Hands-On Review: Sony NEX-EA50UH Camcorder

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Along with the NEX-EA50UH, Sony packages an 18-200mm lens that  features a servo zoom—a first for an E-mount lens. With an APS-C-sized sensor, the camcorder offers the large sensor (over 16Mp) that you need to achieve shallow depth of field easily for both photos and video. But with its pull-out shoulder pad and extensive array of buttons for instant control over camera functions, the EA50UH has the ergonomics to make it suitable for traditional videography. With its mix of features, it should be a promising choice for wedding and event videographers as well as budding independent filmmakers.

In this review, Mia McCormick of Kelby Media puts the Sony camera through its paces, exposing both its strengths and some potential shortcomings as well. The camcorder shoots stills at up to 16Mp, and AVCHD video at up to 28 Mbps, which at that level is Full HD 1080p60 video that can be slowed down to 24 fps in post production for a 2.5x in-camera slow-motion effect. The EA50UH has dual XLR inputs and a 2x lossless digital zoom feature that crops the sensor and works even with prime lenses.

Camera Sensor Exmor APS HD CMOS Sensor
Sensor Size APS-C (23.5 x 15.6mm)
Total Pixels 16.7 megapixels
Effective Pixels Approx. 13.6 megapixels (16:9)
Approx. 16.1 megapixels (3:2)
Crop Factor 1.6x
Minimum Illumination 1.7 LUX with Shutter Speed 1/24 auto gain control, auto iris (with 60i)
1.57 LUX with Shutter Speed 1/25, auto gain control, auto iris (with 50i)
Lens Mount E-mount
Recording Format MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 AVCHD 2.0 format compatible (HD)
MPEG-2 PS (SD)
Audio Recording Format Linear PCM 2ch, 16bit, 48kHz / Dolby Digital 2ch, 16bit, 48kHz (HD)
Dolby Digital 2ch, 16bit, 48kHz (SD/STD)
60 Hz Recording Mode HD PS (28 Mbps) 1920x1080/60p
HD FX (24 Mbps) 1920x1080/60i
HD FH (17 Mbps) 1920x1080/60i
HD HQ (9 Mbps) 1440x1080/60i
HD LP (5 Mbps) 1440x1080/60i
HD FX (24 Mbps) 1920x1080/24p
HD FH (17 Mbps) 1920x1080/24p
HD FX (24 Mbps) 1920x1080/30p
HD FH (17 Mbps) 1920x1080/30p
HD FX (24 Mbps) 1280x720/60p
HD FH (17 Mbps) 1280x720/60p
SD/STD HQ (9 Mbps) 720x480/60i
50 Hz Recording Mode HD PS (28 Mbps) 1920x1080/50p
HD FX (24 Mbps) 1920x1080/50i
HD FH (17 Mbps) 1920x1080/50i
HD HQ (9 Mbps) 1440x1080/50i
HD LP (5 Mbps) 1440x1080/50i
HD FX (24 Mbps) 1920x1080/25p
HD FH (17 Mbps) 1920x1080/25p
HD FX (24 Mbps) 1280x720/50p
HD FH (17 Mbps) 1280x720/50p
SD/STD HQ (9 Mbps) 720x576/50i
Recording Media Memory Stick, SD, SDHC, SDXC and HXR-FMU128
Shutter Type Electronic (video) - Mechanical (stills)
Shutter Speed Auto
1/60 - 1/10000 (60i, 60p)
1/30 - 1/10000 (30p)
1/48 - 1/10000 (24p, 60i)
1/50 - 1/10000 (50i, 50p)
1/25 - 1/10000 (25p)[50i]
30s-1/4000 (Stills)
Manual Shutter Speed
1/4 - 1/10000 (60i, 30p, 60p)
1/3 - 1/10000 (24p, 60i)
1/3-1/10000 (50i)
30s-1/4000 (Stills)
ISO 160 - 5000 in 1/2EV steps or Low, Middle, High (Movie)
100 - 25600 in 1/2EV steps or Low, Middle, High (Stills)
Auto ISO Limit 160 - 4000 in 1/2EV steps (Movie)
100 - 2500 in 1/2EV steps (Stills)
Gain Auto/Manual (L,M,H or 0 dB - 30 dB in 3-dB steps)
AGC (Automatic Gain Control) 0 dB - 27 dB in 3-dB steps
White Balance Auto/Manual (2300 - 15000K in 100K steps)
Black Level -15 - +15
Auto Black Balance Yes
Gamma Standard, Still, Cinematone1, Cinematone2, ITU709
Color Modes Standard, Still, Cinematone1,Cinematone2, PRO, ITU709 MATRIX
Picture Profile PP1 - PP6, OFF
Focus System Auto/Manual
Face Detection Focus Control, Face Touch, Auto Control, Bit Allocation on Face
Steady Shot Movie: Active, Standard, OFF
Stills: Standard, OFF
Zoom x1.0 - x2.0 (Lossless Digital Zoom)
GPS Yes (ON/OFF)
Color Bar Yes (ON/OFF)
Tone Yes (ON/OFF)
Timecode Drop Frame and Non-Drop Frame
Timecode Output HDMI
LCD Monitor 3.46" (8.8 cm) XtraFine LCD (16:9 ratio)
Movements Opening Angle: 90°
Rotating Angle: 270°
Touch Panel Yes
Brightness Normal/Bright
Zebra Yes (70 - 100% in 5% steps)
Peaking Yes (White, Red, Yellow) (High, Middle, Low)
Markers Yes (OFF, 4:3, 13:9, 14:9, 15:9, 1:66:1, 1.85:1, 2.35:1)
Histogram Yes (OFF/ON/ON Zebra Point)
Audio Level Display Yes (ON/OFF)
Playback Zoom Stills Only
HDMI Output Yes (Type A)
Component Out Yes (RCA x3)
Video Output Yes (RCA x1)
Audio Output Yes (RCA x2)
Audio Input XLR (3-Pin x2) (LINE, MIC, MIC +48V)
Headphone Yes (CH1, CH2, STEREO/MIX)
Speaker Yes (16-step volume control)
USB Yes (mini AB)
Accessory Shoe Hot Shoe
Memory Card Slot SD/MS (x1), FMU Slot (x1)
Lens 18 - 200mm
Zoom Operation Servo/Manual
Aperture Maximum: f/3.5 - 6.3
Minimum: f/22 - 40
Number of Aperture Blades 7
Mount Sony E-Mount
Filter Thread 67mm
Minimum Focus Distance 1.0' (30.48 cm)
Built-in Mic Yes (stereo)
Remote Control IR, LANC (x1)
Power Requirements 7.6V/7.2V (AC Adapter/Battery)
Power Consumption 5.4W (with SELP18200 Lens)
Operating Temperature 32 to 104° F (0 - 40° C)
Storage Temperature -4 - +140° F (-20 - +60° C)
Dimensions (WxHxD) Body only: 5.63 x 8 x 11.25" (14.3 x 20.32 x 28.58 cm)
With SELP18200 Lens: 5.63 x 8 x 17" (14.25 x 20.3 x 42.95 cm)
Weight 3.79 lb (1.72 kg)