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Old June 5th, 2019, 11:32 PM   #1
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Panasonic CX 350 low light issue

I just received a CX 350, and late this afternoon I shot some HLG tests that included shrubbery in the shadows. The image loses all detail in the shadows. I have other 1" cameras that might start to show noise in low light, but they keep the detail. And the light had not dropped to that level, I was still shooting with zero gain.

This was 2169p, HEVC LongGOP 150M. I'll try this with All-I 400M tomorrow, but I'm pretty discouraged at this point.

Of the myriad Scene adjustments available, I'm not familiar with Panasonic. Is there an area I could change, like [DETAIL] or [V.DTL LEVEL]?
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Old June 6th, 2019, 11:13 PM   #2
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Re: Panasonic CX 350 low light issue

I shot the scene again today with the CX350 using All-I 400M instead of HEVC LongGOP 150M. It is better, it's still not great but may be useable. I also shot the same scene with another small 1 inch sensor camera to compare results. Both cameras got into trouble at about the same low light level. The CX350 started to lose detail in the foliage, where the other camera first started to show noise and then loss of detail. In the end the CX350 looked somewhat better. I expect this could be Panasonic's way of tuning for the dynamic range limit.

I'll explain the shot. This is HLG (for HDR footage) where exposure is first set for the sky, and the camera is either zoomed or tilted to bring in foliage in various levels of sunlight and shadow. It is near the end of the day so there isn't much light in the shadows, and some of the foliage has fine leaves. All in all it is a very tough test, but the reason I do this is I shoot HDR travelogs that often have landscapes like this. So I'm trying to find the limits of the CX350.

And I'm spoiled. I've been shooting HDR with an S35 sensor camera, as well as with a full frame mirrorless camera (A7III). Neither of these cameras would have trouble with this shot. The A7III in particular can work in substantially lower light than this. There are a couple of ways to deal with the issue. In some scenes it may work to edit further toward black so you don't notice the lack of detail. In other cases it may be possible to slowly open the aperture as the shot moves to darker areas. Neither of these is what you'd like to do with HDR, but may be ways to get acceptable HDR with these smaller sensor cameras. And I will work with the Panasonic Scene adjustments to see if I can get the limit down half a stop or a stop.
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