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