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Old September 25th, 2003, 05:44 PM   #1
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Xi Q.s for Allan Rejoso

Hello, Allan.
I'm told that this is the forum by which to reach you best.
Happy to hear you are releasing a Xi review soon. May I impose a few questions in the meantime? Much appreciated.
I shoot with a PDX10, and am considering the Xi as B cam ( though I'm sure some would consider it the A cam :-) ) because of it's 16;9 and price point ( $1300, including optional Canon hotshoe XLR adaptor,rather than get a second pdx10, $2000), as well as for it's much praised video and color quality, and manual control, but I would like to tighten up some of what I've read/heard, and would also like your comparison input between these two cameras, if any.

Will the cams' 16;9 match perfectly well? How about the video itself?

Does the Xi possess LANC, or an optional alternative?

Xi: motor noise?

How do you like the Xi's zoom control? If no LANC, will I be able to handle it with relative ease?

Do you know how the two compare with regard to low light? I've read/heard the Xi performs better here.


If responding in full to this inquiry is a hassle, just let me know and I'll wait for the review. Thanks very much in advance.
Regards,
Shawn
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Old September 25th, 2003, 06:43 PM   #2
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How does the Xi compare to the 953, low light wise as the GS100 is out of the question for us Pal owners. More importantly the quality of the image in low light, noise/colour?

At the moment I'm waiting for the Australian release of the Xi (MVX3i) October or the MX500 to come back into stock.
The top loading and progressive mode on the MX500 is a real plus for me but I would swing towards the MVX3i if it's low light quality is better. As most of my footage will be passing through AE at some point it's not that big a deal to deinterlace everything.

Suggestions welcome.

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Old September 27th, 2003, 09:31 AM   #3
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Shawn,

As I canít seem to find enough time to make a more comprehensive report as promised, I think Iíd better start writing some impressions.

"...I shoot with a PDX10, and am considering the Xi as B cam because of it's 16;9 and price point ( $1300, including optional Canon hotshoe XLR adaptor..."

Hmmm. I donít know about the US version but the Jap version is certainly not compatible with Canonís XLR adaptor. Canonís hot shoe DM-50 mic will work perfectly with the Xi though, and of course, a mic plug is available for attaching 3rd-party mics. As you may very well know already, manual control of audio/mic input level is also possible.


"...Will the cams' 16;9 match perfectly well? How about the video itself?"

I havenít touched a PDX10 so Iím not in the position to make a definite comparison. However, I think the 16:9 techniques employed by Sony and Canon are very similar, if not the same, that is, the vertical angle of view is kept while the horizontal angle is maximized up to the full width of the CCD. Canon boasts of a 1.5MP resolution under 16:9. What is the resolution of your PDX10? Yes, there is a VERY significant widening of the horizontal view when you switch from 4:3 to 16:9. In fact, it is even wider than that of PC300K. On top of that, the Xiís OIS is still effective even in 16:9 mode, while on the other hand, Iím not so sure if the PC300Kís EIS works under 16:9 as well.

As regards video quality Iíve always been biased in favor of Canonís color saturation. Even with the PC300Kís improved color due to RGB filter, I still see it as rather yellowish, and/or bluish, while red tends to be more magenta. On the other hand, Canon, in my eyes, gives more natural color, although the red is pretty strong. So Iíd think that if there is one issue in matching a Sony and a Canon, if would be the color saturation.


"...Does the Xi possess LANC, or an optional alternative?"

Unfortunately, Canon took away the LANC from the Xi, which is really a questionable move IMO, especially since LANC is available in the latest Elura (Iím not sure if that has been released in the US as well). I happen to own an Optura100 and has borrowed a friendís Sony tripod with remote, hence, I do appreciate the value of LANC. I donít think there is any optional alternative.


"Xi: motor noise?"

One display unit Iíve played with gave me some concern on zoom noise and vibration. Not only could I hear the zoom mechanism, I could feel it on my palm. However, another display unit didnít exhibit such issue. I havenít actually recorded using an Xi, hence I cannot comment on motor noise. If itís of any relevance, the built-in mic is placed under the huge lens, and the cam body itself is not that small and quite poker in shape, which I think should minimize pick-up of motor noise, if any.


"How do you like the Xi's zoom control? If no LANC, will I be able to handle it with relative ease? "

Similar to my Optura100, zoom speed is variable and with a little practice, should be very easy to control. Again similar to the Optura100, I think zoom speed is not as fast as a Sony or a Pany. In fact, zoom speed really slows down as you approach the maximum optical zoom. Personally, the only thing I would miss due to the unavailability of LANC is the use of a tripod/monopod with remote.


"Do you know how the two compare with regard to low light? I've read/heard the Xi performs better here."

Iíve only read about the smear problem of the PDX10. The PC300K, according to an extensive review in a Jap magazine, likewise exhibits large and COLORED vertical smearing. As regards the Xi, unfortunately, Iíve not been able to do the same ďblack boxĒ test that I did with the GS100 because itís really quite disturbing to the shops. But based on the same review I mentioned above, the Xi is not that good under low-light; image is dark, color saturation, while still OK, is dull, but nonetheless noise-level is allegedly low. According to Jap specs, minimum illumination requirement of the Xi under auto mode is 22 lux. Now before anybody boasts that Sony is rated 7 lux, please be informed that their Jap counterparts are rated 15 lux (it seems that Sony Japan and Sony USA donít use the same method or standard in determining low-light performance!). A similar ďnot so goodĒ performance was reported on the PC300K, although it seems to be somewhat worse due to the above smear problem and in addition, under indoor low-light condition, the reviewer found the PC300Kís white balance to be quite off towards yellow. In fairness, it gave a warmer look to the image though IMO.

Based on that review and assuming that the posted sample frame grabs are true, the GS100K is definitely better than both Xi and PC300K (commendable color retention, least smearing), but then again, itís not as bright as the reference VX2000 image.


"Ömuch praised video and color quality, and manual control..."

Under good light, I am very much satisfied with the video clarity and color quality of the Xi, although I find it 1-2 exposure level dimmer than the GS100K under the same indoor condition. Furthermore, although the sharpness level is very satisfactory (between the somewhat soft default setting of the PC300 and the overly sharp default setting of the GS100K IMO), the Xi would have even been better if there is manual adjustment of sharpness similar to the PC300K and the GS100K. I have one question. Does aperture manual adjustment bring about the same effect as exposure level adjustment? Both involve the adjustment of iris opening, isnít it? The reason I ask is because the Xi has both Tv (Shutter speed priority) and Av (Aperture Priority) modes, which any Canon digital camera or SLR camera user should be very familiar of. Unlike the GS100K, there is no option for FULL manual control of both shutter speed and F-stop at the same time, ALTHOUGH, Canon provides a manual exposure adjustment of +-11 steps under both Tv and Av modes. One thing worth expounding about the Xiís TV mode is the ability to use slow shutter settings (1/8, 1/15, 1/30) even under normal video mode (not the gimmicky night mode that is). That should somehow compensate for its ďnot so goodĒ performance under low-light.

Regards
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Old September 28th, 2003, 06:27 PM   #4
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Very informative, thanks Allan.
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Old September 28th, 2003, 07:16 PM   #5
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Allan,

Thanks for responding. Actual video pixels of the PDX10 are 690,000, and "530 tv lines of resolution." I think you're right about same possible end result of using manual exposure or aperture/shutter speed, though please understand how new I am to the technical world of photo/video. Perhaps the wiser man can chime in on this point. I understand what you mean about Canon/Sony color (mis)match. I am now also looking at the gs100.

How do you feel about Sony/Panasonic color?

Do the 16;9 of the Xi and gs100 match well?

I've read that the Xi has better clarity (resolution?) in plenty of light. Would you reaffirm this?

Gs100 is top loading, with LANC? Mic input? Shoe for xlr adaptor?

The advanced accessory shoe for the Xi and the gl2 are the same, as far as I can tell. This is why I assumed the optional Canon xlr adaptor for the gl2 would work on the Xi. Perhaps placement disallows for this.

One of my main shoot environments these days is classrooms, with that even florescent lighting. Not the brightest lighting, but not terribly low. The PDX10(trv950, or, 4;3) here has, when somewhat underexposed, rather low noise and good color. Any sort of studio lighting wouldn't be at all appropriate. I know you haven't used the pdx10, but I thought I might mention some of my context, anyhow. Two cam shoots have now become appropriate for me. I am also wanting to do 16;9 closeup detail work on insects, probably mostly in good sunlight. This is a project where manual shutter speeds will come in handy.
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Old September 29th, 2003, 11:22 AM   #6
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How do you feel about Sony/Panasonic color?

I'd say that Canon and Panasonic colors match better, hence, I also like the GS100 very much. I remember one thread in dv.com where somebody tested (and returned) the 953 and one of his reasons was that he felt the colors were not as good as his old Sony.

Do the 16:9 of the Xi and gs100 match well?

Hmmm..with judicious adjustments both in zoom level and sharpness, they could probably match. It appears that having lots of REAL effective pixels is vital for producing high quality 16:9 and that is the disadvantage of the GS100. The GS100 does not exhibit a similar dramatic expansion of the horizontal view, that the Xi and PC300K are capable of when switching from 4:3 to 16:9, but nonetheless widens a little bit. In any case, I still find the 16:9 quality of the GS100 as satisfactory, as viewed on a high quality 32 inch widescreen TV.

I've read that the Xi has better clarity (resolution?) in plenty of light. Would you reaffirm this?

According to that mag review, tests showed higher than 550 lines of resolution for the GS100, Xi and PC300K. In reality, I donít know if anybody can see the difference between 530 and 550 lines of resolution. I have stared so long in front of 4 sets of 21Ē monitors (2 monitors each for the GS100 and Xi) while both cams were focused on the same subject from nearly the same angle. Under the store's well lighted condition, I could notice that the GS100K's image looked brighter but more sharpened (at the default setting) compared to that of Xi. However, some balance can be achieved by manually increasing the exposure level of the Xi while softening the sharpness of the GS100K.

Another feature of the Xi that makes me curious is the built-in ND filter that is independent from the 6-blade iris. There are only 2 options on this feature: Auto and Off. The cam will activate the ND filter automatically depending on the lighting condition. I feel it would have been better if Canon had provided manual on/off instead. Anyhow, could this be one of the reasons why the image of the Xi appear darker than the GS100K under the same good indoor lighting condition? Unfortunately, I forgot to compare the image when ND filter is turned off. Perhaps the member Bill can verify with his Xi.

BTW, the GS100K and Xi both have 3.5Ē LCDs. The Xi's LCD has more pixels (246 kP against 200kp), but, I can attest the GS100K has the most beautiful LCD image I've seen so far.


Gs100 is top loading, with LANC? Mic input? Shoe for xlr adaptor?
GS100 is top loading, has NO LANC (unfortunately), plug-in power (for compatible devices) mic input is available, but NO XLR adaptor.


The advanced accessory shoe for the Xi and the gl2 are the same, as far as I can tell. This is why I assumed the optional

Canon xlr adaptor for the gl2 would work on the Xi.
I thought so as well, but Canon Japan's website and catalogues are very clear that the optional XLR adaptor (MA-300) for the GL2 will not work with the Jap Xi.


One of my main shoot environments these days is classrooms, with that even florescent lighting. Two cam shoots have now become appropriate for me. I am also wanting to do 16:9 closeup detail work on insects, probably mostly in good sunlight. This is a project where manual shutter speeds will come in handy.

I would have recommended that you look at the PC300K instead for better matching of colors (especially under fluorescent lights), 16:9 technology, the availability of LANC, not to mention for better sharing of accessories. But as you may know already, the PC300 is a P&S dream cam but rather boring for those who prefer to play with manual adjustments when shooting. There is an option within the new 3D touch-panel menu (very cool by the way) to turn-off auto-shutter but I couldnít figure out the method on how to adjust the shutter speed manually. As in previous 1-CCD models, it seems that shutter speed is adjusted by the cam depending on the Program AE that you choose. Manual sharpness level adjustment is quite appealing and useful though. Regarding sharpness, as I previously wrote, I find the default setting of the PC300 to be somewhat on the soft and smooth side (the mag reviewer shares the same opinion by the way), but I find that pleasing compared to the excessively sharpened default setting of the TRV70. It seems Sony engineers realized that as well.
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Old September 29th, 2003, 02:42 PM   #7
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Wow, Alan,

thank you so much for the meaty responses. You have been most helpful.
I'm still absorbing your post(s), but it sounds like

the Xi or pc300 for matching 16;9 w/ pdx10
the Xi and/or gs100 for manual control
the pc300 for 16;9, LANC, matching footage and accessories w/ pdx10
the gs100 because it's a great camera
the Xi because it's a great camera
the pc300 because it's the most rational choice

And, what's a guy gotta do for some LANC support sub $2000 from someone other than Sony these days [;-)] ????

I think that ultimately the camera should be able to do well on it's own, matching the pdx10 completely aside. I would, in the future, want to be able to, in a single cam moment of need, be challenged to decide between one or the other. I also find both the Xi and the GS100 so interesting, and, as importantly, so inexpensive, that, in time, I may acquire them both. It's the best way to solve this problem, don't you think? :-)
But, the Xi first. When the time is right, Alan, could I place an order for a gs100 through you? Again, thank you for the help.
Regards,
Shawn
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Old September 30th, 2003, 02:14 AM   #8
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GS100's 16:9 CCD

Quote:
Do the 16:9 of the Xi and gs100 match well?

Hmmm..with judicious adjustments both in zoom level and sharpness, they could probably match. It appears that having lots of REAL effective pixels is vital for producing high quality 16:9 and that is the disadvantage of the GS100. The GS100 does not exhibit a similar dramatic expansion of the horizontal view, that the Xi and PC300K are capable of when switching from 4:3 to 16:9, but nonetheless widens a little bit. In any case, I still find the 16:9 quality of the GS100 as satisfactory, as viewed on a high quality 32 inch widescreen TV.
Allan, please refer this page

http://panasonic.jp/dvc/gs100k/ki_wide.html

or http://panasonic.jp/dvc/gs100k/ki_wide.html

GS100 has 934x576 resolution 16:9 ccd. any japanese reviews mention about Xi's 16:9 ccd resolution?

It appears to me gs100 uses big ccd than the 4:3 capture ccd. I also see difference in coverage(covers more horizontal space) between 4:3 to 16:9

Whats ur opinion on this? Is there any japanese review link about 16:9 for XI

thanks...
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Old September 30th, 2003, 10:24 AM   #9
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Two things happen when you switch your GS100K to wide mode. One is the reduction of the vertical view. The other is the slight widening of the horizontal view.

With the Xi and the PC300K, there is NO reduction of the vertical view and a VERY DRAMATIC widening of the horizontal view. The Xi produces the widest horizontal view among the 3.

Resolution of the Xi widescreen is 1.5MP according to Canon Japan website. That's nearly 3x that of the GS100K's 934 x 576. But whatever the GS100 lacks in real pixels, Pany engineers compensated through the magic of image enhancement.

That said, I don't know how the PAL system works. You must have read the review of a UK dv mag on the PAL Xi. They say that 4:3 resolution to tape is 1.77MP (Wow) and I don't question that as PAL is higher resolution than NTSC, but under widescreen, the PAL model is claimed to have the same resolution as the NTSC one at 1.5MP. This means a reduction of resolution from 4:3 to 16:9?..meaning the normal 4:3 image is gettting cut somewhere when switching to 16:9 as opposed to the use of more CCD area for the NTSC model??? Well I really don't know PAL cams well.

One clarification by the way, the built-in ND filter of the Xi is available under Card Mode only.

Shawn, yeah you could be the next black mamba owner. I also agree that each of the 3 cams mentioned can do VERY WELL on their own, but makers would rather keep the distance between these top of the line consumer cams and the $2000+ prosumer models. Before you finally decide on the Xi, you'd better make some effort to see for yourself some sample footages in a store. The fact the you like your PDX10 raises some concern whether you'd be as pleased with the Canon color.
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Old September 30th, 2003, 12:39 PM   #10
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Thanks Allan
Quote:
Resolution of the Xi widescreen is 1.5MP according to Canon Japan website. That's nearly 3x that of the GS100K's 934 x 576. But whatever the GS100 lacks in real pixels, Pany engineers compensated through the magic of image enhancement
.... through the magic of image enhancement, cine gamma and crystal engine!!

I guess the reduction of vertical resolution you referrring is from 934X576, they bring to 720 X 460 (20 lines reduced, may be 10 top and 10 bottom) and compensate by expanding i.e 1.04 magnification.

Its very hard to find the difference between 460 to 480 lines.

Is there any CCD matrix for Xi, like this panasonic website Allan.(like how they break downs of 1.5 mp to ultimately 720X480 for DV endoding) Can you post those website link.

Thanks
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Old September 30th, 2003, 01:16 PM   #11
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Sam, you sre mixing here the lines of resolution (500-540 for the DV format) and the actual pixels captured in computer (720x480) and then sqweezed for the 4:3 ratio on TV .

I can be slightly wrong as well but can't explain it better.

Shawn, want to repeat Allan and add my dissapointment from Pana (they never used it in consumer models) and recently Canon for disgarding the LANC conector.

Other wise as you ask in other tread you can upgrade with XLR adaptor to the level of PD10 using the mic input. About the hot shoe it's possible that physicaly Xi can not take the adaptor. Best way is to check it out as Japanese tend to be very precise on the small details.
For example if you buy laptop the power adaptor is rated 100-240 V but the power cable is 110V wich is silly as its just 2 bare wires inside and you need only small plug adaptor for Europe.

Cheers, Bogdan
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Old September 30th, 2003, 01:56 PM   #12
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Hi Allan.
Samuel has presented inresting link that may throw some light to a wide format pixel sizes imployed in GS100.
I think me and many other fellows over here will will grateful to you if you would help us with the translations from the site.
They picture teh different CCD sizes in relation for different modes.

Regards, Alex
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Old September 30th, 2003, 02:29 PM   #13
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Thanks for your concern, Alan.

For what it's worth, I used an Xl1s last year for one week and enjoyed it's color very much. RGB Canon color is probably something somewhat unto itself, however, yes? It's true, I do like pdx10 color, though I'm not, you know, dogmatic about it, I didn't get it specifically for it's color, that was merely the pleasant surprise factor, and I feel confident that their differences (Sony, Canon, Panasonic) could be used to some "interesting" or "reasonable" effect in a 2cam shoot, having adjusted one to the other as well as possible. And hey, for the cost of these wee beasties, I must say I'm feeling cool and breezy about getting several and experimenting.
Any shop that would have a Xi on display is at least an hour away, or two hours to San Francisco. I shall try to figure it into some planned trip with my girlfriend (cue diabolical laughter), as I am nursing the tail end of a bout with a broken leg and not quite driving yet.

Let me know how best to proceed with near future Mamba Negro ordering.....

shawnmielke@yahoo.com

Thanks a whole bunch again.
Regards,
Shawn


ps Ever read The Arabian Nights stories? Have begun reading 'em, for the first time!, aloud to my girlfriend evenings. Great, recent translation from the "original" manuscript. Fantastically rich stuff :-).
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Old September 30th, 2003, 03:12 PM   #14
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Bogdan,
Allan and me are discussing only about pixels, not the TV lines. Yeah as you said, I guess its correct, reformatting is done from those pixels details to fit the 4:3 TV format.

I was talking about the Number of CCD elements actually capturing the picture, and from then on the various conversions like to 4:3 or 16:9 etc.

So if the number of source CCD elements are more, we GATHER more details, from there it is reduced according to our requirements to the destination medium, using compression or whatever.
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Old October 1st, 2003, 10:51 AM   #15
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Alex,

I've already done that before. Re-read through the GS100 thread with the most views. I think it's also the longest thread.


Sam,

Regarding the Xi's 16:9, check the following link: Make sure your text encoder is set to Japanese and use any online translator. The pictures on the left shows the "normal" 16:9 technique; the pictures on the right shows how the Xi implements 16:9.

http://cweb.canon.jp/dv/technology/t...advance08.html
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