Much of the tech buzz on the web today is about Sony’s NEX-VG10 APS-C sensor camcorder which I previously blogged about when it was first announced as a prototype. Now Sony have given it a name, a price ($2000 US), issued this sample footage and provided us with more details about it. It should be in stores by September.
This camcorder should be the first to market to combine regular high end consumer/semi-pro video cam ergonomics with a large sensor. Panasonic’s large sensor camcorder the previously announced AG-AF100 is not supposed to ship until later in the year. Whilst a few months back many commentators were expecting Canon to be the first to do this we have yet to see a large sensor camcorder offering from them. How the new Sony camera stack up in terms of image quality against the established Canon 5DmkII, 7D, 550D and 1DMkIV remains to be seen. One major drawback the Sony seems to have is the lack of a 1080/24 or 25p mode, instead it offers interlaced output only. This will be good for some TV shooters but pretty annoying for the rest of us trying to get the ‘Film look’. It also has a relatively low bitrate around 24Mbps, which even given the AVCHD codec may not rival the likes of the 5DMkII. Indeed the year old Panasonic GH-1 has recently been hacked to provide far higher AVCHD bitrates.
On the plus side Japanese lens mount adapter manufacturer Rayqual has already announced a range of NEX fitting adapters that allow you to put Leica lenses onto the NEX-VG10, with Nikon, Contax or Canon FD sure to follow. Sony also have their own mount adapter to allow the use of Sony/Minolta Alpha lenses in manual focus mode. Another interesting point is that at least one website is claiming the Sony will have a HDMI output which can be recorded offering potentially higher bitrates for recording when used with devices like the AJA KiPro or Convergent design Nanoflash.
One thing is for certain, these cameras make shallow depth of field video far more accessible to video shooters who are used to cameras like the Sony Z1, V1 or A1. Sony also previewed a bigger large sensor camcorder at NAB earlier this year so one assumes that before too long the diminutive NEX-VG10 will soon be joined by a professional EX or NXCAM variant with better audio and control layout. I envisage a lot of news shooters leaning towards buying one of these rather than a DSLR purely on the grounds of familiarity and ease of use.
There are several other hands on examples online – this one is in German.