More Thoughts on the Sony NEX-VG900

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Here are some more thoughts on this camera.  First, I am starting really lean heavily toward getting this camera.  It always comes down to what tool works best for you, your current workflow, and your current budget.  And for me/us, I think this camera makes a lot of sense.  Of course, if we had unlimited budget, I might consider something else.  But since we currently have a limited budget, here is why I think it works for us.

Now keep in mind, all of these thoughts and opinions are based on reading specs and viewing a few of the youtube samples that are available.

The Pros of the Sony NEX-VG900

  • Full Frame
    • I love the look of full frame.
    • I “think” in full frame, if that makes any sense.
    • I know immediately what lens to use in a given situation without having to do some calculation.  (I worked in at PJ’s Camera during college)
    • Don’t get me wrong, cropped sensors are great but not so in line with my style.
  • Flip Screen
    • When shooting at low or high angles this comes in handy.
  • Peaking
    • Focusing aids will come in handy.
  • XLR Adapters (available)
    • Another convenience factor.
  • I think it can shoot longer than 12 minute increments.  30 minutes would be good.  Full card length would be better.
  • Clean uncompressed signal out of the HDMI
    • Not perfect.  My experience with HDMI ports is less than stellar.  But something is better than nothing.
    • I won’t use this often.  But it’s nice to know that it’s there when we need it.  Green screen, super special projects, etc.
  • Shoots on SD cards.
    • I know a lot of people don’t like SD, but I like them.  They are reliable, available anywhere (I think you can even get them at drug stores), durable, and affordable.  They are so affordable, it is a plausible consideration to just keep the media as the archive.
  • 1080p at 60p and 24p
    • It’s not the FS-700 at 240fps at 1080p, but it is also one third the price.
  • E-mount is very close to the sensor
    • Allows for almost lens to be adapted to the camera
  • $3300 – pretty great price.

The Cons of the Sony NEX-VG900

  • AVCHD codec
    • Not the greatest codec to shoot on
    • I believe FCPX will take the files natively but I’ll have to double check this.
    • This is not anywhere near RAW, but if I want that, there are other cameras.  Plus, RAW has its workflow issues as well.
    • But I could always record to an external recorder and get whatever flavor codec I want.
  • E-Mount and A-Mount
    • I know I mentioned that this was a Pro, but in my case, I am so heavily invested in Canon lenses that I would need to either get an adapter, switch to Ziess/Sony lenses, or a combination of both.
    • I sent an email to Metabones and they replied saying that they expect to have an adapter for EF mount lenses with Image Stabilization and Aperture control for the VG900 around the end of the year.
      • This is exact quote from the email.  “Around end of this year, will support IS & aperture control”
    • My guess is that this adapter will run around $399 like their adapter for cropped sensor bodies.
    • Also, autofocus will not be supported via adapter.

Questions, Concerns, and Current Conclusion

  1. What is the low light capability of this camera?
    1. I need to shoot in low light situations.  The Canon 5DM3 is amazing in low light.  The Sony FS100 and FS700 are also amazing in low light.  Will this camera be near those cameras?  I hope so.
  2. What is the dynamic range of this camera?
    1. Seeing RAW footage from the Black Magic Cinema Camera really puts dynamic range onto my radar.  Now that RAW is available for under $3000 it becomes something to really weigh.  Before the BMCC, it was out of budget range and we would have to figure out other solutions.
  3. Is there Image Stabilization?
    1. I did not find this info.
    2. If there is Image Stabilization, is in the lens or in the body/sensor?
    3. I believe IS on the FS series is on the body/sensor.
Conclusion:  I think I will hold off on getting this camera until the Metabones adapter comes out.  Plus, during that time all the dynamic range and low light tests will come out.    That will help seal the deal.

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