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Old December 2nd, 2007, 03:01 PM   #1
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Dead Pixels and SSE - What's Normal?

I've spent a lot of time on this forum trying to get a really clear sense of what an average GY HD110 experience is like, but I'm still unclear about several things.

I've had my HD110 for one year now and generally I've been quite happy with it. It really is a lot of fun to shoot with, and it can create incredibly rich images. In its class, I've only ever used a Sony Z1 extensively, and there is no question that the JVC image has a certain 'something'.

But great images from an HD110, as pointed out by many people on this board, take some finesse and more than a little bit of skill. And, frankly, that's the attraction of this very hands-on (manual, tactile) camera.

But is it worth the trouble? All of the cameras in this class (Sony, Panny, Canon) have their own quirks. And I'm sure that videographers who have never dabbled in, say, Super 16mm have no idea what 'idiosyncratic image generation' means. But what about the GY-HDXX line?

I want to focus on two very significant problems I've had:

1. SSE - Split Screen Effect. When I turn the camera on, indoors, under less than ideal conditions (office space, two 60w lamps, some window light, white walls, dark furniture) I will see SSE (0 gain) 5 times out of 10 I set the white balance, turn off auto-knee, etcetera, and let the camera warm up. SSE disappears. But, when later shooting in low light situations, or rather, in situations where there are hot-spots of light and then black or gray areas, SSE will pop-up.

I sent my camera to JVC to be re-calibrated. When I got the camera back, the camera was set on Full Auto, and SSE was visible as soon as I turned it on. I turned off FAS, set the white balance, and let it warm up. SSE disappeared, and it was fine the rest of the shoot.

I've seen SSE since (and again, this is using no gain), but never after letting the camera warm up. Knock on wood.

So, my question(s): Is this normal? I keep reading on this board that SSE hasn't been a problem since the early HD100 days. But, for others like me, it is clearly still an issue. I bought this camera for use on documentary projects, and that means I will be shooting indoors under less than ideal lighting circumstances with lots of blank walls. The HD110 can create great images under these circumstances, but I fear the camera simply isn't reliable. Or do I just have a bad camera? Do other shooters out there just accept the fact that they need to shoot around SSE? Do you accept the fact that you might have to fix it in post? I would imagine that if you shoot in a studio or mainly out of doors in daylight, you would never see SSE. Is the HD110 just not suitable for the kind of documentary work I want to do?

I've never had a shot ruined by SSE, but there have been close calls.

2. Dead Pixels - I had 8 dead pixels when I sent it to JVC to be repaired. I got it back, and the image was clean, and I was happy. A week later, a new dead pixel.

My question(s): Do HDXXX shooters just accept having to deal with dead pixels? As many of you know, there is a secret menu you can access on the camera which will allow you to access a function that will detect and mask these dead pixels. How often should I expect to run it? Has this become part of the workflow for other shooters?

This dead pixel issue is becoming a deal breaker for me.

Anyway, sorry for the long post. But I'm really eager to hear what other shooters do to deal with the HD110s idiosyncrasies. Or, from what I've written, would you consider my experience atypical? Do I just have a bad camera? What's the line between 'professional experience' and 'bad technology'?

And getting back to my more general question: is it worth it? I don't know. You don't read these kinds of stories nearly as often on the Sony and Panasonic boards, and does the image quality and 'feel' of the JVC camera really make up for it?

I'd love to hear from you. Please, if you want to tell me that I just have 'a bad camera', let me know what conditions you shoot in, and what you do (if anything) to avoid these issues.

Best,

Adam.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 01:35 PM   #2
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My feeling on the SSE is that, in certain conditions, its going to show up. Hasn't happend very much to me, but if it's really dark in the scene (and I'm using it to shoot a horror film called THE SIXTH EXTINCTION) it certainly can (and has) rear its ugly head.

Not all the time, but I know if it's really dark I better be on the lookout for it. Because I'm using it for long length narritive work, I haven't worried too much about it - it happens rarely enough to just deal with it.

Dead pixels are a much more serious matter IHMO, because this camera is prone to them. I've already had to do several maskings - which isn't good because there is a finite number of times you can run the procedure - and sometimes they reappear even after being masked. And yeah, I follow of the suggestions by Mr. Freed and others, but eventually without fail, there are new ones.

Is it going to be a problem for this film? No, we're almost there and have caught the dead pixels (usually) before they damaged too many shots. Is it a concern if we choose to use the camera again for our next project?

Honetly, it is. I don't want to be relying a camera - which I do think is a wonderful tool - to shoot an entire film if these dead pixels keeps sprouting up - particularly if I can no longer mask them. Could I fix them in post? Sure, but that's a huge hassle... Particularly if I can get 1/2" CMOS HD Sony Ex1 for the same basic price as the JVCGYxxxline.

I'm really torn about it, 'cause I do like this camera (having taken the time to learn its quirks) - it can make some very pretty pictures. But its relatively poor low light performance - which can predicably cause the SSE, at least some of the time, coupled with many more dead pixels than is typical plus a finite amount of masking procedures makes me leary about investing more money into the camera (for batteries, 35mm adapter, rails, etc).

I do think JVC should announce the number of times you can mask - is it 50, or a thousand? If it's 50, hello Sony. If it's closer to a thousand, then Redrock, get ready to get some money from me.

But there remains a basic problem even if the number is high - the camera essentially has a built it problem that will, eventually make the camera defective. At least based on what I know about it now.... And that's too bad - extremely short sighted on the programers part.

john
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 03:28 PM   #3
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I do think JVC should announce the number of times you can mask - is it 50, or a thousand? If it's 50, hello Sony.
You can correct up to 127 errors with composite video levels of 50mV or more. There is no limit to the number of errors on any single line within your 127 however, the maximum consecutive errors are 4 and results may end up being worse than single correction.

So, if you are experiencing this problem on a regular basis it may be worth keeping a tally of your corrections! Mind you, if I was getting this many I'd have already have bought a different camera!

I have to say though I've NEVER had a camera of any format that never suffered from dead pixels at any time. The best performer was my 790 (digi beta). and the worst was a 400ap (beta sp). I've had the gyhd200e for a year now and only had the one dead pixel, so I'm happy to accept that!

Last edited by Stuart Campbell; December 3rd, 2007 at 03:31 PM. Reason: I hate spelling mistakes!
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 11:12 PM   #4
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In my own opinion...SSE should never happen...no matter what!...and if you still experience it after being sent to the factory...then it is a defective product and it shoud be replaced...even it it measn giving you a newer model. You can't purchase a car and expect to drive it safetly if you can't trust it.

This is our livelihood...to me it is not acceptable. If I plunk some serious money into a cam...I expect it to work and not have myself try to figure a work around everytime i use it. There is such a thing as the lemon law. Don't launch a product if it is not ready to launch...SSE at 0, 8 or whatever DB is absolutely unnaceptable!
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Old December 4th, 2007, 10:58 AM   #5
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Got to disagree with you about the SSE - is it a potential problem? Yeah, it is. But every camera - including film cameras - have their quirks.

It was a compromise to get true 720p resolution and - up to now (assuming the Sony EX-1 is everything is looks to be), it was w/o a doubt the best bang for the buck in the sub-$10 K price range.

Multiple dead pixels are a fact of life for this camera - many many people have reported them - it is not a manufacturing error per se (perhaps a design error), so shipping it back to get fixed would do nothing.

Staurt - thanks for the info... Where di you find this out? Is there a white paper out there talking about it? Could you expound on your statement, "There is no limit to the number of errors on any single line within your 127 however, the maximum consecutive errors are 4 and results may end up being worse than single correction."

It sort of confused me... Thanks again.

john

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Old December 4th, 2007, 06:13 PM   #6
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Got to disagree with you about the SSE - is it a potential problem? Yeah, it is. But every camera - including film cameras - have their quirks.
I dunno...I would not call this a quirk...
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Old December 5th, 2007, 05:24 AM   #7
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Well, a quirk for the price point - I couldn't have filmed my latest film as well as I did at the same price point w/ any other existing camera.

Until, perhaps, the new EX-1.

So, a quirk.

john
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Old December 5th, 2007, 02:54 PM   #8
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SSE is never a problem for me. I let the camera warm up for 5 minutes before shooting anything. In the Professional World, thats just good shooting etiquette. Doesn't matter what camera you use. You also shoot a minute of pre-roll and a minute of post-roll on the tape. again, just good shooting etiquette.

as for dead pixels, thats not really an issue. You don't have to send it in, just run the masking routine an they are gone, one of the engineers told me this could be done thousands of times. Sony and Canon don't offer that, your screwed if your warranty is up on hot pixels.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 10:01 PM   #9
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Thanks to all of you for your responses. Very much appreciated.

I'm very sympathetic to Coco's reaction ("it's not acceptable!"), but I have to agree with John Vincent: the HD-110 really is the best bang for the buck...although, I have been thinking more about what I could accomplish with an XH-A1, a DAT, and a steadicam rig...

The EX-1 on B&H is listed at $6700. The HD-110 is still at $4900. Are 1080p and 1/2" chips worth an extra $2000? For me it'll come down to low light performance. As it stands, without yet seeing any very convincing stills from the EX-1, the HD-110 is still a very attractive option.

SSE: Yes, I think, in low light situations, it's a problem inherent to the camera, but if it's properly calibrated to begin with, and you can white balance it properly in the low-light, and you give it time to warm up, it's not an issue.

Dead Pixels: I ran the masking routine again. I left the camera's component out plugged into my HD TV while I ran the process, and was horrified to see a constellation of no fewer than 30 dead pixels appear on my TV as the masking routine did its thing. Afterwards, the camera image was crystal clear again but...yikes. At what point can I no longer re-sell this thing in good conscience?

Are there actually HD-XXX owners who have NEVER seen a dead pixel? Could I possibly be doing something wrong with my camera?
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Old December 6th, 2007, 12:11 AM   #10
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Well, a quirk for the price point -

john
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Originally Posted by Adam Rosadiuk View Post
I'm very sympathetic to Coco's reaction ("it's not acceptable!"), but I have to agree with John Vincent: the HD-110 really is the best bang for the buck...
Sorry guys to get hung up on the subject....but first...no matter what price point...a cam that was sold as having and impressive image quality cannot therefore exibit signs of SSE...I don't care if it costs $600. It is interesting to me that some JVC reps have refered to this as "small problem" and "issue" when I've talked to them.

A definition of a quirk to me is (for example) would be found on my old trusty Kiev 88 where the the shutter speed could only be changed after cocking the shutter. Changing the shutter speed on an un-cocked camera always damage the timing mechanism, so we all had to get used to always cocking the shutter after taking a photo. Now this was a known problem BUT THE SOLUTION was the same across the board for all Kiev 88 owners.

In the case of the SSE...no two problems are the same and no two solutions seem to work for everyone.

I would be interested in hearing from other user that have SSE problems and have had the camera sent back many times only to have the same problem re-appear over and over...do you view this as a quirk or a problem? Is SSE at 0db acceptable...even if you have to warm the camera for 5 minutes and still have it appear. I've seen class actions for less than this.....

my two cents
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Old December 6th, 2007, 04:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Adam Rosadiuk View Post
I left the camera's component out plugged into my HD TV while I ran the process, and was horrified to see a constellation of no fewer than 30 dead pixels appear on my TV as the masking routine did its thing. Afterwards, the camera image was crystal clear again but...yikes. At what point can I no longer re-sell this thing in g
That's my worry Adam - It's sort of a built in time bomb.

And many, many people have had multiple dead pixels.

john

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