Sony NEX-VG10

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Sony teased us with this a couple of months ago, and now it has unveiled its consumer interchangeable lens HD camcorder, the Handycam NEX-VG10.

In my May 13 posting, I described the NEX-5 and NEX-3 still cameras, which use an APS sensor. So too does this new camcorder, a 14.2-megapixel (effective) Exmor HD CMOS sensor, which Sony says is 19.5 times larger than the sensor found in a conventional camcorder.

But note the ability to change lenses. The VG10 accepts E-mount interchangeable lenses (as used on the NEX-5 and -3) plus A-mount Sony alpha DSLR lenses (via optional adaptor).

It’s the first consumer camcorder that offers the same breadth of creative expression enjoyed by DSLR photographers, Sony gushes. Alongside the three currently available E-mount lenses, users of the NEX-VG10 can experience a wide variety of A-mount DSLR optics by using the optional LA-EA1 mount adaptor. Picking from a choice of Sony G lenses, fixed-focal length Carl Zeiss portrait lenses and other models from macro to super-telephoto, videographers will have unprecedented freedom to explore an exciting world in movie creation.

The camcorder delivers high quality audio with a Quad Capsule Spatial Array Stereo Microphone and external mic input, and has a 7.5 cm (3-inch) Xtra Fine LCD and electronic viewfinder.

The camcorder’s sensor is teamed with Sony’s BIONZ processor to capture very high resolution video and still images. The APS-C sized imager enables an extremely shallow depth of field. This allows videographers to achieve ‘cinematic’ results with beautiful background defocus.

Full HD 1920×1080 video images are captured in AVCHD format at up to the maximum 24 Mbps bit rate for superlative detail and clarity. Unlike many digital still cameras including DSLR that support HD video, there’s virtually no restriction on continuous shooting time. Just slip in your choice of either Memory Stick PRO Duo or SD media cards and capture Full HD video and JPEG still images for easy transfer into your existing PC storage and editing environment.

The NEX-VG10 comes supplied with an image-stabilised E18-200 mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS lens that offers an 11X optical zoom range. Because of its optimized design for video shooting, this high-quality E-mount lens offers smooth, ultra low noise autofocus and iris control. Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation assures clearer video images when shooting handheld. At wide angle settings, Active Mode enhances anti-shake performance even further, steadying jittery images even while walking. The lens also features a circular aperture for the creation of bokeh effects whether you’re shooting video or stills.

The Quad Capsule Spatial Array mic uses advanced processing algorithms to combine signals from four separate omnidirectional microphone capsules. The result is exceptionally clear stereo audio, says Sony, with a highly directional response. Sony notes this allows videographers to capture more sound from the subject they’re shooting and less of distracting sounds around them. There’s also a jack for adding an optional external stereo mic, plus a headphone jack for audio monitoring.

The LCD features TruBlack technology for an exceptionally detailed, high contrast view of images and menu settings. The LCD is supplemented by a high-resolution electronic viewfinder that assists easy framing and monitoring. The viewfinder helps operator capture clear images in bright daylight and its angle can be easily adjusted for comfortable operation.

An intuitive jog dial and hotkeys make it easy to navigate camera menus and adjust shooting parameters.

Videographers can also enjoy precise manual control over iris, shutter speed, gain and white balance.

A range of Sony accessories includes a shotgun mic that attaches to the camcorder’s accessory shoe. There’s also a choice of rechargeable battery options, including the NP-FV100 that provides power for up to 315 minutes continuous HD shooting.

Offered to customers as a free download, Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 10 video editing software includes everything you need to produce HD movies. Powerful tools for video compositing, colour correction and sound mixing make it easy to achieve cinema-quality results. You can also upload movies to web, burn them to Blu-ray Disc or author DVDs with custom menus and graphics.

Now, the big question: how much? Sony says the camcorder will go on sale in Canada in early September for $2,000.

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