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Okay so we'll be honest, we were never great fans on the original NEX-VG10E. Whilst it was the first APS-C sized camcorder to hit the market (it was launched nearly two years to the day at the last Photokina), it really didn't offer the control you needed and frustrated with its controls as much as it pleased with its image.
Things have moved on and VG20E was a step on from the original camera and Sony had finally listened to a great number of the criticisms. That camera was short lived as Sony announced today the launch of the NEX-VG30E. Unfortunately, it has rather had the wind blown out of its sails by the announcement of its new bigger brother - the NEX-VG900E.
This is the first Handycam to use a 35mm full frame sensor to full exploit the range of interchangeable lenses from Sony and Zeiss.
The 24.3 effective megapixel sensor is the same as found in the new Alpha a99 and RX1 - effectively it's almost twice the size of an APS-C sensor.
The camera shoots in AVCHD 2 at full 1080p in 50p, 25p and 24p (can also shoot at 50i). Recording is onto SDHC card.
Interestingly Sony have included Cinema Tone Gamma and Cinema Tone Colour - whether these will be gimmicks or of any genuine gain, we will just have to wait and see.
The camera comes with an EA-3 adaptor as standard allowing you to bolt Alpha mount lenses straight on. With a translucent mirror built into it, it offers contrast and phase AF. If you're just bolting on E mount lenses, you have the same contrast AF you will have already experienced in the current NEX range. Sony have added a rocker switch for zooming on the camera - this will be able to work with the power zoom E mount lenses that have also recently been launched.
Audio wise, it continues the high end consumer theme of offering a Quad Capsule Spatial array microphone for surround sound BUT (and this is a big but) you can also, through the new Multi Interface Shoe, attach an optional XLR adaptor kit.
Controls wise, does it still frustrate? I expect so - we will see as soon as we can get our hands on one. Will Sony Pro bring out their version? We'll just have to wait and see. We'll have a NEX-VG900E available to play with in November.
Sony's RX100 with its 1 inch sensor has already proved a great hit with our pro customers, wanting to find out if it really is the ideal compact back-up. We knew Sony weren't going to be stopping there and finally the camera is announced - the DSC-RX1.
Put simply, the RX1 is a compact camera with a 35mm full frame 24.3 megapixel sensor and Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 35mm f2 prime lens. Okay so it's not that cheap (well it wouldn't be, would it) but it has to be up there as one of the most tempting travel and street photography cameras.
The RX1 shares its sensor with the new Alpha 99 with a much expanded ISO range of 100-25600. You can use Multi Frame Noise Reduction which will take your ISO ceiling up to 102400.
The lens' wide f2 9-bladed circular aperture enables great bokeh. If you want to shoot Macro shots, there's a switch on the lens barrel to allow you to instantly focus down to a distance of just 20cm. If you're frustrated about being limited to just 35mm, it's worth remembering that there's also a Smart Teleconverter function that crops the central portion of the image sensor, boosting effective magnification by 1.4x or 2x.
Sony's tried to aim this camera firmly at the pro - focus and aperture are both controlled from the lens. On the top you'll find exposure compensation and mode dials. It's also good to see Sony following Fuji's lead in using a good old fashioned screw in remote trigger.
Clearly this camera will also get a lot of attention from the movie makers. If you want to shoot in manual focus, the camera offers a MF assist function and there's also peaking. An optional electronic viewfinder can also be added for greater precision. You can shoot 50p/60p or 25p/24p at full 1080 using AVCHD2. It also has a stereo mic input on the side, allowing you to put a Rode Mic on top. HDMI feed is there - whether it is clean or not I'm not sure but to be honest, if you're interested in that, the Alpha a99 would probably be the way to go.
Clearly there's a large range of creative styles and picture effects and Sony's also put in their Auto HDR and D-Range Optimizer functions (which we have tried on the RX100 to good effect).
The camera will be available around December and yes, we will be stocking it!
Sitting in a nearly empty but beautiful pub up in Lincolnshire on my way to another roadshow tomorrow with a glass of wine to hand, I can now reflect on what has been a manic but great three days at IBC.
So what's happened this year? Friday was all about scouting around seeing what took my eye and by lunchtime I realised that on the surface there wasn't a huge amount that hit you in face - digging deeper was necessary.
So what of camera releases? Firstly the Canon EOS-C100. Every single time I went to Canon stand, the cameras were strangely not crowded round at all. Either no-one knew they were there or frankly didn't care - most strange. Thing is, I wasn't actually that bowled over when the email came through from Canon with the spec but the more I have had time to handle it and think over it, I'm more sold. With a Zacuto Stiker rig, grip relocator and Z-Finder Pro, it just feels so natural to use. If you're wondering what it can shoot, worry no more.
This evening Sebastien Devaud released his video Just C It! For those that are giving AVCHD and the C100 a hammering, do please have a look at it. Interestingly we bumped into him whilst we were filming Nino Leitner's views on the C100 - as with most filmmakers, what a incredibly nice guy.
I'm looking forward to getting the C100's and do think they will prove really popular with our customers, not least because we've tried to price them as temptingly as we could to 5D Mk III hirers as we could afford!
You would have to be on another planet to have not followed all the buzz about the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera. I finally got a chance to really play with Philip Bloom's one on Saturday evening (diverted his attention with a G 'n T) and it's quite addictive, even if you have to completely re-align all your ideas of how to hold a camera! People have been making a huge thing about the sensor size and I really think they are hugely missing the point. The only real issue is wide shots on using the EF mount and BMD have now addressed this with the announcement they are launching a Micro 4/3rds mount. Having just bought a pile of Leica M mount Leica and Zeiss lenses, this is music to my ears as those lenses with a small adaptor will bolt straight on and still maintain the small form factor and provide what should be incredible images.
One thing that I did realise is that colouring is clearly now essential (and embracing it should be actively encouraged) and a whole new wave of film makers are going to have absolutely no option but to learn to colour. Thankfully my mate Den had the solution to hand - a quick trip to those very nice people at Tangent. If you don't know who Tangent are, you really should if you want to start colouring. Do you really need a tablet? The only kind of analogy I can come up with is to compare it to using the keyboard to do everything rather than the mouse. You can cut corners but your work flow will never flow and it just feels so natural.
We had a long chat with the guys there and are looking at coming up with a Cinema Filming package that would see you hiring the BMCC and then hiring a tablet once the filming is over. Resolve Lite is free and does pretty much everything you would need. I would be really pleased to hear thoughts on this - do you like the idea?
So onto Sony. The PMW-200 was there, as expected, but the PMW-150 was a surprise. Can't see a huge market for it as if I was buying, I'd pay the extra for the 200 but I could be wrong (wouldn't be the first time). I did quite like the XM Pilot option that is available of both allowing you to control the camera via anything that can access an IP address on a browser.
Moving over to the NEX-EX50EH. I really like this camera and funnily enough the first thing I said to Sony boss Bill Drummond was please can you build an FS700 in this form. Sony have really got this one right and I can really see Z1/V1/Z5 owners warming to it when they have previously been apprehensive about interchangeable lens larger sensor cameras. The servo zoom on the new lens works well. As it's a photo lens, it doesn't keep a constant focus and so you'd need to count on the AF to keep this on track. Put simply, I wouldn't try a rapid zoom in but certainly on testing it wasn't that bad and let's be honest, it's way better than anything possible on this format so far. But Sony have got it so right with this camera in its design - you don't need a rig or accessories.
So on to accessories. We have stocked Bebob accessories for a while but until now, I had never met them and what a pleasure that was. Philippe (the owner) and Christophe (sales director) are just the most wonderful people you could ever meet and it was clear to see just why their new cages and rigs are so good. It got better when we saw the new Coco-15 battery with 7.6, 8.4 and 12V outputs and various mouting options. As cameras demand more and varied power demands, this product is right on the money. We hopefully will be stocking both pretty soon.
We had an interesting bump into Erik Widding from Birger Engineering on Saturday. We interviewed him to find out just what has been happening since NAB 2011 - we'll get that posted up very soon - watch this space.
Saturday night saw me firstly at the Sony party to celebrate the Duran Duran film that Den DP'd. Shot with F3's, FS100's and even the little MCR1P minicams - on the big screen it looked superb. A quick change and it was off to the Amsterdam DSLR meetup and it's always great to meet with faces and names alike. What it instantly shows you is what a friendly community the filming one is.
Indeed the industry itself is such and to be honest it's a small old world and one reason why IBC (and NAB) are so great - it's good to catch up with everyone - suppliers, manufacturers and customers.
A huge thanks to great pal Den Lennie for helping with the interviews - he's a natural and a very good friend (and a damn good teacher so check out his courses). Thanks to Phil Bloom for letting me finally get my hands on a BMCC and always good to catch up with him and Sarah over a rather nice curry! Bratwurst next week at Photokina?
Was great to catch up with loads of filmmaker pals - Seb Wiegaertner, Nino Leitner, Phil Artnz (looking forward to his release of Sophie - his first short), Paul Williams and so many others and it was a privilege to have a good chat with Tom Lowe who produced Timescapes (seriously, if you haven't seen it, WATCH IT). This is why I enjoy my job!
Next week does indeed see us at Photokina which will be a HUGE two days. Announcements will be continuing on Wednesday this week with Sony finally making public all the things I can't say!
Sony have kicked off IBC 2012 by revealing the new PMW-150. Not surprisingly it is designed to fit in between the PMW-100 and PMW-200.
Here is the press release -
IBC, Amsterdam, 7 September 2012 (Hall 12, stand 12.A10) – Sony has expanded its XDCAM HD422 product line-up with the PMW-50 SxS Field Gear and the PMW-150 50mbps HD422 handheld camcorder equipped with 3x Full HD 1/3-inch Exmor™ CMOS sensors and a 20x zoom lens. These two new products strengthen a range that has proven ideal in terms of flexibility, performance and image quality for all broadcast HD productions.
The handheld PMW-150 joins a family of popular HD422 SxS camcorders that include the PMW-100, PMW-200 and the shoulder-mount PMW-500, making this the strongest and most versatile HD422 range in the industry.
“With fast file-based operation, codec efficiency and outstanding picture quality, XDCAM HD422 products are ideal for applications such as news gathering, when workflow speed is a key concern. They are equally invaluable when seeking a high-quality HD broadcast image without compromising production costs and efficiencies, for example in the production of TV documentaries and mainstream entertainment programs,” said Bill Drummond, Strategic Marketing Manager, Professional Solutions Europe. “With the development of not just the new PMW-50 field gear, but also the PMW-150 professional camcorder we are offering the most extensive range of broadcast quality HD422 50Mbps acquisition tools on the market today.”
The PMW-150 is equipped with three chip 1/3-inch Exmor™ CMOS sensors and delivers high sensitivity and low noise compared to similar 1/3-inch camcorders available in the market. It comes armed with a 20x zoom lens with a focal length of 29.5-590mm (35mm equiv.) and is capable of shooting wide angle (optional wide converter VCL-HG0872K available) from a distance, making it great for event productions, documentaries and more. The lens is equipped with three independent rings for focus, zoom and iris adjustment with full manual control, plus an image stabilising function.
The PMW-150 is capable of shooting in 1080/50i, 1080/25P, 720/50P, 720/25P or PAL. To meet familiar professional operational and creative shooting needs, this camcorder also features a four-position built-in ND filter switch (Clear, 1: 1/4, 2: 1/16, 3: 1/64) and a powerful Slow & Quick motion function which enables capture at 1 fps to 60 fps in 720p mode, and from 1 fps to 30 fps in 1080p mode. The PMW-150 also comes with an invaluable 15 second cache recording feature: It can use its internal memory to capture content, even before the recording button is pressed (maximum of 15 seconds), allowing users to record important moments that would have otherwise been missed.
Genlock In and Time Code In/Out interfaces make the PMW-150 ideal for multi-camera environments. The camcorder also offers users unrivalled flexibility in recording media choice, operating with Sony’s professional SxS technology as well as other media such as SD, Memory Stick and XQD cards (adaptor required). A Wi-Fi remote control (adaptor required) for the PMW-150 enhances flexibility for studio or on-location use offering white balance and playback controls via compatible mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
Light-weight and mobile, the PMW-150 can be used for a wide variety of applications not just in broadcast and production but also in education, corporate, and event videography.
Today Zeiss issued a press release about their future plans, prior to Photokina in Cologne next week. We have committed to stocking the most comprehensive range of Zeiss camera glass in the UK so it's very exciting news for us.
First off is the announcement of a telephoto lens for SLR cameras which will premiere next week at Photokina and should be available to hire from the end of the year.
Zeiss have also announced a new 55m f/1.4 high performance lens, the first of a new range designed for demanding users. It uses a newly developed optical design that produces performance comparable with medium format systems. The lens should be available in the second half of 2013.
Compact camera systems such as Sony's NEX range have proved hugely popular and we're delighted to say that Zeiss are going to offer a new family of autofocus lenses for these cameras, available mid-2013. Initially fixed focal lengths will be made available in wide angle, standard and macro.
That's not all! Next year Zeiss will launch at least one fast lens for M Mount users which is great news for not only Leica owners but also the growing number of FS100/FS700 video users who use an M Mount adaptor to take advantage of these lenses.
We'll be at Photokina next week so expect to see more details and photos as we get them!
Yesterday Sony announced the new NEX-5R. Whether you're interested in the NEX series of cameras or not, it does show where things are moving to and how this is the first example of what cameras will be like in the future. Why?
The NEX-5R is the first interchangeable lens digital camera made by Sony to offer integrated Wi-Fi capabilities. This allows you to share images by transferring wirelessly to any smartphone or tablet that's running Sony's free PlayMemories Mobile app (available on Android and iOS). We have all become accustomed to posting up photos on social media sights such as Facebook and it's not just for personal use - at Hireacamera we take photos all the time to post up to keep customers abreast of new equipment arriving. Whilst the iPhone is pretty good for this purpose, as we’re in the business, better quality photos are expected and were it easier, we would do it more often. The NEX-5R allows this to be a reality and we can see this feature becoming the norm moving forwards.
But that’s not all. Sony is using this wireless connection to allow the camera to download Camera Apps. Most of us have countless photo apps on our iPhone and there’s no denying that a fair few are very effective and most of all fun. Sony is now bringing this possibility to their cameras. Apps at launch include ‘Picture Effect+’, ‘Bracket Pro’, ‘Multi Frame NR’, ‘Smart Remote Control’ and ‘Direct Upload’. Sony plans to provide more new apps later, such as “Photo Retouch” followed by “Time-lapse” and ”Cinematic Photo”, and I’m very sure that social media and photo sites such as Facebook and Flickr will be supported with direct uploading pretty quickly.
So why is all this important? Customers are hungry for constant imagery. Using your phone as a wireless hotspot, images can be taken, manipulated and uploaded straight onto your social media site. Yes, you could just stick an SD card in your Macbook Air and upload them right now but the fact is we don’t or indeed can’t always have it to hand.
It’s an exciting development – one that many will be following keenly.
Ultra-compact Full HD video camera for extreme sports and point-of-view shooting
- Ultra-compact, wearable Full HD camcorder
- Capture all the action with 170° wide angle Carl Zeiss® lens
- High quality images even in low light condition with Exmor R™ CMOS sensor
- SteadyShot™ image stabilisation cuts blur for smoother footage
- 2 types of HD slow-motion modes (4x/ 2x) make your action more dramatic
- Control your camera with your smartphone or transfer footage to your smartphone via Wi-Fi
- Shoot in snow or down to 60m with supplied waterproof case
Wherever life takes you, get a thrilling first-person viewpoint with new Action Cam from Sony.
Weighing just 90g with supplied battery, ultra-compact HDR-AS15 Action Cam shoots detail-packed Full HD video, whether you’re hiking, biking, snorkelling, surfing or sky-diving.
Fix Action Cam to your cycling helmet or board with the supplied adhesive mounts that press easily to smooth or curved surface. Alternatively, wear Action Cam with an optional Waterproof Head Mount kit. Then just press the large, fumble-free Record button to start ‘hands-free’ shooting.
The sensitive Exmor R CMOS sensor inside Action Cam lets you shoot crisp, low-noise video footage in almost any light, from dawn until dusk.
The high quality Carl Zeiss® Tessar® lens gives an ultra-wide 170° angle of view for a thrilling sense of your surroundings – from ski slopes to mountain trails. For more comfortable viewing when you’re back home, SteadyShot image stabilisation helps keep footage clear and judder-free while you’re negotiating potholes or a tricky mogul field.
There’s a choice of five video record modes, from highest-quality Full HD 30p to VGA for extra-long shooting times. Two special slow-motion modes (4x and 2x) make it easier to analyse a golf swing or watch a BMX stunt in detail.
Action Cam comes supplied with a tough waterproof case for shooting in rain, snow or at depths right down 60m. It’s also ideal for shrugging off dirt and dust if you’re battling through a muddy trail route. Optional extras available from launch include a handlebar mount, a wearable headband, and a waterproof head mount kit for fans of cycling, hiking, surfing, wakeboarding and other marine sports.
The range of compatible accessories is expected to grow further over time. A tilt adaptor will give more options to angle the camera up or down for a different viewpoint, while Handheld Grip with LCD Screen unit adds a camcorder-style screen for monitoring and reviewing shots. There’s also an anti-fog sheet to stop condensation build-up and a Replacement Door Pack that offers different housing door options for improved picture or sound quality if you’re shooting underwater.
The camera’s memory card slot accepts Memory Stick Micro™ (M2) as well as Micro SD/SDHC (class 4 or higher) type cards. Just pick the card type that’s most convenient for you.
Install the PlayMemories Mobile app (Android or iOS) on your smartphone or tablet and transfer videos directly from Action Cam via Wi-Fi. The free app also lets you control Action Cam remotely from your mobile device.
The new HDR-AS15 Action Cam will be available in from mid-October.
Today Canon have announced their new EOS C100 camera, baby brother to the EOS C300.
Visually it looks quite similar to the C300 with its modular form and indeed they share the same Super 35mm 16:9 CMOS sensor. It's actually about 15% smaller than its bigger brother. A vari-angle 3.5" LCD monitor is situated at the rear of the camera - good news if you want to use it without the handle (it's attached to the handle on the C300) but bad news if you're shoulder mounting and wanting to use it - it's way too far back. The handgrip is adjustable and can be removed altogether if you're mounting on a rig. Up to 15 assignable buttons are available, should you need them. A new graphic interface is available for adjusting settings, showing both the 'before' and 'after' views side by side on-screen.
The C100 has been designed to be used by single independant operators and has features aimed at making their life easier. The first is a new One Shot AF button - this is a first for Canon's Cinema range. There is also Push Auto Iris and Auto Balance. Interestingly enough, Continuous AF and Iris adjustment will be made available through a firmware update some point in 2013, though this will only be possible using Canon's new range of EF Stepper Motor (STM) lenses (of which at present there is only the 40mm f2.8 pancake).
Okay, so we know the sensor is the same but what about recording formats? The camera records in 4:2:0 AVCHD at 24mps. This will be probably a disappointment for many but probably not that surprising considering what price bracket Canon is aiming for (we hope!). Just a shame Canon can't offer the same 50/60fps at full 1080 using 28mps AVCHD2 as the Sony's. Frame rates offered are 24, 25 and 30p and 50,60i. Uncompressed video is available through the HDMI complete with embedded timecoding so you could bolt a Ninja or similar onto it. If you do plan to use the internal recording, you will be recording onto SD cards. The C100 has two slots, allowing you to record to both cards simulataneously with Double Slot Recording or you can use Relay Recording to automatically switch across between the two, allowing hot swapping. Interestingly enough, you can record HD to one card and down-converted SD to the other simultaneously.
It's worth adding that low light performance should be pretty impressive with an ISO range of 320-20,000. Canon have included a new Wide Dynamic Range gamma setting, ideal for shooting in demanding high contrast situations (Canon claim it achieves a dynamic range of up to 800% without the need for extensive colour grading in post). Canon have also included Canon Log Gamma which should allow you to match up with a C300 if you were using the two on a shoot.
Lens wise, the C100 will work with all EF and EF-S lenses. It's pleasing to see that Canon have included a built in ND filter.
So who's it aimed at? Hmmm. That's a tricky one given its expected price. The Sony FS100 and FS700 are pretty strong competition and with a Metabones EF adaptor, you can quite easily use your EF lens stock on either. It will be interesting to see how effective the AF is - this isn't a replacement for 'run and gun' scenarios but if it is good, it would strengthen the camera's case. Whatever, I'm sure Canon fans will no doubt embrace it.
Delivery is due around November and we have already put our order in.
Sitting down one night, something catches my eye – our friends over at Welshot are organizing a night shoot in Paris with well known photographer and editor of Advanced Photographer, Will Cheung, on hand to offer some advice. So a quick chat with the lovely Lee Iggulden and it’s time to book at seat on the Eurostar.
To make life a bit more interesting, I thought I’d bring along some new kit for the team to try, amongst them a brand new Canon 1Dx, Nikon D4 and some wide lenses such as the Canon 8-15mm. As I would be managing kit, I wasn’t expecting to get a huge time to play but what would I use? I decided on the Fuji X-Pro 1 with the current three prime lenses simply due to its size. I also thought I’d take along a Sony RX100 to see what an (albeit expensive) point and shoot compact could do.
If you know Lee, you’ll understand just how relaxed things were going to be. Will had picked out several key spots but other than that, it was a team consensus over what we did. The guys (and girls) attending were of varying levels and what struck me quickly was how much everyone was on hand to help.
I caught up with the crew at Notre Dame. Sadly the weather was against us and the sky was as dull as it could be. But in its own ironic way, that made everyone have to concentrate on the subject matter (of which there was plenty).
A quick dash on the Metro to the Arc de Triomphe. We hung around here for a fair while. As it started to get dark, the light came into its own (as did the rain!). Trying to dodge tourists while taking long exposures became something of a personal challenge for many but we got there in the end!
We then headed back down towards the old Cite and slowly wandered in the direction of the Louvre. I had by now started to see a pattern with the X-Pro 1. Firstly, having that ability to change primes meant I did so rather than specifically looking for the shots which was perhaps a bit lazy. That’s all very well but it soon also became a pain in the backside. I created my own problem to an extent as I wanted to shoot not only wide shots of the surroundings but also capture some portraits. So you can’t really blame the camera. However, I will be quite keen to try the zoom lens being launched later this year.
Much has already been said about the X-Pro 1’s slow focus and normally you can work around it. But once you start to lose the light and contrast, you’re pretty much on your own – to be blunt, it was nigh-on impossible to focus on what you wanted. It was an interesting step then to the 1DX which was able to focus on things I frankly couldn’t even see!!
But to be fair to the X-Pro 1, assuming you could focus (I always found ways round it focusing on a light window which I judged to be a similar distance), it’s low light capabilities really shone through.
So how did the RX100 fair? I was hugely impressed with it. I actually ran out of battery with the X-Pro 1 (left spare on charger at home!) so was left with no option but to use the RX100. It did pretty well. I played with all of its clever functions such as the handheld twilight where it takes four shots and pulls them together and I also put its HDR functions to use. We were all quite surprised how it handled itself. Simple fact is, I, like many others, use my iPhone most of the time as it’s to hand. I now have an RX100 in my laptop bag and it just allows me to capture those shots but with a huge step on quality.
So back to our marathon evening - we hung around the Louvre for a fair while as there was plenty to take and with bags down, it was an ideal opportunity to draw on Will’s knowledge to get the best out of shots. By now, the sky had cleared to give us an incredible moonlight to work with.
After that, we headed down to the river to work with reflections.
I think it’s fair to say that whilst we were starting to flag a bit by 4.30-5am, there was no question that the night had flown by incredibly quickly. A long march to the Eiffel Tower was split up with stops along the way for shots like the one of the Musee D'Orsay below.
We got there just in time to dash up to the Jardins du Trocadero to set up for sunrise. After having had such a clear night, it was a huge shame that cloud had started to form and so the light just wasn’t what we were all hoping for.
I headed off to catch the 8.17 Eurostar knackered but strangely still buzzing. Having only had 3 hours sleep in the last 48 and having just walked miles, I deserved to be dead. Yet rather than sleep on the train, all I wanted to do was review my photos.
I learnt a huge amount about my photo taking that night and there is no question that I will do better next time. I could have made my life much easier using an SLR all night but I wanted the challenge!
As for the others present that evening - judging by the comments on Welshot’s Facebook site, I most certainly wasn’t the only one that thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Chatting to some of them it was clear that this was typical of all of Welshot’s events where the line between informality and learning is beautifully balanced.
I was pleased to come away from the evening with many lessons learnt and some good new friends. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend one of these events and I only hope I get a free pass from the wife to do another!
Sony have today announced the launch of the new NEX-EA50EH camcorder – an addition to the E-mount lens system.
The jump between the consumer and pro camcorders is quite a big one so it’s no surprise that Sony has chosen to fill that gap. When I was talked through the details at Sony recently, I really got quite excited. They have really thought about its design and features.
The first thing you notice is the form factor. The camera is longer than anything Sony have produced so far with good reason. Under the rear of the camera is a pull out shoulder pad. When extended, the camcorder can be balanced on your shoulder without needing to resort to additional rigs. What’s even better is when you do this, you expose 2 ¼ inch screw holes, allowing you to mount 3rd party accessories such as wireless mic receivers.
Want a compact camcorder? Simply push the shoulder mount back under the camera and it’s small enough to use handheld.
The sensor is the same APS-C sensor used in the NEX-VG20. It NOT the same Super 35mm sensor as in the FS100 but size wise they are pretty similar (FS100 – 23.6mm by 13.3mm, EA50 – 23.5mm by 15.6mm) so there isn’t much difference between them in terms of angle of view with the same focal length. Whilst we are not huge fans of the NEX-VG20 due to its frustrating lack of controls, it does produce some impressive pictures and low light performance is pretty good (though admittedly not in the same league as the incredible performance of the FS100).
The NEX-EX50EH obviously shares this quality and also adds the ability to shoot 16.1 megapixel still pictures with RAW format support. Sounds like a gimmick? I don’t think so – several times I’ve been asked for hi-res stills by clients
In terms of frame rates, it’s no surprise to find the EX50 shooting full 1080 at any frame rate but what is pleasing to see is you have 60/50Hz selection so the following are available – 50p, 25p, 50i or 60p (59.94p), 30p (29.97p), 24p (23.98p) and 60i (59.94i).
Media wise you have the normal Sony Memory Stick/SDHC slot although this camcorder has a slight twist as it is compatible with Sony’s new Mirroring Memory Stick which has a dual recording function. Cards will be available in 16gb, 32gb and 64gb sizes.
Anyone who has used a NEX camera or camcorder will be used to the E-mount system and the vast list of 3rd party lenses you can bolt on. We currently do adaptors for Sony Alpha Mount (with full phase detection autofocus possible), Nikon F, Canon EF (with iris adjustment on the camera), Leica R and M mounts and then you have the range of Sony and Sigma’s E mount lenses. Very simply the mount offers enormous possibilities.
However that’s all well if you’re into manual lenses. What about if you’re used to using a powered zoom camcorder? Sony have very cleverly taken the 18-200mm lens that has been offered on the FS100 and FS700 for a while now and added a power zoom to it – genius! On the EA50EH you can control the lens using the camera’s rocker switch on either the camcorder grip or the handle. This is a huge step forward and will warm a great deal more traditional camcorder owners towards this camera, previously frightened off by the lack of ENG type power zoom. Better still, there’s a rocker switch on the lens itself so there is nothing to stop you putting it on any E mount camera/camcorder (safe to say we’ll be ordering a few!!!).
The camera also features a Smart Digital Zoom. This means you can bolt on a prime lens and zoom up to 2x with only a small quality degradation.
I guess the only thing that's a bit of a shame is the lack of built-in ND but the reality was that it was unlikely at this price range to have it (would have been nice though). So it looks Vari-ND's on the front. How that will work with the lens hood I don't yet know (suspect it will have to be removed).
Audio wise, the EA50EH comes with 2 channel XLR audio (an ECM-XM1 shotgun mic is included) recording linear PCM audio like the FS100. It does have an internal stereo mic should you need it.
So there you go. We’ve seen a huge divide between those using interchangeable camcorders and D-SLRs and those using traditional video camcorders. There has always been an apprehension to move over. This camera bridges this divide brilliantly offering great value for money if you can’t stretch to an FS100. It will be hugely appealing to videographers and will no doubt find favour as a B camera to its bigger brothers.
We’ll have them for launch in late October. Nice one Sony!
Canon CMOS sensor
Exclusively designed and manufactured by Canon to work in combination with its own DIGIC processors, Canon’s CMOS technology integrates advanced noise reduction circuitry at each pixel site, delivering virtually noise-free images. In comparison with CCD technology, the lower power consumption characteristics of Canon’s CMOS sensors also contribute to longer battery life.
Signal conversion in Canon’s CMOS sensors is handled by individual amplifiers at each pixel site. Unnecessary charge transfer operations are avoided, vastly speeding up the process of getting the signal to the image processor. Noise is reduced, power consumption is limited and faster frame rate potential is increased.
The EOS M APS-C sensor features a new Hybrid AF System with a total of 31 AF points which uses the central pixels of the sensor to enable continuous AF when shooting in Live View Mode or when recording EOS Movies1. The Hybrid AF system uses a combination of both phase detection and contrast AF to ensure quick and accurate auto focus.
The new sensor design also produces DSLR-level image quality at both high and low ISO sensitivities, with 14-bit AD conversion for finer tonal gradation.
DIGIC 5 Image Processor
The latest generation of Canon’s DIGIC processor – DIGIC 5 – has been engineered to process more detailed image data faster than ever before, accurately reproducing every part of the scene with natural colours and smooth tones.
Processing image data six times faster than its predecessor, the power of DIGIC 5 featured in the EOS M enables photographers to utilise a range of advanced shooting settings and modes to enhance image quality or creative scope. For example, with DIGIC 5, the EOS M is able to shoot high resolution stills continuously at 4.3 frames per second, capture low-light images at ISO 12800 with minimal noise and enable new features including HDR Backlight Control.
Live View shooting
The EOS M features a 7.7cm (3.0”) 3:2 Clear View LCD II Touch screen which gives photographers the ability to easily compose shots. Photographers are able to choose from a number of onscreen displays and effectively compose and review shots in a number of ways:
- Exposure control – Different metering methods (evaluative, partial, spot and centre-weighted average metering) can be selected, ISO speed is displayed. The results of the exposure settings are also previewed on the screen, allowing users to view the final image prior to pressing the shutter release button.
- Grid display – A choice of two different grid displays divides the screen into either nine or 24 areas, perfect for composing perfectly balanced shots.
- Multi aspect ratios – Photographers can select from four different aspect ratios, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1 which will then be displayed on the screen to assist in framing each shot. When shooting in JPEG format, the image will be captured in the chosen aspect ratio, whilst images shot in RAW will be transformed to the chosen aspect ratio when using DPP.
The EOS M features a 31-point Hybrid AF System that delivers super-fast, accurate AF when shooting both images and movies. The EOS M’s CMOS sensor couples Phase- difference AF with Contrast AF to provide a fast and highly-accurate Hybrid Autofocus system. During both stills and movie shooting, Phase-difference AF provides high-speed focus, using the central part of the CMOS sensor. Contrast AF, which focuses using the wider scene, then provides the final stage of focusing for enhanced accuracy.
The EOS M offers photographers One-shot AF or Servo AF operation as well as a collection of different AF methods to ensure an optimised approach to focusing on every different subject. The AF methods include:
- Face detection and tracking – Automatically detects and focuses on faces in the frame and tracks movement by switching between AF points. Photographers can control where the camera focuses by selecting points on the camera’s LCD.
- FlexiZone – Multi – Automatically divides the frame into 31 different AF zones and uses an algorithm to prioritise focus on the centre and closer parts of the subject. Users can select one of nine AF zones to change the area of focus
- FlexiZone – Single – The standard AF mode that allows photographers to select any AF point on the LCD touch screen.
- Focus Adjustment after AF – Similar to Full-Time Manual focus found on EOS DSLR models, once the automatic AF has been established, the camera automatically changes to manual focus, allowing photographers to manipulate the image.
- Touch AF and Touch Shutter Release – photographers can simply touch the display to pinpoint the area on which the camera should focus and instantly capture a still image.
EF-M lenses and EF lenses
The EOS M features a new, bespoke EF-M mount diameter which has been optimized for APS-C sized sensors. However, photographers have the freedom to explore the Canon EOS System of more than 70 EF lenses thanks to the new Mount Adapter EF-EOS M. In addition, two new EF-M lenses have been specially engineered for the EOS M, offering photographers the ideal compact lenses to take with them wherever they go. The new lenses are:
- EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM – an 18-55mm standard zoom
- EF-M 22mm f/2 STM – a 22mm pancake lens
EOS Movie allows users to record Full HD (1920x1080p) movies with full manual control of exposure and frame rates of 30, 25 and 24 fps at full resolution, with 60 and 50 fps available at 720p resolution.
The EOS M also features high speed AF in Movie mode, with three AF methods used to capture sharp, detailed movies. The AF in Movies functionality uses the phase- difference AF which uses the central part of the CMOS sensor to achieve rapid focus. AF in Movies uses the following AF methods to achieve optimal focus:
- Face detection and Tracking
- FlexiZone – Multi
- FlexiZone – Single
The EOS M features a built in stereo microphone in order to record sharp, crisp audio to compliment the visuals. The microphone is located to the left of the EOS M’s hot shoe so it can easily capture audio, while the sound recording menu features an attenuator to? ?automatically reduce any sudden loud noises. Photographers can also enable a wind filter which works by reducing the recording level to below the 100Hz frequency.
Audio is recorded at a sampling frequency of 48KHZ, 16-bit, and photographers have the ability to switch the recording level between Auto and Manual, the latter giving the choice of 64 sound levels.
For budding movie makes, the EOS M also features a 3.5mm Stereo mini plug which allows users to plug in a compatible external microphone.
The Video Snapshot feature enables the user to capture short video clips of 2, 4 or 8 seconds in length. These short snapshots are then stitched together into one file as a Video Snapshot Album, creating a dynamic, fast-paced movie sequence. Once video clip duration has been selected, every time the Movie shooting button is pressed a video clip of that length will be captured. For example, if a 4 second Video Snapshot is selected, the Video Snapshot Album will be created consisting of 4 second movie clips.
When playing a Movie, Video Snapshot Album or Slideshow, background music (BGM) can be applied, whether on the camera’s touch screen, or on a larger HDTV using the camera’s HDMI connection. To do this, users must convert audio files2 to the supported .WAV format, before using EOS Utility software to upload the files to the camera’s SD card ready for selection during playback. A choice of five music tracks supplied with the camera can also be used. With the EOS M, users can now also edit video snapshots, changing the order or deleting clips in-camera.
Clear View LCD II Touch screen
The EOS M features a 7.7cm (3.0”) 3:2 Clear View LCD II Touch screen which employs capacitive technology to support natural, gesture-based control during shooting and playback – providing support for multi-touch gestures including pinching, swiping and dragging. The new touch interface allows users to touch-select AF points, track faces and objects, use Touch Shutter to take pictures directly from the screen interface or adjust image settings instantly with the Quick Control screen.
The screen itself offers an approximate resolution of 1.04 million dots, allowing high- quality viewing of images, and focus checks, in playback. A solid construction eliminates the layer of air between the LCD and its hardened glass protective cover, reducing reflections. Additionally, an anti-smudge coating ensures marks on the screen ?are prevented and colours on the monitor appear natural and close to the sRGB colour space.
Multi Shot Noise Reduction
With Multi Shot Noise Reduction, the EOS M captures four shots in quick succession and combines them to produce a single image with minimal noise. This new function has been designed to be more effective than Strong Noise Reduction.
EOS Scene Detection Technology
EOS Scene Detection Technology automatically analyses faces, brightness, movement, contrast and distance in the scene, with information provided as feedback to the Scene Intelligent Auto mode.
Scene Intelligent Auto
Scene Intelligent Auto takes the information gathered by the EOS Scene Detection System and determines the best settings to capture the scene. For example, when shooting portraits, the settings are adjusted to make skin tones appear more natural.
Picture Style presets can be likened to different film types – each one offering a different colour response. Within each selectable preset, photographers have control over sharpness, contrast, colour tone and saturation. The camera’s Standard Picture Style is designed to deliver immediately-usable JPEG images without the need for additional processing. When shooting RAW images, Picture Styles can be revised with Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software.
The presets available with the EOS M are:
- Standard: For crisp, vivid images that don’t require post-processing.
- Portrait: Optimises colour tone and saturation and weakens sharpening to achieve attractive, natural skin tones.
- Landscape: For punchier greens and blues with stronger sharpening to give a crisp edge to mountain, tree and building outlines.
- Neutral: Ideal for post-processing.
- Faithful: Adjusts colour to match the subject when shot under a colour temperature of 5200K.
- Monochrome: For black and white shooting with a range of filter effects (yellow, orange, red and green) and toning effects (sepia, blue, purple and green.
The EOS M also features Picture Style Auto. This new Picture Style makes fine adjustments, based on the EOS Scene Detection System’s analysis, to create a Picture Style for the image. Three User Defined Picture Styles can be selected to store customised pre-sets created using the supplied Picture Style Editor, or any of the pre- sets available for download from Canon’s web site: www.canon.co.jp/Imaging/picturestyle/file/index.htm
Basic+ makes it easy for newcomers to photography to create different image effects, without changing individual settings, allowing users to shoot by ambience selection or according to lighting or scene type.
When shooting according to ambience selection, users can select from one of nine effects: Standard Setting, Vivid, Soft, Warm, Intense, Cool, Brighter, Darker, Monochrome.
When shooting according to lighting or scene type, users can select from one of seven settings which present white balance in a more user-friendly way: Default setting, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten Light, Fluorescent Light, Sunset.
The EOS M provides a range of creative effect filters which can be applied to RAW images and all JPEG images. Since the filter can be applied after the shot is taken, users can apply different filters to the same image and see the effects:
- Art bold effect (Low/Standard/Strong): Creates an “oil painting” type effect with the ability to adjust the contrast and colour saturation.
- Water Painting effect (Light/Standard/Deep): Creates a “watercolour painting” effect with soft colours. You can adjust the colour density according to three levels of intensity.
- Fish-eye effect: Creates a barrel-shaped distortion similar to a fish-eye lens. The effect can be adjusted, and, depending on the level of distortion, the image periphery may be cropped.
- Grainy B/W: Creates a grainy, black-and-white image. The effect can be emphasised by adjusting the contrast.
- Soft focus: Produces a soft result. This can be increased by adjusting the blur.
- Toy camera effect: Provides colour cast typical of toy cameras. The four corners are also darkened. The image looks soft with a subtle grainy look. The colour cast can be changed to cool or warm colours.
- Miniature effect: Gives the effect of a very narrow depth of field, making the scene look like a small-scale model. When shooting, designated portions of the top and bottom of the image are blurred, while the rest of the image remains in focus. The orientation (vertical or horizontal) of the area can be changed by pressing the INFO button.
ImageBrowser EX is a software programme for viewing, editing and organising images and is intended for users who shoot mainly in JPEG format. It merges the popular functionality of ZoomBrowser EX and ImageBrowser into one programme, enabling users to perform basic image editing, including brightness and colour balance, with an in-software connection to DPP for RAW image editing. Users can also select, rename, and resize multiple images at once, and print images via a range of simplified integrated printing options.
EX Speedlite flash compatibility
The EOS M features a hot shoe that offers instant compatibility with Canon’s range of EX Speedlite flash units. A new compact Speedlite, the Speedlite 90EX, offers a new a guide number of 9, as well as optional wireless control for more creative flash.
1 AF in Live View and Movies subject to use with Canon STM lenses
2 Copyright laws in your country may prohibit the use of your recorded images or copyrighted music and images with music in the memory card for anything but private enjoyment
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