|Sony introduces first 35mm full-frame Handycam®|
|NEX-VG900E interchangeable lens Full HD camcorder|
Video makers can embrace the limitless expressive power of full-frame imaging with the new Handycam® NEX-VG900E E-mount interchangeable lens Full HD camcorder from Sony.
It’s joined by the Handycam® NEX-VG30E that builds on the success of the NEX-VG20E, sharing the same APS-C image sensor as its predecessor while adding several enhancements.
Offering supreme imaging quality and generous creative options, it’s the first Handycam® with a 35mm sensor to fully exploit the artistic potential of interchangeable lenses by Sony and Carl Zeiss.
With a resolution of 24.3 effective megapixels, the Sony-developed Exmor CMOS sensor inside the NEX-VG900E is around 40 times larger than the equivalent in ordinary consumer camcorders. It’s also more than twice the size of the APS-C sized sensor found in other interchangeable lens Handycam® models.
As well as permitting beautiful ‘bokeh’ (defocus) effects with the growing range of α lenses, its high sensitivity assures extremely clear, low-noise images. The large sensor size assures effortless reproduction of the finest tonal gradations, helping the most demanding cinematographer fully realise their creative vision.
The sensor also allows the NEX-VG900E to shoot full-frame 24.0 effective megapixel still photos, with all the quality you’d expect from a pro-class DSLR camera. Still images can be shot in RAW format for total post-processing freedom.
Beautiful, film-like results can be achieved by shooting video in 25p/24p progressive mode, with Cinema Tone Gamma™ and Cinema Tone Colour™ offering precise control over cinematic colour grading effects. AVCHD version 2.0 standard 50p recording is additionally supported, maximising the range of creative options for movie-makers to explore. Even greater flexibility is provided by a choice of new Picture Effect modes, enabling easy creation of artistic ‘in-camera’ treatments whether you’re shooting HD video or stills.
Video shooting is further enhanced by a ‘seesaw’ lever that allows smooth, polished electronic zoom control. The lever adjusts optical zoom when using compatible E-mount lenses that feature built-in zoom drive. The lever controls electronic zoom when using the camcorder with fixed focal lenses for impressive creative results.
As an extra refinement, the NEX-VG900E switches automatically from full-frame operation to APS-C mode when an E-mount or A-mount DT lens is attached. This allows users to get the most out of their collection of DT lenses that are optimised for cameras with a smaller APS-C image sensor.
The camcorder also comes supplied with the LA-EA3 adaptor that lets photographers use full-frame A-mount DSLR lenses at their designated focal length.
There’s a generous palette of control options and manual settings to satisfy the demanding video enthusiast. Aperture priority, shutter speed priority or manual exposure, are all selectable and white balance can be adjusted manually to suit the demands of any scene. Iris, shutter speed, and gain adjustments can be easily made via logically-positioned direct access keys. Accurate manual focusing is assisted by the camcorder’s pro-style display peaking function, complemented by a one-touch focus magnification button on the top of the grip.
Serious videographers will welcome the detail-packed XGA OLED Tru-Finder that offers high-contrast image monitoring with superbly natural colour rendition. Complementing the Tru-Finder, there’s an adjustable XtraFine touch-panel LCD monitor, with Sony’s unique technology for high contrast images with rich, deep blacks.
High-quality audio is a crucial part of the HD video experience with the NEX-VG900E. A unique Quad Capsule Spatial Array Microphone features four omnidirectional capsules that can be switched for stereo or 5.1ch surround recording. Recording levels are adjustable, with accurate visual confirmation provided by an audio level meter on the LCD display. There’s also a headphone jack for direct monitoring of sounds being recorded.
The new Multi Interface Shoe provides compatibility with accessories including the optional XLR-K1M adaptor kit that adds a high-quality mono shotgun mic and pro-standard XLR connections.
Sharing many of the pro-oriented enhancements of the NEX-VG900E, the Handycam® NEX-VG30E succeeds the acclaimed NEX-VG20E. With a resolution of 16.1 effective megapixels, the new camcorder’s Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor assures outstanding image quality with the range of interchangeable E-mount lenses.
Like the NEX-VG900E, it’s possible to shoot smooth, cinematic Full HD video footage at either 50p, 25p or 24p (progressive) frame rates, supported by a palette of artistic Picture Effect modes.
The NEX-VG30E also features the same XGA OLED Tru-Finder, comprehensive manual controls and ‘seesaw’ style zoom lever as the NEX-VG900E.
The NEX-VG30EH comes supplied as a kit with the new E PZ (Power Zoom) 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS (Optical SteadyShot) lens that provides a versatile range from wide angle to telephoto. Offering smooth, quiet AF operation and Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation, the lens also features an additional ‘seesaw’ lever on the barrel for smooth, professional-style zoom control with adjustable speeds.
The Handycam® NEX-VG900E and NEX-VG30E camcorders from Sony are available in the UK from November and December respectively.
Canon has launched, out of the blue as far as we were concerned, a complete fully featured Cinema HD production system including full-frame digital video camcorder and EF-fit lenses designed to compete head-on with the top offerings from Zeiss/Arri and Red.
The Cinema EOS system also competes with Sony right in the heart of Sony prime territory. It looks like nothing so much as an acknowledgement that Sony has attacked Canon’s primary still imaging market effectively, and Canon, instead of competing in that arena, has decided to hit their rival where it really hurts. Their announcement feels like ‘right, we’ll show them – this will be the best HD movie production system in the world’.
Porn film makers will be rubbing their hands with glee – or something, not sure if you call it glee…
At the heart of this is optical excellence. They have created a 4K (the higher resolution than 1080p HD, full large screen cinema format) lens system. Imagine these – they come in the ciné PL mount, but also in the full frame EF camera mount. You could use these on a regular Canon. And they will not have the shortcomings of lenses such as the 24-105mm f/4 L – these will be better than CZ quality if Canon is to secure a market share.
CN-E 14.5-60mm f/2.6 L S (Super-35 or APS-C is what the S stands for, like EF-S)
CN-E 30-300mm f/2.95-3.7 L S
CN-E 24mm f/1.5 L F (the F stands for Full Frame)
CN-E 50mm f/1.3 L F
CN-E 85mm f/1.3 L F
Look at those apertures – they are like Angenieux apertures! Bet you they are also true T-stop figures. Here’s their wording:
Wide-Angle and Telephoto Cinema Zoom Lenses for EF and PL Mounts
CN-E14.5–60mm T2.6 L S / CN-E14.5–60mm T2.6 L SP
CN-E30–300mm T2.95–3.7 L S / CN-E30–300mm T2.95–3.7 L SP
The four new Canon zoom cinema lenses comprise the CN-E14.5–60mm T2.6 L S (for EF mounts) and CN-E14.5–60mm T2.6 L SP (for PL mounts) wide-angle cinema zoom lenses, and the CN-E30–300mm T2.95–3.7 L S (for EF mounts) and CN-E30–300mm T2.95–3.7 L SP (for PL mounts) telephoto cinema zoom lenses. Each lens supports 4K (4096 x 2160 pixels) resolution, which delivers a pixel count four times that of Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), and offers compatibility with industry-standard Super 35 mm-equivalent cameras as well as APS-C cameras (Not compatible with 35mm full-frame or APS-H camera sensors).
Employing anomalous dispersion glass, effective in eliminating chromatic aberration, and large-diameter aspherical lenses, the zoom lenses achieve high-resolution imaging from the centre of the frame to the outer edges. Each lens is equipped with a newly designed 11-blade aperture diaphragm for soft, attractive blur characteristics, making them ideally suited for cinematographic applications.
The focal length range of 14.5–300 mm covered by the new zoom lenses represents the most frequently used focal lengths in theatrical motion picture production, a range that often requires a combination of three or more separate zoom lenses. Canon’s new wide-angle and telephoto cinema zoom lenses, however, offer a wider angle and powerful zooming to provide complete coverage across this range with just two lenses. The new wide-angle cinema zoom lenses will offer the industry’s widest angle of view among 35 mm digital cinema lenses with a wide-angle-end focal length of 14.5 mm (as of November 3rd 2011, according to published competitive data).
Zoom, focus and iris markings are all engraved on angled surfaces for improved readability from behind the camera. With a focus rotation angle of approximately 300 degrees and a zoom rotation angle of approximately 160 degrees, the lenses facilitate precise focusing performance while making possible smooth and subtle zoom operation.
The new top-end cinema zoom lens line-up can be used with standard manual and electronic movie industry accessories, as well as matte boxes. Featuring a unified front lens diameter and uniform gear positions, the lenses do away with the need to adjust or reposition accessory gear when switching between other lenses in the series.
Single-Focal-Length Cinema Lenses for EF Mounts
CN-E24mm T1.5 L F / CN-E50mm T1.3 L F / CN-E85mm T1.3 L F
Like their wide-angle and telephoto cinema zoom lens co-stars, Canon’s new CN-E24mm T1.5 L F, CN-E50mm T1.3 L F and CN-E85mm T1.3 L F cinema lenses deliver 4K optical performance. The three lenses, designed for use with EF mounts, are compatible with not only industry-standard Super 35 mm-equivalent cameras, but also 35 mm full-frame, APS-H and APS-C sensor sizes. The trio incorporates anomalous dispersion glass and large-diameter aspherical lenses for high resolution imaging throughout the frame, and features a newly designed 11-blade aperture diaphragm for gentle, attractive blurring.
With focus and iris markings that are easily visible from behind the camera, Canon’s three new fixed-focal-length lenses support convenient film-style operation and, offering a focus rotation angle of approximately 300 degrees, facilitate precise focusing performance.
The CN-E24mm T1.5 L F, CN-E50mm T1.3 L F and CN-E85mm T1.3 L F support standard manual and electronic industry accessories and matte boxes, and have a unified front lens diameter and uniform gear positions, eliminating the need for adjustments when switching lenses.
Is there a snag? Maybe. The cheapest of the prime lenses will be over £4000/$6,300 and the zooms will cost a cool… $47,000 each. That is not a misprint. That is not even my income. But it shows you how big the stakes are in movie making gear PROPER.
The movie camcorder
Then there’s the camera to go with them – the EOS C300/C300PL interchangeable lens digital video camcorder. It may only have an 8.29 megapixel Super-35mm CMOS sensor. It’s only 1080p but it claims to read coincident or complete RGB pixels for each pixel location, using 4:2:2 sampling, and to record at 50 Mbps (almost twice the data rate of the best DSLR video). It has twin CF card slots. It has many other features including things like metadata coding for better identification of lenses in edit work, and the capacity to be controlled remotely from an iPad or iPhone (with accessory WFT-E6B wireless transmitter).
A new DSLR
Canon is developing a new-concept EOS-series digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. Incorporating an enhanced version of the video-capture capability offered in the current EOS-series line-up, the new camera will be ideally suited for cinematographic and other digital high-resolution production applications. The model will be equipped with a 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor and, enabling the recording of 4K video* (at a frame rate of 24P, with Motion-JPEG compression), will make possible the type of exceptional image quality and sublime imaging expression to be expected from the next generation of “EOS Movies.”
So why have I posted this on Photoclubalpha? Easy. I was still up and around at 1am when the news had come in by email. And it matters, because Sony will react to this. Canon has just moved in on their home territory, where they were already getting a foothold through EOS-movies and existing Canon video offerings, in a much bigger way. This could be the best thing Alpha owners could see happen because it will force Sony to update their lens range quickly and to improve the overall offering their DSLR division makes to their camcorder division (via adaptors).
Available now for download, a free firmware upgrade adds autofocus support with 14 A-mount SAM and SSM lens models. AF compatibility of the NEX-VG10E with A-mount lenses requires the optional LA-EA1 Mount Adaptor, plus a separate firmware upgrade for the LA-EA1.
Man using NEX-VG10E with 18-200mm OSS lens and mic windshield, in Fuerteventura last week. Alphaspotted by Shirley Kilpatrick.
The upgrade lets videographers enjoy smooth, accurate AF operation with the family of A-mount optics that includes telephotos, primes and zooms by Sony and Carl Zeiss.
The latest firmware upgrade by Sony for registered Handycam® NEX-VG10E customers is available free of charge from http://support.sony-europe.com/dime/camcorders/hd/msc/msc.aspx?&m=NEX-VG10E.
Editor’s comment: AF is already offered by the NEX-3 and NEX-5 with the adaptor and the same group of SAM and SSM lenses. However, it could not really be described as ‘smooth, accurate’ – more like ‘just acceptable’. So perhaps the VG10E’s firmware fix is a better one and perhaps a further firmware release may arrive improving A-mount AF with the 3 and 5.
Sony Corporation announced today that it is developing a new type of E-mount interchangeable lens camcorder for professional use that is equipped with a Super-35mm equivalent large format CMOS sensor. This new addition to Sony’s professional “NXCAM” line will be available in the middle of 2011.
Editor’s Note: Super-35mm is not full frame 35mm. The 35mm movie format is what we call half-frame in still photography, or a little over 18 x 24mm – a size very close to the nominal 16 x 24mm of the DT/DX format used by Sony for APS-C sensors. Sony may decide to use a normal APS-C sensor for this, or to use a true 16:9 ratio for HD Video. However, Super-35mm normally means a squarer image format. No doubt internet forums will be full of folk claiming that Sony has gone full frame frame on the E-mount just like they said, etc etc – well, that is not the case. Super-35mm does not mean full frame (technically, double frame 35mm).
But this sensor may be significantly larger than existing APS-C, at a possible 25 x 18.5mm rather than 23.5 x 15.5mm or thereabouts (please note that one APS-C sensor is already quoted as being 16 x 24mm). Alpha A-mount lenses will of course cover this easily; E-mount NEX lenses may have been designed to do so from the start, though it may be pushing it to expect corner quality unless OS is disabled. By definition, all OS-type lenses must have a larger circle of coverage than the format they are designed for – often considerably larger. Turning off OS would enable any properly designed OS lens to cover a bigger sensor without any corner vignetting or loss of sharpness.
Remember where you read this first – 17.30hrs on November 17th! – DK
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Sony, which has a UK event taking place on Thursday July 15th showcasing new products for the Christmas market, has surprised us by launching its NEX mount HD camcorder with 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor and 18-200mm OSS interchangeable lens much sooner than anyone expected.
Carl Zeiss today announced that its Camera Lens Division will extend their successful collaboration with Sony Corporation for a further 5 years. Taking full advantages of their competence both companies agreed to cooperate even closer in developing and commercializing new imaging devices in the future.
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