Sony VG20 or ?

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    • #51281

      Hey all,


        I'm trying to decide on getting a Sony VG20 or a dedicated Camcorder (for under $3000).  I do a wide range of work, but need to shoot long form otherwise I'd get a GH3.


        Does anyone have any suggestions on what camcorder they would get in the sub $3000 range that has the best sensor.  I'm not too concerned with having xlrs or a mic, just a 3.5mm mic input would do.


        Any thoughts?

    • #204493

      I have the VG20 and am very pleased with it. If I was buying today in that price range I would buy the VG30 it adds the power zoom and a few more features. 

    • #204494

      Depends on what all you are doing. I bought a VG-10 when they first came out in 2010 and love it. I didn't see the need to "upgrade" to the 20 because I didn't see enough of a difference in what I get out of it and it wouldn't show in my work over the 10. I'm glad I went that way as I also have a FS100 now and the lenses fit both. 


      I really like the VG cameras for nature video and tromping around in the woods. The small form factor make them a great choice and I really don't like dragging more expensive cameras around through swamps. With that said though, I am considering getting a VG-900, the Full Frame sensor has my attention. But I have been very happy with what I get out of the VG-10. Really its production above what most clients notice anyway.


      I mostly record audio with a field recorder and other mic's but the Sony shotgun with the 3.5mm jack on a VG-20 will surprise you.

    • #204492

      Hi – how long is "long form"?  The US version of the GH3 will have essentially unlimited video clip length (see the specs here).  Canon/Nikon/Sony DSLR/DSLT/DSLMs have 12 to 30 minute clip length limits – the GH1, GH2 and GH3 do not (outside of Europe).


      I have shot with both the GH2 and the VG20 – and I preferred the GH2 (less moire, better control of color profiles in-camera, lower price).


      The only really important thing the VG20 gave me that the GH2 didn't was a headphone jack and full manual audio level control – and the GH3 fixes that – for $300 less than the Sony..


      If you can wait for it to ship, I recommend taking a hard look at the GH3.


      Good luck with your decision!



      Hybrid Camera Revolution

    • #204498

      long form to me is 2+ hours.


      I'm a little hesitant about the auto focus issues I'm reading about.. my tm900's are excellent at that.  Worried that the VG20 or VG30 won't be as good…  as in some cases I have to set up a camera and leave it and if the key note speaker moves around the stage and causes the camera to totally blur out, then I'm screwed.


      Anyone had any 'set it and forget it' experiences with the VG series?  I'd be shooting from a balcony from about 100+ feet away, in a room that's not super well lit.  I'd be leaving the camera there and using another camera to roam around.

    • #204507

      If you don't want focus to change, use manual. If you want a wide depth of field, use a fast lens and close down the iris as much as you can. You can tell by using the peaking function about how much you are going to have in the range of being in focus but its going to depend on the glass you have on the camera.

    • #204508

      So create a wider depth of field when filming so if they move a bit, they stay in focus.  That makes sense.


      Any suggestion on a mount over e mount?  I don't have any a mount lenses, but the BH guy told me I should get it and start my collection off right.  After doing research, I'm not sure I agree with that, esp. with the VG30 that's come out with the new servo lens in emount.


      Any thoughts on which I should go with?


      I have 3 canon lenses, at this point, but only one, my 500 mm is really good, low aperature, etc., so I'm not sure if it makes sense to get that adapter as well.


      any thoughts?

    • #204509

      You can get a canon to e-mount adapter for 50 bucks here


      I have some 20 year old Minolta (Sony A Mount) lenses my wife bought 20 years ago and just bought a Fotodiox adapter for them and they are awesome. For 40 bucks I was able to recycle a 35-70 micro and 70-300 zoom (Beercan) lense. I also have the Kit lense (18-200) the 16mm pancake and the 50 f1.8 in e-mount. They are worth it for the OIS but if you are going to leave a camera static for some time, your canon glass on an adapter will work just fine.


      I film a lot of wildlife. This morning I was on a lake in my boat filming Blue Heron's and Canadian Geese. You have no control over wildlife so I've made a habit of setting for a wide depth of field while filming them if the light provides that. I know if I can stay above f8 on apture I can get a 10-15 yard or more range where I'll have good focus. I use the peaking function and watch it crawl. Meaning I see red on my subject and red to a distance in front of or behind the subject depending on how I think its going to move. I can actually center it in the field if I want but typically from the boat if I have them and some background, I'll be good because they are not likely to come to me.


      It takes practice to work with DOF but after a while you don't even think of which way to turn a focus ring, it becomes instinctive or subconcious as you just follow the peaking color. if you get in a situation where you want shallow DOF, its easy to do quickly. I use shutter priority mostly and just run up the shutter speed to open the apture after I have focused and bam, its there on the VG-10. That's why I like it for in the woods. After you get used to it, you can be quite fast with it and get a lot of versatility out of such a small form factor.

    • #204513

      Excellent.  I'll save up for the vg30 with servo lens and then get that adapter for my 50mm eos lens and maybe the pancake lens with wide angle conversion kit.  That should cover all my needs and make me future proof for a few years.  Til i lust for that full frame too πŸ™‚

    • #204538

      Hi Woody,

           When shooting wildlife with your VG10 do you find a ND filter is needed?

    • #204539

      Hi Loonphotog,


      Nah, I use a polarizing filter to cut down on reflective glare from leaves and water and that seems to fit the bill. I run without any filter when filming deer and turkey or bears at close distances so I dont flare then with a lens reflection. The only times I find myself pushing shutter speed above 160 is when I'm looking to open the apture for DOF on a bright day. So I get dual purpose out of the polarizer's and when I'm under a canopy, I don't need either. 


      I haven't had any limitation from not having ND's built in but someone shooting day time events or wedding might. I usually run in shutter priority mode so I can influence apture and not let shutter speed get below 1/60 to avoid motion blur on the VG-10. So my shutter speed is something I actually look at quite a bit.

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