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Canon Optura Junior Watchdog
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Old March 15th, 2004, 10:58 AM   #16
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Hi Don,

You are right. However, I wrote that the Optura 300 has "Progressive Shutter Mode" when lowlight mode is turned on. Is that fair to say? The resulting video has no interlaced artifacts. Of course this may have no interlacing simply due to the motion blur, which can be easily achieved in post-production wtih a simple blend of the fields.

On the contrary, I do believe it has a sort of "Progressive Scan Mode" in photo/still mode. This produces sharp progressive video with no motion blur. How else can that be achieved?

Respectfully,
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Old March 15th, 2004, 12:36 PM   #17
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Johann,

This subject was literally beat to death on the JVC GR-DV3000U. Of course the DV3000's "unique" digital wide mode can be recorded directly to tape. There is no denying that the look is not interlaced but often at the expense of resolution and no one can ever agree on exactly what to call it. The main thing is that if you like the look then hit record!

Maybe share some frame grabs for us..?

Here is a test I did with a Sony PDX10 which was supposed to have similar properties of the Optura 300 while in card mode and output firewire. Notice the softness while in card mode but with the expanded horizontal and vertical view.

Video
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2003-...0mobovideo.JPG

Card
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2003-...mobomemory.JPG

Here is the test carried out by Rob Hester on his DV3000.

http://robvideo.netfirms.com/progscan.html
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Old March 15th, 2004, 10:43 PM   #18
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JVC DV3000U
(gotta hit refresh once loaded)
4:3 Cinema Mode
http://static.zed.cbc.ca/users/r/rh...es/3icinema.png
16:9 Squeeze Mode
http://static.zed.cbc.ca/users/r/rh...s/3isqueeze.png
4:3 Full D.wide Mode
http://static.zed.cbc.ca/users/r/rh...iles/3pfull.png
4:3 D.wide Title Function - created-own-black-bars-to-be-applied-in-camera-Mode
http://static.zed.cbc.ca/users/r/rh...es/3pcinema.png
4:3 D.wide Title Function + Contrast & Brightness Adjustments
http://static.zed.cbc.ca/users/r/rh...emacontrast.PNG
400x Zoom Comparison
http://static.zed.cbc.ca/users/r/rh...files/zoom2.png
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Old March 16th, 2004, 03:19 PM   #19
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Don posted earlier that this has the same ccd as the Optura Xi...is this simply the upright compact form factor of the Xi, or are there significant differences?
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Old March 16th, 2004, 03:55 PM   #20
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Brandt,

The Optura Xi also has optical image stabilization and of course the larger 3.5" LCD but I'm not sure how significant these differences might be.

The Xi also has the following that are not found on the 300.

Zebra Pattern
1/8, 1/15, 1/30 shutter speeds in video (1/60 is lowest on 300)
Advanced Accessory Shoe
11X optical zoom (10X on 300)
Manual focus ring (manual focus dial on 300)

You can download the manuals for both cams from the Canon link below:

http://www.canondv.com/downloads/product_manuals.html
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Old March 17th, 2004, 04:50 PM   #21
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Think of the Optura 300 as the "24/7 PocketCam" version of the Optura Xi. Same high detail, high resolution SD image as the Xi with a slightly smaller lens and electronic Image Stabilization. I must say, that due to to sum total of the 300's ingredients: large 1/3.4" CCD with RGB filter attached (end result is very similiar to having a single CCD each for Red, Green and Blue), huge 1600x1200 capture which essentially you can think of that capture as nearly three (3) times the frame size of standard DV (which is 720x480) - this 1600x1200 capture coming from a 1/3" CCD with RGB filter attached, DIGIC Processor (very accurate color rendition with nine (9) zone sampling) and Canon optics - this is the first camera I have ever seen with electronic Image Stabilization that performs like Optical Image Stabilization... It's that good. Me, I would much rather have a camera with a large 1/3" CCD color capture with RGB filter attached than three tiny 1/6" CCD's, let alone a 1/3" 1600x1200 CCD - much cleaner color and much more accurate color thanks to the DIGIC Processor.

People are picking these up for well under $1000 on the street. Added value: you also get a 2megapixel digicam with 10X *Optical* zoom and lots of image control and shooting modes with a very, very fast recycling flash. Now you can really capture the moment at a moments notice, since the camera is small enough to be in your hand (or pocket) all the time. This is the perfect choice for those shooting situations where you are told "No, you cannot bring a video camera in here"... You can pull off dozens of shots before anyone realizes you are using a video camera. The image output is so good that it can easily cut with a GL2 or XL1S with just a wee bit of color correction. I'm torn between the Xi and the 300 - they are both sweet cameras,,, I want one, I just have to pay my taxes first!

Be well,

- don
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Old March 17th, 2004, 06:08 PM   #22
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The 1/3" single CCD on the 300 and Xi (actually 1/3.4") would yield much better low light performance if it wasn't burdened with two million pixels. Take note that Sony also increased their CCD size to 1/3.6" on their 2 megapixel camcorders also with average to below average low light performance.

http://www.dvspot.com/features

I had both the Xi and the DV953 (1/6" 3CCD) and the low light performance was basically the same but I much preferred the color accuracy of the DV953 which is to be expected when comparing a single CCD to a 3CCD (regardless of a R-G-B filter).

One other important note on the 300 vs Xi. The image stabilization on the 300 cannot be used for taking stills or with its high quality 16:9 mode. The Xi has the superior optical image stabilization and is active for both 16:9 video and digital stills.
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Old March 17th, 2004, 07:02 PM   #23
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The DV953 is also not a small, 24/7 PocketCam like the Optura 300 is ;-)

I doubt that the still mode of the DV953 is nearly as fast as the Optura 300 as far as flash recyling time.

For me, I think people obsess way too much about low light sensitivity regarding all of the brands of cameras - they are all more or less the same to me in that regard - I like to use a light or two, it's part of photography for me, motivating light. I would say that it is best to think of what the effective ISO rating is of a camera, rather than "how good is it in low light???",,, I'm going to use a light or two regardless, with any camera. I'm not saying it has to be an official "video light" from Lowel or Arri,,, it may be just simply a couple of 60watt practicals I find in the room. Part of the skill is in modeling the light in your image without making it look like you used a light. Oh well, not trying to sound defensive here or start a holy war about low-light sensitivity in a $700 camera,,, I just think the cameras these days are eons better in low light than they used to be in the 'ol days,,, and yet we still managed to make good pictures way back then. It's just so much easier now and ever more affordable.

Different people will have different perceptions of what makes a quality image anyways.

Good luck!

- don
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Old March 17th, 2004, 07:32 PM   #24
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The lower the lux requirements of the cam, the more useful it becomes. That's why I still own (and use) my old DVL9500's.
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Old March 18th, 2004, 02:05 PM   #25
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"I had both the Xi and the DV953 (1/6" 3CCD) and the low light performance was basically the same but I much preferred the color accuracy of the DV953 which is to be expected when comparing a single CCD to a 3CCD (regardless of a R-G-B filter)." - Tommy Haupfear

Tommy, from my experiences there was a significant difference in low-light performance. To me, the Optura Xi/300 just takes in more light, which is logical -> 1/3.4" vs. 1/6" CCD. My friends were saying, "Wow, that camera picks up light like my eyes." (Disclaimer: my friends are not into camcorders/video)

I too thought that the high megapixel of the Optura's CCD would cause more noise, but it is very low, especially in chroma which is a common artifact in low light.

When I used the DV953, at low/zero gain its image was natural and noise-free, but to get similarly bright shots as the Optura, gain has to go up; at least 12 db, which causes noticable noise. Similarly, the DV953 had very low color noise (3CCD). Overall, it exhibited more luma noise/grain.

To reason why the Optura 300/Xi might have superior low-light performance, I calculated the size of the pixel in the Optura 300 and DV-953

Optura 300 / Xi
(1/3.4 in)/(1,230,000 pixels effecitve) = 2.39x10^-7 in pixel

Panasonic DV953
(1/6 in)/(640,000 pixels effective) = 2.60x10^-7 in pixel

They are almost the same. With this in mind, you can imagine that the noise levels are roughly the same +/- quality of optics (both are good), digital circuitry (canon may win here), etc. Now, take into consideration that the Optura 300/ Xi has almost twice the CCD size and it becomes clear that gain up will not have to be used as much, which results in less noise and more accurate/sharp video in low-light. Of course, the DV953's 3CCD will not show chroma interpolation artifacts, however, the RGB filter of the Optura narrows that effect and its almost double pixel count will compensate most interpolation errors under downsizing to standard DV resolution.

Take Care,

P.S. To Tommy, I will be glad to share frame grabs of the various 16:9/HS/progressive modes of the Optura 300. I just need some time.
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Old March 18th, 2004, 02:15 PM   #26
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I found low light to comparable on both cams but then I use a VX2000 at work. There may be some minimal increase in low light performance with the Xi but not enough to warrant its use over the DV953. That and the low light AF ability of the Xi could really use a fix.

Did you ever use the Gain Up mode on the DV953?
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Old March 18th, 2004, 02:25 PM   #27
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Yes, I have used the gain up for the DV953. It also goes up to 12 in auto mode by itself (which is nice, because going to 15/18 db is really really noisy).

I also used a VX200 for a couple weeks and of course its low-light is very good -> high sensitivity. But its image was unnatural for me (almost like an electronic highlight). Keep in mind, I would take one any day (if it wasn't for the size). Also, that effect can be reduced by lowering gain or closing iris or raising shutter speed, etc.

The low light AF of the Optura can definitely be improved, but it was acceptable to me. The TRV950 and most Sony's in general have better AF -> fast and accurate in most lighting conditions.

Regards,
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Old March 18th, 2004, 02:25 PM   #28
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Hi Tommy,

What exactly do you do for work? How are you using the Sony VX2000, for what types of applications?

Looking forward,

- don
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Old March 18th, 2004, 03:18 PM   #29
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Quote:
What exactly do you do for work? Sounds interesting! How are you using the Sony VX2000, for what types of applications?
I work for a software company as a network administrator but I also double as the AV guy for corporate videos. Its a fair bit since I get to use VX2000 for personal use as well.. :)
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Old March 19th, 2004, 09:26 AM   #30
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I am a ( former but still interested) Super 8 mm film buff that is looking for a video camera to record the film gate of a Super 8 mm projector (with the projector lens removed) to achieve a direct film to digital video transfer. The eventual target being the highest resolution capture of film for eventual DVD transfer. This discussion of the Optura 300 used in still capture mode with the SD card removed and a direct firewire connection to the PC for on the fly capture of super high resolution video is very exciting. Super 8 mm projectors usually project at 18 fps with some latitude for speed adjustment. Here's my question: Could the Opture 300 be used in the above manner in the set up I have described to transfer film to video to achieve high resoluti0on capture? Comments, please!
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