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Old June 9th, 2003, 09:52 AM   #1
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Optical stabilization quality? And more…

Hi all. I'm glad to find these groups, where there is a lot of useful info for everyone! I've got Pana MX500 two months ago (PAL - European model - I'm from Slovenia, so pardon my English).

The first thing I did was some "personal" tests. I've compared it to my brother's Canon Optura Pi (prob. one of best 1 CCD camera, right?). Colors, contrast and sharpness on MX500 were all noticeably better than the Optura. Shooting at the top of the tree, with the sun behind, on Optura purple fringing (chromatic aberrations) was quite notable on branches, while on MX500 just barely notable. So far so good, but when we tested zooming, handheld, with optical stabilization turned on the Optura produced a much better stabilized video, though less sharpen... I wonder if this should be normal experience or is perhaps some fault with my own camera? Since I'll use it handheld a lot (see below why), this issue puzzles me...

I use camera a lot for recording sports events, e.g. beach volleyball tournaments, but at late evenings the quality of video degrades a lot. As I've read some posts on this matter it seems a wide lens can improve quality of video somewhat, as it's possible to get 10 LUX instead of 15 LUX as specified. So, can anyone tell me from his/her experience if this means some good improvement when using such lens if shooting at late evenings, say shooting outdoors (under sun light) around 9 p.m. in summer time? If positive, which wide lens you recommend? I've seen some use Canon lenses for digital still cameras, is this because those are cheaper and still good enough? Or would you recommend a wide lens from Panasonic, Sony or some other?

As I've also learned here that protective filters are very recommended. I plan to order the ones Panasonic advertises in MX500 brochures, or should I get some other?

Finally, I use Panasonic MiniDV's. I've read that Fuji makes best tapes, but if true that Fuji makes tapes for Panasonic then sticking with Panasonic tapes is as good, right?

Thanks for any further info you might provide!

Boyan
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Old June 9th, 2003, 03:00 PM   #2
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Boyan, Your English reads well.

Yes, many people believe the Optura PI is one of the best 1 CCD cams ever made, however, it's horizontal playback resolution is low, compared with many of today's cams, 360 lines. However, in progressive scan mode, Canon claims 500 lines. I also agree that it was one of the best cams ever made, though I like the original Optura and Optura 100MC better. The original Optura has a larger CCD, with slightly more video effective pixels, all the lower shutter speed settings, it is a more solid cam, plus it looks like a SLR camera!---this has its advantages to shoot video where the local authorities forbid it.

It seems that Canon's and Sony's OIS is generally better than those found on Panasonics, according to members who have owned or used both. One member, "angryofMayfair," (or was it Graham? I can't recall) owned both a TRV900 and MX300, and claimed the TRV900's OIS performed better.

Yes, like many of today's mega-pixel tiny CCD'd cams, LUX sucks. A good wide angle? Pana and Tiffen make a wide in the 43mm thread size, both are about 0.7. The Tiffen also comes with filter threads on the front. Many people like the new Raynox. It's wider, but comes with rings to fit a variety of filter thread sizes. I don't know anything about the Canon adaptors. Perhaps someone experienced with them will jump in and give you their feedback.

Hoya, Cokin, Vanguard, Tiffen etc, make good UV filters. If you want the best, look at a B&W or Helipan slim line UV. Personally, I find the first 4 mentioned to be just fine. Regarding miniDV tapes, I use Fuji, but I have used Pana tapes with no problems. I've also read that Fuji makes some of the tape for Panasonic. Whether it's the same quality, I don't know. I would stick with "dry" tapes, avoid "wet." http://www.dvfreak.com/tape.htm
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Old June 10th, 2003, 08:55 AM   #3
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Wide angle lens & LUX improvement?

Thanks for your reply Frank!

I guess you own a wide angle lens? Have you ever tried to shoot using wide lens at late evenings? Would you say there is a noticeable difference?

In my country Pana wide lens is about $200 (20% tax included), I guess Tiffen and Raynox are more expensive (I also doubt I can get em here) so prob. I will go with Pana one…

I see you don't mention Pana filters, means you don't recommend em?
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Old June 10th, 2003, 01:26 PM   #4
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No, I don't own a wide angle lens. I've only tried trhe Tiffen, though, in the 43mm thread size. The feedback on the Pana I recieved from Terrence and Tim, the Raynox, from several members who bought one.

I've use a Kenko Pro wide for the VX2000 in the evening. The footage was just fine---however, different cam, different wide angle adaptor.

The Tiffen wide in the 43mm size costs about $170 Canadian at http://www.leoscamera.com

peter@leoscamera.com

I've never seen nor heard much about the Pana filters.
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Old June 12th, 2003, 04:21 AM   #5
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First things first Boyan. Anything you put in front of your MX500 - whether it be a filter or a wide-angle lens, a car windscreen or your living room double glazing, they will all absorb some light. The more pieces of glass there are, the more light is lost.

The answer is simple - if you want the best low-light performance from your camcorder (any camcorder) remove anything that you have placed in front of the lens and *stick to the wide angle end of the zoom*.

This is the most important bit. Most camcorders go from f1.6 at the wide end to f2.8 at the telephoto end. Just think, if you can correctly expose the chips with one light bulb at wide-angle you'll need 4 light bulbs at telephoto just to get the same exposure.

The Raynox 6600 Pro works very well on the Panasonic and distorts a lot less than the genuine Panasonic 0.7x. The raynox is a more powerful 0.66x, as well.

I've tested the TRV900 alongside the MX300 (both with optical stabilisation) and the TRV was a lot more powerful than the MX. The 500 may well be improved though.

Certainly get a multi-coated UV filter and use it along with a better lens hood.

tom.
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Old June 17th, 2003, 01:22 AM   #6
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Tom,

When you tested the MX300 alongside the TRV900, do you know if your MX300 had its firmware updated to 1.6? This firmware is supposed to greatly improve the optical image stabilizer of the MX300, especially noticable when zoomed in beyond 6x.

I do not know how the MX500 compares to the MX300 with this improved firmware.

Ariel
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Old June 17th, 2003, 01:58 AM   #7
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My PAL MX300 is exactly as I bought it 18 months ago Ariel, and I have no knowledge of how to go about upgrading the firmware side of it. Can you tell me how I go about this, what the advantages and disadvantages are? Is it some info that's fed in through the Firewire port?

tom.
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Old June 17th, 2003, 02:17 AM   #8
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Tom, I think you'd need to take your camera to Panasonic support center to do it for you (if you have old firmware now, that is).

Well, I have Panasonic MX500, four months old... Do MX500 also have a newer BIOS, which could be upgraded? (if there are such important things as optical stabilization improvements I'll certainly do it)
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Old June 17th, 2003, 03:45 AM   #9
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Tom,

Take a look at these two threads:

The first one describes the experience of Steven Khong (also a member of this forum) after upgrading his MX300 to firmware 1.6.
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...&threadid=5298

The second thread contains the addresses of some Panasonic service centers which are capable of performing this upgrade.
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...&threadid=7265

Ariel
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Old June 17th, 2003, 12:50 PM   #10
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You guys are the tops!
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