Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

Who could have envisaged that Sony would have an interchangeable lens domestic camcorder out before it’s professional big brother…this year…in September…fantastic ! This will certainly have a major impact on the DSLR at the price point of $1999.

I was alway curious when Sony kept omitting to add video function to their Alpha range (excluding the NEX camera) when Canon and Nikon added this function to their domestic and pro range of SLR cameras, now we know why !

I am one of the few DPs who never took to the DSLR for video use as they are cumbersome to use and not fit for purpose. Now we are seeing a fight back from the camcorder manufacturers the balance will be restored and the DSLR will become like the cine camera, useful for it’s time.

Everyone including myself have been banging on about the Panasonic AF100 due late October forgetting that Sony had mentioned that a FilmLike domestic camcorder was due in September and the good news is the price point of $1999 this sets the bar right smack in the lower end of the DSLR and can take Sony’s full rage of Pro lenses with an adapter and no doubt take Canon and Nikon lenses when an adapter is produced.

This in my opinion will take the feet away from the DSLR market and when we get the PRO versions we will see a serious decline in DSLR manufacture though Canon may have one more trick up it’s sleave…a parting shot like a 4 K DSLR to match REDs EPIC but then again pigs might fly.

With its included 18-200mm Image Stabilised lens f3.5-6.3, the Sony NEX-VG10 is the size of a prosumer camcorder. Theoretically, it could’ve been built to be just as small as its NEX camera siblings, but its bigger build and large top-mounted handle makes it more comfortable and versatile for shooting handheld video over long periods of time.

Sony has used this larger build to pack in a few more video-centric features—a microphone input, headphone output, an electronic viewfinder, two hot shoe ports (one compatible with Sony Alpha D-SLR accessories and a universal cold shoe for video accessories) and superior built-in stereo recording, which actually uses four cardioid microphones.

Two key elements will make video image quality from the NEX-VG10 superior to that of NEX cameras. First, the video recordings will pack in more data; the Sony NEX-5 offers 1080i60 HD recordings that display 17 megabits of data per second, while the VG10 will offer up to 24 megabits. Second, while recording video, the VG10 will let you control the aperture, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity and white balance. Basically, any adjustments you can make to still images on a NEX camera you can also make to video shot on the VG10, including controlling depth-of-field, the intensity of motion blur and adjusting color temperature.

Like the NEX cameras, the NEX-VG10 is compatible with Sony’s 21 Alpha lenses; but only three lenses are natively compatible. (The NEX-VG10 ships with an 18-200mm lens; 16mm and 18-55mm lenses are available separately). The remaining lenses require an additional $199 adapter and autofocus will not operate when using a lens with the adapter.

Unlike the NEX cameras, the NEX-VG10 camcorder does not shoot still images in the higher-quality RAW image format— it provides JPEG captures only. The VG10 features a Sony Alpha hot shoe for use with Alpha flashes; the NEX cameras only offer a proprietary port that have yet to feature any additional flash accessories. (The NEX-VG10 will also feature a universal cold shoe adapter for general universal attachments.) But the killer feature that the NEX-VG10 and the NEX cameras bring is blazing autofocus.

A traditional D-SLR can only offer fast autofocus when using the optical viewfinder; when switching to its LCD as a viewfinder, the D-SLR bypasses its mirror box and secondary image sensor, which drive its autofocus. In this operation, the D-SLR uses the main image sensor to display images on the LCD and process autofocus, which takes a few seconds. The NEX cameras (and its Micro Four Thirds competitors use faster processors to deliver quick autofocus.

The Sony NEX-VG10 camcorder (bundled with a 18-200mm lens) will be available for $1,999 in September.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

2 thoughts on “Sony NEX-VG10 E-mount HD camcorder due in September $1999

  1. In your presentation, there is a mistake. The 18-200 is the actual focal length of the lens, not the 35mm equivalent which is in this case is 27-300.

  2. Oh come off it who’s going to ditch their DSLR to shoot interlaced footage at 24Mbps???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *