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Old December 8th, 2005, 11:41 PM   #1
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DV Expo report: HD cameras showdown!

Went to the DV Expo today. I played for about a 1/2 hour with each the (not so) new JVC, the new Canon and the oh-so-very-hyped new Panasonic.

Here is a brief and very personal opinion of what I saw.

Canon : Far superior image quality and sharpness than the others. The glass is great and easy to use with nice DOF to play with. Cons: tendency to "burn" highlights, but I could iris fix it most of the times. A bit to "noisy" in darker areas.

JVC: I also liked the Image quality although its a bit "duller" than the Canon. The glass is also good, but I liked the Canon more.

Panasonic : I was EXTREMELY disappointed! The Image quality is not as close as good as the Canon. The colors are flat and the detail (even after cranking the detail level to the max, +7) is very poor. The glass simply suxs, focusing properly was a pain in the neck (and I have over 25 years doing this). I really did not like this camera.

And I must add that Canon had a set to shoot that was tough for cameras with very dark and very bright areas on the same frame, while Panasonic had a perfectly lit TV studio like set optimized for the camera.

One thing though, Canon's 24F looks A LOT like Sony's CF24.

So, In my very humble opinion the winner is the Canon, hands down. And the biggest looser, BY FAR, is the Panny. I must add that the Panny representative that I grinded down with all my comments and disappointments while pointing the cameras shortcomings kept telling me that it was not a production model and that I was using a pre-release camera.


Only thing is for sure, at this point I didn't see anything that made my jaw drop and make me get rid of my FX1 and double or triple the money to get one of this new toys (although the HL1 is tempting). So I don't think Sony execs are loosing any sleep over this new competition.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 12:55 AM   #2
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Wow, your thoughts are pretty much opposite of most the experts.... I have yet to hear anyone bag the HVX glass or the 24f mode...


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Old December 11th, 2005, 01:01 AM   #3
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Fully agree with Ash. I'm afraid you're sort of on your own there, Adrian.

For the record, Canon's 24F looks *nothing* like Sony's CF24. They aren't even remotely similar.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 05:46 AM   #4
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Id take a Leica over a Canon piece of glass ANYDAY.....
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Old December 11th, 2005, 06:44 AM   #5
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Just to reduce the amount of sorting between fact and opinion that people trying to learn more about these cameras will have to do, I add two comments:

- Peter, Canon and Leica are both known for excellent glass. You're certainly entitled to have a brand loyalty in lenses (and that's why I chose to respond, rather than remove what I see as an extraneous comment), but there's a whole lot more to the final image quality of an HD camera than the label on the glass. Given your strong opinions in other threads about why you're not interested in HD as yet, I'm not sure why you made this comment or how it helps folks who ARE choosing between these new HD cameras. We don't need to argue the point; but I just want to keep the noise level down for prospective camera buyers. Facts about the cameras are what will help them.

- Adrian, I can't compare the cameras as you have had the good fortune to do; of the three I only have shot with the XL H1. So I don't know if 24F looks like CF24. I'm a little doubtful about that statement, though, because of course Chris is spot on; 24F is absolutely NOT the same thing as Sony's CF24. It comes out of the camera exactly like the 3:2 progressive 24pN that comes out of a DVX100 or XL2 (except being HD, of course). No jitter, smooth, seamless.

I have captured HDV from the H1 to a 24fps PPro 1.5.1 timeline with Aspect HD 3.4 and it is absolutely as easy as capturing 24p miniDV, except that Aspect requires you to use the camera LCD as a monitor; it doesn't support the video overlay of the PPro capture window. And it looks great. Canon's 24F has only SLIGHTLY reduced resolution compared to 60i: http://www.geosynchrony.com/scratchpad.htm and I must say I'm pleased with the picture, as well as many of the little enhancements in this evolution of the XL line.

Whether that great image is better or worse than the competition, I can't say but we all do greatly appreciate the head-to-head-to-head camera report! Maybe we can get release models of all three cameras in one place in the not-too-distant future...?
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Old December 11th, 2005, 08:58 AM   #6
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Pete when you get the chance I would love to hear more about how the H1 and Z1 compare ESPECIALLY in HDV mode (to tape), which is what I will be shooting for the foreseeable future as I am documetary filmmaker. The more the image holds together when filming wide open spaces--forests, mountains, water, the better. Also need good lowlight for run and gun and naturally the tendency of HDV to have trouble when recording a complex image if the camera moves at all is a problem. Thanks!
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Old December 11th, 2005, 09:33 AM   #7
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Hey Jeff,

Since I don't have a Z1, I can't give you an apples-to-apples comparison but I do hope to post some video clips from the XL H1 with a lot of motion, like tree branches swaying in the wind or something, soon. Just been busy with work, sick family members, Christmas prep, and doing the basic-level checkout of the H1...so things are going a little slow. Once I do post more clips, it'll be up to everyone to make their own best guess on comparing the images from different cameras that were taken in different ways, at least until we can get all the new HDV cameras together and do the real apples-to-apples shoot-out.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 08:42 PM   #8
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Thanks Pete, I totally understand it's a hectic time of year. I appreciate what you have done thus far a lot.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 08:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Bauer
- Adrian, I can't compare the cameras as you have had the good fortune to do; of the three I only have shot with the XL H1. So I don't know if 24F looks like CF24. I'm a little doubtful about that statement, though, because of course Chris is spot on; 24F is absolutely NOT the same thing as Sony's CF24. It comes out of the camera exactly like the 3:2 progressive 24pN that comes out of a DVX100 or XL2 (except being HD, of course). No jitter, smooth, seamless.
Well, again, my own personal opinion here..... you can put it in number and tech data all you like....but... here is what I SAW. I own a FX1 so Im very familiar with CF24 so I know how it looks when you pan using it. I did a pan with the H1 (since there were no actor, on ly still stuff on the canon set) and the pan as monitored on the Apple 23'' they had it hooked to looked A LOT, and I mean A LOT like CF24.

And the Panny, I didnt like it....I guess Im a some sort of heretic pagan for saying this, but I didint like the image or how the camera handled.

I think the Panny will be a very small niche camera in the same league with the JVC... indie filmaking cameras that require a lot of support and care to operate. While the Canon will be in the same league with the Sonys, more friendly run and gun cameras.

Of course the price will be the diffrence in each niche.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 12:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Vallarino
Well, again, my own personal opinion here..... you can put it in number and tech data all you like....but... here is what I SAW.
CF24 strobes just as much as 24P or F if you shoot carelessly, but has an additional "hitch" in the motion 6 times a second because of the way CF24 derives it's 24 frames from 60i. In other words, the boo-boo Sony made with CF24 manifests itself 6 times in every second.

So yes, 24F mode will look somewhat like CF24 in that they both strobe from sampling only 24 times a second. It's just that CF24 mode is otherwise messed up :-)
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Old December 12th, 2005, 01:32 AM   #11
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Adrian, you are entitled to your opinions but most will not agree with you. The HVX has a built in fanboy (not a negative word!) following that will upgrade even if only for the 16:9 chips. The JVC has been adopted by many networks already. The last in the pack is actually Sony as many people are already replacing their Sony HDV cams with the JVC and soon to be Canon and Panny. I would not call the XLH a run and gun camera, much more of a studio type camera.

As far as glass, Canon makes terrific glass and I would take the 16X manual Canon lens every time over the DVX Leica. Both are very very good.



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Old December 12th, 2005, 02:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
Adrian, you are entitled to your opinions but most will not agree with you. The HVX has a built in fanboy (not a negative word!) following that will upgrade even if only for the 16:9 chips. The JVC has been adopted by many networks already. The last in the pack is actually Sony as many people are already replacing their Sony HDV cams with the JVC and soon to be Canon and Panny. I would not call the XLH a run and gun camera, much more of a studio type camera.

As far as glass, Canon makes terrific glass and I would take the 16X manual Canon lens every time over the DVX Leica. Both are very very good.



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Well, dunno whats going on in Tulsa, but here in LA if you move around you will see Sonys at work on a dayly basis. And you dont see to many JVC around. Whitch are this "networks" that are adopting JVCs? And who are the people that are replacing their Sonys? I produce for TV so I couldnt care less about 24p/cf/f , why would I drop a 1080 for a 720? really makes no sense for me. And if I ever need a film feel, Ill do it in post. If they can make a 5000 pound gorilla in post Im pretty sure I can tweek the gama and change the frame rate :) .
Personaly Id only change for the Canon (wich I might), but I happen to have the resources to do so, Im not sure all Sony owners are that lucky.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 09:01 AM   #13
 
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Originally Posted by Nate Weaver
In other words, the boo-boo Sony made with CF24 manifests itself 6 times in every second.
:-)
Uhhh....Nate....Sony didn't make a "boo-boo" with CF24, it works exactly as they intended it to. It might be that their plan for this isn't what you'd hoped for, but many people use it, particularly in conjunction with the CineForm tools and are quite happy with the look.
If we're going to talk "boo-boo's" here, a "boo-boo'" in my book would be putting interlaced sensors together and advertising the image as being pure progressive scan, and then having split screen images as a result of not getting those sensors to function properly together. No one can tell me that was planned. (BTW, I have an HD100 as well, so please don't think I make this statement in support of Sony or not in support of JVC, I've paid the cost for both cameras)
Strobing is going to occur on any slower framerate when you pan the camera too fast across a subject. Whether it's JVC, Panasonic, Sony, JVC, Ikegami, or Grass Valley.
BTW, I too, would like to know which networks have adopted the HD100; we've trained a LOT of networks this year in HDV, and not one (yet) has had an HD100) It's a much better looking cam than the Z1, and has a nicer shoulder form factor, but the big sell is the 24f/p and networks don't care much about that in most scenarios. In fact, it's a detriment to many of them.
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Old December 13th, 2005, 12:40 AM   #14
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I know there is a proliferation of Sony HDV cams in LA. The market is so competetive that people snag up every new camera just to get a leg up. Expect to see many replace their Z1's with the new batch of consumer HD cams. Discovery HD has certified the Canon (something they did not do for the Sony's) as acceptable for their standards.

According to a friend who is pretty high up at JVC they have sold a ton of cameras to MTV, ABC news and many others to replace Z1s as their field cams. I personally am not a huge fan of the JVC. I am getting the Canon for some studio work on a show I am doing and might pick up an HVX to play with as well...



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Old December 13th, 2005, 05:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
I know there is a proliferation of Sony HDV cams in LA. The market is so competetive that people snag up every new camera just to get a leg up. Expect to see many replace their Z1's with the new batch of consumer HD cams. Discovery HD has certified the Canon (something they did not do for the Sony's) as acceptable for their standards.

According to a friend who is pretty high up at JVC they have sold a ton of cameras to MTV, ABC news and many others to replace Z1s as their field cams. I personally am not a huge fan of the JVC. I am getting the Canon for some studio work on a show I am doing and might pick up an HVX to play with as well...



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Correct me if I'm wrong. I recall seeing threads a few months back indicating that CNN had ordered slightly more than a hundred of the HD100 cameras. That's not confirmed, just what I remember reading here at DV-INFO.

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