can I justify the PVDV-953 purchase ? at DVinfo.net

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Old November 24th, 2003, 10:48 AM   #1
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can I justify the PVDV-953 purchase ?

Wow - I see vendors selling this thing, with USA warranty for less than $1000 now. When I first started looking - it was like $1350. So now I wonder - I want to buy a new camcorder - but unlike a lot of you - I don't shoot professionally - I'm just a home shooter that likes good quality home videos of the kids and maybe some special 'event' shoots once in a while. I have been just thinking about buying the cheap pvdv-53 - that way - I don't care how the wife puts it away when she's done with it for the day :)
But seriously - How much better do you think the footage would look between the pv-53 and 953 - keeping in mind that I want to transfer all footage to DVD for viewing - will transferring the footage to DVD negate some of the better resolution and overall picture quality of the 953 - to the point where the 53 might look real close once transfered to DVD ?

And what about the 953's still picture capability - can you use the full 10x optical zoom when you shoot still pictures to card - Could I use it to replace my fixed lens 2.1 megapixel fujifilm digital camera - that would also help justify the cost of the 953. The 953 I believe is a 3 megapixel digital still - correct ?

And last - I see all the great capabilities of the 16:9 mode of the 953. As I stated above - I want to transfer all footage to DVD for our viewing - Will I be able to preserve a true anamorphic 16:9 image from the 953 to DVD without a large investment in software ?
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Old November 24th, 2003, 01:05 PM   #2
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Don,
I don't shoot professionally either, but I appreciate having quality and flexibility in the tools I own. I recently upgraded from a single CCD JVC miniDV camcorder that I had shot with for 3 years. The specs on that camera are very similar to the DV53. It shot great clips compared to VHS. I even shot my son's wedding with it...in candlelight. It was grainy and smeary but you could make out the important things.

I wish I had had the DV953 when I shot the wedding. The colors are much more vivid and the low light capability is better. Plus, it has Optical Image Stabilization rather than digital. If you want to take the DV953 out of Auto, there are many manual adjustments that can tweak the picture just like you want it.

Transferring the video to DVD won't affect the quality much as long as you use a good video editing program with a good encoder. I use Vegas+DVD Architect but the Sony Screenblast Movie Studio is a good product for about $100. The video editing software will have more effect on the quality of the video than the difference between the two cameras.

Still pictures on the DV953 are 3 Megapixel INTERPOLATED from around 800K pixels. In other words, the camera doesn't actually record a full 3 Megapixel. The file is stored at 2048x1496 (around 3 Mpxl). If you give the camera enough light, it takes a decent still picture and it will be better than the 640x480 you will get with the DV53. But, it won't be as good as a real 3 Mpxl still camera or even a 2.1 Mpxl. You can use the full range of zoom in still mode.

You can shoot in either Cinema (4:3 mode with letterboxed picture) or 16:9 (anamorphic). You can view the Cinema on a standard 4:3 TV but 16:9 requires a 16:9 set to view it in the correct proportions. I have shot in 16:9 and use Vegas to convert it into a widescreen 16:9 file that will then play correctly on a 16:9 set, completely filling the screen (no letterboxing). You will have to have editing software that will do the conversion for you to burn to DVD already proportioned or use the stretch function on the widescreen TV to display it properly.

If you want to see some samples of video and stills from the DV953, feel free to visit the DV953 Album on my website:

http://fortvir.net/modules.php?set_a...view_album.php

There are some test videos and one anamorphic shot in Frame mode (30 FPS). These are not professional quality videos. I was just playing around to see the low light capability and 16:9 Frame mode. You will have to right click and download them to play since I don't yet have the capability to play them in streaming mode. The low light video shots are pretty accurate WRT what the eye sees at those illumination levels, IMO...maybe a tad brighter. Everything was shot in Auto.

Personally, I think the DV953 is better than 3 times the camera as the DV53...and that is reflected in its price.
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Old November 24th, 2003, 03:51 PM   #3
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I updated the website. Now you can view the videos in streaming mode with a broadband connection. To see a full quality picture, I still recommend downloading the file.
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Old November 26th, 2003, 06:13 AM   #4
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"Still pictures on the DV953 are 3 Megapixel INTERPOLATED from around 800K pixels. In other words, the camera doesn't actually record a full 3 Megapixel. The file is stored at 2048x1496 (around 3 Mpxl). If you give the camera enough light, it takes a decent still picture and it will be better than the 640x480 you will get with the DV53. But, it won't be as good as a real 3 Mpxl still camera or even a 2.1 Mpxl. You can use the full range of zoom in still mode."

just re-read this part coz i think thre was somethign which should be noted...

the way the MX works (being a 3CCD) is that each colour field runs at 800k pixels (higher for PAL).. which in turn actaully give an image of 800k x 3 = 2.4mp raw, once processed and interpolated, edge blended etc youre left with a large 3mp image.
IMO after using quite afew Digital still cams, the MX (being a VIDEO CAMERA) provides some of the sharpest richest images. I would say that it would give a 3mp still a run for its money, but the settings within the MX are also comparable to the higher end cameras as wel... so youcan adjsut shutter, iris etc etc whereby alot of digitals with this sort of image range do not offer this...

In the end, i cannot fault the still image capture (to card) on teh mx, i jsut see it as a bonus which in all honesty, has led to having the ability to offer my clients alot more than jsut video.
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Old November 26th, 2003, 08:01 AM   #5
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Peter,
I don't want to appear to be argumentative and I think we may be saying the same thing. But, I want to clarify picture RESOLUTION versus FILE SIZE.

In a still digital camera, the native picture resolution is determined by the size of the CCD in pixels. The picture cannot contain any more picture detail than the CCD can capture. For the Fuji Finepix 602Z, for example, the CCD is 3.1 Mpxl large and it captures a still picture that size, each pixel of which represents one point on the picture that the camera can reproduce in its native mode. Now the 602z also offers a 6 Mpxl mode and they tried to market the 602z as a 6 Mpxl camera. The reviewer community immediately panned that as a marketing ploy because it was an INTERPOLATED picture...in other words the resolution of the image was 3 Mpxl not 6 but it was dithered up using software to make the image look as good a possible at twice the size. This is the same thing that is done in the DV953.

The maximum resolution of any image that the DV953 can reproduce is determined by the size of one CCD...or about 800K pixels. Even though the DV953 is a 3 chipper, the 3 RGB images have to be merged into one ~800K color image. No matter what it done to blow up the image, the resolution stays at ~800K. An analogy would be a video projector rated at a resolution of 800x600 pixels. If that image is projected to a size of 10 feet, the resolution stays the same even though the image is larger than say if it was projected to 5 feet.

For a miniDV camera, there is no engineering reason to use an image sensor that is larger than the resolution recorded for typical video...720x480 or 720x576 in PAL land. So, why do manufacturers use larger CCDs? To permit special video effects like digital image stabilization and to offer better still photo resolution. That is why one finds single chip DV cameras with 2.1 Mpxl CCDs...to allow capture of ~2 Mpxl stills. Video capture only uses a small window of the total 2.1 Mpxls so, for video, the extra pixels are wasted. The trade off for larger stills is lower quality color imaging in video than what you get from a 3 chipper. It would be very expensive and tremendous overkill from a manufacturing perspective for a 3 CCD camcorder to use 2.1 Mpxl sensors. Maybe we'll get there when we see technology make HD recording more reasonable.

All that being said, I still find the still pictures on the DV953 to be very rich, color wise, and reasonably good resolution wise. It is not bad as a single camera for both video and stills.
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Old November 26th, 2003, 08:26 AM   #6
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so - if you put it in terms of effective pixel resolution like they do with digital still cams - the 953 has an effective still resolution of 800k , which is less than a 1 megapixel still camera ? If so - I would say that the interpolating does indeed perform some great magic to the image. 800K would be about equal to a native 1024x768 or about 786,432 pixels.
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Old November 26th, 2003, 08:33 AM   #7
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after all the reading i did on this, i was led to believe that it would process the main pixel image at 800k x 3 (one for each colour) then interpolate teh rest..

i can see your point and would agree to stand corrected by your response, but i am yet to see an official explaination as to how the MX processes a still image.

I also agree with your comments about size versus resolution. There is no way the MX matches anything over 3mp, but for prints, its EXTREMELY difficult to tell, which is where this machine shines.. for some reason the lack of pixellated edges gives a rounder filmish look to the stills (once printed) which is fine by me :)

im yet to get have a complaint!!

by the way i use 4 printers, Hp 710 (600x600 REII), HP948c (REIII 2400x1200), HP130 (4800x1200 REIII), and Canon i865 (4800x1200)
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Old November 26th, 2003, 09:07 PM   #8
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Don--Looks like you've got it. I'm not sure the DV953 uses all of the 800K pixels for its stills, otherwise why not make the low resolution mode 1024x768 instead of 640x480...maybe to make it easy to post to a website with a reasonably sized picture?? But, the 2048x1496 pictures look good.

Peter--all that really matters is that you are satisfied with the images you get. If that is true, then who cares how they do it. BTW, quite a printer farm you have there! Must have a large family (customers) you need to keep supplied with visuals :=)!
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Old November 29th, 2003, 12:46 AM   #9
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but the thing is, if yoru a videogrpaher who is out to make moneyu from video, this type of still image is good enough for cover art, as well as stills for use eithin the video...

i would suggest saving money and buying a memory card (at least 128mb) and some extra video equipemnt unless you want to go serious with the stills, but neing in the video game (pardon teh pun) there is no need for a pro end Digital SLR...
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