Sony Handycam NEX-VG900E: First full frame flix

By Andy Mossack,

Like two titans inching themselves inexorably nearer to each other, the ever diminishing gulf between consumer handycams and 35mm DSLRs takes another giant leap closer with the release of the Sony Handycam NEX-VG900E. DSLRs have had the capability of recording high definition video for some time now, but conversely, the same cannot be said of  handycam stills which have long been sneered at by any half decent photographer.

Sony-Handycam-NEX

It seems though the Sony Handycam NEX-VG900E may well lay that particular ghost to rest as this is a full frame 35 mm handycam with interchangeable lenses capable of shooting full-frame 24.0 effective megapixel still photos, with all the quality you’d expect from a pro-class DSLR camera. It is Sony’s very first 35mm sensor handycam and not unsurprisingly, it’s getting the full star treatment.

Sony has clearly decided that image quality will be the deciding factor between all the various media available and whilst the price tag may be hefty at around £3,000, you are getting a product fully capable of shooting cinematic quality usually reserved for the much more expensive professional camera sector.

This is a camera that can capture 1080p files at 50, 25 or 24 frames per second with a resolution of 24.3 effective megapixels courtesy of the Exmor CMOS sensor which is perhaps some 40 times larger than the sensors found in typical consumer camcorders.  As per Sony’s other VG camcorders in the series, it’s fully compatible with full frame A-mount lenses via the supplied  LA-EA3 adaptor, as well as a growing list of E-mount lenses too. Whilst this is ostensibly a full frame camera, it switches automatically to APS-C mode when an E-mount or A-mount DT lens is attached in order to cater for cameras with a smaller APS-C image sensor.

Too add to the array of built in professional features, there’s a capsule spatial array microphone set into the top featuring four omnidirectional capsules that can be switched for stereo or 5.1 surround sound recording.

The NEX-VG900E is a perfect example of how the lines between high quality still and video photography are becoming ever more blurred.