April 02 2011
Aeons ago, I wrote a column called “Is it OK?” for another newspaper in which I dealt with minor ethical questions for the liberal intelligentsia, such as, “Is it OK to feel proud of Britain’s honest voting in the Eurovision Song Contest?” I thought back to the “Is it OK?” days when I fell in love with this new video camera, the Sony Nex-VG10E, purely for the way it looks and feels in the hand. That was in Berlin last autumn, when it was previewed, and it seemed a pretty non-OK reason for getting excited about a piece of technology.
However, now I’ve had the science-fictiony-looking Nex-VG10E round to play and, even as someone not actually that fussed about video cameras, I can confirm that my first impression was right. This is a magnificent machine.
Make no mistake, it is quite a handful – more like a home video camera from the 1980s. You can’t just have the Nex coincidentally about your person; if this big boy is with you, you are, ergo, making a video. The point is that if you get it in your hands, you will immediately want to make a video – which might seem a severe case of cart preceding horse, but there it is.
The Nex-VG10E is a full-on AVCHD camera, packing a sensor 19 times the size of that on a normal camcorder.
In other words, we’re talking near-cinematic quality. The results really are pretty stunning. The camera has no 3-D gimmicks, which may be offputting for some, since I have an inkling that 3-D home camcorders may turn out to be quite a hit over the next couple of years. But what the Nex does have is interchangeable lenses. This is a mahoosive big deal if you fancy yourself – or even are – a creative filmmaker. It comes with a great, all-purpose 18mm-200mm lens, but you can also slot in lenses made for the (terrific) Sony Nex-3 and -5 still cameras or, indeed, from the wider range of Sony DSLR lenses, although some functions are lost with the older lenses.
I ought to mention too that the Nex also works as an impressive, near-professional-quality 14.2 megapixel DSLR. It’s got everything you need, right down to a properly satisfying shutter “kerchunk” sound.
Was it OK to fall in love with the Nex because it happens to look like my idea of gadget sex, then? Well, yes, actually. I could even see us having a future together.