Sony’s new low end interchangeable lens camcorder with APS sized sensor

This is looking very interesting, although it could do with a few tweaks spec wise…

The NEX VG10

It’s an interchangeable lens camcorder for the lower end of the market that has an APS HD sensor in it. It takes the new Sony E series of lenses making this essentially a video camera version of the new Sony NEX-3, Sony NEX-5.

it has full manual controls and records is 24mbps AVCHD. It has a mic in, headphone jack and an EVF as well as an LCD screen.

One thing that stands out, but not in a good way is the 1080i 60i recording in the US, 50i for me in the EU, this is still prevalent in consumer cameras but we need 1080p!! Personally I will want the 50i version so its easier to convert to 25p.

It looks very intriguing and is the start of something very exciting. I get my NEX-5 very shortly and am very excited by it.

The camera comes out around September and will cost around $2000.



  1. The Sony E lineup needs more lenses to make it interesting. Specifically, primes.

    The micro 4/3rds have a wide range of lenses, plus more coming up.

    This has a bigger sensor though.

      1. I guess AVCHD is the logical choice right now since it’s released a consumer cam. Cool to see products like this coming to the market though. I’m eager to see the specs of that new Panasonic. Still going to get a 550d or 7d though (haven’t decided yet. Am a Nikon shooter but will get one of these plus 10-22 and 50 1.4 for my next vacation).

        1. Before you switch to Canon… Nikon Rumors is saying the D90 replacement will be 16MP and will include AF in Live View. Something to look for. The current D90 is going on clearance in some online retailers so this new camera might be out fairly soon.

      2. it can be good indeed: a bluray usually comes in something close to AVC 24Mbps, sometimes more but sometimes as low as 13 Mbps and still looking good (ok, that’s my 2001 disc, so lots of pitch black there)
        the original (not hacked) GH1 records 24p at 17Mbps
        the same information per frame takes you to 21.25Mbps for 30p
        in contrast, t2i goes around 40 to 50 Mbps

        we’ll have to see how good sony’s codec is

        1. Can bluray and camera bitrates be compared? The first are done with expensive non-realtime multi-pass adaptative compression techniques. The camera compresses real-time one-pass (i believe) on a cheap chip.

  2. Wonder if there is an EF adaptor for this?? Not much range from Sony and mounting an A Mount lens means you lose aperture control.

    From Sony Style website “Attaching Sony A-mount lens requires LA-EA1 adaptor (sold separately). Manual focus and full open aperture shooting only.”

    Interesting camera but I think I will wait until AG 100 comes out.

  3. Sony don’t seem to have been paying attention to all the discussion on sites like this over the last 18 months – all the customer demand for Canon to implement 24p on the 5DII etc.

    The limitations on frame rate are bizarre. Why do we still have fixed frame rates per region in 2010? It’s not like there’s some hardware limitation on providing both.

    Sony always seem to let their marketing department cripple the spec on their products. This is an interesting camera, but it could have been a lot better!

  4. Couldn’t believe this when I saw it this morning. I knew before reading more that it would be handicapped by not having native 24p, 25p PAL and 30p NTSC as it is still a Sony consumer model. Such a pity.

    Now give us a HF-S model from Canon that takes EF and EF-S lenses (oh, and 50/60p for good measure) and things start to get even more interesting.

  5. The camera also takes 14 megapixel stills, which to me says that there is no optical low pass filter and aliasing and moire won’t be much better on this then on dslrs, which is a shame.

    I am still waiting for someone to make one of these with a redesigned sensor for video. (I am sure every manufacturer is working on them, it just takes time). At least the Af100 is going to have a strong optical low pass filter to deal with the overly-high resolution sensor. But it is still just a dslr sensor thrown in a video camera.

  6. This does look really exciting – but agree why 1080i and not 1080p?!!

    Will be interesting to see if there will be a lens mount adaptor that will allow use of Canon/Nikon glass….? Probably third party accessory (hopefully).

    I’m wondering if this will be the start of a new breed of hybrids and looking forward to see if Canon can follow with a more flexible-friendly spec. They’ve learn a lot about what users want from video with their DSLRs.

  7. That looks pretty cool, but have to agree with you that interlaced footage blows big time. Nice to see though that the big guys are starting to put bigger chips in their cams – curious to see if Scarlet will still come out with a 2/3 now that almost everyone has a APS or 4/3 chip cam now (and will be out before Scarlet ships). Fun times!

  8. looking at the spec sheet, I don’t see any advantages over a t2i, but I see lots of disadvantages (1080i, fps, price)

    and given how badly they solved the codec issue (seriously, drop that “i”, forever), I wouldn’t expect them to offer anything special in other areas (rolling shutter, aliasing, etc)

    1. I used two T2i for lengthy interviews and both overheated. I’m eying this camera because I expect I can film events without interruption. Won’t work with DSLR.

  9. Interesting, but is it in danger of falling somewhere in the middle and not finding a niche? It only really seems to address some of the ergonomic issues with DSLRs without including much else on the crossover wish list. It doesn’t share many of the pro features of the similarly sized and priced JVC GY-HM100 for instance. I have a feeling it will become known more for what it doesn’t do than what it does – which is a shame.

  10. introducing the starship enterprise… the market this fall/winter is gonna get really exciting. rumors of canon’s gamechanger? care to shed any light on what you found out at NAB, philip? i understand… i know you’re silence is a contractual mandate.

  11. Sounds like a good idea but lacks XLR inputs and taxing power
    1080p 24, 25, 30, 50 and 60. Without these functions will win panasonic
    market, although the sensor is larger.

    Com will be compatible canon lenses?

  12. This is where I think Sony have it right and Panasonic have it wrong. Sony’s lower price allowing us to use the lenses we are already using on the 5d and at a price point similar to a 5d/7d. The 5d has meant i’m now learning more about photography which widens my ability and services, and i’m really enjoying the convergence. I still prefer filming with a shoulder mount camera but also love filming with the 5d. The public either think i’m filming for TV or snapping for the local press. Well done Sony, looks good so far.

  13. Looks interesting. Does it offer any progressive recording, such as 720p, alongside the 1080i?

    1080i-only kind of takes the edge off for me.

  14. Don’t get me wrong, this is exciting. But as Philip said, this is the beginning of something and I think we will see better things in the future. This is the market started by DSLR cameras. You can really tell they are targeting the DLSR market with that video.

    Too bad it doesn’t have XLR, 24fps, 1080p. I think they should have made a $3000 camera and added more of these deal-breaker features to it. Obviously they are trying to keep in the DSLR price range. Can’t wait to see what video cameras the competition comes up with.

  15. The 24Mbps AVCHD is actually impressive – coming from Sony. As people get to know mpeg-4/H.264 compression, and as NLE software is now beginning to catch up with it, it really is a strong format that is easy to embrace for pro applications.

    The killer on this camera is exactly what Phillip noted — 1080i. And it really does kill this thing that, with progressive capture options (and perhaps a few frame rates), could have been the next “DVX.”

  16. Why in the world would they create a APS-C sensor camera with only 1080i60i?
    Seems like it would defeat the purpose? I’m interested to see the next generation of DSLR’s. It would be nice if Canon would put mini-XLR jacks on them like the RED One has. And a pigtale with something other than bloody HDMI.

  17. Can it be adapted to Canon and Nikon lenses?

    Also heard a rumor that the 60/50i is actually a progressive capture split into fields like the v1 does.

    1. Meaning that when you merge-field de-interlace you could get your progressive image back. It works on the V1.

      I like the LCD and form-factor.

  18. Phil you seriously going to get this?!
    clearly all the major players are going to be coming out with this type of camera, are you going to buy sony lenses now? i thought you were a nikon and canon lens holder.
    Dont you think its worth waiting for canon to come out with a proper ex1 style body with full frame from 5d with xlrs and all the other things we have come to expect.

  19. They could’ve easily had a huge leg up on everyone had they just added dual XLR with manual controls. That’s one thing that is very frustrating about DSLRs and I think adding more broadcast style audio controls would’ve made this camera easier to sell.

    Not to mention adding more framerate options. I figured everyone was on the transition to a progressive world instead of interlaced.

    Hopefully Canon will get it right.

  20. Isn’t AVCHD an H.264 variant? It basically is H.264 yeah? 24mbit is decent sure but still well under the bit rate on Canon’s HDSLRs. I’m not sure exactly what they use but I think it’s 38 or 40 something.

      1. H.264 and AVCHD are the same codec. The bitrate isn’t really what’s important though. A higher bitrate just means the compression is less efficient. The high bitrate of the Canon DSLRs and of the hacked GH1, etc, are just band-aids to deal with the fact that the codec implementations suck. The HMC-150 uses AVCHD at 24Mbps and has a much much much higher quality codec with much cleaner compression, lack of artifacts, and unbreakability compared to the DSLRs, all with smaller filesizes. This is accomplished by using a better GOP layout, with B-frames, etc.

    1. AVCHD is a .h264 variant, but it is compressed much more efficently then the variant that the canon HDSLR’s shoot, AVCHD has been shown to be pretty competitive with Sony’s 35/mb XDCAM codec, though much more proccesor intensive to play. Also I don’t think the DSLR’s compress their video very well on the fly, and thats why they end up having such a high bitrate and yet still seem very compressed.

    1. I really only count one box missing: 24p. The short flange distance of the E-mount means that, like m4/3, lenses from other companies can easily be adapted. This is why I invested in manual Nikkor glass about equally with m4/3 glass for my GH1, and why most people I know with the Canon DSLRs did the same. Manual Nikkors are great to invest in because the long flange distance and manual controls means you’ll be able to use them on just about any camera you ever own.

  21. If you download the video file on Vimeo or the Sample test shot of the NEX-5 From D-Preview I can’t see the interlacing at 100%?

    Footage from the NEX-5 reports back as “Video Tracks:
    H.264, 1920 × 1080, 25 fps, 36.20 Mbps”

    As the NEX-VG10 uses the same chip what gives? I could understand Sony’s film on Vimeo being de-interlaced but not the raw sample from the NEX-5 on dpreview. Am I missing something here?

    Reference: – 1.13GB -92MB

    Cheers, James

  22. Sony’s 24Mbit is decent – fine – no problem. The hacked GH1 needed 44Mbit AVCHD because it had such a dodgy implementation of AVCHD with tons of bugs, like a spike in P frames causing ‘mud’ and a complete break up of the image on occasion.

    Sony have put the raw footage up for download and it looks great. No moire or aliasing, seems to have much better image processing chips inside designed around video. But the lack of 24p still really bugs me.

    I am sticking with the 2nd generation of video DSLRs due later this year from Photokina onward, going to be some exciting developments.

  23. I get a feeling that Sony customer support are wanting you to email them and say I’ll buy this if it had 24p, I wonder if we all did that what would happen – are Sony trying to get people talking and jibing them online, so they can then give us a free firmware update like Canon did, I’m guessing that this is more about free online marketing turning from hate to love than it is about 1080i. Only one way to find out email Sony customer support and talk of a willingness to buy once 24p is addressed.

  24. I’ve noticed that in reaction to this product launch, user forums across the Interwebs have been buzzing with cranky codgers who are turning up their noses at this product merely because it does not crank out video files in 24p, out-of-the-box.

    As noted earlier in these comments, as soon as you lay down the video tracks from this camera into a non-linear video editor (e.g., Adobe Premiere Pro) – and who doesn’t? – you have the ability to take the 60i file and, assuming your editing software is more than a toy, the 60i stream will interpolate to 30p or 24p without any problem. Remember, the APS sensor captures in progressive, but the camera is saving the footage into an interlaced container with a doubled framerate. Sony does this for two reasons: first, because they adjudged the simplicity of this approach to be most versatile (satisfying the need to capture fast motion while staging the signal path from 60i back to 30p/24p); and second, because they are predictably wedded to their own Blu-Ray standard, which notably does not have a 30p mode in its specifications at all and would take the 60i stream gracefully. I don’t know if everyone realizes this, but Blu-Ray is the future of physical media and you’re either going to burn to that, or downscale your footage considerably (making these debates pointless).

    And after all that, the fundamental question is whether the complaints amount to anything in the real world. Would it have been preferable for Sony to provide more options, including 24p and 30p? Yes, always! But even if minor signal degradation occurs in the NLE going from 60i to 30p, can you see it?

    I cannot, under even the most optimal circumstances shooting in AVCHD at a lower bitrate than this and with fast vertical motion. (I am referring to a careful A-B comparison on a Dell Ultrasharp U2711 panel viewing footage shot on a HDR-XR500V in AVCHD 17 Mbps that started as 1080i/60 and rendered out to 1080p/30.)

    As usual, the crux of bitching and moaning is the usual suspect: gadget fanboys who have spent their lunch money on last season’s toy and will defend it fiercly no-matter-what. Many of these people too have been compromising the hell out of their art, shooting with Canon 5DmkII and 7D D-SLRs using goofy rigs, separate audio capture and gelatin footage.

    And I won’t even get into the hilarity here of that whole 24p fetish, which is to say that amateur filmmakers presume jittery motion somehow instantaneously evokes the formality of cinematic art. Nonsense. Celluloid has much more to offer than 24 frames per second: detail, saturation, a low noise floor and a precious absence of digital artifacts. Moreover, I challenge anyone who insists on 24p to prove that they’ve ever once in their life gotten their footage printed onto celluloid (which is the reference point for their demand in the first place)!

    1. Fine. Well said. Just please let it have 60P for sports. Is that too much to ask? Isn’t that what the TV sellers push now? Higher frame rates like 120P? Is it too much to ask that camcorders catch up? Isn’t interlace 1930’s video technology? All of my video ends up on YouTube or Vimeo (and yours too) and is usually watched on a flatscreen monitor with progressive video display. So why does Sony perpetuate interlaced technology that was forced on us because of the limitations of cathode ray tubes. Who uses a CRT display anymore? It’s a nice camera, but Sony needs to step out of the past and go all progressive.

    2. Paul first of all well written. I for one have only one reason to use 24p. That would be to get slow shutter speeds ( 1/50th vs 1/120 ) to have control of motion blur.

      Could you tell me how you would get the motion blur from the 60i framerate? I would appreciate any further input you could give.


  25. I think one thing that is seriously overlooked is the apparent lack of monitor out. Without the lack of live hdmi out, it is much inferior to the Canon’s, and could not be used in a real production environment my major gripe with the GH1, compared with the Canon’s). It seems Sony have only included an hdmi-out for playback in you living room, and not monitoring (or capturing). Does anybody have a clue from the specs/first hand experience?

  26. I really don’t like paying 800 for that useless slow lens (F6.3) but that uncompressed HDMI-output looks interesting. Does anyone know what the portable options are for capturing that HDMI-stream? Since it got the same sensor as NEX5/3 I guess it also got that horrible moiré.

  27. Canon starts making proper camcorder like the “Canon LEGRIA HF M32 Full HD”(europe). No interchangeable lenses for the moment but we can guess what ‘the camcorders of the future’ will be like…

    ‘DSLR vs Camcorder war’ has already begun

  28. It looks great and the sample video is impressive. It has the set back of the lenses and the 50i although it´s easy to convert to progressive. A friend that had the camera in his hands told me the build quality is really fragile. The 5D MKII price but still looks tempting. I don´t think we will need much more than 18-55mm lens…Bearing in mind the crop factor it will be a very good mid zoom lens. I don´t think it is going to be a completely versatile solution but I agree with Philip´s policy which I think it is to use a different approach to each production… to me that´s what makes sense too. Sometimes I shoot 1D others 5D, 7D, 550, JVC GY 251, RED one…whatever the job requires…I even shot a commercial with a TZ-7 and a go pro. 🙂
    Thanks Philip for breaking the news and see you in London on the 14th.

  29. hoi,

    as i’ve heard it’s progressive embedded in a interlaced container…
    looking really good…
    nikon is coming with continuos AF in video mode! even in the base model – a d3000 replacement model which goes really cheap!!! and 1080p24…

    btw, happy with the test gear from canon, phil?

    i mean, i presume you’ve got your hands on some and that it’s wonderful…

    it’s gonna be really some amazing form of cine style shooting, right??


    exciting times indeed…

    sorry for red and scarlet though…

  30. So this shoots progressive segmented frames then, not interlaced, two identical streams of progressive material in the container.

    No deinterlacing needed, no blending two streams, they’re both identical.

    Just import into the NLE and tell it not to be stupid and try deinterlacing. 😉

  31. The new Nikon DSLR D3100 looks interesting too (if the early reports are accurate) and is set to be the benchmark for DSLR video. I’m going to wait till photokina (21.9.10) before I get any new kit.

  32. The fact that sony put this this camera(whit some limitations) on the market as an consumer product, i’m very curious what they have in mind for the (pro)sumer market.

  33. I’m still not sure why so many people complain about a camera that records in interlace rather than progressive. For the majority of professionals working in TV news everything is shot interlaced. This camera is aimed at low end freelancers covering news events etc.
    Not everything has to have the film look. AVCHD may have a lower bitrate than DSLR’s but it is a way easier format to work with in quick turn around situations. I shoot on Sony HD Cam, XDcam and digi beta, I also own Canon DSLR’s and I also have a Sony NEX-5 which uses the exact same size sensor as this camera. Throw on a good Alpha series lens and the picture quality is very very good for such a small camera.
    DSLR’s are fine for certain things but they aren’t the answer……this camera is a step in the right direction. Is it perfect….no…but Sony is heading in the right direction.
    I have been a professional broadcast cameraman for more than 20 years and i’ll tell you now most TV stations servers aren’t set up for progressive material. If your looking to shoot in only 24 or 25p then clearly this isn’t the camera for you.

    1. With a proper implementation 24Mbps AVCHD will be much better quality than Canon’s implementation of H.264. I’m not sure if I agree that it’s an easier format to work with in quick turn around…both are long-GOP codecs and should be transcoded prior to editing…in fact they’re both H.264!

  34. Several sources are saying that the camera actually records 30p (over 60i) or 25p (over 50i).

    Seems odd in the case of the NTSC model, because I can’t think of anybody who would prefer 30p. U.S. filmmakers want 24p, while consumers likely want 60i.

    At least the PAL version sounds like it can get true 25p, which is kind of funny, because the PAL version actually sounds like it would be better for U.S. filmmakers than the NTSC (30p) version of the camera.

  35. My understanding the camera is 25p in a 50i wrapper. As for broadcasters not being setup to transmit progressive images, i haven’t seen interlaced material in our post house for a couple of years – we edit progs for BBC, C4, C5 and so on.

  36. Awesome looking camera, I always wanted DOF in a camcorder. Almost dropped a bunch of money on all these gadgets, just to get the “look”. 2k for a camera mount, LOL, really? 5K for a “Lens Adapter” really?

    Can’t wait for this and others to hit the shelves.

  37. “Attaching Sony A-mount lens requires LA-EA1 adaptor (sold separately). Manual focus and full open aperture shooting only.”

    What will this mean?

  38. Oh yeah, we have quite a different understanding what constitutes low-end. I’m in the market for a replacement for my consumer-grade Canon SD DV-camera, looking to spend up to 200 quid tops. Guess I’ll have to keep looking.

  39. 1080p/24p in a camera of this size, price and codec will just not happen. Especially if it in anyway competes with Sony’s higher-end formats (HDCAM, XDCAM HD 422).
    I do not believe AVCHD has the bandwith to do 1080p. You couldn’t do that with HDV.
    My guess if you are not authoring to BLU-Ray or projecting it in a theater with a film out do you need 1080p, you can do it with 720p and it looks great.
    I am having great results with my HDX900 and a Nanoflash.
    Remember SONY= Soon Only Not Yet!

    1. What are you talking about? AVCHD supports 1080p24 and 1080p30 with or without being inserted into an interlaced (60i) stream. Canon has it. Panasonic has it.

  40. I think that, before the end of the year, we’ll see a prosumer model out that will be based on a lot of the gruntwork done to make the NEX-VG10 a reality.

    Sony has made probably a dozen consumer / prosumer crossover camcorders with different plastics, or add on XLR accessories so their two divisions work together quite fluidly. While we may complain about this or that feature or choice that bothers us about the VG10, I think Sony did this as a “feeler” to see what the prosumer model needed to have coming out of the gate, and if that’s really the case, then they are really smart to listen to the various forums & blogs and make the prosumer model a kick-arse camera. I’ve thrown in my 2¢ for pro features in my blog post so I won’t repeat them her eon Philip’s space.

  41. According to Sony tech support this camera will give you a
    CLEAN HDMI output (no indicators or indicators can be switched off) and we only have to find out exactly what kind of signal is coming out of that HDMI.
    If it is uncompressed 1080 and the sensor is progressive, then the camcorder could possibly be paired with a CINEDECK.

    That might be a solution!
    What do you think?

  42. Just found User guide of Sony NEX-VG10

    Page 38:

    The power turns off suddenly.
    • When the camcorder or battery pack is too warm, the camcorder displays a warning message and turns off automatically to protect the camcorder.

    oh no!
    Well, better go with NEX-5 !

  43. So for all those kats looking for 24p, I just finished talking with Sony support, and they confirmed that a firmware update is already planned and in the works. While this doesn’t confirm that 24p, the fact that they already have a firmware update (when the camera is just releasing here in Canada) planned is hopefull news. Perhaps if enough people take this (sony support says there is a firmware with 24p!) and run with it Sony will do something about it.

    1. Conor, I have the 50i version on pre-order at digitalrev. I figure going out to a nanoflash in 25p suits me better than 29.97. Henry’s Camera online claims they have it in stock. However don’t know when that is coming. Do you think the 24p firmware would be just the wrapped in a 60i thing like the canon’s?

  44. I bought the camera. I like it. I have the 550, 5d mk2, hvx200, and now the NEX10.

    It’s a good little cam. It in fact shoots 29.97P from the 60I. So, it is progressive. Hdmi out is full 1080 so I expect to capture to the atomos ninja when released (if it is in fact compatible).

    What I like about the camera is what the 550 and 5dmk2 lack. That being form factor, SOUND (the mic is amazing) and the ability to monitor it, auto focus, and no limit on record time. It takes a really nice image.

    Still aliases, has moire, rolling shutter which I feel is about the same quality as the 550d (and I guess the 7d).

    I hear that a 24p mode is in the works, but I care less about that. If they make it, great. they would sell more units with 24p.

    I think what people need to understand is that this is a HANDYCAM. Sure there could be more features, but overall its a nice cam to have in my bag.

    One thing I like is that it looks like a camcorder. I’ve had a ton of times where I am shooting with the HDSLR and people freeze thinking I’m gonna take a still. I’m sure you, Philip, have said a 1000 times, “It’s video”…

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