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Old March 15th, 2009, 10:18 AM   #46
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Ken I'm glad you are talking about the high resolution and image quality of the Z5/FX1000. When I saw that 900 lines of resolution on CCinfo's FX1000 review, that really caught my attention. Combine that with the LCDs and viewfinders of these cameras and they rise to the top of my wish list. I'm surprised that the 900 lines of resolution result didn't seem to get much play on the FX1000 subforum. Someone said that these two new Canons are going to have 900 lines of resolution. If that turns out to be true that would be pretty cool.

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Old March 15th, 2009, 12:32 PM   #47
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Hi Ken -
They haven't posted the English translation on the XR yet, but I know enough German to know they rip it on all the pro features that are missing! You need to click on their little thumbnails to get a full screen image - that helps a lot, and gives you more to work from.

Strangely, I didn't get the same impression when comparing the SR11/12 and FX1000 from their stills, I was impressed with the FX1000 both for low light and stills, and could see it was a very accurate image with good crispness overall (one thing I noticed about their shots is sometimes their focus is on different areas of the shot... you need to watch that, as it can give some incorrect impressions!). Actually felt it was pretty much where I'd expect given the price point and relationship to other cameras...

I know that their low light samples of the SR and CX are definitely from those cameras, there are certain tell tale things in those captures... and the FX1000 was definitely a bit brighter and a LOT cleaner in low light <wink> than both of those, but there was still noise in the FX1000 that is typical of most cameras that just isn't present to the same degree in the XR still.

That is why I'm intrigued by the XR captures. They aren't "quite" as good in low light as the EX1/3, but are pretty close, and again seem to have less noise. Unless they used a different camera entirely or a completely different light array, I don't know how they would have "fudged" those shots. I also noted that the XR stills are significantly "warm" in comparison to almost every other still set on their site (there are some others though), so that may be an issue. It at least indicates a WB issue.

I don't know that I'd say the XR is better than the FX1000/Z5 and the EX's, but considering the price point, it may be far closer than anyone would expect.

One thing with verbal communication is it is ALWAYS easy to misinterpret. Pictures and bench tests "can" be fudged, but most times you can catch that pretty quick. I don't know what "excellent and "very good" mean, and they may not mean the same to two different people... But if one's evaluation is "bang for the buck", you'd have the HV series on top of the heap almost every time (and I'm not a big fan of that camera myself, but would recommend it to someone on a budget)... could be part of why they have it rated as they do?

In the context of what the $800 (now around $500) camera can do and the features it has available vs. the $4800 camera, a relative performance rating may well favor the cheaper camera!

I'm not doubting the performance of the FX1000, and would say that site would lead me to make it my first choice if the budget was there and I wanted a larger camera, but what I'm seeing of the XR from that site makes it a formidable contender by any stretch. If Sony put back the "professional" features (remember this is their "consumer division", releasing the best product they can), this would make the XR a pretty interesting camera.

As it is, I'm waiting to see other reports and reviews, but it's a more interesting upgrade than I thought it would be from the SR11!
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Old March 15th, 2009, 03:30 PM   #48
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Yeah Dave, I guess we saw those pix differently (and I did click on the thumbnails to get a larger version). You should be able to get the English translation of the XR page, I can.

As to verbiage, I think most anyone would agree that 'excellent' is better than 'very good' and significantly better than 'good'.

It's obvious that the CCI had a very different idea of sharpness of the FX1000, with 900 lines of horizontal resolution, vs. the German's site characterization of 'very good'. Let's face it, CCI was very clear in stating that they never tested a camera that came close to the FX1000's rez. So I would assume a rating of 'superb' would be in order for resolution if it was up to CCI.

The low light of the 1000/Z5 in my experience, is certainly better than what the German site showed...much better. To easily be the low light equal of the VX2100 says a lot! There are other anomolies with the German site, but we've probably spent more time on it than was warranted. Getting these cams in your hands will always be far better than relying on conflicting reviews from these review sites. Sometimes it seems that even though they tested the same model, they were actually testing entirely different cams.

But Dave, one thing I've learned with these bigger cams is that they present a 'relaxed' and 'open' image that truly smacks of the professional video you see on the networks. Even as sharp as my HG21 is (and it really is sharp and I do love its picture), it simply can't compete with the superb color rendition and utterly clean, pristine, resolute and relaxed picture of the Z5. I would be amazed if the XR series can begin to capture the color nuances in low-light that these larger cams can. Yes, perhaps they can get close in noise, but there are so many other picture subtleties in low light besides just noise. It just amazes me how the color subtleties are retained in low light. The clips I saw from my friend at CES from the XR were certainly not something that wowed me and that light was not what I'd call 'low light'. The color was not good under those conditions, but it could have been the odd lighting too.

There is a 'texture' to the image in these bigger cams (for lack of a better description) that's missing in all the smaller cams. There's no getting around those 3-CMOS sensors together with that very large lens.

But I'll certainly give the XR a look-see when I get a chance. To be honest, I've been using the Z5 for my personal shooting too. It's hard to put that beast down, despite its weight and size. The tremendous range of adjustments you have with that cam are something you just don't see with the smaller guys. You have great control over depth of field that you don't have with the smaller units. This makes such a difference in your videos from an artistic standpoint!
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Old March 17th, 2009, 03:46 PM   #49
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CCinfo just posted a new Sanyo review (the cam appears to have superb image quality for the price) and there are some comparisons with the Canon HF S100

Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000 Camcorder Review - Sanyo
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Old March 18th, 2009, 12:01 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Jurij Turnsek View Post
and there are some comparisons with the Canon HF S100
That must mean they've got it in their test bench, I hope they put the review up soon. I'm 80% sure I'm going to get one the Panasonic TM300 is 15%, keeping my hf100 is the other
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Old March 19th, 2009, 08:25 AM   #51
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Hi everyone.
Very interesting thread, that, I hope, might help me with my long-delayed decision to get a small, 2nd camera, to accompany my Sony EX-1. I need a second camera for interviews mostly... to get that second, tighter angle, from the side (EX-1 is locked off in front, on a tripod). I often want to be able to adjust the iris manually (if there's a window in the background)... that sort of thing.

There's the new Canon Vixia HF-S10:
- 24Mbps recording (I've learned from this forum that this isn't necessarily the be-all-end-all)
- claims to have Manual Exposure
- 24p and 30p recording
- microphone "terminal with Manual Audio Level Control"
- large lens

The new Sony HDR-XR520V
- getting some rave reviews on this thread, re low-light shooting, colour, etc.
- no manual focus or iris control, but at least, a mic input.
- 37-mm lens (not as big as the Canon or Panasonic)

The new Panasonic HDC TM300:
- allows for manual control: "The manual ring gives you easy, fingertip control over the focus, zoom and exposure setting
- external microphone jack

The Panasonic seems very good, but when I look at specs I'm only able to scratch the surface, so I'd love your advice.
Cheers, Malcolm
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Old March 19th, 2009, 12:11 PM   #52
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Just a minor technical point, 37mm is the FILTER THREAD size, not necessarily the size of the actual lens. Not sure yet how much real difference the HF-S will have, other than you'll need to get bigger filters and lenses... so far I still suspect the "R" sensor may be the one to beat based on samples I've seen.

I think it's still too early to make a choice, unless you buy all three, try 'em and send back the two that you don't like.

The specs on the Canon certainly look great on paper, and samples so far seem good, Panasonic looks passable, though soft, and of course the Sony lacks as much manual control...

I'm one of those that has Sony accessories, so logically I'll probably lean towards the XR since it's not a big deal to buy the extra kit that one should have for shooting (no need to buy what you've already got!). Canon has some tempting product to be sure though. I'm just waiting for more information and availability "hands on" - can't really say for sure until you've got access to the options! The XR's are in the retail chain, but not sure about the other two, although apparently some have gotten early access to the HF-S buying overseas.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 02:45 PM   #53
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Thanks for your thoughts, Dave. Since I see no mention, on Canon's HF-S page, of the option of manual focus, am I right to assume it doesn't have it? At least there's manual exposure.
On the same subject, you say the Sony lacks "as much manual control". What manual control does it have?

Are there any down sides to the Canon that jump off the page for you?
Cheers, Malcolm
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Old March 19th, 2009, 02:55 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Panasonic looks passable, though soft,
What samples are you referring to?
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 05:03 PM   #55
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Yes....there is manual focus. I assign manual focus to the CUSTOM button on the HF-S10.

Originally Posted by Malcolm Hamilton View Post
Thanks for your thoughts, Dave. Since I see no mention, on Canon's HF-S page, of the option of manual focus, am I right to assume it doesn't have it? At least there's manual exposure.
On the same subject, you say the Sony lacks "as much manual control". What manual control does it have?

Are there any down sides to the Canon that jump off the page for you?
Cheers, Malcolm
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 04:39 PM   #56
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Sony HDR-XR520 review
Sony HDR-XR520V review - infoSync Reviews

Canon Vixia HF S10 review
Canon Vixia HF S10 review - infoSync Reviews

Canon - better image quality when bright..
Sony - low light performance unbeatable..

And probably the best summary for both:

"..the Sony HDR-XR520V is our #1 tourist camcorder while the Canon Vixia HF S10 proved itself as our #1 budget film cam."
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 09:14 PM   #57
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I'm now pretty convinced the need these camera manufacturers (with the exception of Panasonic which has lately not been in contention - image quality wise) have to take out more manual controls from their latest, but otherwise excellent, consumer cams. The videos produced by these cams come dangerously close to those produced by the like of Sony Z5/Fx1000 or Canon XH, XL series, not to mention older designs like Sony V1/FX7, FX1 etc. Based on the grabs shown on the above site, the Sony XR500 series' low light capability even seems to eclipse the company's own PD170/VX2100.

Maybe, now is the time to re-learn the way we handle video cameras and get used to fiddling with the remaining controls that they have. In my area, the image quality produced by the XR500s and HF-S10 far exceeds most commercial requirements of the local market. Also, the use of these cameras would represent unprecedented values from the perspective of a growing number of producers of commercial video content.

Think about how much money will be left for good audio pre-amps, shotgun mics, lighter lighting kits, computer system upgrades etc. if we find a way to work around these compact cams' shortcomings.

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Old March 23rd, 2009, 10:02 PM   #58
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Are "AVC" and "AVCHD" Interchangeable Terms?

In some of Sony's press releases about the XR500/520, they call it an AVCHD camcorder and in their spec sheet, the format is called AVC. Their new Webbie HD's format is often called either AVC or AVCHD. I was thinking that these were two different versions of H.264, but it seems they may be the same thing? Added note: I later looked at the Webbie HD manual and it clearly says: "This camera will not support the AVCHD format". This seems to indicate that AVC is in fact, a different version of H.264.

People seem concerned here about the low bit-rate of the Sony XR5 models, which Sony lists in the manual at 16 Mbps. I picked up a progressive-scanning Webbie HD last month and it's amazing how much quality and detail it produces, with just 4 Mbps for 720p and 6 Mbps for 1440 X 1080p. As long as you don't rapidly pan and aggravate the rolling-shutter into flutter and blur, motion seems fairly good. You can pan, if you keep a moving subject in the same position in the frame. Its limitations put your shooting skills to the test, but I'm learning how to do fairly well with it. I've posted some Webbie HD videos on my Vimeo album, where their direct playback is heavily compressed. If you are registered there for a free subscription, you can download the full uploaded files, for much better quality. I figure if I polish my abilities with this camcorder and make it work for me, then shooting with my HC9 or a new XR5 model, will be much easier.

My newest steady-mount design helps a lot, with the unstabilized Webbie HD. Here's a link to a photo of my steady-mount. I also use it with an HC9 and in the future, possibly an XR5 model. I have a Sony NP-F960 battery in the external power-pack, for 10 times the recording time of the internal 500 mAh battery.

Last edited by J. Stephen McDonald; March 24th, 2009 at 02:51 PM.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 01:33 AM   #59
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Interesting discussion about comparing the new Sony AVCHD cam to the EX1&3.
I have an EX1, and an SR12. When I first used the SR12 I was amazed at the PC, and looking at test shots, etc. was inclined to think it was very close to the EX- at least in good light. Over time however, I began to notice that the difference between the two became much more apparent when viewing complete, edited programs done with each camera. I think that an entire edited program in its final delivery format, with the variety of lighting, motion, CC, effects, and so forth seems to be more the acid test for comparison. When I watch a program shot completely with the SR12 it looks very good indeed, but when immediately followed by an EX project I definitely come away with the feeling that the small cams do not match up to 35mbs, 1/2" chips, Fujinon lens, advanced controls, profiles, etc.
However, the EX is indeed a fat little pig and there is no way I am dragging it on travel shoots, and therein lies the difference. The little AVCHD cams provide me with a very nice finished HD product if I shoot carefully. The final frontier to me has always been low light performance and it sounds like the XR520 is close to cracking that problem.
But the EX- it sets a pretty high standard.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 02:47 AM   #60
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Variable Bit-rate (VBR) on XR5 Models

Looking through the owner's manual for the XR500/520, I find that although the base bit-rate is listed as 16 Mbps, this is a VBR recording system, which will raise the bit-rate accordingly, for complex images or those that have motion. This will accomodate situations where a constant bit-rate (CBR) at that level, might show more compression artifacts. In my experience with the Sony Webbie HD, which uses the same MP4/H.264/AVC/VBR format and that has a base bit-rate of 6 Mbps for 1080p, it has an actual rate that varies from 5.5 to 6.6 Mbps, for an entire clip, based on content. Also in the manual for the XR500/520, it indicates that 238 GB of the HDD is available for recording. With 1760 minutes of HD recording at the highest level, that figures out to 18 Mbps. No explanation for this, but maybe that's an estimate of what would result with typical video content and a VBR.
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