Sony NEX-VG20 or Canon XA10 for weddings?

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dago79
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Joined: Mar 7 2012
Hi there!
I've been working as videographer and editor for five years, and have used several devices from miniDV cameras to GH2. Now I'd like to buy a better videocamera for weddings and events, my budget is about €2,000.00 and I'm undecided between Sony Nex-VG20 and Canon XA10.
 
I guess the Canon XA10 would be better for my workflow, because of:
 
- Iris f/1.8 (great to blur effects and low light);
- Double slot for SDXC + internal memory of 64Gb;
- Optical image stabilizer (in the camera and not in the lens as the VG20);
- 2 XLR inputs
- Zoom key
 
I'm also wondering about the white balance of these cameras and their sensor. Do you think it's better the APS-C sized chip inside the VG20 or the HD CMOS Pro of the Canon XA10 (the same of the XF100 model)? May you suggest me?

Thanks a lot!
Luigi

 
PS sorry for my English ^^"
tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999
Re: Sony NEX-VG20 or Canon XA10 for weddings?
You'll have a tough time getting differential focus with the Canon XA10 Luigi, and that's because it has a tiny 1/3" chip and tops out with a 42.5 mm f/2.8 lens.
Pick up your DSLR, set the zoom to 42.5mm and the aperture to f/2.8 and think this is giving you the *shallowest* DOF you'll ever get on the XA10.
 
There's nothing much wrong with the Canon but as you mention low light and 'blur' I thought I'd point out the facts.  And its f/1.8 max is easily beaten by the Panasonic SD900's f/1.5 - admittedly using three smaller ¼" chips.
 
The VG20 is quite a different animal, having a chip many times the size of the Canon's and interchangeable lenses.  You seem to be comparing camcorders in the same price band but which are after different filmmakers.
 
tom.
dago79
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Joined: Mar 7 2012
Re: Sony NEX-VG20 or Canon XA10 for weddings?
Hi Tom, thanks for your answer.
So the VG20 offers a shallower DOF than the XA10, doesn't it? However, as I wouldn't like to buy other lenses for now, and my target is  a camcorder for weddings (so what I need is a pro image quality, no grain in low light, a fast autofocus, a good stabilizer..), which model would you suggest me? I've used also a GH2 for events but imho the autofocus isn't so efficient. Do you think the gap between the sensors of XA10 and VG20 is really huge in order to choose the right camera?

Thanks for your time, I really appreciate it.

Luigi

tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999
Re: Sony NEX-VG20 or Canon XA10 for weddings?
You've got a GH2?  Well why didn't you say.  No need to buy a VG20 as they both use the same APSc chip, and both give you the same dof when used with the same focal length and aperture.  In your shoes I'd learn to use the GH2 and maybe buy the XA10 - the Canon will be beautifully easy to use at a run 'n' gun event whereas the bigger-chipped machines need more care and control.  Then there's the audio ///
 
Of course the 10x zoom on your GH2 has a measly maximum aperture, so you're binning a lot of the potential for limited dof right away.  Fast primes or short zooms are what you need for low light, low grain.  But make sure you have OIS on your side.
 
'gap between the sensors of XA10 and VG20 is really huge' as you rightly point out.
 
tom.
colin rowe
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Re: Sony NEX-VG20 or Canon XA10 for weddings?
There is actually a considerable difference in the sensor size of the GH2 MFT sensor and the much larger APSc sensor in the VG20. Two completely different beasts.
Hope this helps.

Colin Rowe

tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999
Re: Sony NEX-VG20 or Canon XA10 for weddings?
You're absolutely right Colin - my brain was in sleep mode.  But the APS and the MFT sensors are like twins when compared to the 1''/3 chip in the Canon.
dago79
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Joined: Mar 7 2012
Re: Sony NEX-VG20 or Canon XA10 for weddings?
@Colin, thanks for your help!
 
@Tom:  Actually, I haven't got a GH2, it belongs to the photographer I cowork with. As I'd like to have a personal camcorder, I'm going to buy a prosumer model (hopefully, the next step will be a better beast). However, imho the GH2 is great for HDSLR cinema, but it's not as friendly as videocameras in wedding works and other events where you have no time to set up the scene.
 

No doubt that the sensor of the VG20 allows you a shallower DOF than the XA10, but are we sure that it's better in low light as well? I've read in several forums that XA10 has no grain in comparison with the VG20.
Plus, what about audio? VG20 has a 5.1 channel surround sound mic, but XA10 lets you connect XLRs.

 
Last but not least, Canon XA10 has a great memory stuff: 64Gb + 2 slots for SDXC, and also an IR mode for creative shoots...
Maybe, there's just a thing I hate of the XA10: you will not have a battery charger included in bundle, and it's not cheap at all ;)
 
Thanks for your patience ^^"
Luigi
 
tom hardwick
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Re: Sony NEX-VG20 or Canon XA10 for weddings?
Sounds like you've realised that the Canon will be much easier to use for unscripted event work because you'll plug XLR mics straight in (who wants 5.1? in situations like that even stereo is unnecessary most of the time).  Same with variable ND filters.  When they're built-in and automatic (as in the Canon) it's one less thing to worry about.
 
The VG20 should certainly be better in low light - all other things being equal.  Very often they aren't, as finding a 10x f/1.8 zoom for the Sony is impossible.
 
You're saying there's no charger supplied with the XA10?  Course there is, and you'll set out with 3 or 4 batteries on any shoot so don't let it worry you.
 
tom.
 
 
ColinK
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Joined: May 2 2012
Re: Sony NEX-VG20 or Canon XA10 for weddings?
I am also in the same situation. Mainly just wondering about the NEX-VG20. I wasn't able to quite draw a conclusion. Would this be a good camera for shooting weddings? I absolutely love the image this thing produces, I just know some people have complaints about the camera. 
colin rowe
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Re: Sony NEX-VG20 or Canon XA10 for weddings?
For ease of use, particularly when shooting weddings, XA10 every time

Colin Rowe

jammartine
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Joined: Jan 23 2013
Re: Sony NEX-VG20 or Canon XA10 for weddings?
i think you should buy Sony camera, it has good quality and in wedidng all photos and videos must be very clear and nice. Experience and practice is also very important.