I know some videographers (especially those with a “video” background, as opposed to a “cinema” background) who have longed for a camera with a very large sensor and interchangeable lens capability, but up until now have rejected current models because they demand electric zoom capability, which hasn’t been available with such cameras. Potentially, Sony has just satisfied them with the US$4200 NEX-EA50 camera. The first package/kit to be offered is a WorldCam model which includes an 18–200mm servo zoom lens, microphone, and other accessories. Although it comes with the mentioned servo zoom, you can remove it, mount a prime lens, and be able to zoom electronically without degrading the image. Learn how, and see footage ahead.
How can the NEX-EA50 zoom through a prime lens, losslessly?
The NEX-EA50’s sensor is an Exmor APS-C HD CMOS measuring 23.5 x 15.6 mm) with 16.7 megapixels, which is considerably higher than 1080p video. (1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600, or about 2.07 megapixels). If we divide 16.7 by 2.07, we see that we get approximately 8.07. However, the digital zoom is 2x as explained below:
UPDATE on the NEX-EA50’s digital zoom
Sony has contacted me to confirm that the digital zoom is 2x, so (as in their example) a 50mm prime lens becomes a 50–100mm zoom with a fixed aperture. The maximum zoom magnification is 2x (16 megapixels to 8 megapixels) in order to assure no quality loss.
With zoom lenses used the traditional way, the aperture tends to decrease progressively as the zoom reaches the telephoto extreme, with a corresponding light loss. Obviously the digital zoom does not lose any light, so the digital zoom is a good feature even with zoom lenses (leaving them at any specific focal length). The zoom rocker can be assigned either to be a digital zoom or a servo zoom at the operator’s discretion.
This lossless digital zoom feature is to complement or augment the 18–200mm f/3.5–6.3 servo zoom lens (model SELP18200) that comes included with the initial kit, which is the NEX-EA50UH in the USA, NEX-EA50H in Latin America, or the NEX-EA50EH in Europe. Despite the regional differences, they are all fortunately WorldCam 🙂
The NEX-EA50 accepts Sony E mount lenses, or many other brands of prime or zoom lenses via an inexpensive mounting adapter. Many of such lenses are shown in the video below.
NEX-EA50 NXCAM camcorder product introduction video from Sony Professional Europe
Long live WorldCam! The recording formats of the NEX-EA50
The NEX-EA50 is a WorldCam. In HD it records in AVCHD 2.0 format. In SD it records MPEG2 PS (program stream). When in 59.94 Hz mode, it operates in and records in any of the following NTSC-derived formats:
- HD PS (28Mbps) 1920×1080/59.94p
- HD FX (24Mbps) 1920×1080/59.94i (nowadays also called 29.97i)
- HD FH (17Mbps) 1920×1080/59.94i (nowadays also called 29.97i)
- HD HQ (9Mbps) 1440×1080/59.94i (nowadays also called 29.97i)
- HD LP (5Mbps) 1440×1080/59.94i (nowadays also called 29.97i)
- HD FX (24Mbps) 1920×1080/23.976p
- HD FH (17Mbps) 1920×1080/23.976p
- HD FX (24Mbps) 1920×1080/29.97p
- HD FH (17Mbps) 1920×1080/29.97p
- HD FX (24Mbps) 1280×720/59.94p
- HD FH (17Mbps) 1280×720/59.94p
- SD/STD HQ (9Mbps) 720×480/59.94i (nowadays also called 29.97i)
When you set it to 50 Hz mode, the NEX-EA50 operates and records in any of the following PAL-derived formats:
- HD PS (28Mbps) 1920×1080/50p
- HD FX (24Mbps) 1920×1080/50i (nowadays also called 25i)
- HD FH (17Mbps) 1920×1080/50i (nowadays also called 25i)
- HD HQ (9Mbps) 1440×1080/50i (nowadays also called 25i)
- HD LP (5Mbps) 1440×1080/50i (nowadays also called 25i)
- HD FX (24Mbps) 1920×1080/25p
- HD FH (17Mbps) 1920×1080/25p
- HD FX (24Mbps) 1280×720/50p
- HD FH (17Mbps) 1280×720/50p
- SD/STD HQ (9Mbps) 720×576/50i (nowadays also called 25i)
The NEX-EA50 can record onto any of the following media:
- Memory Stick
Simultaneous recording to the memory card and FMU128 is possible. Unlike some other NXCAM models, the NEX-EA50 apparently does not have any internal recording capacity.
Still photography capability
The NEX-EA50 can also shoot still photos up to 16 megapixels. Considering that I don’t see aliasing in the sample videos, I suspect that the low pass filter must be via software in the cameras DSP (digital signal processor), not optical, to allow for it to shoot such high-resolution stills without aliasing in the video.
Record 4:2:2 externally from the NEX-EA50’s HDMI
First, I’d like to say that even though it’s 4:2:0, AVCHD has come a long way, both due to the higher bit rates and the latest generation H.264 encoders. However, if you have an application that requires making a 4:2:2 recording (or potentially even a 4:4:4 recording) from the NEX-EA50, see my upcoming article: Record 4:2:2 progressive or beyond from your HDMI camera with an external recorder.
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My latest ebook
I have just published an ebook in two languages.
The format is Kindle, but even if you don’t have a Kindle device, you can read Kindle books on many other devices using a free Kindle app. That includes iPad, iPhone, Android phones, Android tablets, Mac computers, Windows computers, some Blackberry phones and Windows 7 phones.
In English, it is currently available in the following Amazon stores, depending upon your region:
- Amazon.es (Spain, pero a lo mejor lo prefieres en castellano, a continuación)
If you’re going to buy a Kindle book as a gift, you must do so via the Pan-American Amazon store (the first one listed above), regardless of where you live or where the recipient lives.
En castellano, está disponible actualmente en las siguientes tiendas Amazon, según tu región:
Si vas a comprar un libro Kindle como regalo, debes hacerlo vía la tienda panamericana de Amazon (la primera de la lista) sin importar donde vivas tú o donde viva la persona que recibirá el regalo.
Allan T©pper’s books, consulting, articles, seminars & audio programs
Contact Allan T©pper for consulting, or find a full listing of his books, articles and upcoming seminars and webinars at AllanTepper.com. Listen to his TecnoTur program, which is now available both in Castilian (aka “Spanish”) and in English, free of charge. Search for TecnoTur in iTunes or visit TecnoTur.us for more information.
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