Get close up with the new HXR-NX3/VG1
Film-maker and trainer Den Lennie got to grips with Sony’s newest NXCAM camcorder and found a lot to like. Great for quality conscious videographers on real-world budgets, the HXR-NX3 packs an impressive list of big-camera features into a very portable package. Find out more about the HXR-NX3 and watch Den’s exclusive hands-on video shoot in Istanbul.
Serious quality at a compelling cost
Sony’s compact, easy to use HXR-NX3 camcorder has plenty to offer cost-conscious programme makers who won’t compromise on quality. Building on the strengths of the popular HXR-NX5E, it’s a compelling choice for documentaries, corporate productions, wedding video, education, web TV and even news.
Veteran film-maker and trainer Den Lennie put the HXR-NX3 through its paces on a recent trip to Istanbul, where he used Sony’s newest NXCAM camcorder to shoot a range of scenes, from city life to sunsets.
Here’s what Den has to say about his experiences:
“I’ve used Sony cameras for over 20 years, and one area where they’ve always pushed the envelope is the sensor. I shoot most of the time with big-sensor camcorders. But I’m delighted with the Full HD pictures I’m getting from the 3x Exmor CMOS Sensor chip in the NX3 – the contrast, the saturation, the colours and the sheer resolution. Sony have really spent time getting great performance out of this sensor, and it shows… even in low light that’s a big challenge for any camera.
“And talking of light, there are some really nice features to help you get the shot with a lot less effort. I’ve been getting some fantastic results with the camera’s new iAUTO and Scene Select functions. I was shooting straight into the sunset over the Bosphorus, zoomed right in, where things would normally look uncontrollably blown out. I just dialled in Sunrise/Sunset mode and the NX3 took care of everything – ISO, shutter, colour balance and exposure. You don’t even have to think about it: the camera does all the hard work for you.”
New possibilities with less to carry
That bright, versatile Sony G Lens with 20x optical zoom also wins special praise from Den.
“It’s invaluable having such a big zoom range in a small, portable camcorder – the ability to go from wide to tight shots without switching lenses. There’s a really nice, controlled depth of field. And with SteadyShot I got some really smooth footage on water, where there’s a lot of camera movement. I’m not normally a fan of digital zoom. But with the NX3 I can push magnification right up to 40x with Clear Image Zoom that helps you get that all-important shot without sacrificing pixel count.”
With 3-way switchable ND filters, assignable buttons and separate rings for focus, zoom and iris, the HXR-NX3 is very much a hands-on camera. Other extras that attracted Den include a large 3.5-type LCD touch panel, plus Wi-Fi and NFC for remote control and shot viewing from your smartphone: a big bonus for field-based production.
The last word goes to Den, who compares the HXR-NX3 favourably with bigger, more expensive cameras.
“I’m lucky enough to use cameras like Sony’s NEX-FS100E with its large-format Super 35mm sensor. But what’s exciting about the NX3 is the way it squares up shot for shot. I’d be very happy to use this as a second B-camera on serious projects. The colour profiles look great against its high-end siblings. There’s so much detail to play with, plus some really thoughtful features. I’m truly impressed.”
Want to find out more? Watch Den Lennie’s behind-the-scenes video guide, packed with hints and tips on getting the best from the HXR-NX3, including:
• Knowing the best times to shoot
• Capturing sunrise and sunset
• Using movement to add extra interest in the frame
• Working with members of the public in everyday scenes
• Shooting on water
See Den’s HXR-NX3 video tips