Sizing Up

Left: White Sony NEX-3 with Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake lens and Sony VCL-ECF1 diagonal fisheye converter; right: Sony SLT-A33 with Sony 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 DT SAM.

The A33 is decently small enough that if you were to use the NEX-3 or NEX-5 with LA-EA1 lens adapter (to mount A-mount lenses on the NEX-3/NEX-5/NEX-VG10) you’d probably not gain much in compactness!

Left: Sony Handycam NEX-VG10 with Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake lens; right: I think this is the Sony Handycam CX-550.

You can change aperture, shutter speed etc. while recording video… though I am not sure how often I would quickly rack through (Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority would be far more convenient, as when you’re recording video, you don’t want to see your exposure suddenly dip while you change aperture and then shutter speed.)

The VG10 is obviously missing a button on its handlebar to activate recording.

Nice to see other brands being mentioned and acknowledged in a Sony Style shop!

So I tried the A33 in more detail, and found that:

If you want to record video with AF, the aperture stays at F3.5 (even if you have a F1.4 lens on – of course if you put a F5.6 lens, it will go to F5.6) but if you switch to manual focus, you can change aperture before recording.

However, manual focus is not that bad, as I just discovered – when in manual focus with a lens that has a chip (any standard AF lens) you get focus confirm during video recording! That means the green dot in the bottom-left corner, and the AF point selected lights up with a green box.

Thankfully, the focus confirm does not come with a beep when recording video!

This works until an aperture of F6.3 (thanks Clive Ngu for checking with his unit, after I forgot to test this.) That means if you set it to F8 and manual focus, you won’t get the focus confirm dot and AF point light up.

Manual focus with unchipped lenses unfortunately, do not get focus confirmation.

You can magnify your view when focusing with an unchipped lens using the Delete button (but the option must be enabled in menu.)

Focusing with the traditionally problematic Minolta 50mm F1.4 was great even at long distances. Thank goodness for that since nobody knows how to fix backfocus if it happens on these new A33/A55 cameras!

And here’s a video of the A33 with a Sony Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70mm F2.8 SSM ZA, following a salesman around Sony Style at what I would call ‘rapid walkthrough’ speed. It is faster than what normal documentary work and proper videography would allow, but also a simulation of how an entry-level customer would shoot video. SteadyShot was turned on for this.

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