Sony NEX-VG10

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    • #48878

      Has anyone had some real hands on experience with the new Sony NEX-VG10. I have read a few reviews and looked at few forums and theresults seem to be very mixed.

      At the moment I have a couple of good quality prosumer 3CCD SD camerasas well as aCanon HV20 HD camera.

      I am thinking of converting completely to HD and need a bigger camera to replacemy CanonGL2.

      My use is not heavy but I do some promotional and instructional videos, generally under good lighting conditions. I also travel quite a bit and like to take a still camera with me as well. Not keen on the idea of using a SLR camera for video as I want good quailty sound and I also feel more comfortable with a the conventional video camera profile. It does seem however that the NEX-VG10 will double as a pretty respectable still camera.

      The Sony spec sheet seems short on info in respect of minimum lux requirements, lanc connection and I see it does not have power zoom. Would like comments on these aspects also. I had a quick look at one in the showroom and it seemed very front heavy with the standard lense. Is this a problem under normal operating conditions? Most of the time it will be on a tripod but will need to be hand held on occasions.

      Thanks in anticipation.


    • #200408

      I’m pretty much in the same position you are, just one small step ahead in that I got my VG10 yesterday. I have been using a GL2 for several years and an HV40 the last year as well in my “Crossing over” to full HD.

      I work in the hunting industry as an engineer, not really into hunting videos but got into video to make company commercials/educational videosand took off from there as an intrest in wildlife video. So I got the VG10 as a outdoor field camera and 99% of what I do with it will be outside.

      This morning I started filming about 20min before daylight to test lowlight outside. And so far I’m pretty impressed. My initial thoughts are, this camera is going to really be something but its going to depend on what Sony comes out with for lenses, which there are supposed to be seven of them in the next two years.

      I am taking to this camera very fast and easy. I’m more of a manual operator and finding adjusting to conditions easy, so I may go the route of an adapter and another lens to fully round things off. The kit lens is awesome, its only drawback is low light as its slow. Outside of that it has a very wide field of view at 18mm and manual zoom is something I’m taking a liking to. I also have the wide angle lens, which is much better in low light and very wide compared to the HV40 with a 6600 raynox. I think in average to good light conditions the kit lens is more than sufficient and will work well. I’ll find out more today on that but after 35min past sunrise the kit lens is good to go and thats with cloud cover. So in regards to “Lux” and lighting, its all in the lens from what I can see. Compared to the HV the kit lens is better in low light without messing with something like the “Cell phone trick”. Its nice to have manual gain again.

      The camera is front heavy but I don’t find that a problem. When shooting freehand I’m supporting it by the lens as well to be in contact for zoom. While I waited the eternity for my batteries to charge I ran around simulating shooting with it and became acustomed to that rather well I think. But and a big but is the hand strap on the side is low and it sort of positions your hand low on the camera. It seems to reduce you grip for supporting the camera when zooming freehand. The zoom is a bit tight but I think its more your grip from the low strap that influences twisting while zooming than the stiffnes of the zoom ring on the lens. If you anticipate your other hand turning the ring, you can get a very stable zoom freehand, so that is something that might work out down the road but I don’t plan on doing much freehand if any. I’m building some sort of DIY stab rig in the next couple days to handle any run and gun type shooting.

      The mic is very impressive. The sounds of the woods waking up is better to me than a cup of joe in the morningand I wasn’t dissapointed after downloading the footage just a while ago. Its going to pic up some handling of the camera though, so thats something to keep in mind.

      I haven’t taken any stills with it yet, so I can’t comment on that. I’m about to pack a lunch and head to a river to hike around and film for the day, so I’ll see what the day brings but so far I’m very happy with it. I’m more of a “Cup half full” type but I don’t believe I’m discounting the negatives that you can find on the internet about the camera. When it comes to cameras its like anything else, the right tool for the job. Because of the versatility you get with lenses, I think this camera will adapt to many applications. If Sony includes a 50mm lens thats just as good in low light as the wide angle next year, I would be complete and not in need of anything else.

      Outside of all that, it seems very well built and “Rugged”. No whimpy exposed parts or controls to break and in comparing it to the HV and GL2 I would have to say it is much better than both.It will probly be a few days before I’m ready to edit something up and upload it to the internet but so far I’m happy with what I’m getting with it.

      If you have any idea of something I couldsimulate to give you any more accurate information for your needs just hollar. I’d be happy to try anything while learning this camera.


    • #200409

      As the day progressed it just got better and better. I actually tried the S and A priority modes and have to say they are not bad on this camera its fast to adjust. Makes me think twice about running manual all the time. I tried a circular polarizer on the kit lens and it did seem to slow the auto focus a bit if you zoom fast, it just didn’t keep up with the zoom as fast as without it.

      I’m not seeing a rolling shutter effect like I have on the HV in 24p, so the 30p on the VG10 seems a lot more stable when panning or moving the camera fast, no “Skew” at all yet. I’m sure the larger sensor has something to do with it but its nice and clean.

      I am growing to like the histogram much better than using zebra stripes for detecting exposure, thats nice.

    • #200410

      Hey Woody, that was a great response. I will look forward to your future postings when you have a had a bit more field time.

      I would be interested, only when you have had time to get to know it better, what limitations there may be using flash memory and the AVCHD codec. Like you, my total experience has been with tape based cameras, which I still like as you can throwa tape inthe drawer and it is still there if you want it again later. I have so much SD footage on tape (I admit I don’t revisit much of it very often) that it would take a few TB to store it otherwise. Tape is so cheap compared to fast SD cards. I guess with the price of hard drives these days storage on hard drive is cheap enough but it worries me that you could loose so much with one drive failure.

      Also I would like to know how you get on with editing. I am an experienced Adobe user and have Premier Pro CS3 which won’t handle AVCHD, I could upgrade to CS5 otherwise I will have to learn Vegas. Do you have to download from the camera via USB to edit, or can you just drop the SD card into your computer and start editing?

      Cheers Ian

    • #200411

      Hi Ian,

      I love tape. I’ve got at least 2,000 hours of tape in a locker and I’m re-downloading tape I filmed ten years ago like the day it was captured. I’m new to the “Solid State” SDHCfor video, been using it on mystill camera for two years but new for video. I already have two 1tb externals hooked up and one is full of SD footage already, so I’ll be buying more I guess. I went with the Scandisk Extreme Class 10 cards for speed and their cold exposure testing since I’m out side all the time. I spent most of my life in Alaska but moved to NC in 2008 as my wife is still active duty military, she’s got 21 years in and will retire soon, doubt we will go back to AK to live but I go back every year to hang out in the Brooks range. Don’t want to take a chance on a cheap card.

      But on the plus side of using an SDHC card. I just stick it in the front of the computer and copy it to a folder. A one minute video is taking about 10-15 seconds to copy and thats it. I had a nice five minute clip today of some ducks and it was copied in less than a minute. I could import directly to Premire Pro but I copied for sake of messing with it again later. Importing to PP from the folder is just as fast.

      For the last couple years I have been editing on a smoking huge laptop with CS3. It will take the SDHC cards and copy the AVCHD files pretty fast but editing is not so good on a 32 bit system. This last May I got a new computer just for editing. 64bit, I7 and smoking everything on hardware and upgraded to CS5.

      If you do any kind of editing with Adobe, pictures, video, graphics, what ever…upgrade to CS5. Its like trading in the wife for ayounger woman and a corvette(Looking over my shoulder as I type). 🙂

      AVCHD looks likehell even with the Mercury Play back but once its rendered on the timeline its awesome and exporting with CS5 on 64 bit IS the bomb. It will blow your mind to edit and import/export HD and AVCHD faster than you ever did with SD. Things that used to take 4-6 hours to render in sd on the laptop with CS3 now takes like 4 minutes. I’m also a AE junkie and the speed there is something I can’t put into words compared to before.

      I don’t know what else to do at this point for archiving other than just buy more externals from newegg. I think I may be putting one of their kids through school down the road now. But I am loving this camera and the workflow I have now is like nothing I’ve ever had before.

      Getting back to the camera, I made it a point today to talk to myself as I made adjustments to the camera settings while filming. Some things are really starting to “POP” in what I’m seeing. Every camera has its quirks and this one is no different but I’m starting to find the sweet spots for exposure and shutter speed that is giving me less “Jaggie’s” and a cleaner picture and its really starting to get good. I shot some footage that I really thought was good but then started to see some majordifferences. The histogram is so much easier to judge.

    • #200412

      This morning I shotoutside as light came with the 16mm pancake lens. I set the exposure comp. to +2 and at 12 db of gain it matched my eyes for light. There is about 10 min of grey light where I had to use 12 db and then could startto reduce it.Just as I’ve seen some lens tests that were done indoors, a 50mm 1.4 lens would be perfect for that low light and not have to use as much gain and have the noise.

      The pancake lens is at 0db of gain in roughly a little less than half the time for thekit lens. For me outdoors, its about 15-20 minutes of light where I would have to much gain for my liking. I don’t think that is enough to warrant an adapter and lens. I may holdout and see if Sony comes out with a 1.4-1.8 E mount lens. Still that is greatly better than the limits of theHV40, a whole different world.

      Barreling isn’t bad with the pancake lens. Not really enough to notice when on a tripod but noticable shooting freehand. I wouldn’t recommend shooting freehand with it. It has some what of a”Wiggle” effect at the edges shooting freehand. If you were to shoot freehand in reallylowlight that would warrant the adapter and an A mount fasterlens.

      Noticing the weight differencebetween the pancake and the kit lens, I do like having the weight of the kit lens for shooting freehand. Its easier to keep steady and smooth.

    • #200413

      I got my NEX-VG10 a few weeks ago and so did a mate of mine

      Some things we agree on is.

      Dont like:

      Not so good in low light, as you can change lenses this can be accommodated

      No audio level indicator? This is not good. you can set the Db levels in settings but you have to be familiar with audio settings ie 6 for this or -20 for that scenario etc.

      The focus ring is a bit close to the mic so it tends to pic up hand noise from rings if db settings are on 0.

      Setting up a follow focus is a hassle as the mic is too close to the lens and the FF gear ring has to be placed on upside down.


      Awesome images. Fantastic color depth The supplied zoom lens gives you a decent DOF over a 30 meter range up to 500mm from lens

      With the adapter can add old Nikon 1.8 lens.

      Push button between manual and infinite focus, quick and easy

      One click to set color balance. This is a big bonus like the pro cams.

      The DOF is very clean and soft compared to Canon HFS10 for example.

      I will use it more for set up takes rather than point and shoot b roll footage.

      very happy with the cam.

      As I received it charged the battery and went outside and shot this footage in the rain, very overcast day

      I film and edit event footage for broadcast so speed is essential. AVCHD on a Quad core PC handles ok but not if you are doing a multicam edit.

      I dump my footage and use TMPG to encode to h264 720p then edit no problem.

      I also use NEWBLUE AVCHD upshift to batch convert .mts to .m2t files, you can control the bitrate and GOP size. For multicam edits.

    • #200414

      Thanks for the feedback. I am pleased I started the thread and am interested in any more thoughts that either of you or others may wish to contribute on the NEX VG10. The footage Roryhas taken in the rain is impressive but I can see some of the problems you are having with follow focus. I will expect you will get used to it and get excellent results with some more camera time on the VG10.

      I would have to say I am geting tempted.

      Having never tried to edit AVCHD and having no experience with Adobe CS5 or Vegas Pro how will I get on with my HV20 DV-HD as a B cam? Does either software packkage allow you to mix formats? or will I need to convert one or the other prior to editing?

      At the moment I am using CS3 on a quad processor and rendering time is pretty fast using DV-HD but I can imagine it will struggle with AVCHD.

      Cheers Ian

    • #200415

      You will likely speed up any editing in CS3 by savingas another formatfirst then re-import to edit with your HV 20 footage. CS5 is not much different thanCS3 as far as interface or knowledge, just a whole lot faster being 64bit and having the Mercury play back engine but having the graphics card for that is a big part of the speed. I think the real limitations of editing AVCHD are the 32 bit and hardware but if you are already handling HD okay then just import and convert first and you will be fine. There are some other app’s out there for converting prior to editing but I haven’t messed with them. Maybe someone else would have more info on that. I’ll still be using the HV 40 as a “B” cam and for second angles when I need them.

      I mix formats and break the rules all the time (Thats what they are there for). 🙂

    • #200416

      Vegas PRO will allow you to use mixed formats on one timeline no need to convert/resample

      AVCHD is a good acquisition format but a terrible edit format. if you PC is up to the task a single track edit wont be a problem

      Good cross platform codex between aps are Avid DNxHD, QT or Sony MXF Container for Win-Mac.

      If you are shooting HD content then look at a Media player like Mede8er same price as a dvd player. All my edits are rendered full HD. h264 No resampling to DVD etc. it also plays out raw AVCHD and has a video wall. select clip and playback. We use this a lot to preview and select clips for edits for storyboarding etc for final cuts.

    • #200417

      In a nutshell, the video quality is fantastic but the real “lure” of this camera is twofold; interchangeable lenses and shallow DOF because of the large sensor. The manual controls are limited but there, and the camera should really have more user adjustments and a few key features are missing. There are no ND filters (built-in) but the stock lens is very sharp and contrasty with great color rendition. There is no focus confirmation and the screen doesn’t enlarge to check for critical focus! There is no way of controlling audio- this is important to most but not all. Adjusting features means going thru the menu which is bothersome, but at $2000 this is the level we’re at. If Sony puts out some firmware updates that address some of the shortcomings- more pros will likely adopt the camera.

      The camera really shines when using fast prime lenses such as 2.8’s or faster. The stock lens is great outdoors but isn’t as good with low lux recording- but very nicely built. The stock lens has a pseudo focus ring- it will spin continuously and not really geared- not as nice as a true MF ring but useable. There is no power zoom- all zooming is done manually with any lens attached- not necessarily a bad thing but you should know there is no power zoom.

      Otherwise the camera will rival anything out there now in the under $5000 pricepoint. Similar video quality to a Canon 7D with easier to use “handycam” setup.

      I can go on and on about the little nuances of the camera- some good and some not so good- but all in all it’s a fantastic camera that can achieve stunning video quality should the user be good enough to extract it.

      I shot this video quickly while on a visit to the Bonx Zoo a few weeks back:

    • #200418

      Great info, guys. I’m expecting my NEX-VG10 in the mail this week. I’ll report back after some test shooting.

    • #200419

      Like a DSLR, only with a few more video capabilities.

      Quality’s great. It just looks easy to damage, especially under harsh conditions. I’ve seen people get the microphones bent (you have to be careful)

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