Sony Handycam NEX-VG20 Camcorder Review$2,199.00
Ever since DSLR cameras started recording video we've been waiting for a product like the Sony Handycam NEX-VG20 to come along. People obviously love the way DSLRs and system cameras capture video, and they love the ability to work with different lenses, but most cameras simply aren't designed with videography in mind. They're all still the same old rectangular boxes that require two hands to grip and have viewfinders that are essentially useless for video recording. We know there are plenty of third-party grips and tools that can morph your DSLR into more of a "camcorder", but the Sony NEX-VG20 does this right out of the box.
While we do love this design idea, the NEX-VG20 isn't all perfect. The APS-C image sensor and E-mount lens system make for some impressive video performance, particularly with motion, but we were disappointed with the VG20's performance in low light and sharpness. With such a large image sensor and expensive lens we expected the NEX-VG20 to do better than it did in our tests. This doesn't mean the VG20 was terrible, it produced mostly above-average results all around, as well as some top-notch results in other categories (like stabilization, battery life, and motion).
Exposure controls like aperture, shutter speed, and gain are all easily adjustable on the NEX-VG20. Focus is also wonderful to set manually with the large lens ring on the kit lens. But we wish the camcorder had more professional color and image controls, like the kind Sony puts on its professional models. This was an area where the VG20 was extremely lacking, and we're guessing Sony will include more on its next "interchangeable lens camcorder".
If you're a videographer who wants to use an arsenal of different lenses when you want to shoot video, then the NEX-VG20 should definitely be on your radar. It's one of the only interchangeable lens camcorders you can get for under $2000, although we expect to see more in the future. Just remember, the VG20 may seem lacking in controls if you're used to shooting with professional equipment.