Hands on with the ENG-Style Sony NEX-EA50, Lack of ND Filters Explained
Announced seemingly out of the blue, the new Sony NEX-EA50 has a 16 megapixel APS-C sensor very similar to their mirrorless line of cameras. It may or may not be the same sensor, but according to Dan Chung over at DSLR News Shooter, the video quality is improved over those small cameras. While the price seemed to fluctuate in the first few hours of announcement, it looks like it has settled for the moment around $4,500 (including the power zoom lens). It's interesting that Sony made some of the decisions they did about the camera, but one of the biggest omissions, ND filters, is explained in Dan's video below.
The EA50 is definitely light, so the camera being as far out in front as it is probably won't be an issue. One of the big complaints that seemed to take this from being a perfect cheap and light shoulder camera to a questionable buy is the lack of ND filters. While many will call this an ENG camera, not having ND filters actually makes it a bit more difficult for ENG (electronic news gathering) since often that type of shooting is unpredictable. If you didn't catch it, the reason this camera does not have NDs is because of the mechanical shutter for still photography. Sony made the decision to make this a dual-function camera rather than a fully-featured ENG camera. I'm not sure why they decided to make stills such a priority, but as I said before, this is really a perfect camera for shooting weddings. It has literally everything those shooters need in a camera except NDs - which isn't as big of a deal since so many weddings take place inside.
The most exciting part of the introduction of this camera is a real zoom lens. Dan clearly shows that the lens can use the power zoom function on a small camera like the NEX-5N. That would be a little unwieldy, but if you really needed a small camera package with the ability to do smooth zooms, you could hook that lens up to any of the smaller NEX series cameras. As for the talked about digital zoom for prime lenses (which could be really interesting or could look as bad as it does on point and shoot cameras), we'll just have to wait to see that mode in action.
Another feature of note -- the camera can record simultaneously to the FMU and an SD card, so you can get true redundancy if you need it. Also, some have complained about the fact that the viewfinder attachment moves the LCD on the FS100 and FS700, and Sony has tried to address this with a sturdier LCD and a screw knob that tightens the swivel. Whether that will truly fix the problem is unclear until people really start using it -- but at least Sony recognized that in a shoulder configuration it is important that the viewfinder stays in place.
What do you guys think -- is the lack of ND still at serious issue at $4,500?