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Old July 18th, 2004, 02:39 PM   #1
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Help me decide

I have been flip flopping on which DV camera to buy for my feature movie (comedy) for ages. Well, now I finally have the money to buy one, and I want to put my foot down and purchase it tomorrow. So here are my two choices: A PAL PDX10, or a DVX100A(NTSC.) Uprezzing is extremely important to me as I have dreamy hopes of transferring to 35mm, or at least HD (for festival screenings.) 16:9 is also very important to me. If you were in my shoes, which of these cams would you choose, and why?
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Old July 18th, 2004, 03:37 PM   #2
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Well these cameras are in totally different leagues price-wise, with the DVX costing almost twice the PDX-10. If money were no object I would go for the DVX plus the anamorphic lens and a mattebox. That is probably going to approach $5,000 though, vs. the PDX-10 with its own 16:9 and lens hood for under $2,000 (NTSC).

But obviously you get what you pay for, and if you really want to do film transfer I suspect you'll see significantly higher resolution shooting 24 fps progressive on the DVX with the anamorphic. You can shoot 60i on the PDX and use something like DVFilm Maker to convert to 24p, but the vertical resolution is going to be on the order of 360 lines as compared to 480 lines on the DVX. Or so I have read... no personal experience with the DVX, however you can see that the PDX maxes out around 360 here http://greenmist.com/dv/16x9/05.JPG.

The DVX also has a lot of other image controls as compared to the PDX which only features sharpness, color level and white balance shift. But I like my PDX-10 a lot, and think it's a good value, so I guess it depends on your budget.

Do you really think it's worth the trouble of dealing with PAL, and would it offer any advantage on the PDX-10? From the spec's I've seen it still uses the same CCD's so I'm not sure it's valid to assume that shooting PAL will increase your resolution. I would look further into this before spending $2,550 on the PAL version instead of $1,850 for the NTSC (B&H prices). $700 is a big premium to pay for something that may not really make a difference, since you don't want to watch it on a PAL TV (you are talking about projecting digitally or converting to film I assume). Sony rates both versions at 530 lines horizontal resolution. Or maybe you want to be able to shoot at 50i? Is that better than 60i with DVFilm Maker converting to 24p, or sending it to them to put on film?
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Old July 18th, 2004, 03:54 PM   #3
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Most of the people who have tried PAL vs NTSC for film transfer find that PAL gives superior results (more resolution than NTSC). With PAL you'd want to try to shoot 25p and speed things up 8% (including pitch shifting the audio). However, you'd also need PAL equipment to edit (mainly a PAL monitor). I'm not sure how the PAL PDX10 would compare to the DVX100 shooting 24p.

You'd also have to figure out how to show PAL footage at festivals.

2- Make sure you have enough money for other things you need, especially sound gear. If you don't have clean sound then your content will get lost.

3- There are distributors out there who will pick up stuff shot on DV. It's more important you have good content and have cleared all your rights (especially music) than how much resolution your footage has.
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Old July 18th, 2004, 04:11 PM   #4
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>>Or maybe you want to be able to shoot at 50i?<<

Progressive would be the bottom line, one way or another.

>>Is that better than 60i with DVFilm Maker converting to 24p, or sending it to them to put on film?<<

For 24p it would be. I like the DVX100, a lot. The only thing is, that Anamorphic adapter is expensive and it is a bit intimidating (the focus issue.) I also like the framing on the PDX10, since it's not squished. But I'll decide by tomorrow, I'm getting tired of agonizing over this. And yeah Glenn (cool first name,) I hear you on the sound.

How good is the squeeze mode on the DVX100A, by the way? How much resolution would I loose by using it?
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Old July 18th, 2004, 04:47 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Glenn Gipson : >> Progressive would be the bottom line, one way or another. -->>>

Just to clarify, there is no progressive mode on the PDX-10, not even the 15 fps progressive that the VX and PD models have. You would have to use a deinterlacer in post.

You can get an eyepiece and/or LCD magnifier that will un-squish on the DVX, but of course that costs even more.

Also remember, since the PDX letterboxes its 16:9 on the LCD and viewfinder, you don't have much vertical resolution for focusing. But I guess that would be the case with most prosumer camcorders .

To me, $1850 for a PDX-10 seems like a good deal but $2550 does not. I would still question whether you'd see any improvement in the PAL vs NTSC version.
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Old July 18th, 2004, 08:39 PM   #6
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Hmm..well, since I don't shoot till October, there really is no rush to buy a camera now. Hell, I might as well consider renting an XL2. It has everything I need, 16:9 and 24p.
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Old July 18th, 2004, 09:04 PM   #7
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Well if that's an option then it only makes sense to see some user reports on the XL-2. I don't mean any of this to sound like a put-down of the PDX-10, I really like mine. I used it to shoot video that we projected in 16:9 on a 44' wide screen in one of our operas using a 10,000 lumen Barco DLP projector. Everyone was impressed with the quality and it was even singled out in the review. I hope to start shooting some sort of film with mine this year... if my director friend and I can ever get our schedules "in sync" ;-) The PDX-10 is also a great value, you could get 3 of them for the price of an XL-2.

But if I was shopping today, and if I had the money, I would be very interested in the additional control that either the DVX or XL-2 offers and the potential of higher resolution using one of their progressive modes. But then again, you have to consider what else you might do with the money you save if you buy a PDX-10. Could you get better lighting, audio, support.... cast?...
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Old July 19th, 2004, 07:11 AM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions Boyd, I am going to hold off on getting a camera though, and see if there are any bugs in the XL2. Renting one of these for 2 weeks (6 rental days), should be in the ball park of 2k, we'll see.
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