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Sony Handycam NEX-VG900 First Impressions Review
In the basic sense, the NEX-VG900 handles very similarly to the NEX-VG20. The size and shape of the two camcorders are similar, but the few alterations made by Sony should make the VG900 easier for handheld use. Moving the dedicated manual control buttons outside of the LCD cavity was a very good decision, and it should please those who prefer to utilize the electronic viewfinder (rather than the LCD) when they shoot video.
Then there's the simple addition of a zoom toggle on the NEX-VG900, which is also a new feature on the updated NEX-VG30. This new feature improves the handling of the VG900 drastically, but it only helps if you're using Sony's new power zoom lens with a built-in zoom motor. The 18-200mm power zoom lens is available as a kit with the VG900, and when attached it functions no differently than that of a built-in zoom lens on a traditional Handycam. The six different zoom speeds available on the camcorder give you more control and more options over the way you can zoom with the VG900.
The main design alteration for the NEX-VG900 comes under the hood—the Full Frame image sensor. To accommodate the larger sensor, the VG900 does have some extra bulk over the VG20. It also comes with an A-mount lens adapter (LA-EA3), which enables the camcorder to use far more lenses right out of the box. It also means you're going to have more bulk on the VG900 if you want to take advantage of the Full Frame sensor (only A-mount lenses, with the adapter, allow for full coverage).
The NEX-VG900 doesn't have stabilization on the camcorder itself, but Sony offers many lenses with built-in stabilization (including the kit lens). Stabilization can still be turned on and off via the camcorder's menu system, but, again, this menu option will not work unless a compatible lens is attached to the camcorder.
LCD & Viewfinder
The NEX-VG900 has the same touchscreen LCD as the NEX-VG20. It may bother some users that the camcorder comes with a touch interface, but the NEX-VG900 has enough dedicated buttons that you only need to venture into the touchscreen to access more unconventional controls and options. Still, the touchscreen will certainly frustrate some users.
Unlike the LCD, the viewfinder on the NEX-VG900 is improved over the EVF on the NEX-VG20. The new electronic viewfinder is an XGE OLED Tru-Finder, which should make it a lot easier to adjust controls like focus and exposure precisely. The placement of manual control buttons outside of the LCD cavity also means you don't have to have the LCD panel open to get quick access to exposure controls.