Sony NEX-VG10 HD camcorder preview

Well, that was quick. Right after yesterday's surprising announcement, Sony flew its yet-to-be-released NEX-VG10 camcorder into London just in time for today's showcase event. Naturally, we had to get our hands on this shiny baby, and boy we were impressed. In case you missed the news, this snazzy device is the world's first consumer HandyCam with interchangeable lens, meaning you can share E-mount lenses with your young NEX DSLRs, or take advantage of the abundant A-mount lenses with the help of an adapter (which will cost you extra, mind you). Likewise, there are also hot and cold shoe mounts on the mic shaft to cater your current camera accessories. Read on for our thoughts on the rest of the camcorder -- we've put together a little sample clip for you at the end as well.%Gallery-97582%

There isn't much to complain about with this $2,000 (and, sadly, possibly £2,000 for the Brits) piece of kit in terms of appearance and ergonomics. We like being able to hold it by either the seemingly solid body (using the strap) or the mic shaft, and both ways provided comfortable grip without much fatigue due to the light weight (even with the bundled lens). We were also able to quickly master the jog-dial control next to the 3-inch screen, but for this price, we expected a touchscreen interface as well to make life easier. As for the bundled F3.5-6.3 18-200mm lens, we found that zooming required a bit more effort than we liked, so thankfully there's auto focus mode -- just like any ordinary camcorder -- to save us from further wrist work with the focus ring. We must also point out that unlike the Olympus PEN, this Sony camcorder didn't pick up any mechanical noise from its lens auto focussing; otherwise, this kit totally wouldn't deserve such price tag.

Of course, what we really care about is the picture and sound quality. All is revealed in our sample reel below (remember to enable HD playback mode), but in brief: stunningly accurate colors, sharp 1080/60i picture, and impressive audio sensitivity (notice how the mic was able to pick up conversations from afar; you can also enable just the front mics to minimise background noise). You may notice some shakiness while we were adjusting the lens -- we'll blame it on our lack of practice from the little hands-on time we had. Regardless, the NEX-VG10 certainly lived up to our expectation, and we look forward to hear what the filming hobbyists think of this prosumer-level camcorder when it comes out in September.

Update: commenter aim120 dropped us a link to Sony's own sample clip. Enjoy!