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Old March 31st, 2008, 12:00 PM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Ross View Post
Exposure controls aperture, shutter speed and gain.
Yes, but we don't talked about the Exposure control itself (it's clear that in everycase these parameters are treated), but the way to 'bias' the control by an adjustment of the automatism.

The setting options proposed by the manufacturers have some 'names' that make you believe that their action is more or less targeted on 1, 2 or more technical parameters. And the wording 'AE shift' used by Sony seems more powerfull than only 'Brigthness' used by Canon...
But the problem is that the manufacturers don't say too much about 'how' works each of their options.

On the Sony side, the 'AE shift' is only described as 'making a darker image' when you select the - side, and 'making a lighter image' when you select the + side. The exact impact of the Sony option 'AE shift' on the aperture, shutter speed and gain is not known, as it's not known too what does exactly the Canon 'Brigthness' option on aperture, shutter speed and gain...

The only way to appreciate the result is to set the 'bias' options -/+ and to see what is the behaviour of the cam with the automatism left 'on'.
Regarding the 'Auto exposure' and its possibility to have a 'bias' adjustment, I see that the 'Brigthness' option on the Canon does the same job that the 'AE shift' on a Sony cam (I own both cam: canon HV20 and Sony HC1): the automatism takes care of the aperture, shutter speed and gain, and the -/+ moderate or inflate the result... Only the latitude of the setting is limited to -1, 0, +1 on the Canon cam, instead of -4 to +4 on a Sony Cam.

You was regretting to not have a way to a have some 'bias' adjustments on your Canon cam, but, Ken, you have already some ones!

Regarding the other 'bias' settings: the 'Contrast', and 'Sharpness' work closely as their countreparts 'bias' options on a Sony cam. The Canon 'Colors' option is less close (what is really a "Color shift"? Question of taste maybe...). No direct "White balance shift" on the Canon (the Canon 'Colors' - or + can be used too depending on what you want).
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Old March 31st, 2008, 12:41 PM   #77
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Bruno, since I have both the SR12 and the HV20, it was very easy to test both and report this info on a factual, no guesswork basis.

The SR12 does control shutter speed, aperture and gain via the exposure control. It is easy to see since all parameters can be called up on the Sony while the video is running. Once shutter speed is 'used up', it moves on to aperture and then finally gain. So all parameters are adjusted and you do have a + or - 4 adjustment range, considerably greater than the Canon's + or - 1.

On the Canon, shutter speed and aperture do not change even though the brightness is clearly changing. You can see both parameters adjusting while the tape is playing. The Canon does not show the gain on the fly like the Sony, but it is highly unlikely that gain is being adjusted since I've seen the brighteing and darkening in outdoor videos where the gain would be 0.

Additionally, the exposure bias can be adjusted on the fly with the Sony whereas the Canon must be paused to readjust any of these parameters.

So, as you can see, there is quite a difference between the two. ;)
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Old March 31st, 2008, 01:02 PM   #78
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So, as you can see, there is quite a difference between the two. ;)
Yes. I maybe still not fully agree with you, but your last sentence sounds better than saying that the Canon has no 'bias' adjustment at all... ;)

PS: But I nothing against Sony: as you, I'm very interested by the new Sony SR11/SR12 that will maybe be my first 'w/o tape' camcorder... And even if the new canon FH10 as a comparable PQ, the lack of a view-finder is a no-go with the Canon, and, after a change from Sony HC1 to Canon HV20, I'm ready to go back to Sony...
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Old March 31st, 2008, 01:26 PM   #79
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And the ability to change settings "on the fly" while recording can be rather important - and Sony allows it, Canon...? I recall running into that roadblock on some HV20 settings, left me scratching my head.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 02:15 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno Donnet View Post
You was regretting to not have a way to a have some 'bias' adjustments on your Canon cam, but, Ken, you have already some ones!
I think the easiest way to view this is whether the adjustment takes place before or after the exposure is captured on the sensor. The AE shift function on the Sony is a true exposure adjustment that takes place *before* the image is captured, whereas the brightness (and contrast, etc.) adjustments on the Canon are image processing functions that take place *after* the the image is captured.

While various improvements can be made by processing the image after it's been captured, there is only very limited exposure latitude in the raw data. If the exposure is off by more than a half an EV or so, you will have trouble fully correcting for it with post-capture processing, especially for high contrast scenes where highlights may have blown out.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 02:57 PM   #81
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Dave, sounds like you're doing something wrong or are perhaps missing a codec. I can play the SR12 clips in virtually any media player or editing program. Programs I've tried and that have worked include: Windows Media Player, Windows Media Classic, Vegas, Canopus Edius and ULead Studio 11+. I have the Core AVC Codec which I highly recommend if you're going to get serious with AVCHD. You can download it for around $15.
I haven't installed PMB 3 yet... undoubtedly this wil resolve the issue with Vegas, but I found it strange that I could only drag the first .MTS clip sucessfully, and the other short clips all cause Vegas to lock hard... this is reminiscent, but oddly OPPOSITE of some of the things I ran into with the CX7 at first. In short, these cams and their software are heavily linked, don't lose the software.

This is the first problem I've run into with short .mts clips not just dragging and dropping onto the VEGAS timeline... been holding off on installing the PMB "upgrade", will do it on a backup machine later today, but am still vetting the SR11, and don't know if it's going to work as I'd hoped (right now I'd say it's a great cam, but I prefer the older ones I've got)


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My only testing with the CX7 was in a couple of Best Buys with memory stick in hand. In my testing the SR12 was significantly better under those conditions. I found the CX7 to be somewhat soft under those conditions...certainly relative to the SR12. But I never got to test a CX7 outdoors.

By the way Dave, even though the CX7 does not have a significantly larger chip than the SR11/12, it's probably enough of a difference to show a bit better quality in low light. The chip size numbers may not seem that different, but keep in mind these sensors start out really small to begin with, so sometimes a small difference may be larger than you think. But with that said, the SR12 holds up very nicely in low light to my HV20...better at times in fact and the HV20 has a pretty good low light reputation (at least for HD cams which are actually all pretty poor). :)
I agree the SR11 holds up VERY well in low light conditions, I'd rate it alongside the HC7 (which was equal to the HV20, despite some bad reviews - in the real world they were pretty much neck and neck), it's just the CX7 beats them all by a hair or two... and in low light hairs count... it's not a deal breaker, as I have lighting available and know it's there when and if needed.

I'm still evaluating the cams, and know what the CX7 can do (far more than it's tiny size suggests), with the SR11, I'm just past the button poking stage, and I'm seeing things that I am not sure about just yet, but may be "deal breakers" for me on what is one of the best designed and laid out cameras in all other respects - handling and build wise, this cam is a 9.9 (I'd swap the tilt VF for pull out).

AS soon as I get some short clips in good light into vegas to evaluate, I'll have a better idea there - the CX7 has been my "lousy light" champ, and I don't see that changing. I'm going to be watching that "soft" issue carefully, as it may just be I prefer a slightly less sharp/smoother picture <wink>.

I've really got to consider the still function carefully as that was a primary reason for considering this cam - ability to shoot simultaneous stills and video, both in high quality for live event shooting... maybe too good to be true, but aside from the 3 shot limitation, the CX7 and HC7/9 shot some excellent stills in their rated resolution... they compare favorably with a decent quality 5M point and shoot, and with a little post sweetening... the SR11 stills are simply noisy by comparison. Noise and detail are two different animals.

Once I shoot side by side, I'll post some shots showing what I'm talking about - shoot a couple still photos and pull them into a program where you can zoom in, and it's painfully obvious. I'm going to surmise that perhaps the photo function was optimized for display on an HDTV rather than for traditional photo work, otherwise there's no way to explain it... I'm sure they look great on an HDTV, but that's 1920 x1080 or approx 2.1 Mpixel, NOT 7.1 or 10.1 Mpixel...

The higher resolution shots fall apart here - "oil painting" patterns and artifacts are noticeable on almost all parts of the shots I've taken so far where there should be smoother color/texture - it's an "effect" I've not seen before and I've shot my share of cameras.

In short, yes the SR11 is a VIDEO camera, but if all the earlier Sony cams worked pretty well as dual purpose cams and this one fails... I for one will be supremely bummed, as everything else about this camera is great from what I can tell so far. Build, design, features, ALL are top notch.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 03:22 PM   #82
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Dave, it is hard to believe that the SR series would have worse still shot functions than the earlier models given their improved pictures...but who knows. As I said, I don't use them for that, but at least on my Pioneer plasma it looks dynamite. To me that's the nicest way to show pictures. Of course it hampers sharing, but mabye I'll just put the Pioneer on wheels and send it to friends along with the pix! :)

But I definitely see none of the 'paint' effect in the few stills I've shot in good light. If you get that same effect in good light, I'll be surprised.

Dave, the other thing I've found with the SR12 vs any prior Sony model (including my tests on the CX7 as well as the many other Sony cams I've owned) is the amazing sharpness WITHOUT the noise! To me that may be the single biggest achievement of the SR series...the sharpest picture together with the least noise. My FX7 may have been a bit sharper, but it definitely had more video noise.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 05:07 PM   #83
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I guess this is what's got me puzzled - and yes I've now shot in "good light" with the same artifacts showing... I hope to do some more tests (today is swamped though), but I'm not expecting different results at this point - I'm only going to be seeing if the artifacts and patterns are truly a problem at comparable resolutions to the other cameras - my theory is that the .jpg algorithm may be flawed, but it may just be "too many pixels" from not enough data, resulting in "junk" interpolation. But it's not evident in the 7 series stills, so why here? I dunno, but it is. Once I post some shots, you'll see it, and I appreciate if you can cross check my results so we can confirm it's either a flaw or I've got a bad camera... is possible...

Video wise, well I've still got to stuff the PMB software on a backup machine so I can see what I've shot, but what I've seen on the LCD is stunning. I too will be comparing to the FX7 as well at some point - for now I'm just A/B'ing against the small cams.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 07:55 PM   #84
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After following these threads, I'm tempted to wait a bit and see what materializes. So far, I haven't even been able to find an HF10/100 in a local store yet, so I'm not in a big hurry at the moment. Any CX9 will probably be more compact - similar to the CX7, HF10, and SD9 - which is good, but I hope they keep the nice control dial.

I did finally see an SD9 at Best Buy and Fry's, but in both cases, their security system for the demo units didn't provide the proper voltage for the DC-in jack (Panasonic seems to have changed it from 7.2 to 9.6V with this generation). They gave me batteries to try, but they weren't sufficiently charged to do any real testing.

It might be a bit of a challenge to do low-light comparisons in these stores since they are illuminated by dozens of mercury vapor lamps! I'll have to look for or create a shadowed area somewhere.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 08:11 PM   #85
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HF10 now in stock at J&R Music World. HF100 in stock at B&H Photo.
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Old April 1st, 2008, 12:10 AM   #86
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HF10 now in stock at J&R Music World. HF100 in stock at B&H Photo.
Yeah, I noticed that, but I'm waiting for someone in the Sacramento, CA area to get it though so I can check it out. Fry's and Best Buy didn't have it yet, I'll check a few more this weekend. It probably won't be too long now.
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Old April 1st, 2008, 12:59 AM   #87
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In order to get a literal side by side comparison, I modified my bracket rig to accomodate both a CX7 and the SR11 side by side, triggering the cameras with the remote. This was helpful... only analyzed the stills so far, and shot them to the MS Duo while the HDD was running - I'm suspicious that perhaps could make a difference, but will have to test that theory.

SO, here's what I found - CX7 stills tend towards more contrast and saturation, which makes for a very pleasing first impression, but at similar zooms, there IS more detail in the SR11 stills - there is also some pattern noise, but in different areas between the two cameras - it's definitely more noticeable on the SR11 in light monochromatic areas, where I see it more in the dark areas on the CX7. Faces seem to get some special treatment with the SR, they look a bit smoother.

I took some more retouch passes, and it looks like I can make these really pop and smooth out the noise and artifacts, and that's what I was looking for - the CX stills look "better" at first impression, but the SR11 stills give you more potential to work with...

Maybe tomorrow I'll have a chance to A/B the outdoor stills... but after taking more time with the camera I'm starting to see the potential I was looking for!

I guess I'm in the same camp as Dave, get rid of the HDD, put in 16G flash to give some onboard record capability, drop the size and weight just a bit, keep the big LCD and control knob, toss in a couple of the pro features from the HC9, and I think you'd have perfection... will that be the CX9????
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Old April 1st, 2008, 06:38 AM   #88
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Faces seem to get some special treatment with the SR, they look a bit smoother.
Hey Dave, just a thought, but based on your above comment I'm wondering if you have face detection turned on? If so, and you're not shooting people, try turning it off and then do your comparisons. You're really not doing an A/B if you have face detection turned on in the SR12 since your CX doesn't have it.
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Old April 1st, 2008, 08:52 AM   #89
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I agree with you that numbers don't tell it all, but we make the same mistake with words.
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Old April 1st, 2008, 09:09 AM   #90
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I'd rather trust my own observations and my own A/Bs conducted side by side on the same day, same time, same scenes...for me that's the definitive test and far more useful than words, numbers or anecdotes. :)

I will be doing these A/Bs with an HF10 and an SR12 over the next week or so. I can then make an intelligent, informed decision.
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