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Old May 9th, 2005, 07:36 AM   #1
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Optura 50 anyone?

I have not seen any review of Optura 50. I wonder if anyone here can write one?

Thanks a lot in advance!

What attracted me to Optura 50:
1. Price. Because I don't use camcorder often, I don't want to pay a lot.
2. OIS. Must have it.
3. Compact size. A favorable factor, but not a big deal.
4. Manual controls. I am mainly interested in taping stage performance. This is a very important factor.


I am aware of its limitations:
1. Poor low-light capability.
2. Only 10X optical zoom.
3. The onboard microphone may be noisy. I'll buy an external mic, I think.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 03:19 PM   #2
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The Optura 50/60 are basically the same, so reviews should be nearly identical. But I agree it would be nice to hear about any Optura 50 experiences.

Here's a good post/review for your research (click here).
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Old May 10th, 2005, 11:42 AM   #3
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Ordered Optura 50 from Butterfly Photo today

They said it's in stock. So, it should come soon. I'll try to write a review myself, I guess. I'll post the URL for my review for you guys ... :)

Geezz ... no smiley?
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Old May 10th, 2005, 07:39 PM   #4
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status update -- tracking number available

And, my Optura 50 package is now at FedEx facility. Should arrive in a day or two, IMHO.

I'll buy some tapes tomorrow on my way home.

Already have a firewire card installed on my PC. Will install another hard drive to hold videos, and a DVD burner over the weekend ... a lot of things will have to happen ... :-)
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Old May 12th, 2005, 09:24 AM   #5
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status update - just received this little thing

My first impression: wow, it's so small!

It's about 2/3 as big as I thought. I am not complaining or anything.

More to come ...
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Old May 13th, 2005, 09:12 AM   #6
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Looking forward to your review.
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Old May 15th, 2005, 09:35 AM   #7
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review (text only)

Things I have tried:

1. Video on card.
2. Video on tape.
3. Transfer video to a PC via firewire.
4. Taks still on card (hi res).
5. Take still while taping (low res).
6. Read still images from card by a card reader (since the Optura 50 does not have a USB2 port, and strangely, it cannot transfer files out of card via firewire port).
7. Convert dvi data into another format on the PC.
8. Hooked up with a TV and played the taped clip. Both picture and sound qualities are very good.

Other than the size, I am not surprised at all with this camcorder. I have read reviews by CNet, CamcorderInfo, and by this web page (http://www.emptyloft.com/optura60/) on both Optura 50 and 60. I have pretty much confirmed all I have expected.

In the mean time, I have ordered two filters (UV and polarizer). I chose 34mm filters because I want to use the original lens cap. If you use 37 mm filters, the prices will probably be cheaper and there are definitely more varieties. But then, you'll need a 37mm cap.

It seems a wide angle lens will help with indoor situations quite a bit, but, it's not a high priority for me.

A good mic is very important to me because I want to tape stage performance. The capability to record high quality sound is built into this camcorder. However, the on-board mic picks up too much motor noise. I don't like the result. So, I will buy an external mic.

If you can affort to record video to the card, the on-board mic can be very handy, because the motor will not make any noise in card mode. I don't have a GB card. So, this option isn't available for me.

Here are a few odd observations: (1) There is a USB2 port and a cable is included in the package. However, since this is a 50 model, the port is not hot. (2) The software offers ability to handle still images. Surprisingly, it does not handle video. I bought a DVD-RW that came with Nero tools that does the whole drill (capture, editing, export, etc.). I suspect the lack of software features will hurt Canon's sales. But, I don't know for sure. (3) File size is huge when you get the dvi data to your PC. I have 1.5 GB for a mere 7 min clip. However, with the Nero tools, after I convert into DivX format with MSG sound compression, the file size goes down to about 70 MB if I preserve the full resolution (720x576). I feel this format loses some info even though I can't really tell the difference. I haven't tested with other formats. (4) It takes a long time to convert data from dvi to a compressed format. For this 7 min clip, it took about 15 min on a 1GHz PC (low end hardware - memory, graphic card, etc.). I heard that Macs do better, but I don't have a Mac now. This makes me wonder if I should buy one ... :-)

I will prepare some videos before I write a web page to review this camcorder. It'll be another week I think. I hope someone else will write one ... :-)
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Old May 16th, 2005, 10:14 PM   #8
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Just an FYI, you should have gone w/ the 37mm + new cap (or even larger). Stacking multiple 34mm filters noticably vignettes. Optura 30, but it's all the same size/spacing.

Pic
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Old May 17th, 2005, 09:10 AM   #9
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37mm filters have advantages

I agree with Patrick about using a larger filter size to prevent vignetting. People who stack several filters on the lens should definitely consider using a step-up ring and larger filters. Besides, 37mm filters are more abundant and probably cheaper ... :-)
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Old May 17th, 2005, 09:16 AM   #10
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tested with polarizing filter

I did some experiments and found two situations where the filter produced significant effects: (1) Under the sun, looking at a car, the reflection from any surface, including windows, can be suppressed nicely. (2) On a sunny day, looking at the sky, the blue can be enhanced A LOT! Very nice!

You guys can see that I am a novice, trying to become an amateur ... :-)
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Old May 18th, 2005, 06:25 AM   #11
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I just wanted to contribute... I also recently picked up a Optura 50. I had been looking at the Optura line for a few months. I previously had a Canon ZR20 series DV camera from a few years ago, so I wanted to stay with Canon.

Obviously, this model of camera provided me a much sharper image than the older ZR model - and that's what I was really looking for. I've had the camera for about a week, and haven't had much chance to test it out. Me and a friend are in Portland (where it's pretty much always rainy) and decided to go out for a drive. Even the footage from inside a moving car was impressive. I captured in 16:9, and really noticed the difference between the old "mock" widescreen features.

My only complaints with the camera are probably because of my familiarity with the ZR model such as not being used to the menu select wheel. This is my first camera with Optical Image Stabilization; either that or some other setting I misused caused some minor motion artifacts I didn't care for, but I probably just need to read up or start another thread to clear that up. It could have also been an error on my part using shutter priority AE mode.

Sound seemed very good... the ZR did not have the ability to set record level, but this one does. However, I didn't use it as the default settings were fine. I noticed no camera motor noise on sound (obviously, as it was in a moving car and raining). Of course, my opinion has always been that unless you recording in unusually quiet environments (and I never really seem to) - camera noise isn't really noticeable.

The auto white balance settings were new to me. I've probably been really bad with white balance in the past; using the "cloudy" preset nicely captured the colors I recall with my naked eye.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 10:05 AM   #12
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Motion artifacts are caused by optical image stabilizer (OIS) when you are panning. I noticed this. The manual said we should turn off OIS when panning.

I feel I need to turn OIS on/off very often. It'd be nice if Canon has made a button for OIS ... :-)
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Old May 20th, 2005, 04:35 AM   #13
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Just a note that after I ran said footage through DV Film Maker, the OIS motion artifacts were not noticeable.

And man, this camera's output looks sweet after it is ran through DV Film Maker.
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Old May 22nd, 2005, 10:08 PM   #14
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Does the Optura 50 allow you to change shutter speeds? I was playing w/ one at a local Best Buy and couldn't find it in the menus - only the Auto Slow Shutter (the Shutter option on my Optura 30 is either right above or below it).

Anyone here pair one up with an Optura 30 or 40 - I'd like another 30 but they can only be had purchasing online (gotta purchase in a store)? I'm assuming they'd be dead on for color matching (both Digic, both RGB, same size CCD, etc etc etc).
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Old May 25th, 2005, 01:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Jenkins
Does the Optura 50 allow you to change shutter speeds? I was playing w/ one at a local Best Buy and couldn't find it in the menus - only the Auto Slow Shutter (the Shutter option on my Optura 30 is either right above or below it).
You are right. I cannot find shutter speed except in Tv mode.

One user commented that he used "sports" mode indoors to avoid blur images under low light. I can't remember if I read it here or somewhere else.
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