Shooting video with Sony NEX-5N
/forum/topic/1067559/0

1
       2       end

texasphoto
Registered: Mar 17, 2010
Total Posts: 83
Country: United States

Just shot some videos with a Canon 5D II. Although the IQ was very good, it was very hard to handle, especially hold with hand. I wonder if a smaller camera with good IQ like NEX-5N would be easier to use. I will appreciate if someone can share their experience of shooting videos with NEX-5N or -7. Do autofocus and anti-shake (or IS) work for video? Thanks.



douglasf13
Registered: Apr 09, 2008
Total Posts: 5893
Country: United States

Hi. The 5N and 7 do autofocus with video, and the lenses with stabilization also work with video. I'm not sure how serious of an application we're talking about, but you may want to check out the EOS HD blog for some good info about still camera video. FWIW, I believe the GH2 is still the camera to beat, video wise, but, as I mentioned, it depends on your technical needs.



texasphoto
Registered: Mar 17, 2010
Total Posts: 83
Country: United States

douglasf13 wrote:
Hi. The 5N and 7 do autofocus with video, and the lenses with stabilization also work with video. I'm not sure how serious of an application we're talking about, but you may want to check out the EOS HD blog for some good info about still camera video. FWIW, I believe the GH2 is still the camera to beat, video wise, but, as I mentioned, it depends on your technical needs.


Thank you for your reply. I try to use one camera to do both video and regular photo.Although I'd like to have the best IQ possible, but for family use, portability and handling might be more important. Out of focus and jumping video from 5D II made my wife unhappy.

By the way, how do 5N and GH2 compare to regular video camera?



alwang
Registered: Sep 02, 2011
Total Posts: 1007
Country: United States

I think if you're talking about family video recording (as opposed to amateur filmmaking), the Sony SLT cameras (a55/a65/a77) are better than the NEX, and are pretty tough to beat overall. Put on a silent-focusing lens like the 16-50/2.8, and you have extremely fast continuous Phase Detect AF, in-body stabilization for all lenses, and IMO the ideal size (the NEX cameras for me are a little too small to hold for stable video.) They are also excellent still cameras.

Sizewise, I don't think the a55 is a whole lot larger than the GH2.



pkupcik
Registered: Jul 28, 2006
Total Posts: 267
Country: N/A

I had to sell my 5dII recently and have downsized to nex-5n, thinking it could be a reasonably cheap good quality camera. I've done some videos on both and here are my thoughts:

On my 5D II I mostly shot handheld with zeiss 28/2 and 50/2, anything longer introduced considerable shake, unles shot on a tripod. Both lenses proved very practical from the standpoint of weight, manual focus operation and relative ease to keep camera stable. Maintaining focus at large apertures was not very assuring since the LCD is not very high res, but surprisingly I nailed the focus most of the times.

Now, NEX-5N, I tried it with the kit 18-55 lens and also Zeiss 35/2 ZM lens. The IS in the kit lens was extremely helpful throughout the entire 17-55 range. I no longer had to focus on trying to keep the lens steady, anybody, including my wife could easily keep it steady. Focus peaking on the LCD or EVF is superb, it makes it so much easier to maintain manual focus. When doing video outside during the day, you can just go by the peaking to judge focus even if you can't recognize details due to glare - this is major plus compared to 5D II. I did have an external viewfinder for the 5D II LCD, but because the LCD is of such a low resolution it wasn't optimal, it mostly helped with the outdoor glare and also helped stabilize the body a bit.

Autofocus on the nex-5n worked reasonably well, but I must say I much prefer MF. The camera does face recognition and sometimes focus may jump from one face to another. Because these cameras are capable of such a narrow DOF, I find it more reliable to use MF. Now, if I'm doing a video of my son running on an empty field, AF would work. But if I do his soccer game, the camera doesn't know which player is my son. I assume you could try to use a center focus point and keep it on the object, but I rarely compose shots or video with subject in the middle. Especially in video the composition is important as you don't have the room to crop in post processing as you would with a static shot.

The biggest dissapointment with the NEX-5n was video quality. I don't know if it was because of the slow kit lens, or non-optimal performance with the Zeiss 35/2 ZM, but the video was significantly behind the 5D II quality. I wasn't very happy about it. In the end I returned the NEX back to Amazon. My opinion might have been different if Sony had some high quality NEX lenses availalbe. The kit lens just wasn't doing it for me.

To be honest, if image stabilization and AF is important to you, the SONY a77 is probably the best bet now. It has some of the nice video features that NEX has, such as EVF, focus peaking, video AF, 1080/60p, plus access to high quality Alpha lenses. The NEX system is not mature yet as a system.

I personally have for now ended up with 60D (there were some great deals during black friday), which is not as good as 5D II IQ wise, but it's reasonably close. I'm looking forward to next year for 5DIII - I hope it will have higher res tiltable LCD, focusing peaking and less moire in video, or SONY FF with EVF (basically a77 with FF sensor)



texasphoto
Registered: Mar 17, 2010
Total Posts: 83
Country: United States

Pkupcik, thank you very much for sharing your experience. Although the video quality from 5D II is very good, it is extremely hard to handle. Shooting family video with 5D II, zoom lenses, and tripod is thus not practical for family activities. I start to think that maybe I need to get a camcorder for video and use 5D II for still photo. They are designed for different purposes anyway. Maybe it is still not the time to use a single camera for both video and still photo yet. Any comments?



pkupcik
Registered: Jul 28, 2006
Total Posts: 267
Country: N/A

A camcorder is probably better if you're looking for convenience. I also have Panasonic TM700 camcorder that my wife uses and even I do every now and then when I'm looking for convenience. There is no way my wife could use a DSLR video, it's simply too complicated for the average user - you have to deal with shutter speeds for 24p using ND filters, switching lenses, paying attention to stabilization, manual focusing, etc. You can get a great quality camcorder these days with 1080/60p processing, image stabilizer and zoom lens. I personally prefer DSLR video for the same reason I prefer DSLR photogrophy compared to P&S photography. I like that it produces unique video that is not achievable with camcorder - mostly talking about 24p, shallow DOF, high image quality, use of wide range of lenses and the whole experience of slow workflow.

I think the Nex-5N would have been a very good pocket camera/camcorder if it had higher quality lens, say 17-50/2.8 in NEX mount. It certainly has the features, just not the lenses.

Edit: To add, a camcorder is very convenient, but it's hard to be creative with it because of large DOF, inability to focus manually (or reliably/conveniently focus). So if you're looking for something creative, camcorder will probably not cut it. But if you just want something convenient to record family events as most people do, camcorder is probably the best choice.

I do recommend though that you read up on the NEX some more, maybe my expectations were much higher than yours. I can see the second benefit of it by being a relatively small high quality photo camera for the times when 5D II is too large to carry around.



A.Y.
Registered: Oct 11, 2005
Total Posts: 829
Country: United States

I rely on NEX-5N for low-light and super-wide shots - tasks that are beyond the capabilities of typical consumer camcorders with tiny sensors and rather narrow 28/35/40mm lenses. Sony A77/A65 have by far the best video AF capabilities on the market right now and the incredibly smooth 1080 60p video.

Video Focus:

Just like still photography, some skills and practices are required to obtain properly focused videos no matter what type of camera is used.

A camcorder has a tiny sensor and huge DOF so keeping things in focus at the wide end is easy. However, shooting in the telephoto range or under low-light situations will still be challenging. Low to mid-range camcorders don't have a way to switch on and off AF instantly so once the AF starts to hunt, the user is powerless to do anything about it. Shooting events with a camcorder under low-light conditions, I use AF/MF switch constantly to prevent the AF from hunting and use the MF ring/knob when light levels drop below AF capabilities.

NEX-5N AF does a really good job under bright light. Since it has much shallower DOF, keeping everything in focus under low-light situations requires a little more care and planning. Doing a foreground-to-background shot, just check to make sure the camera can quickly lock focus on the two subjects before recording. Doing a panning shot where there are a lot of say Christmas lights everywhere that can throw the AF off, just shoot with a wide-angle lens and record with MF. Simple common-sense techniques can deliver excellent videos. BTW, I programed one of the 5N buttons as AF/MF switch.

1080 60p:

Absolutely love it and won't shoot at any other frame rate. Keep in mind that filmmakers like Cameron, Lucas, Spielberg and others are all pushing for the 48fps movie standard because they are tired of the outdated, choppy 24fps film standard dictated by 90% of the theaters worldwide that are still using 24fps film projectors. It always amazes me to see people whose home videos will NEVER be converted and projected on film projectors shooting kid sports at 24fps when their cameras are capable of higher frame rates because they want to be like filmmakers.

NEX-5N video quality:

Download and see for yourself how the 5N 60p video quality compares to Canon 60D 25p or google for 5D2 samples:

Notice how the moving subjects appear at 25fps and this is the reason why no sports events are broadcasted at 24/25fps anymore:
http://s3.amazonaws.com/movies.dpreview.com/canon_eos60d/MVI_1326.MOV
http://s3.amazonaws.com/movies.dpreview.com/canon_eos60d/MVI_1508.MOV

NEX-5N 1080 60p OTOH is absolutely silky smooth and clean even at night:



















A.Y.
Registered: Oct 11, 2005
Total Posts: 829
Country: United States

douglasf13 wrote:
...you may want to check out the EOS HD blog for some good info about still camera video. FWIW, I believe the GH2 is still the camera to beat, video wise, but, as I mentioned, it depends on your technical needs.


Keep this in mind when reading EOS HD's "comparison" between the GH2, NEX-5N, and 600D:

1. The GH2 samples were from a hacked camera that records at 65Mbit while the NEX-5N and 600D samples were from production cameras records at 24Mbit for the 5N, not sure about the 600D. What kind of "credible" side-by-side comparison is this?

2. My NEX-5N simply cannot duplicate the terribly out-of-focus results (the leaves and grass shots) shown in his "comparison". The tree video frame posted earlier is what my 5N is capable of.



texasphoto
Registered: Mar 17, 2010
Total Posts: 83
Country: United States

For those who used NEX-5 for video, how is NEX-5N's anti-shake comparing to a mid-range camcorder?



pkupcik
Registered: Jul 28, 2006
Total Posts: 267
Country: N/A

texasphoto wrote:
For those who used NEX-5 for video, how is NEX-5N's anti-shake comparing to a mid-range camcorder?


The stabilization is not built into NEX-5N body but the lenses. The kit 18-55 lens has IS and I found it very good and comparable to camcorder. I didn't do any detailed comparisons since it worked so well. Now most camcorders usually have very long zoom lenses, say 35mm-350mm with fairly effective IS. My Panasonic TM700 HD camcorder does excellent job in image stabilization throughout the entire zoom range. I don't know how NEX-5N would work with longer IS lens. Also, the new NEX Zeiss 24/1.8 and NEX Sony 50/1.8 do not have IS.

As a side note, Canon 60D with 17-55/2.8 IS lens also does an exceptional job in stabilizing the image for video. I have doubts about longer focal lengths, but don't have any direct experience.



texasphoto
Registered: Mar 17, 2010
Total Posts: 83
Country: United States

pkupcik wrote:
texasphoto wrote:
For those who used NEX-5 for video, how is NEX-5N's anti-shake comparing to a mid-range camcorder?


The stabilization is not built into NEX-5N body but the lenses. The kit 18-55 lens has IS and I found it very good and comparable to camcorder. I didn't do any detailed comparisons since it worked so well. Now most camcorders usually have very long zoom lenses, say 35mm-350mm with fairly effective IS. My Panasonic TM700 HD camcorder does excellent job in image stabilization throughout the entire zoom range. I don't know how NEX-5N would work with longer IS lens. Also, the new NEX Zeiss 24/1.8 and NEX Sony 50/1.8 do not have IS.

As a side note, Canon 60D with 17-55/2.8 IS lens also does an exceptional job in stabilizing the image for video. I have doubts about longer focal lengths, but don't have any direct experience.


I tried 70-200mm 2.8L II on a tripod with IS turned off. Whenever I tried to move camera a little bit, the shake makes video awful. I understood I could improve it by using a better video tripod head and improving my technique. But for a regular family video, a complicate setup is not practical.



texasphoto
Registered: Mar 17, 2010
Total Posts: 83
Country: United States

pkupcik wrote:
texasphoto wrote:
For those who used NEX-5 for video, how is NEX-5N's anti-shake comparing to a mid-range camcorder?


The stabilization is not built into NEX-5N body but the lenses. The kit 18-55 lens has IS and I found it very good and comparable to camcorder. I didn't do any detailed comparisons since it worked so well. Now most camcorders usually have very long zoom lenses, say 35mm-350mm with fairly effective IS. My Panasonic TM700 HD camcorder does excellent job in image stabilization throughout the entire zoom range. I don't know how NEX-5N would work with longer IS lens. Also, the new NEX Zeiss 24/1.8 and NEX Sony 50/1.8 do not have IS.

As a side note, Canon 60D with 17-55/2.8 IS lens also does an exceptional job in stabilizing the image for video. I have doubts about longer focal lengths, but don't have any direct experience.


I tried 70-200mm 2.8L II on a tripod with IS turned off. Whenever I tried to move camera a little bit, the shake makes video awful. I understood it can been improved by using a better video tripod head and improving my technique. But a complicate setup is not practical for regular family video.



A.Y.
Registered: Oct 11, 2005
Total Posts: 829
Country: United States

Everything depends on what's considered acceptable quality for regular family video.

NEX 18-55mm AF and OSS (IS, VR) are video silent and the in-lens stabilizer works about as well as the IS in my Canon lenses. All of my Canon zooms have noisy AF and IS that will be picked up by the build-in mic so I knew right from the start I'd have to purchase a set of video-silent lenses if I want to use an APS-C camera for video!

Depending on what you will shoot, NEX-5N should be good for family video "most of the time"

HOWEVER

a camcorder should be used for recording long events continuously using the telephoto range like school plays, sports, and wedding closeups when there will be a lot of panning and zooming. As mentioned before, having an AF/MF override is a huge plus for shooting under low-light situations to prevent AF hunting.

The new 1080 60p AVCHD 2 standard will soon, if not already, become the default format for all consumer camcorders so think twice before getting 60i, 30p AVCHD 1 gears.

Most importantly, having an A/V tripod with fluid head will make a huge difference in preventing the all-too-common home-video sea sickness.

I went with a Sony camcorder mainly because no other companies made an A/V tripod with camera controls for the consumer market at the time, and "most likely" it's still the case today. BTW, not all Sony consumer camcorders have the AV port with Lanc camera-control functions! With practices, pro-quality videos can be obtained, using consumer gears to a certain extent of course!








Correcting misspelled words & grammars


douglasf13
Registered: Apr 09, 2008
Total Posts: 5893
Country: United States

The NEX-5N and NEX-7 both use AVCHD 2.0.



texasphoto
Registered: Mar 17, 2010
Total Posts: 83
Country: United States

A.Y. wrote:
Everything depends on what's considered acceptable quality for regular family video.

NEX 18-55mm AF and OSS (IS, VR) are video silent and the in-lens stabilizer works about as well as the IS in my Canon lenses. All of my Canon zooms have noisy AF and IS that will be picked up by the build-in mic so I knew right from the start I'd have to purchase a set of video-silent lenses if I want to use an APS-C camera for video!

Depending on what you will shoot, NEX-5N should be good for family video "most of the time"

HOWEVER

a camcorder should be used for recording long events continuously using the telephoto range like school plays, sports, and wedding closeups when there will be a lot of panning and zooming. As mentioned before, having an AF/MF override is a huge plus for shooting under low-light situations to prevent AF hunting.

The new 1080 60p AVCHD 2 standard will soon, if not already, become the default format for all consumer camcorders so think twice before getting 60i, 30p AVCHD 1 gears.

Most importantly, having an A/V tripod with fluid head will make a huge difference in preventing the all-too-common home-video sea sickness.

I went with a Sony camcorder mainly because no other companies made an A/V tripod with camera controls for the consumer market at the time, and "most likely" it's still the case today. BTW, not all Sony consumer camcorders have the AV port with Lanc camera-control functions! With practices, pro-quality videos can be obtained, using consumer gears to a certain extent of course!


Thanks. Very educational!



ken.vs.ryu
Registered: Apr 24, 2005
Total Posts: 3430
Country: N/A

I've read that the Sony E 18-200 is even better for video than the kit lens - if you are looking for that range.



vovkinson
Registered: Oct 13, 2005
Total Posts: 804
Country: United States

tried Nex 5n video last night at 1080 60P and was very disappointed with video quality in comparison to my Canon XF100 camcorder or even Nikon d7000 DSLR ...
Kit lens 18-55 does not hold focus well in video mode.

I'm inclined to sell my Nex5n (actually I'm already selling it)
It's not very good at stills (unless you got a cash to burn for leica lenses), neither at video... so-so camera.... a toy....I would say



alwang
Registered: Sep 02, 2011
Total Posts: 1007
Country: United States

vovkinson wrote:
tried Nex 5n video last night at 1080 60P and was very disappointed with video quality in comparison to my Canon XF100 camcorder or even Nikon d7000 DSLR ...
Kit lens 18-55 does not hold focus well in video mode.


Not sure I understand the complaint about video quality, since neither the XF100 or d7000 can do 60p at all? Similarly, the d7000 doesn't autofocus at all?




vovkinson
Registered: Oct 13, 2005
Total Posts: 804
Country: United States

what I'm saying is that NEX sucks at video. That's all.



1
       2       end