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Canon Optura Junior Watchdog
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Old August 1st, 2005, 02:04 PM   #1
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How do you like your Optura 60?

I've read the review at camcorderinfo.com repeatedly, and can't get past the closing comment in which the author expresses doubt that anybody would buy the Optura 60 over the comparably priced panasonic three-chippers. The reason he gives is low light performance. Is it really that bad?

Manually adjustable audio meters and native 16:9 are very attractive to me. The Opturas are supposed to be quite a bit sharper as well. The low light thing is definitely a bummer, as is the apparently plastic threads on the tripod mount. I guess the Pansonics have better manual controls as well.

Tough choice here. Anybody compared them side by side? I'm looking for a camera to shoot short films and use as a deck while I save up money for either a GL2 or a next generation camcorder of some sort. Trying to stay between $500 and $700.

Our last camera was a GL1, so I'm pretty used to miserable low-light performance. Anyway, that's what lights are for right?
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Old August 1st, 2005, 11:32 PM   #2
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i don't think you can make a mistake with either camera, to say that one is vastly better then the other is just nonsense, each appeals to a different crowd, the optura is bad in low light so is the panny, you just not going to get a good lowlight cam at this price range and size...

the only major draw back the optura has for me is it tends over expose and blow out highlights, something my gl1, xl1 never did, so it takes some getting use (like adjusting the exposue bracket), but when the camera is set right the results are stunning, i love the wide look the optura gives you with my additional wide angle adapter, i'm very happy with my purchase, even though i know the new opturas 70's or 80's will have 1/2.8 inch chips much bigger then the current crop and 4mege pixel images
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 11:08 AM   #3
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I've spent a little better than a week with mine and I can say that I'm very pleased. I bought it with the same intentions (to shoot dramatic films) so low-light capabilities were not really important to me since we spend alot of time lighting by hand anyway.

That being said I've been impressed by the cameras light-sensitivity. It probably helps that my last camera was a low-end JVC that was a few years old, but honestly I was very impressed. I took the camera to a county fair with my daughter and was able to go from full sunlight to unlit barns without any trouble at all.

And yes, the 16:9 footage is stunning, even with uncontrolled light. For the money you'd have a hard time doing better. I was very set on picking up a GL2 until I actually tried one of these out and shot some tape with it. For sure it's a consumer unit and has none of the ruggedness of something in the professional range, but if you're going to be shooting on sets then that isn't a big deal. For the difference in price you can buy some more lights...
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 12:32 PM   #4
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Marco - I had the same concerns as you had and went through several weeks of trying to figure out what was really important to me and how I would use the camera. I ended up with the Optura 60. The deciding factors came down to familiarity with Canon video and digital photo cameras - GL1, XL1, Powershot A80; larger zoom ratio; accessibility of commonly used functions.

I decided that low-light capability was not as important as the zoom - 10x just doesn't cut it for many situations, especially live-action - my primary application. The ability to push shutter speed down to 1/8 s can help if your scene does not have a lot motion.

On the low light front, assuming the Panny's are native 4:3 chips @ 1/6" diagonals vs. the Optura 60 1/3.4" 16:9 chip, the actual light gathering area of the Panasonic is only around 8% higher. (this will never be a clean comparison, since chip technology + processing electronics also add to the mix)

The scene modes work very well - I was especially impressed with the 'Beach' setting that got it right. Yes, in my view the Optura 60 can over-expose in non-Auto modes, but strangely does very well in full Auto. A nice feature I found after buying the camera is that it supports an elementary Custom Setting for color, contrast, etc.

Finally, I love shooting in 16:9! The on-screen results are reasonably close to what I used to get on the GL1 (a little less color saturation - not a bad thing and a little less dynamic range).

Things I don't like: the battery only charges on-board and you can't charge while taping. The control wheel on the front of the cam does conflict with the LCD screen and can be a little frustrating hand-held, but is fine on a tripod.


rj
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Old August 16th, 2005, 02:23 PM   #5
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I bought my Optura 60 June 1st and it's been in the shop twice already for the same f-ing problem. Just got it back again yesterday, and we'll see how things go from here. The camera is great when it actually works, but at this point I would not recommend Canon. Not at all pleased with the quality of their product or their factory service center.
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Old August 17th, 2005, 06:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin McNerney
I bought my Optura 60 June 1st and it's been in the shop twice already for the same f-ing problem.
What's the problem?
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Old August 17th, 2005, 06:08 PM   #7
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Both times it just died in the middle of taping. First Canon replaced the fuse and sent it back, and it died again within five minutes of use. The second time they replaced something, don't recall exactly what off-hand, but it sounded like a major component. So far it's working now, but the fact that they did such a half-assed repair job the first time is what really turned me off of Canon. I intend to post a full review of my experience with this camcorder in the near future.
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Old August 17th, 2005, 06:38 PM   #8
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Kevin, sorry to hear about your experiences. Is it still possible to exchange the camcorder through your vendor?
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Old August 18th, 2005, 10:33 PM   #9
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No, bought it from Tiger Direct, which only has a 30 day return/exchange policy. So far it's working, and hopefully I won't have any more trouble with it.
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Old August 19th, 2005, 04:34 AM   #10
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Kevin,

I can understand your frustration, but to put it in context for others, here's more detail on your situation:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=49445

Also, the mention of a non-sponsor of DVinfo gives me an opportunity to recommend purchasing from one of DVinfo's fine sponsors. By way of example, I got a personal e-mail from Jason at Zotz Digital yesterday to tell me that a $30 lens hood I'd ordered had arrived and was FedEx'ing it's way to me...oh, and also Brian (the owner) says "Hello." Am I a high-volume corporate customer? No, I've bought 2 video cameras and a still camera from them in about 3 years but they remember me when I call. Try getting that kind of service from a non-sponsor!
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