August 17, 2012

Sony NEX-EA50 NXCAM camcorder

Sony’s new NEX-EA50 answers a demand that many camcorder users have for a large-sensor, low(ish)-cost camcorder you can use on your shoulder without having to buy some sort of rig. Certainly, our most popular post ever is one from two years ago on Shoulder-mounted AVCHD cameras – which is exactly what this is…

As the newest addition to the NXCAM range, the NEX-EA50 has a new form factor that should be more comfortable to hold however you like to shoot.

When its shoulder pad is extended, the camcorder can be balanced on the shoulder for extra stability, making it a lot easier to hold for long shooting times. When the shoulder pad is in its original position, the camcorder is compact enough for any style of handheld use.

Many of its specifications seem similar to the NEX-FS100, but it doesn't appear to use the same sensor. The camcorder, due to ship in October, features a large format sensor, E-mount lens system, shooting Full HD movies (and high-quality still photos), but is promised to meet a “more affordable price point than ever before” - about £2,700 - Creative Video has it for £2,499 + VAT, which is less than €3,200/$4,000.

The Exmor APS-C/Super35mm-sized HD CMOS sensor is claimed to offer low noise and high sensitivity in low light conditions. It also enables 1080 progressive and interlace recording with 50/60Hz selection at 50p/25p/50i or 60p/30p/24p/60i. It records AVCHD 4:2:0 at up to 28Mbps. It can also record standard definition MPEG-2.

“This all-in-one camcorder brings a new level of creativity to a wider range of professional users than ever before,” said Bill Drummond, Sony Europe. “It combines affordability and high performance with a range of versatile, professional features for many applications, including event production, budget movie making and corporate production.”

It will capture 16.1 megapixel still pictures and has a built-in mechanical shutter so it can deliver high shutter speeds while capturing stills.

The camera can be used with any Sony E-mount lens, which enables auto focus, auto exposure and stabilisation during shooting. It has a short flange back distance, so it is possible to attach Sony A-mount lenses via the LA-EA2 lens mount adapter, or a wide range of other manufacturer’s lenses using third-party adapters.

The NEX-EA50 comes with the newly developed Power Zoom E-mount lens E PZ 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS SELP18200. The 11x zoom includes auto focus, continuous variable iris and Optical Steady Shot image stabilisation with Active Mode, which should give a more stable shot.

The lens is electronically controlled via either the zoom rocker lever on the camcorder grip or the top handle, offering either a constant zoom speed or smooth, slow zoom.

Other camera functions include: two-channel XLR audio (an ECM-XM1 Shotgun microphone is included with the NEX-EA50H); Linear PCM audio; time code; user bit; built-in GPS; six assignable buttons; HDMI Type A, component (3xRCA) and A/V (RCA) outputs; 3.5-inch 1920x480 LCD; and Face Detection autofocus.

For recording, Sony’s HXR-FMU128 (128GB) flash memory unit (which costs about £600/€750/$1000) can dock directly to the camcorder for simultaneous backup recording. The camcorder is also compatible with Sony’s new Mirroring Memory Stick (MS-PX64/32/16), the world’s first memory card with mirroring. This enables the card to deliver higher reliability and data security through a dual recording (mirroring) function. The PX Series cards will be available from September, in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions. It can also record to SD cards.

By David Fox

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