One slick Sony

Shoot film like a pro with this high-end HD cam­corder, writes Jen­nifer Dud­ley-Ni­chol­son

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gadgets -

SHOOT­ING a film epic is dif­fi­cult to do on the cheap. You can arm your ‘‘ cam­era crew’’ with hand-held cam­corders and hope for the best, but the re­sults can be shaky, blurry and hard to watch.

Ad­vanced video cam­eras are be­com­ing cheaper, how­ever, and some of­fer high-end fea­tures you would ex­pect from broad­cast cam­eras.

At $3499, the Sony Handy­cam NEX-VG10E may not seem in­ex­pen­sive, but it’s a lot cheaper than keen videog­ra­phers used to pay for ‘‘ pro­sumer’’ cam­eras. Even its ap­pear­ance is pro­fes­sional, with a four-cap­sule mi­cro­phone on top, a prom­i­nent viewfinder and a large lens out front. That lens is one of its biggest sell­ing points, as this cam­corder is the first con­sumer-friendly video cam­era to let you swap lenses.

You don’t have to build a sec­ond lens col­lec­tion: buy a mount and you can at­tach ex­ist­ing Sony Al­pha E-Mount lenses to this cam­era.

The NEX-VG10E comes with an 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 lens which has op­ti­cal im­age sta­bil- isa­tion to keep shots steady when us­ing its 11x zoom.

If you know a lit­tle about still cam­eras, you can eas­ily change this cam­corder’s set­tings to blur the back­ground, en­sure ev­ery per­son is in fo­cus, cre­ate move­ment ef­fects, or change fo­cus from one sub­ject to an­other. Tweaks can be made with but­tons near its 3-inch screen.

These video ef­fects make re­sults sig­nif­i­cantly more im­pres­sive. Just chang­ing fo­cus from one sub­ject to an­other is the stuff of slick doc­u­men­taries.

The Ex­mor APS HD CMOS im­age sen­sor is 19.5 times big­ger than those in com­pact cam­corders, de­liv­er­ing video with greater de­tail, cap­tur­ing sharp full high-def­i­ni­tion footage at 50 frames per sec­ond.

The large sen­sor also makes it pos­si­ble to cap­ture 14.2-megapixel pho­tos. These still im­ages could be mis­taken for pho­tos from a DSLR, and you can shoot up to seven pho­tos per sec­ond.

Other ad­di­tions in­clude a light sen­si­tiv­ity from 200 to 12,800 ISO, 25-point con­trast aut­o­fo­cus, a pow­er­ful stereo mi­cro­phone, HDMI out­put and the abil­ity to record to an SD me­mory card.

Not all users will ap­pre­ci­ate these high-end fea­tures, as the NEX-VG10E’s set­tings and menu can chal­lenge users.

It records in the AVCHD for­mat that can be burnt to a DVD but only plays back in a Blu-ray Disc player.

The large lens also makes this 1.3kg rig front-heavy.

Keen videog­ra­phers and film stu­dents look­ing for sharper, slicker footage should ap­pre­ci­ate this Handy­cam. Big rig: this Sony Handy­cam sure looks like the real deal.

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