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Old May 1st, 2010, 10:59 AM   #1
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Superb comparison of Canon, Sony, Panny

I have found an excellent German website which allows for extremely detailed comparisons of nearly all camcorders including the latest top-end offerings from Canon (the HFS21), Panasonic (TM700), and Sony 550.

Among the really nice features of this site are identical samples of the same scenes with well controlled lighting along with many low light and other samples taken with identical conditions.

The link to the site with these 3 camcorders compared is below, with English translation enabled. There are a vast number of other camcorders and choices for those looking to make other comparisons.

This site makes camcorderinfo.com look pathetic by comparison, in my opinion.

Hope this link provides as much interesting reaading to you as it has for me:

http://camcorder-test.slashcam.com/c...7b004c405.html

Larry
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Old May 1st, 2010, 08:25 PM   #2
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Just a note on that site and others. I used it and a German magazine site heavily last fall when looking at buying a CX500. I've also looked at the 550 there this year compared against the Panny TM700 because the latter had some pretty fanatical postings over in AVS Forums. The various photos need to be crosschecked for accuracy sometimes. I looked at the CX550 ones compared against the Panny and was confused by the brownish cast in the Sony picture. Then I compared the CX500 one against the CX550, and the 500 looked very different - much like the Panny. So somehow, I have to believe this site messed up the CX550 picture as it should be virtually identical to that of the 500. Other people noticed similar oddities. So I'm not saying to disregard the site, I'm just suggesting similar models should be checked to see if any of the photos are obviously off.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 10:15 PM   #3
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I now wonder, based on your comment Tom, if the 550 is correctly or incorrectly portrayed. Perhaps some other review shows different results.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 01:22 PM   #4
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Larry -
The German site is about as accurate as any "review site" - that is to say, take it with a grain of salt. I noticed their "still life" screenshots with the CX550 looked overly warm (but also significantly sharper than much more expensive cameras).

I've learned to look through the review sites and glean what I can, but it's still not the same as "hands on". I'm guessing that none of the sites are reviewing the Sonys in "low lux" mode, as it significantly increases low light capability in "real life" use.

That said, that site is a good resource, especially if you want to compare different camera options - no guarantee of accuracy, but generally they seem to do a better job than CCI. Not sure they've got WB down though... that's the one noticeable "variable" in their shots that raises my eyebrow. Otherwise their testing seems pretty thorough and consistent with field reports.

In short, you can't really goof with any of the three top of the line cameras this year, though the Panasonic is looking mighty good.

Tom is correct on the 550 being the same sensor block as the XR and CX 500/520 from last year, and those don't have the warmish cast, so I'm guessing a WB would "fix" the apparent differences.

Doing a proper white balance or at least setting to a cameras default for "indoor" or "outdoor" or whatever is closest would be preferable to "auto"... which I suspect is how they "test". Auto WB can be radically different even on the same scene, depending on what the camera "locked onto" as it started up.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 03:15 PM   #5
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In my own experience with the CX550 in a variety of light levels, and a variety of light sources, with WB set to auto,the color reproduction is quite acceptable, even striking in bright daylight. Specifically, I haven't particularly noticed any tilt towards the reds.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 04:37 PM   #6
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That "warm shift" struck me as being "off" when I saw the posted samples, not charcteristic of any of the Sony cams I've got/used. That doesn't mean they didn't tweak with the processing algorithms on the CX550, but I'm more inclined to call "reviewer error".

What I did notice was the overall apparent sharpness of the shot, lots of little details that seemed to be better defined than the Canon, the Panny might even have been a bit sharper, but the colors seemed off... a little too cold/blue.

I just noticed they added a "low light optimized" still shot - that says it all about what the Sony can do... no contest when it comes to noise and ability to resolve details in the darkest parts of the image.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 05:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Horwitz View Post
I now wonder, based on your comment Tom, if the 550 is correctly or incorrectly portrayed. Perhaps some other review shows different results.
I agree with everything Dave said. I like the site a lot, I just think some of the 550 pictures look odd compared against the 500. Checking more than one site is always a good idea for camcorder comparison, as we well know.

All the TM700 fans over in AVS Forums are looking forward to the camcorder review of the 550 so they can continue to assert vehemently that the 700 has the best picture quality in the world and that's all anyone should consider <g>. If someone's looking for a somewhat negative review of a Sony cam, camcorderinfo is as good a place to go as any! Though their review of the CX500/520 was surprisingly positive, for them.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 06:15 PM   #8
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No doubt the Panny is nice and sharp - but it's got the weirdest blues I've seen in ANY of the test shots from that site - something is just not right there, and elsewhere here on DVi someone mentioned buying and returning the TM700 because the colors were too blue/cool.

The Sony CX550 samples were color shifted towards the warm end of the spectrum (although the optimized low light sample is fine - it's the last thumbnail at the bottom), but they looked relatively correct, if offset.

The Panasonic had a bluish cast that just didn't quite look right, and I've seen a couple YouToob clips that had an odd cast to them, so I'd want to know that could be adjusted out before I'd shoot with it, although it does have a super sharp picture, and I have always liked Panasonics I've owned.

From what I've seen, the Sony presents the best "balance" in the majority of shooting situations, and will still win in bad light by a good margin once you turn on the low lux setting.

You think CCI doesn't like Sony too? I thought it wasn't obvious... <wink>. Even if their reviews are sometimes a bit "unique", they do run some tests that are very helpful if you know what to look at.
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