Sony NEX-VG20 APS HD Camcorder Announced

Sony NEX-VG20

The Sony NEX-VG20 is a follow-up to last year’s groundbreaking NEX-VG10.  The new NEX-VG20 includes “comprehensive manual controls, improved imaging quality and upgraded sound” according to Sony’s press release – all of which are welcomed for this prosumer camcorder.

The NEX-VG20 captures 1920 x 1080 AVCHD video at 60p or 24p frame rates.  The 24p mode offers the ability to use Cinema Tone Gamma and Cinema Tone Color presets for richer color out of the camera.  The NEX-VG20 also continues the use of the Quad Capsule Spatial Array Microphone; however, it now supports stereo and 5.1 channel surround.

Sony has also improved the access to the camera’s controls, allowing access to the manual control dial even when the flip-out LCD is closed.

In addition to its video capture features, the NEX-VG20 also captures high-resolution still images with its 16.1MP CMOS image sensor.  It even offers the option to capture RAW image files – something that its predecessor did not do.

The Sony NEX-VG20 should be available in November for $1599 (body only) and $2199 when equipped with the 18-200mm kit lens.  Check availability on B&H Photo.

More details in the press release below.

Sony NEX-VG20 Press Release

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 24, 2011 – The new Handycam® NEX-VG20 camcorder from Sony allows videographers to explore the artistic potential of the growing range of E-Mount lenses for shooting cinematic Full HD video and high-resolution still photos. The new camcorder offers several enhancements over Sony’s acclaimed NEX-VG10 – the world’s first consumer HD camcorder with interchangeable lenses – including comprehensive manual controls, improved imaging quality and upgraded sound. Significantly refined ergonomics include enhanced grips for balance and low-angle shooting, and a second record button, among many others.

“Whether you’re shooting video or stills, this camcorder’s large sensor rivals the expressive picture quality of a DSLR camera,” said Andy Bubala, director of camcorders at Sony Electronics. “We’ve also made several enhancements to deliver the type of camcorder that video enthusiasts will love.”

With a resolution of 16.1 effective megapixels, the camcorder’s Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor assures outstanding video image quality, with extremely low noise in low light. It also captures pristine 16 megapixel still photos, with RAW format support for all the post-processing flexibility that’s familiar to DSLR users. The sensor also allows the creation of background defocus (‘bokeh’) effects with a user’s E-mount lenses.

Full HD video shooting in the AVCHD™ format is now complemented by a choice of 24p and 60p (progressive) frame rate options. Footage shot at 24p can be enhanced with Cinema Tone Gamma™ and Cinema Tone Color™ for an even richer, more cinematic look.

Dialogue and other sounds are captured by the precision Quad Capsule Spatial Array Microphone that now supports stereo and 5.1 channel surround. The camcorder also offers a new audio level control.

Several ergonomic refinements let videographers shoot HD video and stills in even greater comfort. The camcorder’s handgrip has been redesigned for excellent stability. Allowing manual adjustment of exposure, iris and other settings, the control dial can now be accessed even when the LCD panel is closed.

The button layout now features “hard” function keys, direct access to each shooting mode (Iris, Shutter speed, Program AE), a second REC button for low-angle shots and expanded focus button – all located for intuitive operation so users don’t have to take their eyes away from the electronic viewfinder.

Shooters can frame and review footage on the three-inch (7.5cm) Xtra Fine LCD™ display that features TruBlack™ technology for clear, high contrast images. The screen can rotate up to a 270-degree range for easy framing in any position, even with the camera held low. A touch-panel simplifies fingertip operation of shooting functions.

The NEX-VG20H camcorder comes with the SEL18200 F3.5-6.3 E-mount lens. With a wide 11x optical zoom range and built-in Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization, this versatile lens offers smooth, quiet autofocus operation during movie and still shooting.

A choice of seven E-mount lenses can cover virtually any shooting situation. The optional LA-EA2 lens mount adaptor provides even wider compatibility with the established family of A-mount optics. Sony is also planning to develop a third-party “eco-system” to allow consumers to use the camcorder with other brands’ lens assets.

The new camcorder is compatible with Sony’s Memory Stick PRO-HG™ Duo HX series as well as Sony’s full line of SD memory cards. Available in capacities up to 32 GB, both media enable necessary transfer speeds for stable and optimal performance of Sony hardware features such as full HD movie shooting.

The Handycam NEX-VG20H Full HD E-mount system camcorder will be available with a retail price of about $2,199. A body-only version, the NEX-VG20, will be available for $1,599.

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