NAB Show

NAB 2017: Musings on Miracles

How did we get here?

Behold: a miracle. This is my well-worn Sony EA50-U camera.  It’s a APS-C chip with an Alpha/E-mount, and I have used and tortured it horribly.


That picture was shot in the NAB press room, at the end of my three days of shooting for PVC.  Let’s have a look into the viewfinder, shall we?

In the upper-left corner you’ll notice the battery indicator at 100%.  In the upper-right corner you’ll notice that I have 266 minutes of recording left on my 64Gb chip.  Again, this picture was taken *after* three days of shooting for the dozen or so videos I have just posted (and thanks for watching, by the way.)




Call me easily amused, but this blows my mind.  I NEVER charged the battery in three days, and I never cleaned off the chip.  To be fair, I wasn’t shooting hour-long takes of anything (at least, not on purpose – hey, it happens) but still, to come from a world of tape decks and 20-minute 3/4″ Umatic tapes and BP-90 nicad deck batteries that might last 30 rolling minutes to where we are now in 35 years is very, very cool.  And if anything the pace of progress just keeps on growing.

Nothing is perfect, though.  The lens that came with the EA50-U is slow, not easily focused and can’t do a creep zoom to save its life (plus it gets longer and shorter like a trombone if you zoom in on something.)  Luckily, it appears Sony might be doing something about that.

Meet the alpha-mount Sony 18-110mm lens.  Sure, at f4 it’s pretty slow, but the gain-up on the EA50-U is fairly clean, it wouldn’t kill me to put up a light once in a while.  Finally there is an alpha-mount lens out that actually feels right for broadcast work.  So…my birthday is in August.  <hint hint>  (Thanks to Alan Lugo at the B&H booth for letting me mount the lens on my camera for a quick look-see.)




Here’s the last photo, of the camera at the Science March on Washington the previous Saturday.

It rained almost all day, and despite the valiant use of plastic shopping bags, the camera got totally soaked.  Didn’t slow the machine down one bit.  Amazing.

We work with miracles each and every day.  Let’s take some time to appreciate that.






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A 1981 graduate of the Boston University College of Communication, Bruce A. Johnson got his first job in broadcast television at WFTV, an ABC affiliate in Orlando, FL. While there, he rose through the ranks…

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Geez, you’ve really gotten your money’s worth out of that camera. Have you started looking for a replacement or you going to stick with the EA50-U for a while?

Bruce A Johnson
Bruce A Johnson

I think I’ll probably end up with the Sony 18 – 110mm lens, so the EA50-U will likely be my main camera for some time to come. But for a camera I only paid (if memory serves) about $4000 for, it’s earned it’s keep. Plus I didn’t have to go out and buy $5000 worth of accessories just to make it usable!

Ekud Door
Ekud Door

You nearly made me spit out my mouthful of corn chips and IPA when I read, “To be fair, I wasn’t shooting hour-long takes of anything (at least, not on purpose – hey, it happens)”. I thought that was a well kept secret of “professionals”.