As I am working on a large corporate project at the moment I had little time to play with the Sony NEX-VG10…so I took it with me at lunchtime while walking the dog. My mother was a willing subject and as you can see from the screen grab above this little gem of a camcorder produces the business. Sony have made a slight error bringing this camcorder into the domestic marketplace as in my opinion it would be better suited as a semi Pro product.
The camcorder needs you to work at it, this is not a camcorder for filming happy snaps of the kids…remember we have no electronic zoom, the lens is completely manual.
One important point while I am here is that you will need to buy a mini HDMI to HDMI cable if you want to view your footage on an LCD/Plasma. The other major tip is to buy a Sony NP-FV100 battery as the extra weight helps balance the camera better.
I find the manual focusing great as long as your subject does not walk towards the camera but for great tracking shots you can’t beat the autofocus, word of warning, the autofocus is very good…once it locks on to a moving subject but it’s far from the fastest autofocus I have come across, it makes up for it’s tracking abilities but don’t rely on it for some quick zoom and focus shots.
The lens that comes with the VG10 is an 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 Sony lens, it seems on first outing a very sharp lens indeed and I have no qualms in using it for further projects. Because Sony have decided that this system is to rely on photographic lenses you do not have an electronic zoom so you are back to filming the old fashioned way…picking your shots, framing and filming…some of us may say it’s the only way to film !
The camcorder is a bit quirky as yet I do not see anyway to lock the exposure when you are in anything but manual exposure mode which I find strange.
The menu system relies on a thumbwheel built into the control side of the camcorder and I must say it’s a bit hit or miss…I do wish Sony would stop using this kind of navigation. Unlike the Sony MC50 camcorder this camera has an “ON” position at the record button and has a gain control, by pressing the GAIN button you have 0dB all the way through to 27dB plus AUTO GAIN. I am a big fan of 0dB and outdoors this setting keeps me happy knowing that I am keeping gain right out the picture.
There is one very stupidly placed button and thats the PHOTO button on the top of the handgrip inevitably when you go to change a setting and nothing happens it’s because your hand is resting on the PHOTO button which is badly placed right under the camcorders carry handle.
The camera takes very sharp 14MP photographs which just might be a bonus depending what you are filming, I would suggest that if you take this camera on holiday you would not have to take your digital camera as well.
This in my opinion is as far from a point and shoot camcorder as you can get and as I have said earlier I don’t know why Sony have placed this camcorder in the domestic camp. This is a specialised product and needs a fair bit of previous knowledge to make it happen especially as Sony are pitching it as a Shallow Depth of Field product. SDoF as you can see from my pictures above is what this camcorder majors on and as long as you get your head around the manual zoom and quirky menu system I am sure this will start to make in roads into the DSLR marketplace.
Help ma boab as they say in the Broon’s would you credit it Sony have splashed out and given us a FREE windjammer which I did not notice till I started to read the instructions, let’s hope Sony professional are looking at this and start giving us free windjammers across all the range of new camcorders.
If Sony are working on the VG11 then please re-position the PHOTO button, take out the PUSH part of the thumbwheel, it seems that we have no control of sound so manual pots should be added plus indication of levels in the LCD and an exposure lock as seen on the MC50.
This camcorder has been built for filming as it’s priority therefore lacks all the nasties seen with current DSLRs also it takes a great number of Sony E and A lenses though you need an adapter to use the A lenses.
I am hoping to film a full video review during the weekend and I will edit some footage to let you see how amazing this camera is also some of the boys on various forums want to know how good or bad the VG10s rolling shutter is, well I will be testing it against it’s arch enemy the Canon 5DMk11 !