E-Mount Goes Full-Frame With The New VG900

I had no idea that this was up Sony’s sleeve all along, the mount was made with the intention one day to go full-frame. E-mount has come a long way, we have had two NEX-VG cameras already as well as the FS100 and FS700. Today the Sony E-mount stretched it’s arms and legs and came out with the Nex-VG900.

The new VG900 along with its smaller sibling the VG30 have been announced today and they bring some exciting features to the table. For the majority of this write up I will focus on the VG900 and I will get into detail about their differences a bit later.

Sony’s idea for their flagship VG model was to bring the benefits of DSLR and Video cameras together so you would have the best of both worlds. They have done this by starting with a video camcorder body so that users wouldn’t have to build a kit around their SLR bodies to form it into a useable video shape. That was the basic idea behind these camcorders.

The 4 key areas of the VG900 and the VG30 is the sensor, quad capsule stereo microphone, interchangeable lenses and optimized design for video. Starting with the sensor of the VG900, it is in fact the same exact sensor of the Sony A99 that was also announced today. This means that the camera will be able to do record full HD 1080 60p and 24P video on a sensor that is the same size as 35mm motion picture film. This large sensor will get you shallower DoF, higher sensitivity in low light, dynamic range and better performance / usability of full-frame lenses. These camcorders will also allow you to capture raw images from the full sensor as well.

Like the other cameras that they offer the new VG cameras will offer picture effects. I know a lot of people (if not all) just started to virtually choke me but hear this out. I am a die hard black and white video person, sounds odd but I am in LOVE with the High Contrast Monochrome that the Sony stills cameras offer. It is incredible and what I look for in a black and white image (or video). I know I would shoot in this mode and take advantage of it. Some of the picture effects are for the still image mode only but most work with both. The other effects include toy camera, pop color, posterization, retro, soft key and partial color,

Sound is another key that Sony has focussed on and in that area they have an included 5.1 channel surround sound with audio level controls. They have also added the ability to use the XLR mic kit that is also being sold as an accessory for the A99 (for the price of $799).

The third key point is the fact that these VG cameras can accept interchangeable lenses. The VG900 will be able to use all lenses full frame and APS-C lenses including other brands as well as Sony’s own E-mount lineup. When APS-C glass is used on the camera the camera will automatically crop down to fit the lens while retaining full resolution. The VG900 will also include the Sony LA-EA2 adapter so that you can use all of your fancy A mount (and legacy minolta glass) with the VG camera while retaining the ability to autofocus. The E-mount also has a great flange distance which allows many many other companies lenses with an adapter, companies have been busy for some time making new adapters that off electric control for example canon lenses.

The Kit lens is a power zoom 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 OSS with the ability to smoothly zoom the lens with the built in zoom lever on the VG. The lens offers an 6 step zoom speed control and the the body offers an 8 step zoom lever. The slower of the zooms would allow you to go from one side of the kit lens to the other in 30 seconds, so a very slow gradual zoom here is possible. The camera has resolution to spare so it allows you to also do a 2x digital zoom.

The final key focus was the design of the camera so out of the box it could be used without rigs and additional set up. Some features that make this possible is the electronic viewfinder, power zoom lever on the camera body, digital zoom as mentioned and the new multi interface shoe. The OLED Tru-Finder EVF is new to this line and is much better than the previous LCD EVFs used before.

Additional details include the camera will come with a headphone jack, mic input, DC-IN port, 3″ 921k touch panel display and a SD / MS card slot.

The NEX-VG900 will retail for $3,299 and the release date is at this point to be determined.

Phoblographer Exclusive

 I spoke with Sony after the conference and I asked about these cameras having uncompressed HDMI out like the A99. I was able to confirm that both of these models will offer uncompressed clean HDMI out, I cant speak for the quality of the output but thats what the engineers passed onto the Sony reps.

NEX-VG30 Specifics

This camcorder will be the direct successor to the VG20 and it will have the power zoom lens as a kit option. This camera instead of having a full frame sensor will have a APS-C sensor but most of the features are identical. The VG30 will not come with the LA-EA2 Alpha lens adapter.

The NEX-VG30 will be offered for $1,799 and will be available in November.

The NEX-VG30H with the 18-200 Power Zoom lens will be offered for $2,699 and will be available in November. The 18-200mm Power Zoom lens will retail for $1,300 so the kit will save you $400 versus buying it separately.

If I have missed anything or you have a question please let me know in the comments below and we will help you out!

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