Sony NEX VG30 First Look – Test Shots

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Frank from Neufeld Designs give us a first look at the Sony NEX VG30 and reviews the factors that lead him to choose this camera over DSLRs like the Canon 5D Mark III and Nikon D800 for travel film making.

The NEX-VG30 is one of the latest entries (along with the NEX-VG900) in Sony’s line of pro-sumer handycam style interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras.  It also takes Sony E-mount lenses, but can be adapted to fit other lenses as well.

CNET wrote a VERY short review on the Sony NEX-VG30 >>  There really isn’t much to say about this replacement for the Sony NEX-VG20. The VG30 basically has an updated EVF — the same OLED model that’s in the VG900 — and incorporates a rocker zoom lever to work with the new power zoom lenses. In fact, it will ship as a kit with the new 18-200mm lens for $2699.99, or body only for $1799. It also gains the new Multi Interface Shoe, which makes it compatible with all the new accessories.

The VG30 sports a 16mp CMOS Sensor and an excellent onboard microphone array (full specs below, courtesy of B&H)

Sony NEX-VG30 Specs: 

Sensor Exmor APS-C HD CMOS sensor
Resolution Approx. 16.1 MP effective
Crop Factor 1.5x
Lens Mount Sony E-Mount
Processor BIONZ image processor
File Formats HD Video: AVCHD 2.0 (MPEG-4 AVC (H.264))
SD Video: MPEG2-PS
Recording Media 1 slot (Memory Stick Duo and SD/SDHC/SDXC)
Built-in Mic Quad-capsule stereo microphone
Burst Mode (Stills) 16.1 MP RAW & JPEG Stills at up to 6 fps
Focus Area Multi-point AF (25 points)
Digital Zoom 2x Lossless Digital Zoom
Power Zoom Variable speed (Requires 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Power Zoom Lens)
Video Output HDMI
Audio Input 1/8″ (3.5mm)
Audio Output 1/8″ (3.5mm)
LCD Monitor 3.0″ Wide Xtra Fine touch-screen LCD with TruBlack technology
LCD Resolution 921K dots
EVF High-contrast XGA OLED Tru-Finder (with eye sensor)
EVF Resolution 2359K dots

My Take:  The Sony NEX VG-30 is a very intriguing camera, especially for video shooters.  When I first started my search for a camera last year, I actually narrowed my search to the VG30’s predecessor, the NEX-VG20, and the Panasonic Lumix GH2.  I eventually went with the GH2 because of it’s small size, image quality and abundance of available lenses. but I’ve always been impressed with Sony’s VG lineup.

If you like the handycam style formfactor, this could be a great choice for you.  If you can afford a few hundred dollars more and want to step up to a full frame sensor, then you might want to look at the VG-900.  If you’re like me and you’re not married to the handycam formfactor, you might want to look at the Panasonic Lumix GH3 (in my opinion, the best hybrid camera in the world right now).

If you don’t have the budget to spring for either of those, I would recommend checking out the Sony NEX-VG20  or the Panasonic Lumix GH2 (one of the best bargains out there right now at only $499 USD, Body Only).

Check out the Sony NEX-VG30 Here


cudelhiphop says:

if you’re using this for the HD quality, I think you should learn how to process your footage once it’s shot (these tips only work if you’re editing in FCP). Download MPEG Streamclip (it’s free) and before editing convert all the footage to Apple ProRes 422. Once you’ve edited your video, you’ll wanna export it as is and then convert the exported file (once again in MPEG Streamclip) to an H.264 format. This way you should be able to fully enjoy the HD. Check out some tutorials about it!

NeufeldDesigns says:

Thanks for the tips!
Yes, I was pretty surprised myself that you could here the zoom in the video…doubt I will use the servo zoom often while filming

NeufeldDesigns says:

Hi, the stabilization with the lens is pretty solid. You can definitely get nice stable handheld shots with some practice.
I haven’t seen any mention of an infrared option in the manual, settings or when I was researching it…so I’m pretty sure it doesn’t

Dave Webb says:

if you redo this someday I have two words for you: lighting and tripod. you did a good job recording yourself with the diffuse light. But the video you took should have been with better lighting. just waiting a few hours until the sun was lower to angle the light would have improved things dramatically. as it is everything is washed out. steady the camera or stop zooming in. As to the camera I was a little surprised I could hear the zoom. that’s not good as it seemed louder than acceptable.

jimprisoner says:

i am between ag ac 90 and vg30 i am realy comfused….

surburuhs says:

Hi good overview of the camera, hope you have the possibility to do some more reviews and test shoots of the Sony NEX VG30. One of my main question is;

With the lens that follows in the package hos is the image stabilisator? Is it possible to walk and film att the same time without to much of bunping around of the picture?

Does the Sony NEX VG30 has Nightshoot (infrared)?

NeufeldDesigns says:

Yes, it seems to be. I just did a test and changed the zoom mode from variable to fixed, increasing the speed to the max setting and it looks to still be going the same speed as I was using in the video at 5:10

Rob Parkin says:

When you zoom in and out is that as fast as it goes? Very interested to see the max speed on this lens

Marin Lupulescu says:

Thank you, but the upload quality, very poor.

Lucas Yap says:

I have been finding video related to VG30 for a long time . Finally , there is one .

Aziz says:

Hi there,
Thanks for excellent report.
I intend to purchase the NEX-VG30 or maybe the 900 version.
My question is how do I fit Nikon lenses to the mount.
Any suggestions?

Hi Aziz… Great Question!

At this time, there really aren’t a lot of native lenses for the Sony NEX camera lineup. Consequently, there are a ton of adapters available that will allow you to use legacy glass with your Sony NEX camera – including the VG30 or VG900. I have a good friend who has shot extensively with an NEX 7 and he always used legacy glass with great results.

There are a of of options for Nikon to E-Mount (that’s what the NEX cameras are) starting at a little over $14 USD. Check them out here >>

Please be aware that whenever you use an adapter though, you may or may not be able to enjoy the automatic functions of the lens.

Aziz says:

Thanks for the reply. It helps.
Will look into it.

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