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Canon Optura Junior Watchdog
High-end affordable consumer 1-CCD camcorders. PAL users invited!


 
 
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Old May 12th, 2006, 12:02 PM   #1
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Some insight please

I've been looking at this camera for a week now, the Canon Optura 50 and what attracts it to me is the $400-some price tag--not bad at all. However, I want to get into making snowboard/skate videos this year, host them on my shops website and put together some DVD's for advertisement and for selling. If memory serves me right, this camera is a single CCD and is rated higher than the 60 correct?

I guess my main question is this: Will this camera, when used in the right conditions (not dark, sunny..) give me a nice look and feel when edited and thrown onto a DVD; maybe in 16:9?

If not, can you aid me in the process of looking at other cameras? I was thinking of the GL 2 but that is probably too expensive. I need to upgrade my PC as well.

Thanks!
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Old May 12th, 2006, 12:32 PM   #2
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The Optura 30/40/50/60 produce outstanding 16:9 widescreen DVDs. I shot a bunch of stuff up in Chattanooga, TN and burned the edited footage to DVD and it really blew me away how good the little Optura 30 looked. I played it on my 32" HD set and the only give away that it was a consumer camcorder was the shaky hand held look. You will not be dissappointed, especially if you use it in well lit situations.

One caveat is that you should manually set your exposure, as I've found that the Opturas tend to overexpose a bit. Obviously you'd want to shoot some test footage to determine if you like the "auto" look, but these cameras have extensive manual controls for this price point, and using them properly will generally improve your final product.

I've gotta say, the Optura 50 at around $400 may be the single best value I've ever seen in the new camcorder market.

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Old May 12th, 2006, 12:56 PM   #3
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I've very familiar with Canon's products: I have a Rebel DSLR as well as a the 20D.

My main concern is, using the Optura 50, how much is the quality going to be lacking when compared to a GL 2 or possibly Panasonic's 3-CCD?

I worried about quality when filming snowboarding. I don't want to get blurred shots, ghost-like sequences and most of all, I want the shots to be sharp.

Sorry for asking so many questions! Are there some video samples floating around?
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Old May 12th, 2006, 01:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Riethmiller
<snip>My main concern is, using the Optura 50, how much is the quality going to be lacking when compared to a GL 2 or possibly Panasonic's 3-CCD?

I worried about quality when filming snowboarding. I don't want to get blurred shots, ghost-like sequences and most of all, I want the shots to be sharp.
<snip>
If you're shooting for 16:9, the Optura will actually come out sharper than the GL2. The GL2 is a native 4:3 camcorder and has to perform a digital crop and stretch to achieve 16:9.

The Panasonic 3CCD camcorders are actually quite nice. However, verify that the Pansonic you're looking at offers: true 16:9, manual focus ring, mic input, manual audio levels. Unless of course those features aren't important to you.

As for image quality, the Opturas are top notch and will go toe-to-toe with any budget 3CCD cam (and some pricey models for that matter). If you've heard of "ghosting" issues, those are related to the Optura's 1/30th shutter speed it likes to use when the lights get dim (a feature that can be disabled, by the way).

Ok, I'd talk more, but I gotta run!
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Old May 12th, 2006, 08:15 PM   #5
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You'll be hard pressed to see a difference between the Optura 50 and the GL-2 in most daytime outdoor conditions. And as Phillip pointed out the Optura 50 uses a higher resolution 16:9 widescreen mode.

But, if the following are important, then the GL-2 is the way go
- slightly better color rendition
- much better low light performance
- 20x zoom lens
- built-in ND filter
- camcorder handle
- larger body

And, if you're looking at the GL-2, also check out the Sony A1U HDV camcorder.

Otherwise, the Optura 50 is a great bargain, can't beat it for the price. The Optura line competes directly with the Panasonic 3 chip G series, so you'll see very similar performance when comparing both lines.
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Old May 12th, 2006, 08:50 PM   #6
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I like the idea of having the holder on top of the GL 2 and the 20X but I think I might be able to get away with 10X...I might be able to rig something on the Optura to help with getting a steady shot while snowboarding and such.

I just can't believe a camera that costs around $400 can compete with something that's around $1,500-2K! I'm sure it can, it just seems so hard to fathom!

Anyway, I'm hoping to have my decision made soon so I can get started on the skateboarding films. That sony looks pretty nice, thanks for showing me that model.
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Old May 12th, 2006, 09:07 PM   #7
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Although the Optura is a single chip camcorder, it puts color together the same way that 3CCD camcorders do, using the primary color wavelengths via its RGB color filter. It's as good as the consumer 3CCD Panasonic camcorders. Look at it this way... nobody complains about a digital still camera having only one chip. The Canon Powershot digicams use an RGB color filter. The Optura is no different. Other Canon camcorders (ZR series, Elura) do not have the RGB color filter. It makes a big difference.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 03:19 PM   #8
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I got pretty close today on pulling the trigger on eBay today. It had the 50 and a 15-piece 'pro kit' together for about $550 or something like that: not including shipping or NYS tax. I believe it had a wide angle, tele, tripod, 6 tapes, light, card reader (which I have already) and some other stuff...yet I passed..so far.

I was thinking of upgrading to the GL 1 but I noticed the two cameras are awfully lose in specs.


I just hate to buy it and then come across another deal that's would be too hard to pass up on it or another camera.


Just out of curiousity, if I spend 100-200 more on a camera, am I going to get that much better quality or this bargain for the 50 too good to pass up? (400-ish)

thanks
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Old May 14th, 2006, 05:48 PM   #9
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I agree with Philip and Chris. The Opturas (in my case, an Xi) are fantastic. When I bought mine, I was mainly concerned about getting true 16:9 images. The GL1 or XL1 for that matter, didn't offer true 16:9. The primary RGB filter does a great job.

I would recomend looking for a nice used Xi on eBay. I was looking there the other day and found a few buy it nows in the $400-$500 range. Much better than the $1400 I paid for mine when it was first introduced.

Another thing, the form factor on the Xi is much more suited to my shooting style and looks more "camera" like in my opinion. Plus the glass on the Xi is excellent.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 06:28 PM   #10
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Is the camera that is three years old? I'd like to avoid buying used unless it's a GL 2 or Sony VX2000/2001
Does it have a focus ring?
All the manual controls the 50 offers: focus, shutter speed, etc.

I just looked it up and I like the size of it; a little bit bigger. Quality wise, how does it compare to the 50? Can you shoot in 4:3 if you wanted to? Hot/cold shoe?
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Old May 14th, 2006, 07:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Riethmiller
Is the camera that is three years old? I'd like to avoid buying used unless it's a GL 2 or Sony VX2000/2001
Does it have a focus ring?
All the manual controls the 50 offers: focus, shutter speed, etc.

I just looked it up and I like the size of it; a little bit bigger. Quality wise, how does it compare to the 50? Can you shoot in 4:3 if you wanted to? Hot/cold shoe?
It has all the manual controls of the others, plus manual audio controls. It uses the standard Canon Hot Shoes for Canon lights and mics. The CCD is the same as the newer Opturas. Chris can chime in here with the details, or better yet, he has a Optura Watchdog site setup here.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 08:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Riethmiller
I just looked it up and I like the size of it; a little bit bigger. Quality wise, how does it compare to the 50? Can you shoot in 4:3 if you wanted to? Hot/cold shoe?
The Xi is the same camcorder as the Optura 50, just in a different package. The image quality will be identical. As Dave pointed out, the larger form factor of the Xi is much nicer to shoot with. I used a Video Innovators shoulder bracket with it. Fully loaded, it was a pretty impressive rig. (pic 1 / pic 2).

The Xi can shoot in either 4:3 or 16:9 and has a Canon hot shoe. But, as good as it is, the Xi is discontinued, and the newer Optura 50 has some really nice usability enhancements. My favorites are:
- 16:9 widescreen view in the LCD (Xi shows a squished 16:9 image)
- tripod friendly, top loading cassette (Xi has a bottom loading cassette)


[EDIT:]By the way Video Innovators also has a camcorder handle that might just be the ticket for smaller camcorders like the Optura 50. I think you'll like it for shooting snowboarding & skateboard videos. The handle provides a bit of stabilization within a certain range of motion. Coupled with a wide angle/fish eye lens, and the optical stabilizer, you should be able to get some pretty stable hand held shots.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 09:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Riethmiller
I just hate to buy it and then come across another deal that's would be too hard to pass up on it or another camera.
Chris Hurd has an awesome saying - "If you're waiting, you're not creating." Buy what works for you today in your budget range (from a DV Info Sponsor). If you wait for the next cam around the corner, you'll be 90 years old and still not have any video to show for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Riethmiller
... if I spend 100-200 more on a camera, am I going to get ... better quality or this bargain for the 50 too good to pass up?
The next major step up in performance is around the US$1,500-2,000. After that it starts jumping more quickly, $3,000, then $5,000, then $10,000. The Optura 50 is an amazing deal right now. Realistically, if you go used, a used GL-2 or similar type of camcorder in that range will run around US$1000, if you're lucky, but most likely $1,200-$1,600.
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Old May 15th, 2006, 12:52 PM   #14
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Thanks for the help guys! I've narrowed it down the 50 and the Xi and am sort of leaning towards the 50: it's newer, can get a 1-year warranty..

I like the looks of the Xi. It's got the 'camera look' and doesn't seem so small like the 50 (that thing is tiny!).

The 50 seems to have everything the Xi has to offer minus manual audio controls and the hot/added shoe.

I might go with this Xi if the auction stays under $400 on ebay. It's used but comes with some extras: tele, wide angel, light, tripod, case...

Same with this 50, except it is new, 1-year warranty but is hovering around a $570 buy it now price. Not sure if that's good or bad. I went to B+H to add the camera, lenses, filters, tripod and it well over $700..

I figure I should buy small now and if I like doing this, then upgrade to a VX2000/01, GL-2 down the road. This camera seems like a good one and one that'll hold up with other stuff.
My main concern is providing quality footage for DVD of fast-action snowboarding/skating

You guys have helped out an awful lot! Thanks again
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Old May 15th, 2006, 10:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Riethmiller
The 50 seems to have everything the Xi has to offer minus manual audio controls and the hot/added shoe.
The 50 also has manual audio controls, same as the Xi.
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