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.