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Sony Unveils Interchangeable-Lens Camcorder

7/19/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern
SAN DIEGO — Sony formally introduced what it is calling the industry’s first consumer-focused interchangeable-lens camcorder.

The unit adds the flexibility of a d-SLR to a camera form factor that Sony believes to be more practical for shooting video.

The Handycam NEX-VG10 (shipping in September at a $1,999 suggested retail as a kit including an 18-200mm f/3.5 lens) brings the ability to change lenses for a variety of creative shooting techniques including telephoto extensions. The camcorder was designed to use Sony’s new e-mount lenses originally developed for Sony’s new NEX mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera series.

Three e-mount lenses are available, including a new 18-200mm f/3.5 lens ($799 suggested retail) that will be made available as part of a kit with the VG10. Existing e-mount lenses include an 18-55mm ($299) lens and 16mm fixed-focus lens ($249). Sony is also offering an optional e-mount adapter for Alpha-mount lenses ($200), an ultra- wide converter ($129) and a fisheye converter ($149).

When using Sony’s Alpha-series Carl Zeiss lenses via an adapter on the camcorder, the autofocus system will not function, requiring manual focusing, only.

The camcorder also adds a large-format 14.2 megapixel Exmor APS-C HD CMOS image sensor (the same as used on the recently introduced NEX mirrorless interchangeable-lens still cam eras) coupled with a BIONZ processor for higher-resolution still and video images. It was also engineered for highquality audio recording and offers a compact, ergonomic body design optimized for video shooting.

The APS-C sized Exmor CMOS sensor was designed to offer greater shallow depth of field control, and larger pixel size for better image quality.

The camcorder also includes optical SteadyShot with Active Mode to reduce image wobble in handheld shooting. Sony said it significantly reduced the noise of the autofocus and optical SteadyShot systems using electro-magnetic actilation for the iris and focus motor to minimize any audible interference on video recordings.

The camcorder is supplied with a specially developed Quad Capsule Spatial Array Stereo Mic, which captures sound through four capsules (front left, front right, rear left, rear right). Sound is captured by each capsule and later combined into the optimal stereo mix, Sony said. The result is said to be a 2x increase in directivity compared to traditional camcorder mics, while minimizing background noise with an emphasis on front sound compared to 5.1-channel recording systems, the company said.

The camcorder includes a 3-inch (921,000-pixel) LCD monitor with Sony’s True Black anti-reflective coating technology. Also included is a swivel electronic viewfinder.

Other features include full manual control capability using a jog dial, headphone jack, mic jack and HDMI output.

In addition to taking professionalquality video shots, the VG10 was designed to take professional-looking still photos. To help with still image capture, Sony has included its multi-shot capture and layering function, offering higher light sensitivity when used with the included anti-motion blur and handheld twilight modes.

It also uses multi-shot capability with high dynamic range and the image sensor’s extra large pixels for strong low-light images.

Multi-frame three-shot capture is offered for use with high dynamic range allowing up to 6dB of headroom.

Video images are captured in up to 1920-by-1080/60i AVCHD format at 24Mbps. Stills and video are recorded to SD or MemoryStick memory cards.

The company is also including its Sony Vegas Studio 10 (a $129 value) video-editing software through a download voucher that ships with the camcorder.
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