Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


Another large sensor camera from Sony in fact it’s the 3rd NEX camcorder with a style more like a video camera and less like a square squat box.

I really like this design, especially the positioning of the viewfinder, for once we get a large sensor camera that’s not built to look like a DSLR, in fact with a servo zoom lens and semi shoulder mount it’s getting back to a look and ergonomics that “true” professional cameramen/women prefer.

Does it have any ND filters well the official line from Sony is “zero so far” and what about -3, -6dB, Sony’s reply “zero so far”!

I tried all day Friday to get an answer to this burning question but from looking at the camera from 3 sides it looks like no ND filters !

I just do not understand Sony they swing from one end of the design spectrum to the other, they were slated for designing the FS100 with no ND filters and eventually update that camera with the FS700, now we get the EA50 and the same old story…no ND filters to be seen which is a critical design flaw in a shallow depth of field camcorder.

The APS-C (23.6 x 15.8) CMOS chip is the same one used in the VG20 and the VG10, I did an early review of the VG10 which was never finished but the picture quality was stunning and had a creamy shallow depth of field (SDoF). The downside to the VG10 was it’s moire patterning which showed itself on filming tiles on the roof of a shopping centre so don’t expect the EA50 to be free from some aliasing.

Included : Sound will be LPCM or AC3, PAL & NTSC switchable, 16MP still image, various choices of media with one slot plus the 128G FMU module, picture profiles, Colour bars, 6 assign buttons, same 921K LCD as the FS100, Simultaneous record, GPS function and HDMI.

Not got : Slow & quick record, Smooth slow record, 2nd media slot, ND filters, HD SDI socket.

The EA50 will record at 1080 50p, 50i and 25p with NTSC 1080 59.94p, 59.94i, 29.97p and 23.98p. 720 50p and 59.94p and SD on 576/480 50i and 59.94i.

Sony’s argument will be “value for money” it’s still far better specified than an APS-C DSLR and pulls in the same image quality with interchangeable lenses and XLR sound feeds.

Finally having a powered zoom is a great addition for a large sensor camera and this lens 18-200mm will work on an FS100/700 as the lens also has a zoom lever and speed control on the lens itself.

Sony don’t give up when it comes to exploiting their own “Memory Stick” and this time round we are getting “mirroring” which means you can record the same footage twice onto the one card giving you a backup on the one card, very clever but at what cost.

Memory stick (MS) was a Sony invention but soon lost favour to the far cheaper SDHC cards and Sony themselves conceded three years ago by introducing a dual media slot that takes MS and SDHC, without this dramatic turn around Sony would have lost major sales and may have even gone out of business.

If Sony want to sell this new XC HG Duo it better come at a comparable price to SDHC cards but the line will be it’s two for the price of one.

My take is you get what you pay for, this camera is an entry level large sensor camcorder clearly aimed at the event market, wedding videographers will be especially keen to see this camera. Sony Professional are trying too hard to please “everyone” these days, we now have four large sensor camcorders from the EA50 to the F3 and every single large sensor camera due to bad design and lack of thought for the end user is flawed…but then again their competitors are not much better.
The Sony NEX EA50 will have it’s fans, a growing pre order list proves that, the servo assisted zoom is much needed and will certainly help sales, the camera body design is also much better and is more what camera operators are comfortable with, lack of ND is questionable but with a good vari ND filter this camera will produce fantastic SDoF pictures.

This camera will find its way into weddings, corporate, education and low budget documentary work without a doubt and if Sony have any sense take version two of the EA50 up a grade with ND and Super 35mm chip.


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.

9 thoughts on “Sony NEX-EA50 “First Look”

  1. So basically – we have a VG20 (consumer cam) given the sony pro treatment which is usually a new plastic body and XLR inputs!

    Sigh – why do sony think re hashing consumer cameras into “pro” cameras is the way to build up a following.

    True pros will avoid this once they realise what is really is.

    Sony used to be the King of camcorders – i think Panny and Canon (even JVC) are making better products these days

  2. I have already blogged about Sony’s tendency to “upgrade” from domestic to pro but this camera is not a cut down FS700, Sony do not pretend anything other than this is an entry level large sensor camera.
    To be fair to Sony this is NOT a VG20 with XLRs though to be stupid enough to omit ND filters is a bad mistake on Sony’s part, I hope for their sake we can at least expect -3, -6dBs.

  3. Large sensor and no ND? AVCHD plus MPEG2 in standard definition?? Why should I buy an HD cam and record in SD? A gadget nobody will use. Let us be honest: this kind of cams are nice for weddings, for pros the XDCAM codec will be the better choice anyway, especially 50Mb/422. Waiting until the F3 gets this but Sony decided to give the EX1 (PMW-200) the upgrade first. Aaarrrghhh!! “Sony, are you really listening to the pro customers? Or do you prefer directing them towards Canon? It’s time to act concerning F3 50Mb/422 internal recording. – IBC is in front!”

  4. Mount the FS100 sensor and maybe 4:2:2 codec and this same camera suddenly becomes a super star. I’m betting that Sony will do this before long.

    Although, not sure if 4:2:2 codec will would live up to its full potential on a single Bayer pattern sensor.


  5. I think the introduction of this camera is a very positive development towards a larger sensor in a usable form factor.

    Since the 5DMK2 came along, many of us have been wishing for a large sensor to be placed inside a light weight ENG style video camera. This camera, for me, fulfills this goal more so than the FS100. Someone at Sony finally got the email – “please give us a useable viewfinder in the right place.”
    Obviously this camera does not tick all the boxes, but it is a promising development all the same. Now we have to wait for it’s bigger brother to be born.

  6. (I state that I am a loyal customer to sony I always bought sony) .. how many boxes that look like sony camera, how many cameras each month, before many years without updates now one room after another. I think that today Sony is mixing the products just to gain market share, I want to say one thing, a suggestion which in my opinion should be heard, and I WANT to see cameras for professionals and non-professional cameras without taking anything away but it is clear that you have different needs and I would not see cameras disguised think there are too many cameras around, maybe make someone less you could save when buying something, now sony has more than 30 models of cameras

  7. As an amateur who is learning the best way to shoot hockey games, I am hoping for a lot from this camera. Depending on where I am and what I am shooting, for the last 3 months I have used a mixture of gopro hero-3s and sony nx30s. The gopros are great for what they do. Small cameras like the nx30 are great ‘cos they have timecode, have good audio and I’m not a packhorse! Also I often have little time to setup and take-down, and little space in which to work. That said, I’m still looking for a solution that helps me deal with rubbish lighting, and the pressure to pan and zoom quickly, (want some moody close-ups sometimes, but need to stay loose as the action breaks fast). So I thought a bigger sensor will help. Though if thats true, then I reckon I might be better off with something like a VG900 with a parafocal zoom. Any views on this?

    HDW : Stay away from large sensor camcorders they might get you lower light shots but the lens, even the zoom lens just isn’t up to the job for fast moving sports let alone the jello effect.
    Look at the new Sony NX3 or a JVC 600 both these cameras are good in lower light and the larger depth of field will help with focusing issues.

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