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Old June 2nd, 2008, 07:06 AM   #151
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This is a great thread! Here's a question. When watches film or Varicam/CineAlta, unless the video has been CCed to create a weird mood, flesh tones look nothing like what any consumer/prosumer camcorder captures.

The expensive cameras record flesh as white (which is correct) to a yellow tone (which looks great). Our cheaper camcorders record flesh as different saturation levels of PINK. My JVC HD7 records highly saturated pink -- so everyone looks sunburned. In this case, AWB which records more blue, actually helps.

How do the Sony and Canon do on flesh tones?
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 07:52 PM   #152
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Steve, not sure I'd agree with you about fleshtones on consumer HD cams. The Sony SR12 records very natural skin tones and I'd disagree about 'white' looking natural...unless you're a ghost or an albino. Many fleshtones are shades of pink & brown and its that mix that makes them look natural.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 01:44 AM   #153
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When I look at my bare *ass -- it sure looks more white than any "color." :)

To get brown one needs to be able capture Red and Green equally. Sony has always pushed Red and Blue -- which you can see on a vectorscope. Sony's weak Green has made for very weak yellow and hence pink flesh rather than brown flesh. True, the V1 backed off on blue to make a much better balance, but it still had very strong reds.

I've only seen one color comparison with yellow -- it was of the Canon FS and yellow was very strong. Without color charts and use of all WB settings it's very hard to make claims about color. You also need a color calibrated monitor.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 05:49 PM   #154
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It's funny Steve, I've seen people generalize about the colors from Sony cameras and I find it inaccurate to do so. The reason is simple, almost every Sony camera I've had has varied in its color rendition. Some have been cool, some have been warm and some have been very well balanced.

The SR12 is one of the best balanced Sony consumer cams I've yet seen and in my hands-on A/B testing, produced decidedly more accurate colors on a more consistent basis than the HF10 I had at the time. Just as the HF10 had little similarity in color rendition to my HV20, the same is true of many Sony cams, they're often different in their color handling. Fleshtones, although good on both cameras, was, IMO, better on the SR12.

But again, I disagree about fleshtones and the color white. Don't forget your *ss never sees the light of day, but your face sure does. Fair skinned people will favor pinker tones and darker haired individuals will favor browner tones. But unless your an albino, I don't see white as the color closest to a typical fleshtone. My comments on these colors is based on how they appear on a calibrated Pioneer Kuro plasma.
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Old June 4th, 2008, 01:19 PM   #155
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I have recevied a sr12 and a hf10 yesterday. i can compare them and keep one of them.. I have to say i'm also surprised about the colors of the hf10. My little girl of 6 months sits in a little seat which has orange in it. Somehow it seems that the canon does weird things with all red like colors and greens.. It oversaturates them and tehrefore the fleshtones of Amber don't look natural at all... However... when i put it in cinemode... the problem seems gone... Was this your experience as well ?

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Old June 4th, 2008, 07:03 PM   #156
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Rene, I really didn't test out the cinemode that much because I didn't like the softening effect it had. I really wanted a camera that I didn't have to fuss with to get proper colors and contrast. Having owned the Canon HV10 & HV20, the HF10 really shocked me with its colors. It was just so different and less accurate than other Canons I've owned.

This is why I said to Steve that you simply can not generalize about a given company's colors. There is simply too much variation from one model to the next. Each must be assessed on its own.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 08:23 AM   #157
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Having played with them both a bit longer i'm a bit surprised about the canon's colors. Somehow they look different on the comcorders lcd than on the television. They look better on the television. Did you notice thi as well ?

Other point.... The focus of the canon is much better in low light. In some cases the sony keeps hunting for the correct focus.. Any solutions on that ?

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Old June 5th, 2008, 08:26 AM   #158
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Yes, the colors do look better on an HDTV than on the Canon's LCD. However, with that said, I still didn't think they were as good as the Sony's.

As for the autofocus on the Canon in low light, yes it was better than the Sony. In really low light I find it's better to use the manual focus on the Sony.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 08:44 AM   #159
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Same here... the color of the sony is much more real life. The difference in the camcorders lcd and the TV makes me feel that you can never be sure if the adjustments you make while filming somewhere can ever be good.

It is a shame the the focus of the sony is not better. If that would have been different i would have made my choice already. Turning of face recognition did help.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 06:49 AM   #160
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I'm trying an SR11 and so far the most obvious thing is how bizarre the menu system is. And, how poor the printed manual is.

I see no way of knowing the current F-stop. So one has no idea when the F-stop is smaller than f/4 and thus sharpness is being lost. Normally, when you see a high F-stop one increases shutter-speed.

Now maybe the Sony uses a AE Program that allows the speed to increase to a defined point -- typically 1/250th -- BEFORE it increases the F-stop. But, there's no information in the manual.

One is flying blind with the Sony. Very scary.

There is also no way of setting shutter-speed to avoid strobing on objects moving rapidly. (A clear sign of a newbie shooter with a consumer camcorder.) One must be able to adjust speed to not be higher than 1/120th. It looks like the only way to force speed down is to add an ND filter. That's really a pain.

So far this is the most serious issue I've found. It explains Ken's post "I'm not sure what's causing the stuttering in the cars at 60i, but it shouldn't be there. 60i movement is buttery smooth regardless of how fast the subject is moving." That's not always the case. In bright daylight, because the Min F-stop is f/8, camcorders push the shutter-speed really high. This is why controlling shutter-speed is so important!

These two issues will drive any photographer or videographer crazy!

For focusing, the little knob is useless -- you've got to turn it and turn it which rocks the camcorder. So you've got to trust AF. And, from everyone's report the Sony's AF is not swift. And, if it hunts when on a subject -- the camcorder will be unuseable because there really is no manual option.

All the controls one needs while composing a shot are not on a DIRECT menus. One has to hit OPTIONS and the choose a SUB-MENU (Focus, Exposure, Color) and then select the Option. That's three operations. Now you do something. Then you've got to back your way out of the menus. Was Sony crazy!

This rules out adjusting WB, Spot Focus, and Spot Exposure. So you've got to trust AWB. And, one can NOT use Spot Focus and Spot Exposure. Which is too bad.

So what can one DIRECTLY control?

BIAS yes -- but since the AE is still working it can respond to changes in light and cause the exposure to fluctuate. Another clear sign of a newbie shooter with a consumer camcorder.

EXPOSURE yes -- this is really useful because you can let the AE set the general exposure and by switching to MANUAL you can lock the exposure or slightly adjust it and leave it locked. Very nice.

Bottom-line -- this camera can be used only if it really works damn near perfectly in Auto.
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Last edited by Steve Mullen; June 9th, 2008 at 07:20 AM.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 07:35 AM   #161
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Steve, I'm not sure why you think this cam is designed for professional use (your post certainly suggests that). People use these things (even professionals like me) as a 'shoot & go' cam. I don't care about things that I would care about if shooting professionally. Several people have commented in the same manner, but you continue to insist a higher level of function than any consumer cam was designed for. You continue to disparage cameras that don't have controls that YOU specify. No cam can please everyone.

The bias control, which is lacking on the Canons, happens to be very very useful. It is smooth and transparent. Bias controls aside, the Sony is well-known to be the best 'fully auto' camera in terms of how effectively it uses its controls in the full auto position. The front wheel control is a brilliant piece of engineering in a consumer cam. I use it all the time and the ability to control several manual functions with one dial is very nice. If you think that wheel is useless for manual focus, you should try the manual focus on the Canon! As to why you think manual control of WB, Spot exposure and focus is unusable is beyond me. I've used them all (WB more frequently) and have had zero issues.

I see no reason given the kind of shooting I (or most people) do when on family outings, vacations or whatever, to absolutely need to know what the f-stop is. C'mon Steve, this is NOT a professional camera and was never designed as such. Your JVC with all of its manual controls may emualte a higher end camera in terms of these controls, but it won't emulate them in terms of its picture quality. If I want these controls plus the picture quality, I need to go to a larger camera than either the consumer Sonys or Canons. If I want the best PQ in full auto (or even in manual on other consumer AVCHD cams), the Sony does best IMO.

The way I see it is, would I rather have a camera with more manual controls or one that simply takes better video with less manual controls. A simple no-brainer for me.

Now, as for the menu system, you're simply not used to it. Just as I find things in FCP to be 'convuluted' and Edius to be 'logical', a day in & day out user of FCP knows the features and finds nothing convuluted. Having used these Sony menus before, I find them entirely logical and well laid out. It's what you're accustomed to Steve.

Steve, you went in to this with a decidedly negative attitute...far from a scientific approach. The cam had 'one foot in the grave' before you ever took it out of the box. If I were you I would never have bought it in the first place. Whenever I see someone like you do this I just scratch my head since the end result is known and inevitable.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 12:03 PM   #162
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Sorry to chime in at this very delicate moment but as a long-term user of Sony video cams, there is one thing I think most (not all) users of Sony consumer camcorders will appreciate: switching from the touch screen menu system to some kind of multi-function physical control such as the multi-function control ring (in the place where the manual focus ring would customarily be) e.g. Sony SR-1, UX-1 or the current small knob, as on the SR-11, SR-12. A small toggle knob (as on most Panasonic or Sanyo cams would also be nice and certainly more accessible. And the downside for having such controls on the camera's body, not on the flipped out LCD screen of course!, may be the loss of a tidy looking body and the inability for Sony's marketing department to shout out loud "TOUCH SCREEN CONTROL......" in their ads.

Everytime I've fiddled with my cams' touch screen, I truly wished there had been some buttons or knobs that I probably missed that would have made things easier for me.

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Old June 9th, 2008, 03:30 PM   #163
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Pressing and holding the button in the center of the control knob allows you to change functions - and you can choose and set one, switch the knob to another and adjust that, and so on.

I do somewhat miss the "P-MENU" approach the HC1,3,5,7,9 had... where you could reach most functions in two presses max once you personalized the interface. I find the options and home menus confuse me once in a while, being in opposite corners of the screen, probably just a matter of time to absorb the interface...

The control knob is 100% better than the control wheel contraption of the earlier HC's and the HV's... a "real" ring would be even better, but size vs. control surface availability is the obvious challenge.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 05:25 PM   #164
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Ross View Post
Steve, I'm not sure why you think this cam is designed for professional use (your post certainly suggests that). People use these things (even professionals like me) as a 'shoot & go' cam. I don't care about things that I would care about if shooting professionally.


As to why you think manual control of WB, Spot exposure and focus is unusable is beyond me. I've used them all (WB more frequently) and have had zero issues.
I explained WHY one needs an F-stop read-out. Diffraction reduces sharpness when -- with a 1/3-inch chip -- the F-stop becomes smaller than f/5.6 -- for red the blurring start below f/4. You seem to be suggesting that I should forget everything I know as a videographer just because I'm shooting vacation videos.

I explained why one must be able to control shutter-speed. Just because I pick-up a tiny camcorder should I give-up any notion that by setting the shutter-speed to 1/60th the shots out of the window of my car will look perfect rather than stroby? Why should a photographer who knows how to shoot give-up what they know just because the camera is small and cheap?

The fact that the Canon offers both options in a camera that is both smaller and cheaper proves there is no inherent reason Sony couldn't have these features. Yet, you point the finger at me as wanting too much. Seems to me that Canon's long experience as a maker of still cameras tells them that these functions are critical to a CAMERA.

You see -- the things you knock about the Canon can all be fixed either with more light or fixed in post (CC). The features that are missing in the Sony are not fixable.

A camera is a camera -- not a computer. It is crazy to try to navigate down three menu layers to do a WB. And, WB is something one MUST be able to in any MIXED illumination situation! No AWB can know what YOU want the scene to look like.

In fact, the menu system will be impossible to use in the bright sun because you won't be able to see the screen. And, you can't use the VF because it's turned-off. And, I don't know how you can TOUCH the screen multiple times while shooting and not shake the camera.

Bottom-line -- I don't even need to shoot with the Sony to know it will have problems in many very common situations: bright sun, rapidly moving cars, mixed lighting. Are you really saying it's asking too much to expect to have the OPTION of taking control of a CAMERA in these very common situations.

You see the issue isn't as you say my wanting a "professional" camera. It's that a "professional" expects ANY camera -- even one aimed at consumers to function as all cameras have always function. There's a reason why the 35mm cameras your grandfather or great grandfather used to take vacation pictures and baby pictures had these controls. There's a reason why he was proud of his skills. Can you really be proud of something a computer does for you?

Sony has made the decision that folks today are so much dumber than than their parents that there's no need for these controls. Canon has not made this decision. Now, it seems to me there is a clear choice to be made.

That doesn't mean I won't choose the Sony. But, I'm not going to accept your criticism that I should not expect a camera to have these functions because I'm "asking too much."
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Old June 9th, 2008, 06:51 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
You seem to be suggesting that I should forget everything I know as a videographer just because I'm shooting vacation videos.
I don't think that's what he was saying, Steve. His point was that the primary target market for these camcorders are all those people who are not videographers -- soccer moms, golf dads, affluent kids on Spring Break. You know, those people. Therefore it's specifically designed so that a person (any person) doesn't have to know the first thing about videography in order to use one.
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