the B&H Site indicate 7 lx minimum. Is that correct? I notice other cameras with a much lower lux rating (1.5 etc.)

Thanks for your time.

Upon closer inspection to the spec sheet, the information on our site is wrong. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. I have sent a note to the web dept. to fix it.

The rated lux for the stock camera and lens is 1.7 lux (not 7 lux)

I'm dying to order this camera! I saw today was the expected delivery date, are there any updates to this?

Appreciate your detailed review and info on the camera.

1. Also, what variable ND can I purchase for this that B&H Photo has in stock? I'm doing most of my shooting outdoors, daytime.

2. I have a Canon XF100, which I love.. was thinking of getting a 2nd one for multi-cam shoots that are run-n-gun. Would the picture quality etc stack up well to the Canon XF100's? I'm DSLR guy too, but for run-n-gun in and out of cabs, streets, stores etc, something like this is the way to go.

Thanks!

Hope to be able to order mine soon

We did get them in but sold out due to the pre-orders on the camera. Next shipment is due in mid to late December.

1) For the 67mm Variable ND I would recommend:  Hoya 67mm Variable Density Filter

2) The picture quality would be in the same quality level as the XF100 but the overall look will be different. You stated you also shoot DSLR, the look will be similar to that.

I read from several sources that this camera will be sold overseas as a body-only. Is this something that will be an option in the USA? Thank you.

Hello -

SONY has not announced detailed plans regarding the distribution of this camera as  "body-only".   In the past, SONY has released several NEX cameras as body-only.  Check back with us periodically as we will post any new developments as soon as details do become available.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Couldn't you use a variable ND filter with this? I sort of understand why it didn't come with a built-in ND as this camera is not using your typical video camera lens, it uses a photo lens and no still cameras I know of come with a built-in ND filter. Just wondering if a variable ND filter would work?

You could use a variable ND filter on the camera if needed. Better quality though would be to use a set of individual ND's.

good day we have no suport for Sony products for new range video equipment in South Africa can B&H assist us with PAL camcorder sales

Kind Regards
Chris

The NEX-ES50UH is switchable NTSC/PAL.
It will shoot in 59.94p, 59.94i, 50p, 50i, 29.97p, 25p, 23.98p

Looking from the pictures at B&H, it seems the large eye piece is detachable from the LCD. Is it right? Thanks

The eyepiece is removable if you wish to just view the LCD screen by itself.

I've just got mine a few days ago and have used it on a livestreaming video job, also recording HD to the Memory card. The servo zoom function is best for manual zooms, as the zoom is very slow.

But the digital zoom is awesome. Works great with very little image degradation.

One thing I've discovered that was quite disappointing was you can't use the SD composite outputs while using the HDMI output.

I like to record DVDs as backups and for clients to take with them for events, etc. Sometimes they have trouble handling the AVCHD file structure.

The pull out shoulder rest is cool. It definitely doesn't support the camera as most the weight is in the front, but it creates stability for handheld shots.
But I like the camera so far. I've ordered the metabones adapter for my Canon leneses. Can't wait to try that out on creative projects.

The camera is very light and I'm concerned that the construction is not very good. Is this camera made of the same plastic that toys are made from or it it made of a good composite material like the NX5U is made from?

Hello Bob -

Not to worry - this is one tough little cookie , I mean camera.  Though light, the body is made from a composite plastic that I can only describe as a "space-age polymer".  Documentarians and event videographers will appreciate its balance of light weight, size, and robust build.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Can this camera take photos without interrupting the video recording? It would be great to be able to do both without having to choose between stills and video.

Hello JHVideo -

The Sony NEX-EA50UH has a mechanical shutter inside that triggers when photos are taken but it is not active in movie/video mode.  So you do have to switch from photo to video. Stills are captured as 16 MP jpegs. 

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Does anyone know if the internal timecodes for a multi-camera shoot can be synched together for the NEX-EA50UH?

Yes, the Sony NEX-EA50 does create time code both Drop Frame and Non-Drop Frame. The time code output is through the HDMI.

Your specs don't list it's actual weight. If you strip off all but the essential features, ie no LCD tube, microphone etc, just camera, battery and lens what is the weight?

The weight specifications listed from Sony are:

Body only: 3lbs 12.7oz
Fully loaded w/ included accessories and the NPF970 battery: 6lbs 15.5oz

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