DCR-PC105 versus Optura 300 at DVinfo.net

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Old February 16th, 2004, 10:04 PM   #1
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DCR-PC105 versus Optura 300

Hi,

Well as the title says, I have narrowed it down to these two. Has anybody tried one or both of these cameras and is willing to give some input?

Thanks
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Old February 17th, 2004, 04:46 PM   #2
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Johann,

I just purchased the Canon Optura 300 after having researched both the Sony unit and the Canon.....I chose the Canon for the following reasons:
1.bigger ccd chip (1/3.4 vs 1/4.7)
2.RGB Primary filter- this improves the color reproduction and approaches near 3CCD level video with a single CCD
3. True Optical 16:9- this alllows full quality widescreen recording
4.2.2 Megapixel stills on SD cards as well as mpeg-4 video
5.Manual Audio control
6.540 lines of res vs 520 Sony
7.Superior Canon support (virt no suppt for Sony)
8.DiGic Dv processing- superb color rendition
9. 1.7lux vs 7lux (Sony) for better low light shooting
10. 1,230,00 actual video pixels VS 690,000 for Sony (no contest- Canon will produce higher quality video)
11. Rear loading DV tape beats bottom load for Sony- no tripod removal necessary for Canon

.....now the cons VS the Sony-
1.Sony has longer lasting battery
2.Smartshoe for accesories
3.Progressive FPS (not sure if this is true Progressive Scan- but if so- would make the footage appear more "film-like"
.......
Sony has a reputation for having the absolute WORST customer support and the highest defect per manufactured units in consumer electronics....an extended warranty is an absolute MUST for a Sony product (my opinion)....having said that- Sony DV cams are also noted for incredible sharpness and useable low light shooting.....your call.....

.....the Canon is also slightly lighter.....for me- the choise is obvious- Optura 300!
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Old February 17th, 2004, 05:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
6.540 lines of res vs 520 Sony
9. 1.7lux vs 7lux (Sony) for better low light shooting
Are these specs measured the same way? Manufacturers usually fudge their specs. For example, some Sony camcorders (TRV22) don't close close to maximum resolution, but Sony specs them at like 500 lines (540 is theoretical maximum).

Sony tends to cluster their specs together, so the difference between cameras is not that big and the expensive ones are slightly better than next model. 530 lines for 3CCD cams, 520, 510, etc.

Quote:
7.Superior Canon support (virt no suppt for Sony)
[...]

.....now the cons VS the Sony-
1.Sony has longer lasting battery
2.Smartshoe for accesories
3.Progressive FPS (not sure if this is true Progressive Scan- but if so- would make the footage appear more "film-like"
.......
Sony has a reputation for having the absolute WORST customer support and the highest defect per manufactured units in consumer electronics....an extended warranty is an absolute MUST for a Sony product (my opinion)....having said that- Sony DV cams are also noted for incredible sharpness and useable low light shooting.....your call.....
Consumer Reports found Sony camcorders to be the MOST reliable, and JVC the worst.

As for support, there are A LOT of Sony repair centers in my area. Sony sells a lot of camcorders, so most repair shops should know how to fix them.

Quote:
....an extended warranty is an absolute MUST for a Sony product (my opinion)
Extended warranties are usually not worth it.
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Old February 17th, 2004, 05:23 PM   #4
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They are both good little "uprights," for me, either one will do. However, I would lean toward the Optura 300 for its richer video quality, and Canon support. Canon support is by far the best in the industry in North America...in my opinion.
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Old February 17th, 2004, 06:07 PM   #5
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Thank everyone,

Those are the same things I was thinking about. I am almost sure it will be the optura 300, but one thing still bothers me. It seems that Canon is not as good as sony in auto focus, especially in low light. If anyone who has this camera can test the optura's auto focus in low light that would be great.

Also, Steve the canon can't have that low of a lux, can it?

Thanks again
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Old February 17th, 2004, 06:43 PM   #6
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The PC105 may be better in lower light and probably has better auto-focus (in low light). But besides the 2 Optura strengths (and 2 slight weaknesses) I mentioned, the the Optura has other strong points. The best thing to do is go have a look at both to help make up your mind.
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Old February 17th, 2004, 07:51 PM   #7
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You're right Frank, I should just go look at them both. However, the Optura 300 is not available at any retailers!!! I did look at the PC105 and I am not thrilled with its ergonomics or looks.

From the footage online, you are right that the Sony has better low light and better auto focus in low light. I just want to be confident that the canon can focus in low light before I buy online.

-Johann
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Old February 17th, 2004, 07:55 PM   #8
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On the advertised lux ratings- I'm going by what B&H supplies in thier "specs" page- these specs are likely supplied from the manufacturer- so lux ratings will likely differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.......I've read tons of posts where people were very happy with Sony's low light shooting capabilities, and was very surprised to find the Optura beats the PC105 in lux rating- seeing as this spec is derived from differing manufacturers specs- it's best to try the 2 cams at Best Buy or wherever you can test the 2 side by side, for a seat of the pants personal review. I own the Optura and find it's low light shooting pretty decent but not as good as a Panasonic DVC80- which is the best low light camera I've owned...but the Optura is likely equal or better than most "consumer" grade cameras in low light shooting.

On the AF issue- I've found the Optura will hunt for focus if there are not objects of contrast in its view...this becomes more pronounced the more you zoom- for most situations the AF seems fine but there can be instances where a user might experience "hunting"...there is a manual focus mode should the user wish to switch.

As for Sony support- I have no personal grudge against Sony or any other company for that matter- but I've read a few horror stories of people trying to get service for Sony products.....I wont go into details but I do recall customers being very unhappy with Sony's support (at my job there's a fellow who has a Sony DV cam who also isn't happy with Sony's response)......Canon on the other hand is absolutely fantastic....I sent in my XL1S on a Monday for a burnt logic board and had it back by Friday the same week (this is absolutely true).....Canon charged me nothing and paid for the shipping back to me- they included a report on what was done as well as replaced and did a "check-up / tuneup" of the XL......needless to say I was impressed and will continue to buy Canon products with confidence......my personal feeling is that Canon dominates the digital SLR market with it's EOS 1D and 1DS and now new Mark ll camera's and is probably the dominating "pro" DV manufacturer with it's XL1S and GL2 (just check any video magazine for ads and products featuring the XL- although Panasonic is coming on strong with it's DVX/DVC series cams)......with Canon's technology in video and still imaging, I feel Canon products are class-leading....

.....sorry for making it sound like an ad for Canon- just consider it, customer loyalty and confidence.
(and I've owned the Panasonic DVC80, DVX100, Sony PDX10- so I've owned other manufacturers products- I just prefer Canon's products when they suit the need I'm trying to purchase for)

.....I urge anyone who is considering one of the "upright" models to handle them personally and see how they fit and feel....in the case of the Optura VS PC105, I feel the Optura has the better featureset and stand by my recommendation of the Optura.

Johann- if you don't like the looks or ergonics of the PC105- you will likely not like the Optura as well as they are very similarly styled and designed- you might want to consider another model.....I find the upright design to lend itself to portability which is it's strong point......but I can see some people not liking the form-factor.

Whatever model you buy- use it and have fun- you only live once!
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Old February 17th, 2004, 09:31 PM   #9
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The PC105 also has a quality 16:9 mode with an increased angle of view like the Optura 300.
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Old February 17th, 2004, 10:07 PM   #10
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The only thing that really s**k's on the Optura 300 (and Xi) is the low resolution .33" viewfinder, but then I don't know anything about the 105's viewfinder---the PC300's viewfinder is a whooping 180K (like that of my MX300). :-))

PS: on the Opturas' bright side, few shooters use the viewfinder. :-))
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