pseudo B/W viewfinder on XM2 at DVinfo.net

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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon GL2, GL1 and PAL versions XM2, XM1.


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Old December 5th, 2003, 11:14 PM   #1
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pseudo B/W viewfinder on XM2

I managed to bring up a temporary B/W viewfinder on my XM2. But how does it compare to B/W viewfinder on other high end gears, PDX10p for instance? My best guess is that when XM2's LCD is switched to monochrome, it only gives 256 gray scale as long as it is of 8 bit depth (or more?). A color view finder can be distractive when doing manual focusing, but at least it gives 24 bit color.
Say, when two objects with subtle texture, in red and green respectively; lie in different depth while giving same value of illuminance, will we still get crisp focus of them on a B/W viewfinder ? I am kind of skeptical of it. May be a B/W VF is only good for situation whereas a color VF falls short, or perhaps those high end gear comes with a 12 bit or 16 bit B/W VF?
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Old December 6th, 2003, 01:32 AM   #2
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How did you do that Colin?
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Old December 6th, 2003, 02:21 AM   #3
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It is only a temporary work around. It lies in the built-in digital effect menu; an area where we touch least 'cause a good NLE would do it in a more manageable way.
This is what I tried:
Under D.Effects menu (D.Effects Select button), turn the jog dial to select B/W and save it as default setting. Every time you want to see a B/W image on the VF or 2.5" display for manual focusing, you simply push the button (D.Effects ON/OFF) to activate D.Effect. But, if you forget to switch it off before you press the record button... then WYSIWYG!
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Old December 6th, 2003, 02:58 AM   #4
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Colin, yes the WYSIWIG warning should be writtten very large! Can you imagine someone recording a wedding - all in B/W?!?!?!

Nice idea - maybe the reset IS an option . . wouldn't it been easier for Canon to have included say a B/W to either the E/P or the LCD? After all, they've done the hard bit with Zebra Bars - surely having a "switch" deep in their menu structure to do B/W - yeah? - Quite frankly I'd have "swopped" Zebra Bars for a B/W option any day .. . . . now let the feathers and fur fly!!!

Grazie
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Old December 6th, 2003, 03:26 AM   #5
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Yes, it is a dangerous approach by switching on the B/W D.Effect. Personally I don't opt for a B/W view finder unless I am convinced it makes distinct difference. I do not have a cam w/ B/W viewfinder to compare with, albeit B/W view finder on my XM2 seems fairly acceptable. Does anyone own a PD150 and a XM2 (GL2) around here?
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Old December 6th, 2003, 08:01 AM   #6
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i noticed that sonys new vx2100 has the option to chnge the viewfinder to b/w... hopefuly canon will follow along w/ their nwxt cam
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Old December 6th, 2003, 10:09 AM   #7
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Although new to the xm2 & video I can certainly see the benefits of a b/w viewfinder.

Pity we cannot have it now :( it certainly would help on focusing, for me anyway.
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Old December 6th, 2003, 10:32 AM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jerry Ricciotti : i noticed that sonys new vx2100 has the option to chnge the viewfinder to b/w... hopefuly canon will follow along w/ their nwxt cam -->>>

Where did you find out this?

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Old December 6th, 2003, 10:39 AM   #9
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I have a PDX-10 and believe the resolution of the BW viewfinder is the same as the PD-150/170, which is 180,000 dots. This is probably similar to the color viewfinder on the VX-2000/2100 and your XM-2. However you should see a cleaner image with a BW LCD as compared to a color LCD. I have a VX-2000 and the image in its viewfinder is really pretty horrible as compared to the PDX-10 where it appears very sharp. So I don't think you can compare color and BW LCD's by just looking at the pixel count.

Now the VX-2100 and also the update to the DVX-100 both have the option to switch the viewfinder from color to black and white, however the manufacturers offer the caveat that this will not increase their resolution since a color LCD is still being used. But it may help with things like contrast judgement I suppose.

But even with the very nice BW viewfinder on my PDX-10, these days I mostly use the flip-out LCD screen with a Petrol hood. It's just a personal preference I guess. Anyway, enjoy your XM-2 for what it is - a fine camera - and don't get too hung up on admiring the green (or black and white) grass on the other side of the fence! :-)
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Old December 6th, 2003, 10:45 AM   #10
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Some "pro" cam is equipped with a mono CRT viewfinder. It would definitely give better tonal range in comparing to a LCD. I am still no sure if a 8 bit mono LCD can really do the job.
Jerry, can you tell if VX2100's switchable LCD yields higher bit?
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Old December 6th, 2003, 11:03 AM   #11
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Hi Boyd, thanks for the input.
I have no regret of owning a XM2. What I am doing is to dig the best out of my cam, like everybody does. I just wonder if it is worthwhile of tweaking the setup on a XM2, just to get a B/W viewfinder.
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Old December 6th, 2003, 11:11 AM   #12
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Some folks can judge focus a bit better with the color information missing, but the viewfinder is still color with corrsponding resolution. Try it and see if it works for you.

Typical pro viewfinders do use a small CRT (~1.5" tube) for B&W. They cost nearly as much as the whole GL2, and are very high resolution.
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