NEX 6 fails video test from Sonyrumors

Started Nov 14, 2012 | Discussions thread
Jun2
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Re: NEX 6 fails video test from Sonyrumors
In reply to Zack23, Nov 17, 2012

You clearly haven't use GH2.  Even unhacked GH2 is better than 5n.  Gh2 doesn't have much moire and other artifects.

Zack23 wrote:

As someone who purchased a Nex 5n exclusively for video use, I'd like to clear up a few misconceptions in the previous posts.

First, the 5n does NOT suffer from "severe" moire and aliasing. These are certainly present (they are unavoidable in a sensor primarily designed for still rather than video use), but they present relatively minor issues and are less of an issue in the Nex 5n than they are in many other HDSLR's of the same generation - certainly less than the Canon 5DmkII and 7D, for instance.

As others have pointed out, clean HDMI input isn't (or at least hasn't) been expected in this sort of camera. No HDSLR of its generation offered it, and it's only now becoming a available on the high-end Nikon offerings and (with a future firmware update) the Canon 5DmkIII. The reason for clean HDMI out is to bypass the camera's own codec and allow recording to an external recorder which uses a fully professional codec (with its attendant demands for much greater processing speed and storage space), and such external recorders currently cost a few thousand dollars. The Sony AVCHD codec is really excellent for what it is - I've never been able to break it, and the artifacts are relatively minor - and I'm not sure it would make sense to add the bulk and cost of an external recorder recorder to a NEX; at that point there are other video-optimised cameras which would probably make more sense, such as Sony's own FS series. That being said, clean HDMI would be a nice feature to have, and possibly it will become available either on a new model or through a firmware hack.

The Sony VG video cameras have used the exact same chip and processing as the the NEX series - the image quality of video from the VG20 is identical to that of the NEX 5n. That said, the VG 20 - which was designed for video use - offers several real advantages and one major disadvantage compared to the NEX5n. The VG 20 has mic inputs, headphone output, manual audio control, and audio meters (the automatic gain control on the 5n can't be defeated, making the internal audio useless except as a guide track). The VG 20 doesn't overheat (the 5n will frequently overheat and shut down after 20-25 minutes of continuous video) and doesn't share the 5n's absolute limit of 29 minutes on the length of a video clip. However, for unknown reasons the Sony crippled the VG20's ability to adjust image parameters. Unlike the 5n, which at least allows for control of sharpness, saturation, and contrast, the VG20 doesn't allow for changes to any of these properties. This is a real problem, since Sony's default sharpness setting is rather high, and many shooters like to record a flat, low-contrast image to maximize the amount of information they will have to work with while correcting color during post production.

It's absolutely not true that the NEX 5n "doesn't compare" to the Panasonic GH2 for video. First of all, the video from the stock GH2 is truly mediocre; the GH2 only becomes a contender when its firmware is hacked to allow a higher bitrate. Compared to the the hacked GH2, the NEX 5n offers both pluses and minuses (and I should add a disclaimer that I haven't actually tested the two cameras next to each other, but am basing my conclusions on extensive research). The two cameras seem roughly the same in terms of moire, aliasing, and skewing. The hacked GH2 offers slightly higher resolution. The NEX 5N offers more gentle highlight clipping, seems to offer somewhat greater dynamic range, has superior low-light performance, and to my eye offers more pleasing colorimetry. There seems to be a certain harshness to the hacked GH2 video that the NEX avoids, and (to use the old cliche) the NEX seems to me a bit more filmic. The GH2 offers other advantages - a decent built-in viewfinder, a fully articulating screen, it doesn't overheat, and because it has the option of manual audio control and offers a mic input the internal audio is at least usable (though recorded at a sub-CD quality). On the other hand, the greater crop factor of the GH2 makes the use of legacy lenses more problematic (the wider focal lengths simply aren't available) and the NEX 5n is smaller, lighter, and was roughly one-half the price. The new GH3 does appear to offer some video improvements over the GH2, but I haven't seen any serious tests of this new model yet.

In summary, I've been extremely happy with the video quality of the 5n. I don't believe that any HDSLR's of the same generation offer significantly better video; to find real improvements in image quality it would be necessary to move up to something like the Sony FS100, which features an APS-C sized chip designed and optimized for video use (and which is significantly costlier, bulkier, and heavier than the NEX 5N). Of course, the next generation of HDSLRs - the GH3 and Canon 5DmkIII - may well offer improvements over the 5N (it's hardly a surprise when next year's video technology beats last year's), but we won't really know until more units are in the field. And if the current attempts to hack the NEX firmware are successful, that could re-level the playing field as well.

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Sony Alpha NEX-6 Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-54mm 1:2.8-3.5 II Olympus Zuiko Digital 11-22mm 1:2.8-3.5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN +5 more
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