About three years ago, the first DSLRs with HD video capability appeared, offering the benefits (over HD camcorders) of much larger sensors (for much better low-light/high-ISO performance and limited "filmic" depth of field), relatively low cost and interchangeable lenses. But these cameras, while excellent still cameras, had some drawbacks as video cameras: They were designed for still photography, where you hold the camera in position for a few seconds, not for long video "takes," and they had limited autofocusing capabilities.
Now Sony—long a big name in camcorders and more recently a prolific producer of DSLRs—has put a big APS-C sensor in a real camcorder, shooting 1080 full HD video and 14-megapixel still images, and taking interchangeable lenses, at a very attractive price. Meet the NEX-VG10.
Free Pro Video-Editing Software
NEX-VG10 owners can download free Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 10 video-editing software, which makes it easy to create dramatic HD movies, including adding video effects, background music, titles, transitions and more, then share your movies via DVD, Blu-ray disc or even online.
Full HD Video
Of course, this camcorder can shoot HD video. You can choose between 1920x1080 or 1440x1080, each recorded at 60 fps (59.95i) and captured at 30 fps (29.97p). Video is recorded in AVCHD format using MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) compression.
Like the NEX-5 and NEX-3, the NEX-VG10 can record images on Memory Stick PRO Duo/PRO-HG Duo/PRO-HG HX Duo media, as well as SD/SDHC/SDXC media.
3.0-Inch Tilting LCD Monitor
One thing lacking on most video-capable DSLRs is a tilting/swiveling true camcorder LCD monitor. The NEX-VG10 has one, a 3.0-inch, 921,000-dot, 16:9 wide-screen format unit that rotates open and swivels 180°. There’s also a 1,152,000-dot eye-level electronic viewfinder.
Built-In Stereo Microphone
The NEX-VG10 comes with a Quad Capsule Spatial Array stereo microphone that incorporates four precision-placed microphone capsules for excellent front-side directionality and stereo separation. There’s a microphone jack for utilizing an external mic, as well as a headphone jack for audio monitoring. There are dual accessory shoes; one is the Alpha flash shoe and the other is a cold shoe for mounting accessories like a shotgun mic.
Many camcorders can shoot still images, but the NEX-VG10 can shoot very high-quality ones in two formats and three sizes: in standard 3:2 format, 14, 7.4 and 3.5 megapixels; and in wide 16:9 format, 12, 6.3 and 2.9 megapixels. You can shoot still images at up to 7 fps, at ISOs from 200 to 12,800. The NEX-VG10 also incorporates Auto-HDR, Handheld Twilight and Anti-Motion Blur.
14.2-Megapixel APS-C Sensor
Like the recently introduced NEX-5 and NEX-3 mirrorless interchangeable-lens models, the NEX-VG10 features a 14.2-megapixel Sony Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor. The first Sony still-camera sensor capable of full HD video, the 23.4x15.6mm sensor has a standard APS-C focal-length factor of 1.5x (a 100mm lens on the VG10 frames like a 150mm lens on a 35mm camera).
The NEX-VG10 features the same Sony E lens mount as the NEX mirrorless cameras and uses the same lenses. The very compact E-series lenses provide all camera features. Sony A-mount (and Konica Minolta Maxxum) SLR lenses can be used via an optional adapter, with manual focusing only. Like the other NEX cameras, the NEX-VG10 doesn’t have sensor-shift image stabilization, but a number of the E-series lenses feature Optical Steady Shot stabilization. (The camcorder does feature sensor-shift dust reduction.) The NEX-VG10 is sold with an 18-200mm E-mount zoom lens (equivalent to a 27-300mm unit on a 35mm camera). The lens that comes with the NEX-VG10 is specifically designed for shooting video. It includes Optical Steady Shot image stabilization with Active Mode. This 18-200mm model is the only E-mount lens that includes Active Mode.
Image Sensor: 14.2-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS
Max. Resolution: 4592x3056 pixels
Sensor Size: 23.4x15.6mm (1.5x)
Video: 1920x1080/60i AVCHD, 1440x1080/60i
AF System: 25-point contrast-based
Shutter Speeds: 30 to 1/4000 sec., B (still); ¼-1/4000 sec. (movie)
ISO Settings: 200-12,800
Continuous Firing Mode: 7 fps (still images)
Recording Format: JPEG (still); AVCHD (video)
Metering: 49-segment, CW, spot
Storage Media: Memory Stick PRO Duo/PRO-HG Duo/PRO-HG HX Duo and SD/SDHC/SDXC
Dimensions: 3.8x5.2x11.6 inches with an 18-200mm zoom
Weight: 21.9 ounces (body only); 45.8 ounces (with battery, memory card and 18-200mm zoom)
Power Source: Rechargeable NP-FV70 InfoLITHIUM battery
Estimated Street Price: $1,999 (with an 18-200mm zoom)
Contact: Sony, (877) 865-7669,www.sonystyle.com