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Just when you thought you knew which camera to buy, Sony come along and bring out a slew of cameras, both video and DSLR, that intrigue and fascinate. A couple of them really stand out for me but the key announcements are the full frame Sony A99…the first DSLR to have proper audio inputs with its XLR module, and what I believe will be the start of something I have wanted for ages, a video camera with a full frame sensor…the NEX VG900.

 

I think I may want this…the NEX VG900

I think the only thing holding me back from the VG900 is the lack of proper audio connections (but it can take same module as A99) and it’s going to be 24p/30p OR 25P as per usual on these camera. Oh and it’s most likely more fiddly than fiddler on the roof controls that plague the VG10 and 20…

It’s essentially a VG20 with the full frame sensor…talking of which, the VG30 is the replacement for that…essentially an APS-C version of the VG900…note the use of the APS-C in describing it. Not super 35, almost the same size, but they are for some reason refraining from using that term. What this probably means (and I would put money on this) is that they will bring out a Sony FS500 or similar, which will be a pro version of this, like the FS100 is a pro version of the VG20.

Look at the size of that thing!

I have wanted a full frame proper video camera all my life! Well that is probably a slight exaggeration, but ever since the Mk2 came out, for sure…that full frame look is unique and I cannot wait to check this camera out at Photokina next week (I will be there all week talking for Canon about their C300, twice a day…every day…not sure of times yet!)

We also have the Alpha A99…this is cool because it’s the first full frame DSLR to have an add-on XLR module, so finally proper audio in DSLR, and it is the first full frame DSLR to give us 1080p 60p…the biggest bummer is the old Minolta mount on it…the Alpha mount. Due to its flange distance, for me to use my Nikon lenses on it (which I have stacks of) I need an adaptor that has glass in it so it can work…I have tried a few and they all suck. The quality loss is too much to bear! There are some cracking Alpha lenses out there, but I simply don’t want to buy MORE glass when I already have enough…I did buy the A77, and this problem meant I returned it pretty fast. Shame, as the translucent EVF is astonishingly good! Oh…super cool that is has clean uncompressed HDMI out, albeit via the rubbish mini HDMI connection. Wonder if you can record internally at same time unlike the Nikons…

Sony A99 with pro audio module

The RX1 is a interesting one. The first compact to have a full frame sensor in it. Not hugely interested in this for video, despite the 1080p performance, I’m a nut for having a full frame compact in my pocket…that is tempting. No longer will I be asked “Is that a full frame camera in your pocket or you just happy to see me?!” It’s so small it will be damn easy to carry around. Not cheap though…It has a fixed F/2 35mm lens on it. Nice..Shame it’s not F/1.2! That would have made it essential…or even better go for a .95 ;)

RX1

 

Sony NEX6

The NEX 6 also fascinates. I do love the 5N, but this improves on almost all the aspects of it. Couple that with wifi built-in and editing apps, plus upload to social networking, and this could become the coolest way to instantly post photos to these places. Great quality, way better than phones…still an extra thing to carry around though and with the dispassionately zero update to the iPhone 5 camera I am damn tempted by this…although I would prefer Android OS in it…there are some compacts popping up with this in it. Exciting times, and it might start making people use “proper” cameras more. I myself am guilty of taking a photo of something with my iPhone first so I can upload it then taking the 5Dmk3 version, despite it being around my neck. We love that instant sharing…well I do!

What about the Sony nex ea50eh? catchily named…essentially a VG20/ 30 but with a WAY better form factor. In fact, better than the FS100…dirt cheap, but I’ve not seen it, touched it or anything. Curious…hope Sony adopt this form factor in pro large sensor cameras…

Sony Alpha 99 – First Look Review from Charles Michel on Vimeo.

Nikon D600

Announced today is the D600 from Nikon. A “budget” (it’s still $2k without lens!) version of the D800…full frame, uncompressed HDMI out…looks great and with a smaller megapixel count of around 24MP…similar to the Mk3, this could potentially be a better video DSLR than the D800 as its 36MP sensor caused issues with down-sampling…this will still have to do down-sampling but not quite so extreme…I will be very curious to check this out. Most if not all will be at Photokina. But of course, there is nothing like actually shooting with one to truly test them out!

So with all these new cameras coming out, what does with mean? Should you buy any of them? Well if you have a camera and are happy with it then no…but this is GREAT for competition and will mean Canon will have to respond with a budget full frame camera, and we should start seeing full frame pro video cameras soon. There never has been a better time to be filmmaker. We are being offered amazing tools at affordable prices, like the BlackMagic Camera and even the Canon C100…initially disappointed by it, but after holding it and playing with it at IBC I’m pretty impressed. It feels so small and ergonomically lovely. I saw Sebastien Devaud’s promo film there, and the image is great! Still bloody wished it had 60p!!

Always use the best tool you can afford and never overstretch yourself. You can make great films with almost any camera as long as you have the content – a better camera will simply make your images look better (if skill is behind the camera) with a better tool.

JUST C IT ! (EOS C100) from Sebastien DEVAUD on Vimeo.

EDIT: Canon have also now announced the much expected 6D. A lower price “entry level” full frame DSLR. It’s $1400 less than a 5DmkIII and slightly less than the Nikon D600… Love to see the video out of it and HOPE it is of similar quality to the 5Dmk3, as in now moire, aliasing and great low light. it does have the MkIII All-I which is great! Read more here!

• Price: $2100 (body only)/ $2900 w/ 24-105mm f/4 lens
• Sensor: 20.2-megapixel, full-frame (36.0mm x 24.0mm)
• Max ISO: 25600 (Standard)/ 102400 (expanded)
• Video: 1920 x 1080 30/25/24 and 1280 x 720 60/50
• Max Drive: 4.5 frames-per-second at full resolution
• Screen: 1,040,000, 3-inch LCD
• Storage: Dual-SD card slots

It’s expected to begin shipping next month. I hope I can get one before them to review…but doubt it! If you want to buy it puchasing through my affiliates help keep this site running at no cost to you…and it’s a beast of site!


Canon 6D

Comments

  1. vpchao says:

    This is great news! I can’t wait to see your detailed review on them… especially on D600. :)

  2. Why doesn’t Sony cut to the quick and custom-build cameras to our exact personal specifications? They’ve already got almost as many different models as there are professional camera people!

  3. c’mon philip, knock these reviews out tonight… ;)

  4. Daniel M says:

    Seems like every year the manufacturers continue to deliver greater options. I have decided to pre order the C100 as it was everything I was hoping for in a camera. I loved the concept and image quality of the C300 since its announcement but just beyond my reach financially. The C100 will now take the lead on my projects and I can use my 5D mark llls as B cameras.

  5. Holy frijoles Batman!!! I think the C100 just got kicked in the nuts. Good stuff Philip. I love the camera wars. It gives us options.

  6. RalphEdward says:

    Will there be another Full Frame Shoot out in the works now Philip?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      no plans! a lot of work!

      1. RalphEdward says:

        I believe you! Love the reviews you do on here though unbiased and accurate. Keep up the amazing work!

  7. pb714087 says:

    Philip,

    I believe the Sony a99 can record simultaneously internally:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvFgUrHgsiI#t=347s

    A few points and questions:

    1. Aside from the lens limitation, how would you rate the quality of Sony video like on the a77 (compared to the D800 and 5D3)?

    2. Do you have any opinion regarding in-body image stabilization? I know that on-lens image stabilization is superior, but I was wondering if the in-body stabilization would be “good enough” for video work. I figure that non-IS versions of lenses would be that much cheaper and I could use the savings to get better glass or more glass.

    3. My experience with Sony SLT cameras is that the face detection is spectacularly good especially for stills, and it’s almost a must-have capability for me.

    4. The new auto-focus range feature looks incredible.

    Thanks

  8. rparida says:

    so does that mean the sony dslr is limited only to the sony lenses? if not, what other lens options are there?

  9. squig says:

    You don’t need a glass adapter for Nikon glass on the A99 but you will need a screwdriver http://www.leitax.com

    Is that a Bloomin pom I see in the GH3 promo video?

  10. SMD79 says:

    “…I think the only thing holding me back from the VG900 is the lack of proper audio connections (but it can take same module as A99) and it’s going to be 24p/30p OR 25P as per usual on these camera…”

    …actually I think it’s actually 24p/60p/60i for the VG900 (and VG30) if I’m not mistaken…so yeah, 60p is alive and well on this guy. No 30p though as far as I’ve read. Uncompressed HDMI out too! Is that 4:2:2 then? Not sure. I’d have to say the placement of the HDMI seems like it would totally be in the way if you are trying to hand hold it and output at the same time. Curious to see how that works.

    Please play with and then review this camera. So eager to hear what you think of this (and the EA50).

  11. I now can’t imagine myself as a 5DMK2 owner ever upgrading to a MK3. If the video quality is what we think it will be, the Sony a99 and VG900 will eat significantly into the traditional DSLR video market.
    For a start these cameras have apparently “astonishingly good evf’s” and the option of XLR audio input.
    The 5DMK3 doesn’t even compare! Even the overpriced C100 has only got a puny unusable 0.24 inch viewfinder – same as the Canon hf g10, xa10 and XF100.
    For the same money as a C100 I could kit myself out with a Sony a99 + 2 alpha lenses and the XLR accessory. I’d be getting a proper viewfinder, FF and 50p but without ND filters. Sony are doing it right.

  12. Andrew Jones says:

    SONY’s sudden burst of productivity leaves me rather befuddled and confused as to what is what, but have to say that I am quite excited by the EA50. What I can’t understand is why they didn’t elect to include the full-frame sensor in that camera.

    SONY often leave me with the impression that they try to emulate the Christian story of the creation of the world and spend the first 6 days working very hard doing their best in designing and developing a product but don’t quite finish. On the 7th day they sort of tinker around, throw their hands in the air and shout ‘…ah, it’ll do’ and on the 8th day send it to market anyway. Excellent products, but sort of leaving you with a ..mmm?, mmm, MMM? reaction. I only hope they haven’t created all of the above in the same week!

    Looking forward to your reviews on them.

  13. “…that full frame look is unique…”

    What is the difference of an image from a full frame and an APS-C with respective equivalent lenses?

    I mean, not considering the low light capabilities and the shallower DOF with full frame.

    Thank you.

      1. Drew-J says:

        http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/digital-camera-sensor-size.htm

        This guy explains it in very technical detail.

        “if one used a 50 mm f/1.4 lens on a full frame sensor, this would produce a depth of field so shallow it would require an aperture of 0.9 on a camera with a 1.6X crop factor — not possible with consumer lenses”

        I think that quantifies a difference.

  14. Michael Mohr says:

    Concerning Alpha 99 HDMI-out: As this guy from Sony explains in this video (at 5:50), simoultaneous recording on SD-card and via HDMI-out should be possible:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvFgUrHgsiI

    Greetings,
    Michael

  15. Shiva Reddy says:

    I wonder how canon still promote its C100 after sony VG900. I clearly see C100 is a bummer in all the way.
    sony VG900 -
    FULL FRAME 36X24
    AVCHD 2.0 24mbps
    3200$

    Canon C100-
    APS-C 24X13
    AVCHD 2.0 24mbps
    6300$

    1. The C100 is a real video camcorder and the VG900 will most likely be a bit plasticy if it is similar than the VG10/VG20. This are more rehoused SLTs/System cameras than full camcorders. And the sensor is a photo sensor so we have to wait for proper reviews to see what the VG900 will be capable of. I doubt that it’s a killer for the FS100/C100.

  16. Nikola says:

    VG900 or A99 – tough choice

  17. Voxubu says:

    I know you don’t want A mount camera, but can you at least ASK Sony to lend you A99 for a review? Along with a few Zeiss lenses (24-70 and 16-35, 70-400). I would like to see A99 reviewed here. If you ask, I am sure they will be happy to lend one a review.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      i am sure i can get one…its time that is the issue!

      1. Voxubu says:

        How about a short 5 to 10 minute review? A quick ISO and sharpness test ..

  18. Jimowen800 says:

    I was worried about the lack of features of the C100, but the footage looks great, I want to see more!

  19. Skyler Meek says:

    Wow… Sony is just going crazy! I’m curious to see where the nex ea50 will line up and what codec is has etc. Interesting stuff, thanks Philip!

  20. Corey Waters says:

    A video camera with a full frame sensor?!… Now THIS is exciting! I really hope that this is a sign of things to come. The full frame on my 5D is irreplaceable in my opinion. It’s one of the reasons I just can’t get rid of it for video regardless of it’s limitations. I really hope we see this trend catch on!

  21. “note the use of the APS-C in describing it. Not super 35, almost the same size, but they are for some reason refraining from using that term”

    It’s either the power of marketing: APS-C = consumer, Super35mm = professional OR how specialized the sensor is for video. Like the NEX-VG20 vs the NEX-FS100. These new announcements put the NEX-EA50 in a difficult place…but Sony sure is covering all the bases post-haste.

  22. IF Sony makes a full frame version of the FS100 (FS500 you say ?)… It starts to become a bit hard… BMC ? C100 ? FS500 ? And what is Panasonic doing ?
    (I told you : a more advanced version of the AF101 with their AVC-Intra codec and it would be a nice addition to the market)

  23. Stuart Dennis says:

    I was initially very excited about the Sony RX1. Full frame, great choice of focal length and relatively fast. I was thinking this would be awesome for when I don’t want to lug a DSLR around but still get a full-frame aesthetic. So…pictures of mates down the pub, basically. And out and about when travelling light.

    And then I discovered it is going to be £2,799, which ended my interest pretty quickly. Shame because it looks very, very nice.

  24. Regarding to the Sony tech specs (checked on the German, UK and ) of the A99 they now at least give us Europeans finally access to 60p and 24p (additional to what NEXes and the A77 and so one having, which is 25p/50p which is still available).

    One thing to always keep in mind everyone speaking about the first full frame camcorder: the NEX-VG series seems to be rehoused SLT/System cameras. The VG30 seems to be basically a NEX-6 and the VG900 an A99. So this are not completely film-optimized like the NEX-FS pro series which are concepted as camcorders from the ground up.

  25. Sam-Oakes says:

    I would love to know when Canon are going to realise they need to make a DSLR with 1080p at 60p, hopefully the A99 will kick them into gear, that’s all I want from a camera arggghhh.
    Or an AF101…

  26. 2wrdsjay says:

    Great article! It seems like the “arms race” continues! To be honest, keeping up with all the info seems like an exhausting job in itself. Always a pleasure to read!

  27. Will says:

    I thought you had some zeiss cp.2s. Don’t they have a mount for Sony?

      1. Will says:

        When did this happen? Why? Then you could take advantage of this awesome new camera. I must admit, Sony is much more video conscious than nikon or canon. I mean 60p recording with an XLR audio box? Come on Canon! Where is our love?

  28. Voxubu says:

    Paul Genge claims A99 can do uncompressed 4:4:4 Hdmi out signal.

    True or false? Can you find the answer?

  29. Can´t wait to see you comparing D600 and D800!

  30. WanderingSkunk says:

    As an Alpha shooter for some time now, I have had the chance to check out the EVF on the A77 as well as the NEX 7 (it’s the same viewfinder), and it is extremely useful. I imagine the 99′s will be as well. A boon for video shooting, with all the manual control options and audio options they’ve added with this full frame body, it’s quite the bargain, in my opinion. The resale value of these bodies would be likely to be very high over the next 12 months, at least. The advantage to Sony bodies is the A-Mount’s Minolta compatability. I’ve gotten absolutely fantastic images out of an extremely affordable f1/.7 Minolta prime (which, since it was built for a film medium, happens to be a full frame lens) on the A55. So if one wanted to make a small dip into the Sony series as a test run without investing in too much glass, the options are there.

    If I were able to have full manual control over video, the A55 would satisfy most of my needs running dual system audio anyways, though it is extremely helpful to have a much cleaner audio sample off the video track for synching purposes.

    I’m an semi-pro traveling music and event photographer, not up to being able to afford Zeiss level glass yet, but the times I’ve rented some of the Zeiss lenses for projects, they’ve produced fantastic results even on Sony’s 16mp APS-C A55.

    1. WanderingSkunk says:

      As an added I’d be very interested in those who have experience with the 5dmkii getting their hands on the A99 and seeing what it can do for video with some Zeiss glass on it compared to a 5dmkii with some L glass.