Sony NEX-VG20E Handycam: Fun for video and audiophiles

Sony has released its best-ever Handycam – the NEX-VG20E. The problem is, it’s so well-designed that all you’ll want to do is record a mirror. In Full HD. At 50p and 25p. With Tru-Black technology and 16MP stills. Cool.

Aside from looking good on the outside, crack it open and you’ll find an Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor that records at 16.1 effective megapixels. The Exmor sensors are famous for their low-light recording (even in the models they put in phones), so expect great night-time performance.

Sony-Handycam-VG20

Video recording comes in the AVCHD format, in a choice of 50p and 25p frame rate options. For 25p, you can chose Cinema Tone Gamma and Cinema Tone Colour to give a more filmatic effect to your recordings.

The NEX-VG20E has a comprehensive range of manual controls to let users really get stuck into the settings, with a redesigned handgrip to offer excellent stability and allows manual adjustment of exposure, iris and other settings

The camcorder also boasts the “E-Mount system” which lets users take advantage of the existing range of seven E-Mount lenses from the older cameras in the range.

The demands of sound enthusiasts often go unheard on video cameras, but the NEX-VG20E has a Quad Capsule Spatial Array mic, which supports stereo and 5.1 channel sound, so it should do quality audio recording right out the box.

It’s also got ports for an external mic and monitoring headphones though, so audiophiles can really get stuck in.

The Handycam NEX-VG20EH comes with the SEL18200 F3.5-6.3 E-mount lens. With a wide 11x optical zoom range and built-in Optical SteadyShot.
Get it November 2011.

Get closer to the action with Sony’s DCR-SX21E and DCR-SR21E Handycams

Sony’s two new standard definition Handycams are the perfect tool for anyone who can’t get close enough to the action they want to film – both boast a huge 67x extended zoom.

Sony-Handycam

While the Handycam DCR-SX21E records onto Sony’s own Memory Stick or SD card (which you’ll have to buy separately), the DCR-SR21E can store up to 61 hours of Standard Definition video on its 80GB built-in hard disk drive. Useful when you’re out and about on holiday, as you don’t need to cart around spare discs or tapes.

Both video cams have a 57x optical zoom, which is pretty decent, but add on that 67x extended zoom and you’re heading into new, close-up, territory. Of course, our first thought when seeing zoom at this sort of multiplication is that your movies are going to look as though you’ve been shooting them while standing on a tea tray balancing on a tennis ball – but Sony suggests its SteadyShot image stabilisation will help to keep everything nice and steady. We shall have to wait and see as the Handycams will not be available until early September.

The video cams also feature a number of useful features to help make shooting video easier – Face Detection, plus 18 different scene settings to automatically get the correct settings for the recording conditions.

Each has a flip-out 6.7cm (2.7in) Clear Photo LCD, next to which sits a joystick that can be used to change menus and settings. The cameras have an onboard LED video light, and an Auto mode will automatically turn on the light when it gets dark.

Your movies can be transferred straight to a portable external hard disk – Sony suggests its new 500GB HD-PG5UB hard disk drive, the DCR-SX21E/SR21E, which is lightweight and can fit in a pocket.

There is no news on pricing yet – keep an eye open at www.sony-europe.com