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. [Read more...]

Sony Reveals More About A700 Replacement, Coming Mid-2011

Sony has taken every opportunity over the past year or so to tease an A700 replacement.  Such is the case again this week at CP+ in Japan.

In this case, however, Sony managed to give an idea of when it would be available.  The yet un-named model that will replace the A700’s position in the Sony Alpha lineup will be available “mid-2011″ according to the official word from Sony at CP+.

In addition to the new A700 successor, Sony is developing a new standard kit lens and a new hot shoe flash to pair with the prosumer camera.  As we have already learned, the Sony prosumer model will feature Sony’s Translucent Mirror Technology (as found in the A55 and A33).  The prosumer model, rumored to be called the A77, will also capture AVCHD in full 1920 x 1080 resolution.  The camera will also feature an APS-C format sensor.

Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM Lens Now Available

Sigma HQ is reporting that its new 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM lens is now available for Canon DSLRs using APS-C sensors (like the Rebel T2i, Canon 7D and Canon 50D).  Nikon and other mount versions of this 17-50mm lens should also be available soon.

The lens carries a retail price tag of $980. Check availability at B&H Photo / Adorama / Amazon.com

Sony Interchangeable Lens HD Camcorder With APS Sensor Coming

It was only a matter of time.

With overwhelming success of the Canon 5D Mark II and subsequent video-capable DSLRs, it was only a matter of time before someone broke the mold and put a DSLR-sized sensor in a true camcorder body.  I suspect that Canon and Nikon are both working on a similar concept; however, it looks as if Sony may be the first one out of the gate.

Sony has announced that it is working on a camcorder based on the 14.2MP CMOS sensor found in the newly announced NEX-5 and NEX-3.  The camcorder will allow the new Sony E-mount lenses to be used, as well as existing Alpha-mount lenses. [Read more...]

Canon APS-Sized Point & Shoot Foreshadowed by Chuck Westfall

In Chuck Westfall’s July 2009 Tech Tips, he answers a Canon user’s question about the amount of megapixels and overall image quality concerns in cameras today.  One specific point the user makes is that the number of megapixels in point and shoot cameras results in poor noise control at higher ISOs.  So why can Canon just use fewer megapixels to clean up the noise?

Chuck Westfall responds to the concern basically saying that the 5D Mark II does just fine with noise and the increased megapixels is a great addition.  As for the notion that maybe Canon should make a point and shoot camera with fewer megapixels, Chuck semi-dismisses this suggestion and foreshadows the future of image quality concerns:

In the realm of compact digital cameras, there is no question that the high end of the market is looking for better image quality than current cameras provide, especially at high ISOs. But I’ll bet that the eventual solution to that request is going to be larger image sensors with high resolution rather than small sensors with reduced resolution. Time will tell!

Not that such a development is unexpected; however, I suppose the question is just how close in time is such a Canon point and shoot camera from realization?