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Old October 14th, 2004, 08:27 PM   #1
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Optura 40 SUX!....Bad Camera?

I ordered an Optura 40 after reading some rave reviews, and some impressive specifications. Upon viewing my first bit of footage, I was disappointed to say the least. The picture is far from crisp, and I'm not sure if I have a bad camera, or high expectations.

I took out my old Sony TRV-103, that the Optura replaced, and took footage from both cameras. The picture on the Sony was much more crisp than the Canon. Why would this be? Am I doing something wrong? Are there video resolution settings that I don't know about. Everyone is raving about the Optura line, and I'm seriously at a loss for words.

I purchased the camera from BuyDig.com. I don't frequent the forums, and perhaps buying online is frowned upon. I've had good luck with BuyDig.com in the past. The camera was new, with US warranty.

Is there something I can do?

The video just doesn't have crisp edges, and appears to have a slight "fuzziness" to it for lack of a better word. I've tried different camera settings and can't get better results. I don't care about capturing stills or anything like that. This will be used for filming wildlife outdoors.

If I can't get this figured out, it will get swapped for a Panasonic GS200....

Please HELP!

Mike

PS - Low light performance is also important. Perhaps I got the wrong camera....
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Old October 14th, 2004, 09:01 PM   #2
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"Is there something I can do?"

Send it back.
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Old October 14th, 2004, 09:35 PM   #3
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I agree with Ken. Return it immediately, if not sooner.
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Old October 15th, 2004, 05:53 AM   #4
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A Few Questions...

I'm not sure if these sites get frequented by Trolls. If so, please understand, I am not one of them. I was so pumped to get this camera, as everything I've heard about it indicated that the picture was amazing. Considering I was comparing it to a 5 year old sony, with a 1/6" CCD, I was really surprised.

I have a few questions. Firstly, does tape brand really affect the picture? I mean, I've always thought "Its digital, the tape holds 1's and 0's..." If this is not true, please let me know.

I also got to thinking more after I posted this. I got up this morning and checked the packaging. Firstly, the box did not have any type of "Tamper Evident" label across the box "Tongue". Do Canon's come "sealed" or should it be a plain box? Secondly, there were no labels or stickers on the camera body itself. You know, those vinyl labels that rant and rave about the camera features. My sony had them all over it, "NIGHTSHOT", "SUPERSTEADY SHOT". This had none.

Does Canon sell cameras that don't meet their specifications to online retailers? Is it possible to have just gotten a defective camera?

Any help would be appreciated. I don't want to give up on a company with such a stellar reputation just yet. Nor do I want to miss out on a great camera!

Thanks,
Mike
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Old October 15th, 2004, 07:15 AM   #5
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I just spoke with Canon. The woman on the phone explained that the picture quality may not appear as clear as the sony on the TV becaue the 8mm format is closer to the TV resolution. Is this true? If so, what on earth is the point? She still felt it should be more clear than the Sony though.

Any thoughts are appreciated. I have 10 days to return the camera.
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Old October 15th, 2004, 07:47 AM   #6
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Re: A Few Questions...

<<<-- Originally posted by Mike Buchinger :
I also got to thinking more after I posted this. I got up this morning and checked the packaging. Firstly, the box did not have any type of "Tamper Evident" label across the box "Tongue". Do Canon's come "sealed" or should it be a plain box? Secondly, there were no labels or stickers on the camera body itself. You know, those vinyl labels that rant and rave about the camera features. My sony had them all over it, "NIGHTSHOT", "SUPERSTEADY SHOT". This had none. -->>>

I don't remember if my Optura 30's box had any kind of tamper evident seal on it or not, but my camera definately had stickers on the body. One of the stickers should be on the top of the viewfinder and mention something about the PRINT SHARE BUTTON. Then there's a sticker on the outside of the LCD that mentions some of the features, such as the RGB Primary Color Filter and I think the DiGiC DV feature (not sure exactly what it says cause my camera's not in front of me right now). So, yes there should be stickers on it.

It almost sounds like you got sent a camera that someone returned, probably because of the problems you're having, and the company decided to just send it back out. I know of some companies that when something gets returned to them, they place it back on the shelves to sell again, and only consider it defective after it's come back 3 times.


<<<-- Does Canon sell cameras that don't meet their specifications to online retailers? Is it possible to have just gotten a defective camera? -->>>

According to Canon, they don't sell to un-authorized dealers, whether online or not. It's possible that you got a defective camera... When I got my Optura 30 it had problems and would shut off by itself, or freeze while recording. I sent it in to Canon, and the main PCB board was defective. They replaced it, and the camera's worked great ever since. However, like I said above, if the camera doesn't have stickers, or you're not the one who removed them, then I'd send the camera back to the place you bought it from and ask for a replacement.

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Old October 15th, 2004, 08:04 AM   #7
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<< does tape brand really affect the picture? >>

No. Tape brand has no affect on image quality whatsoever.

<< Do Canon's come "sealed" or should it be a plain box? Secondly, there were no labels or stickers on the camera body itself. >>

Not sure about either of these. Exterior press-on labels are a trend that comes and goes. According to the post above by Curtis, apparently it should have some stickers on it.

<< Does Canon sell cameras that don't meet their specifications to online retailers? >>

No. The only question is whether the retailer's allotment is intended for sale in the U.S. All cameras come from the same factory and are supposed to meet the same QC standards though.

<< Is it possible to have just gotten a defective camera? >>

Anything is possible. The most important advice I can relay to you is that if you're not happy with the camera, get rid of it. Return it before it's too late. I've met people who have said, this camera has never worked right and it's been this way for years! Well, if it doesn't work right, why did you keep it is my question. You still have a window of opportunity available to you to get rid of this camera, and in my opinion you should do so *today* and be done with it.
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Old October 15th, 2004, 09:59 AM   #8
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C'mon, Mike. Stop typing and trying to analyze why you don't like the camera. You're wasting your time (and ours). Turn your computer off and get to the post office. Otherwise we'll next be seeing you complain that your dealer is unfair for not accepting your returned merchandise.
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Old October 15th, 2004, 12:49 PM   #9
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Sorry for the waste of time....

Ken,
My intent wasn't to waste anyone's time. I'm not complaining about the camera, I'm trying to verify that this is as good as it gets. I actually took the camera to a production studio today to view the tape on a monitor. The guy had the same reaction I did. For the price, and the spec's. The picture should be much better.

On any "busy" scenery, i.e. outdoors with leaves, grass, tree branches, etc., things appear somewhat blurred - just not crisp. On people, and slower moving well lit objects, the image is pretty good.

I'm not going to complain about the seller or anything like that. I'm not here to complain. I was here to get some help. Your post wasted MY time. Let me guess, your one of the guys who whatever you own is the best, no matter what, and when someone else doesn't like it, you get pissed. Thats fine.

I AM returning the camera, and I'm getting either a Panasonic GS400, or I have a line on a used XL1 with around 35 hours, with an extra viewfinder, numerous batteries, and 2x multiplier lens for $2k. Its more than I wanted to spend, but it sounds like the only way I'll be happy.

I'm still fairly sure the camera I got is somehow defective based on what I've seen, and if its as good as it gets, then so be it. Its not good enough for the price or the reviews.....

Thanks for your help KEN. NOT!
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Old October 15th, 2004, 02:29 PM   #10
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Re: A Few Questions...

Mike, you're probably used to the oversharpened video look. Just because some footage is "crisp" doesn't mean that it's higher resolution. Hour old camera may also have a lower contrast ratio which will make your footage more contrasty and therefore more sharp looking. However, if you like the way your old camera's footage looks then stick with it!
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Old October 15th, 2004, 02:37 PM   #11
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Mike, if I were you, I'd pass on the XL1. Depends really on what you want to do. The GS400 is much more compact, more portable, easier to get around with. The XL1 is like a business tool if you're doing work for hire. Even then, it's old, outdated and discontinued. Plus if you thought the Optura was soft, the older XL1 will look even more soft. The GS400 is brand new and in my opinion is the best way to go, providing that you prefer the size of a small, compact camcorder like the Optura 40.
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Old October 15th, 2004, 03:22 PM   #12
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Hmmm...interesting comments here. I started out with a single chip Sony D8. Actually, for SD resolution shooting, it was pretty good. When I got my Optura Xi for shooting in widescreen for my HDTV, the sudden jump in video resolution was pretty startling.

Here's one thing I noticed: When I watched my footage on an older 24" TV in my spare room, the Optura footage did not "pop" as well as the old Sony footage. In fact it looked kind of soft and flat.

The Sony, with about half as much video resolution as my new Xi "looked" I think, better on the low resoltion TV, becuase that is what it was designed for. The image has much more contrast and higher saturation on the colors. It also has extreme amounts of that awful edge enhancement built in: the black and white outline that is synthesized around the edges of contrasting objects to make them "appear" sharper on an SD TV.

When comparing the two cameras on my 38" HDTV (while the Sony still looks nice for some types of shooting) for the most part the Optura Xi blows it away. Especially with it's lack of edge enhancement. On an HDTV, that effect is the equivalent of looking at your footage with magic marker lines drawn on top of it.

This camera was designed for viewing on a modern TV. It's as simple as that. If you were seeing a serious amount of blurring in your footage, it may just be that you recieved a defective camera. I would still give the Opturas a try.
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Old October 15th, 2004, 04:27 PM   #13
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Mike,

I would send it back ASAP. I have the box for my Optura Xi sitting here and, no, there are no tamper lables on the outside, BUT, the camera does come with the stickers you mentioned. Sounds to me like you got a returned and defective item.

As for the Optura line, I have the Xi and am very pleased with it. My boss actually asked me to bring it to a shoot last week so we could have two crews. We are using the Optura footage intercut with Beta SP and granted, there is a difference, the Optura footage looks surprisingly good and not out of place.

I think for a single chipper, the Optura Xi is near the top of the heap if not the top camera.
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Old October 15th, 2004, 04:59 PM   #14
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Thanks for the advice guys. Perhaps you are right. The things you are saying make sense about the edges, and the color saturation.

My television is a higher end Panasonic Super Flat, not sure about the model, but its got a nice picture - however, its not HD TV. Its a few years old, but it was on the high end when I purchased it.

So the XL1 will yield the same results? The bulk WAS a concern. I just thought it was a good deal. Maybe I had better re-think this whole purchase. I am going to get an RA number for the Canon, and they said they WOULD exchange it for a different one if that is what I wanted. They have actually been really good to deal with. Their rep also suggested the Panasonic GS200, or 400. More reasonable on price.

I'm sorry for being such a Noob with all of the questions, and obvious lack of knowledge on some of this stuff. I have a few more questions....

This camera obviously, doesn't meet my satisfaction, we've determined that. So looking at other cameras, what are my options? How does the GL2 compare with the GS200 and 400. Based on what I've read, the GS400 has some pretty drastic improvements over the 200 and is worth the money. How do these two cameras compare as far as picture quality, and low light performance?

I really appreciate all the help.

Thanks,
Mike

BTW - All of my videoing is done outside, probably 25-30% of which is in low light....
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Old October 15th, 2004, 08:42 PM   #15
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<< How do these two cameras compare as far as picture quality, and low light performance? >>

The biggest difference between the GL2 and GS400 is that of ergonomics and form factor, above everything else. You really need to decide what *size* you'll be most comfortable with. How it feels in your hands is far more important than any subtle difference in low light performance or anything else.
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