If you’re a budget filmmaker looking for a kickass upgrade from that old fixed-lens camcorder, the Sony Handycam NEX-VG20 is here in all of its interchangeable lens glory. Picking up where the NEX-VG10 left off, the NEX-VG20 captures Full HD 1920×1080 60/24p AVCHD video to a 16-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor. Translation: That’s some killer image quality, Hoss. The Handycam VG20 can also capture 16-megapixel still images in the RAW format, adding to the sheer versatility of this beast. In fact, Sony says that the NEX-VG20’s still image quality “rivals the expressive picture quality of a DSLR camera.”

Cinema Tone Gamma and Cinema Tone Color are available to enhance the look of HD footage, but it’s the precision Quad Capsule Spatial Array Microphone that is the prime showstopper. This high-end built-in mic now has 5.1-channel surround sound and offers a new audio level control. Ergonomically, the Sony Handycam NEX-VG20’s handgrip has been redesigned for more stability, and the control dial can now be accessed while the LCD panel is closed. Other additions like “hard” function keys, a second Record button, and an expanded focus button make external operation more convenient as well.

Sony-Handycam-NEX-VG20-Dramatic-Rear-AngleLike the recently announced Sony Alpha NEX-7 and Alpha a77, the Sony Handycam NEX-VG20 features a 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD with TrueBlack technology for warding off glare. The screen is capable of rotating up to 270 degrees and has a touch panel for easy control. The NEX-VG20 is compatible with Sony’s Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX series (you’ve got to love those preposterous Memory Stick names) and SD memory cards .

Since the Sony Handycam NEX-VG20 is equipped with Sony’s E-Mount system, which spans across their entire NEX lineup, the camcorder will ship in two different variations. The Sony Handycam NEX-VG20H will ship with the SEL18200 F3.5-6.3 E-mount lens, which offers a wide 11x optical zoom range and built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization for around $2,200 while the body-only Sony Handycam NEX-VG20 will retail for $1,600. Both variations are set to ship this November.