REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
SonyNEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder
 
4.3

(based on 14 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

85%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (12)
  • Great picture quality (10)
  • Good in low light (9)
  • Great sound (8)
  • Large clear LCD (7)

Cons

  • No image stabilization (3)

Best Uses

  • Low light (9)
  • Movies/short films (8)
  • Documentaries (7)
  • HD shooting (7)
  • Travel (7)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Enthusiast (7), Pro videographer (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (12)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

full frame camcorder with clean HDMI out

With low cost adapters the VG900 should work with most full-frame and APS-C lenses out there. It also has settings to work in FF or 1.5x crop APS-C mode. It shoots FF 6000x4000 24mp...Read complete review

With low cost adapters the VG900 should work with most full-frame and APS-C lenses out there. It also has settings to work in FF or 1.5x crop APS-C mode. It shoots FF 6000x4000 24mp Raw stills with shutter speeds from 30-1/8000 sec in auto or manual modes. It shoots 1080p60 ,1080p24 or 1080i60 with full manual control and uncompressed full 1080p HDMI output like the A99 and no other FF DSLR shoots 1080p60. It has the same 2359K dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder w/ eye sensor like the A99 and NEX-7 but has adjustable angle. It has a huge battery bay for using extra large Sony NP-FV100 3900mAh battery that are low cost from 3rd party vendors.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Great camera, but some big weaknesses

I was so excited to get this camera. It takes a beautiful picture and it's great to have on-board sound, but I think Sony is ridiculous for not releasing a full-frame e-mount lens at...Read complete review

I was so excited to get this camera. It takes a beautiful picture and it's great to have on-board sound, but I think Sony is ridiculous for not releasing a full-frame e-mount lens at the same time. Without it, there's no autofocus or image stabilization. And to make it even worse, the expanded focus feature they have only magnifies the center of the picture, so if you place your subject in the middle third like most people do, you can't see if they're in focus. Why Sony did this is beyond me. This could be such an amazing camera, but instead, it's only mediocre. So come on, Sony, get with it. All I'm trying to do is give you even more money.

Reviewed by 14 customers

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(4 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Sony VG900

By _

from _

About Me Casual User

Comments about Sony NEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder:

First of all, even though this is a 'hybrid' video/still camera, you're unlikely to be using it for still photography. It's very difficult to hold for stills, not just because the camera is heavy (as heavy as a large dSLR+lens) but also because it's not balanced well: the hand grip is towards the back, so with a lens attached, holding the camera in one hand becomes really uncomfortable. Let's just say this is a video camera with a still option thrown in.Next, the microphone. The built-in mic is actually very good for picking up sound from a variety of sources, and you've got options to either record 2-channel or 5.1 which, I guess, is only useful if you've got 5.1 equipment (though headphone manufacturers want to convince us they can successfully present 5.1 sounds in only 2 channels). There is no XLR input, and the actual mounting mechanism for Sony's own microphones is very dubious and inconvenient, but mounting the Sennheiser EW 100-ENG G3-GB Portable System with Bodypack Transmitter and ME 2 Omni Lapel Mic / Plug-On Transmitter / Camera-Mount Diversity Receiver onto the camera was easy, and I guess if you're recording talks this is a good way to go.Now, the concept of interchangeable lenses. I just find this dangerous and here's why. If you attach a dSLR lense (say Canon 24-70/2.8), you end up with- A very heavy camera that you really need 2 hands to hold- Virtually unusable automatic focus. It DOES work, but you cannot just tap the button lightly to focus on the subject and have a smooth transition.- The fact that you don't really need quality lensesThe last one bears explaining. This is a 1080p camera, not a 4K one. So lens sharpness is not critical because there isn't such a high requirement. The same goes for large-aperture lenses: in certain cases they can yield awesome shots, but you're unlikely to be able to record an inverview at f/2.8 let alone f/1.2 - I can barely do it at about f/4.5 and even then, if the subject moves a little, that's it, game over - they're out of focus.But something has to be said for lens compatibility. It's AWFUL. First, there's the duality between the camera supporting both E (ASP-C like) and A (full-frame) mount lenses. This only sounds nice, whereas in actual fact turns into a complete nightmare when you realize that there's a whole host of features that aren't supported or supported badly. So don't be surprised when your A lens has vignetting on full-frame, or when a lens you attached doesn't have autofocus or has 'creepy focus' or simply doesn't work. The VG900 communities (e.g., on Vimeo) are full of horror stories, and even that staple lens that Sony itself shows in the VG900 product picture doesn't seem to work that well.So the moral of the story is that if you want a video experience, and you're not a pro that can go out and deliberately shoot at a fixed focal length (you can get awesome shots, true) in a particular location, then the VG900 doesn't make much sense.There are video lenses, of course, but the accessible ones (in terms of price), e.g. Rokinon, are fixed focal length as well. If you want a cine lens that has zoom, you're looking at exorbitant prices (e..g, $20k for a zeiss) which is out of range given the VG900 is itself a semi-pro product.Now, let's talk about controls. First, the camera has a touchscreen which is begging to go out of action (as touchscreens often do). The side controls for controlling the iris, gain and so on are somewhat difficult to use, and the adjustment wheel for controlling the aperture and such is just... AWFUL. It's tiny and it's stuck into a location where you won't be able to find intuitively, like, ever. That and the mounts in the handle are two pieces of really bad design.Now, the good parts (briefly):- You do get full-frame. And if you're after using Canon L glass, it's possible via the Metabones adapter. Yes, its 3rd incarnation does support FF, and it will set you back $ .- The picture is actually pretty good, provided you've navigated around the crazy lens issues.- The camera is perfectly sized for travel. It's good enough for recording events and interviews, and that's what I use it for.- It looks very smart :)So, if you've read this far, my advice is:- If you want a camera for casual shooting, say travel or family videos, this isn't the right camera for you. Get a fixed-lens camcorder and enjoy proper zoom and a lot less hassle. Use the money you saved to buy a digital still or dSLR to do still photography. Yes, two devices :)- If you want a serious camera for pretty much the same price but without so much lens hassle, get the Sony FDRAX1E or a similar camera. This will include a proper cine 18-200 lens that can do smooth focus and thing like 'touch focus' (touch the part of the image you want to focus on, and it does a smooth transition). This camera is, of course, much heavier, so you can't just throw it into your backpack.- If you absolutely must have a semi-pro interchangeable lens camera, go ahead and get a VG900. Adapters exist for many mounts including really old lens mount types.UPDATE (May 2013): I've taken another star off the camera (now down to 2 stars) review for a variety of reasons. Here are some of them:* As I've shot more and more with the camera, I've realized that the sensor just isn't good. You can also hear this from reviews made by people more professional than I. Colors are washed out, everything is bland. I get better imaging out of a cheap dSLR. This should be particularly surprising because this camera has the same sensor as a Nikon dSLR. I have no idea what's going on.* Second, the price hike - given the price listed above, you have to be crazy. For this amount of money you can purchase, oh, a Sony FDRAX1E which is a 4K camcorder and something that does, unlike this toy, deserve to be called semi-pro equipment.* Lastly, the advances in the field. Cameras such as Black Magic just make a lot more sense than this camera. So there's no way I can even remotely recommend it, though recently I was walking around the sculpture park in Oslo and I saw Japanese tourists with these cameras. So I guess if you love Sony and you really want to get a headache from using this, go ahead.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • Yes

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great performance, easy to use

By Kimba

from Boston, MA

About Me Video Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy to Use
  • Good in Low Light
  • Great Picture Quality

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Indoors/Low Light
    • Movies/Short Films
    • Travel

    Comments about Sony NEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder:

    This is my first foray away from the all-in-one camcorders and I would rank it a great success! The camera is among the least expensive of the 'professional' camcorders, but definitely delivers professional performance. The large sensor size gives excellent quality in low-light conditions. The color reproduction is great. I found this to be very easy to use. I would strongly recommend it for the ametuer videographer looking to bring your videos to the next level.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Wonderful Camera

    By Evangelos

    from Brooklyn, NY

    About Me Semi-pro Videographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy to Use
    • Good in Low Light
    • Great Picture Quality
    • Large Clear LCD

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Documentaries
      • HD Shooting
      • Home Movies
      • Indoors/Low Light
      • Movies/Short Films
      • Travel
      • Weddings/Events

      Comments about Sony NEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder:

      Use this beast of a camera for: TV/Internet commercials, feature length/short films, etc. This camera does not disappoint! Great in low light, and all the lens capabilities make this worth every penny.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      4.0

      Loving it!

      By Elvis

      from New York, NY

      About Me Video Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy to Use
      • Good Image Stabilization
      • Great Picture Quality
      • Great Sound
      • Large Clear LCD
      • Zoom range/performance

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Documentaries
        • HD Shooting
        • Home Movies
        • Indoors/Low Light
        • Movies/Short Films
        • Travel
        • Weddings/Events

        Comments about Sony NEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder:

        I love this camera! It's perfect for someone like me who's looking for a great dslr quality video but requires the longevity recording time. The full-frame feature, plus the million lens you can interchange, is amazing when trying really experimenting with your movies image and feel. My only problem with this camera is that i wish the touchscreen was a little more resistant to force. If i have to go though the menu touching the screen, i don't want to feel the screen moving every time i apply a little pressure, i'd kind of like it to be like touching a wall. BUT other than that this camera is FANTASTIC.

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        • No

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        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Expensive, but great for Prosumers

        By Ataraxic

        from San Diego, CA

        About Me Hobbyist

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Highly Compatible

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Independent Films

          Comments about Sony NEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder:

          I am an amateur documentarian, and thus far the NEX VG900 has been a dream to work with. Pros:-Full frame sensor allows me to capture rich details-Dedicated quick buttons on the side of the camera gives me quick access to change aperture, gain, and shutter speed-Quality HD viewing screen makes it easy to see what I am actually recording in terms of color, exposure, saturation, etc.Cons:-The build of the camera feels a little cheap, perhaps my bias is that with such amazing stuff going on inside, that the outside would be made out of something tougher. It feels like it will shatter if I accidentally drop it.-The attached microphone is only good in certain situations. When I was recording an interview outside, and was trying to capture some of the ambient noises of the space around us, the microphone recorded a lot of high frequencies (hissing) and not much of the low frequencies. I am sure that if I understood the microphone better, I could EQ the levels to the appropriate place.-Only shoots in 60p, 60i, and 24pAll in all, the cons really have more to do with my limited knowledge and personal preference as opposed to anything inherently wrong with the camera. I would like to see this camera come down in price. For its cost I would love to see it shoot some fluid slo-mo, or have something else going on for it. Someone else said it like this: This isn't a Swiss Army Knife (full of lots of trinkets, most which are horribly ineffective), this IS however an incredible Hammer. Meaning, if it has what you want in a camera, it does the job very well. The footage I have taken so far is gorgeous, and I am very pleased with the camera.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          5.0

          Amazing Camera for the price!

          By JustinPMADV

          from Nicholasville, KY

          About Me Professional Artist

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy To Use
          • Professional Quality

          Cons

          • No Built In Xlr Inputs

          Best Uses

          • Independent Films

          Comments about Sony NEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder:

          There is no better camera in this price point that will give you the same depth and richness. A must-have for taking your videography to the next level in quality.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Great little video camera

          By Impulse Pro

          from Florida

          About Me Video Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy to Use
          • Good Image Stabilization
          • Good in Low Light
          • Great Picture Quality
          • Great Sound
          • Great Zoom
          • Large Clear LCD
          • Zoom range/performance

          Cons

          • Memory Slot

          Best Uses

          • Documentaries
          • HD Shooting
          • Home Movies
          • Indoors/Low Light
          • Travel

          Comments about Sony NEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder:

          I was searching for a lightweight, full frame video camera for personal use in place of my accessory requiring and resultantly heavy PMW-F3. The VG900 filled that role. While it does not replace the F3 in terms of dynamic range, codec and such, the weight and footprint factors, along with the ability to shoot in full manual mode, helped to make my choice. I know that there have been reviews deriding the camera's image quality in terms of sharpness and artifacts, however, I have found that by using full frame lenses in FF mode the incidence of stepping and moire seen in certain circumstances only, is negligible at best. And since Sony saw fit to avoid in-camera sharpening, a touch of same in an editing platform serves to remedy that issue. In summary, the FF sensor, along with the form factor and ability to use, with an adapter, just about any existing DSLR lens, makes this camera a great choice for anyone seeking a FF video camera within a reasonable price range.

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          (17 of 21 customers found this review helpful)

           
          2.0

          Not what I hoped for

          By RicM

          from Providence, RI

          About Me Pro Videographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Good in Low Light

          Cons

          • No External Mic Input
          • Poor Image Quality

          Best Uses

            Comments about Sony NEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder:

            I was hoping to use this camcorder as a B camera to my Sony FS700 but a number of issues make that less that optimal. The chip shows a large amount of moire/stairstepping that makes the image markedly inferior to the FS700. I was also hoping to use it with an Atmos Ninja to record ProRes422 directly, but in the 1080 setting it will only record interlaced 1080, not 1080P like the FS700. This requires a trip through Compressor to de-interlace. All in all a great idea that was implemented poorly.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (15 of 16 customers found this review helpful)

             
            3.0

            Great camera, but some big weaknesses

            By Ted

            from San Francisco

            About Me Pro Videographer

            Pros

            • Easy to Use
            • Good in Low Light
            • Great Picture Quality
            • Great Sound
            • Great Zoom

            Cons

            • No image stabilization

            Best Uses

              Comments about Sony NEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder:

              I was so excited to get this camera. It takes a beautiful picture and it's great to have on-board sound, but I think Sony is ridiculous for not releasing a full-frame e-mount lens at the same time. Without it, there's no autofocus or image stabilization. And to make it even worse, the expanded focus feature they have only magnifies the center of the picture, so if you place your subject in the middle third like most people do, you can't see if they're in focus. Why Sony did this is beyond me. This could be such an amazing camera, but instead, it's only mediocre. So come on, Sony, get with it. All I'm trying to do is give you even more money.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great camcoder.

              By MediaGeek

              from San Francisco, CA

              About Me Video Enthusiast

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy to Use
              • Good Image Stabilization
              • Good in Low Light
              • Great Picture Quality
              • Great Sound
              • Large Clear LCD

              Cons

              • Limited Zoom

              Best Uses

              • Documentaries
              • HD Shooting
              • Indoors/Low Light
              • Movies/Short Films

              Comments about Sony NEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder:

              I use this for my own stories (building a portfolio). This is a great camcoder to get started on. I'm in the field shooting more & more since it's been in my hands (2 weeks). The menu isn't as complicated as I read it would be, but it does take time getting familiar with everything. The only issue is ZI/ZO automatically, then having to continue the zoom manually -- limited zoom, in simpler terms. I usually don't like to zoom in/out, anyway (save it for post if needed), but if that's your style, this might be a deal breaker for you :-/

              I find a lot of people seem to be hestitant to buy Sony, and I get it. I was, too. But don't be scared of a good thing! Worth the money so far. I generally spend a lot of time editing, too - I like what I'm working with. So I think this will be my set up for a good long while.

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              • No

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              (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              NEX-VG900 Very good camera!

              By Yuki

              from São Paulo, BR

              About Me Pro Videographer

              Pros

              • Easy to Use
              • Great Picture Quality
              • Great Sound

              Cons

              • No image stabilization

              Best Uses

              • Indoors/Low Light
              • Movies/Short Films
              • Weddings/Events

              Comments about Sony NEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder:

              I bought this NexVG900 with Zeiss 24-70mm f2,8 lens. I´m very satisfied with the results. The image are very clear and this camera have better low light perfomance than NEX VG20.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              (9 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Love this camera

              By Agent Roux

              from Orlando, CA

              About Me Semi-pro Videographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy to Use
              • Form Factor
              • Good in Low Light
              • Great Picture Quality
              • Great Sound
              • Large Clear LCD
              • Zoom range/performance

              Cons

              • No image stabilization

              Best Uses

              • Documentaries
              • HD Shooting
              • Home Movies
              • Indoors/Low Light
              • Movies/Short Films
              • Travel
              • Weddings/Events

              Comments about Sony NEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder:

              I am a motion graphic artist with over 20 years creating animated graphics. I was looking for a platform to generate still and video elements to incorporate into my work. The VG900 is a thing of beauty. I prefer the camcorder form factor over the DSLR as most of my work deals with video. It's light weight and conveniently ergonomic for my taste. The ability to switch from fully automatic program AE to program priority to fully manual is seamless. I have paired it with a SAL 2470z and this glass matched with the image gathering capabilities of the VG900 work beautifully. I also have the Sony XLR A1M shotgun mic and everything fits into a Lowpro AW250 backpack for a great mobile package. The only complaint I have is that the image stabilization and auto focus do not work with the SAL 2470z while in movie mode. The auto focus does work in photo mode but the face detection and image stabilization do not. Sony tech support tells me they are aware of this but I do not know what they plan to do about it

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              (3 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Perfect camera for fast FF wide angles

              By joe1946

              from Millstone,NJ

              About Me Video Enthusiast

              See all my reviews

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy to Use
              • Good in Low Light
              • Great Picture Quality
              • Great Sound
              • Large Clear LCD

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Documentaries
                • HD Shooting
                • Home Movies
                • Indoors/Low Light
                • Movies/Short Films
                • Travel
                • Weddings/Events

                Comments about Sony NEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder:

                The biggest advantage the VG900 has on all other camcorders is with fast full frame wide angle lenses like the 24mm and 35mm F1.4s to isolate an object from a complex background.

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                (13 of 18 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                full frame camcorder with clean HDMI out

                By joe1946

                from Millstone,NJ

                About Me Video Enthusiast

                See all my reviews

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Easy to Use
                • Good in Low Light
                • Great Picture Quality
                • Great Sound
                • Large Clear LCD

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Documentaries
                  • HD Shooting
                  • Indoors/Low Light
                  • Movies/Short Films
                  • Travel
                  • Weddings/Events

                  Comments about Sony NEX-VG900 Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camcorder:

                  With low cost adapters the VG900 should work with most full-frame and APS-C lenses out there. It also has settings to work in FF or 1.5x crop APS-C mode. It shoots FF 6000x4000 24mp Raw stills with shutter speeds from 30-1/8000 sec in auto or manual modes. It shoots 1080p60 ,1080p24 or 1080i60 with full manual control and uncompressed full 1080p HDMI output like the A99 and no other FF DSLR shoots 1080p60. It has the same 2359K dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder w/ eye sensor like the A99 and NEX-7 but has adjustable angle. It has a huge battery bay for using extra large Sony NP-FV100 3900mAh battery that are low cost from 3rd party vendors.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  Share this reviewHelp Icon