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Old December 13th, 2003, 02:24 AM   #1
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16:9 and dv953 vs. optura xi

let me start by saying i'm a complete newbie to digital video.

i struggled with which one of these to purchase and i finally bought the 953. but now i'm having second thoughts.

i want to shoot everything in 16:9. i was disappointed when i found that the 16:9 format on the 953 didn't widen the horizontal field of view but just cropped and stretched in the vertical direction.

further reading indicates that the optura xi has a better 16:9 mode (keeps the full vertical resolution and widens at the sides). first of all, is what i just said correct? was the dv953 the wrong choice for me? would i get better 16:9 results from the optura xi?

my intended use is for travel videos and a new baby in a few months. nothing "professional". but i really want a widescreen camcorder and the jvc gr-hd1 was outside of my price range (and probably not ready for newbies).

i'd appreciate some opinions. thanks in advance.
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Old December 13th, 2003, 04:59 AM   #2
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It doesn't get much better, if at all, than the PV-DV953 in this price range. Do you want miniDV footage or MPEG2 footage?


Here's Tom's Xi review:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=16826

I'll see if I can find some of Allan's and Tommy's observations and post the links. If someone finds them before I do, by all means post them here.
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Old December 13th, 2003, 09:36 AM   #3
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I've had both the DV953 and Optura Xi and the DV953 is the best choice even considering the difference in 16:9.

While the DV953 does not widen the viewing angle in its 16:9 mode there is no resolution loss compared to other 16:9 and "cinema" modes on similar cams.

Here is how the DV953 (aka MX500/MX5000) handles 16:9

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2003-...IYZP-1-1-5.jpg

The Xi fell short in two departments for me. Low light was was about the same if even a little worse than the DV953 which isn't saying a whole lot!

The other is the contrast ratio of the Xi. The Xi constantly blew out highlights (sky/treeline) no matter what setting I tried. My DV953 never had this problem nor has any 3CCD cam I've owned (VX2000 and PDX10).

I wasn't too thrilled about the bottom loading on the Xi but it wasn't a deal breaker.

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2002-...pturaXi(5).JPG

Widescreen is the only way I shoot these days and thats why I've finally decided to go with the GS100k (Japanese NTSC import). Smaller than the DV953 with increased low light performance and the much wanted wider angle of view in 16:9. Maybe you should take a look at the black mamba yourself!

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2002-...V-GS100K-K.jpg
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Old December 13th, 2003, 10:26 AM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Frank Granovski : It doesn't get much better, if at all, than the PV-DV953 in this price range. Do you want miniDV footage or MPEG2 footage?
-->>>

thanks for the responses so far.

my plan is to make dvds of my travel videos for later viewing. i hope that answers your question?

i have an hdtv and really want the widescreen. but any way i look at it, using 16:9 on the 953 is throwing resolution away compared to using 4:3. and that's the disappointment. i don't understand how it is "no resolution loss". could someone perhaps explain that a little better? i'm normally a smart person but i'm afraid this whole 16:9 thing has me very confused.

perhaps what i'm missing is a similar graphic on "how the 953/mx500 does 4:3" because i see that the sensor is not 4:3 aspect ratio to begin with.

could the 16:9 aspect ratio also be done in post-production? is that a better idea (and is it common or uncommon is video editing packages)?
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Old December 13th, 2003, 10:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
using 16:9 on the 953 is throwing resolution
The DV953 is packed with pixels and not all are necessary to achieve 720x480 standard DV resolution. So it uses these extra pixels as a buffer for when the 16:9 frame is removed from its 4:3 native CCD processing. So you're not getting an expanded angle of view like the latest cams (Xi, TRV33, PDX10) but you have NO resolution loss. The picture I posted should help a lot but just keep in mind that its using a PAL resolution which is 720x576 compared to the lower vertical resolution of NTSC's 720x480.

TheDV953 does not use all of the pixels in 4:3 that it does in 16:9 so if you crop in post you will lose 25% in resolution.

I playback my DV953 footage on a Sony 50" LCD HDTV and its pretty close to my PDX10 footage. The PDX10 is still by far the best 16:9 mode I've seen on any cam under $5000.
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Old December 13th, 2003, 11:48 AM   #6
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Well I dare to say that dv953 doesn't have good wide mode resolution. Improvement of GS100 is about 28%.

Check the original Pana claims here:
http://panasonic.jp/dvc/gs100k/ki_wide.html
You will see only gifs but the esence is that 953 mskes 290 lines while GS100 370 lines resolution when used on wide screen TV. Still 290 lines is better quality than VHS.

Check out also this thread. It's rather controversial but the numbers and facts are there so you can make your conclusions.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=15478

In the wide mode game main change makes the different pixel size ratiio. (1.21 vs. 0.91 for 4:3).

To repeat - GS100 is upsampling very little to full resolution (4%) while MX5000 (dv953) quite more (30%) so there is lost of resolution for both.

Also wide mode use different area of the CCD so the lens/CCD combination leads to different angle of view rather than just simply cutting up and bottom parts. Thus I think it's more apropriate to rate tha lense as normal (may be 50mm) rather than wide (42mm) - all you have to do is go further away from your object to get same vertical angle of view. Then you can compare how much 16:9 is wider than 4:3.
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Old December 13th, 2003, 12:57 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Bogdan Vaglarov : Well I dare to say that dv953 doesn't have good wide mode resolution. Improvement of GS100 is about 28%.
-->>>

ok, but how about compared to an optura xi? i'd prefer to buy a u.s. model so the gs100 is out.
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Old December 13th, 2003, 02:41 PM   #8
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the other thing that is driving me crazy is the conflicting information, and information written only in japanese that i can't read.

for example, tommy points to a graphic of unknown origin that claims the mx500 uses 934x576 pixels for its widescreen. but bogdan points to a web page all in japanese that he claims says the gs100k uses 934x576 but the mx500 uses only 876x540. someone has to be mistaken.

why don't the u.s. manufacturers web sites have any useful information? the panasonic web site in particular is extremely useless, as is the 953 manual.

does anyone know the resolution of the optura xi?
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Old December 13th, 2003, 04:39 PM   #9
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Bogdan, are you sure that the GS100 is compared against the MX5000 on that Panasonic Japan link you posted?

The photo I linked to is from a Panasonic PowerPoint slideshow that can be found on Frank's website. Maybe Frank can recall the origin.

http://www.dvfreak.com/mx500.ppt

Quote:
Well I dare to say that dv953 doesn't have good wide mode resolution
Other than the lack of wider angle of view I think my DV953 had a great 16:9 mode and maybe after I get the GS100 next week I'll be more equipped to compare the two.

Allyn, would you sacrifice video quality for a better widescreen mode? The Xi cam is a great single chipper but you'll regret downgrading from the DV953.
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Old December 13th, 2003, 04:48 PM   #10
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<<<-- Allyn, would you sacrifice video quality for a better widescreen mode? The Xi cam is a great single chipper but you'll regret downgrading from the DV953. -->>>

if the widescreen mode on the xi is better than the 953 and i'll be using widescreen all the time, is it still a sacrifice?
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Old December 13th, 2003, 05:50 PM   #11
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if the widescreen mode on the xi is better than the 953 and i'll be using widescreen all the time, is it still a sacrifice?
It was for me and I shoot exclusively widescreen.

Maybe these frame grabs will help you understand one of the flaws in video quality that the Xi exhibits. The VX2000 obviously lacks the high resolution widescreen mode but at least you can discren the clouds.

Maybe you should purchase the Xi and pit it directly against the DV953 and share some frames. I only have the VX2000 for comparisons.

Optura Xi - 1CCD

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2002-...Widescreen.JPG

VX2000 - 3CCD

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2002-...Widescreen.JPG
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Old December 13th, 2003, 06:06 PM   #12
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The "slide show" is based on the MX500 (PAL), it's from Pana.

Allyn, you mentioned you own the PV-DV953. Don't you find that it has good resolution for low resolution NTSC widescreen for your TV? If you buy a smaller NTSC widescreen TV, the resolution will look sharper.
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Old December 13th, 2003, 08:06 PM   #13
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Tommy Haupfear wrote:
"Other than the lack of wider angle of view I think my DV953 had a great 16:9 mode and maybe after I get the GS100 next week I'll be more equipped to compare the two."


Tommy,

I'd like to get more info on your GS100K purchase off the board. I tried emailing you but didn't get a response. Could you possibly email me?

-Stewart
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Old December 13th, 2003, 08:30 PM   #14
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tommy, regarding the frame grabs, to my untrained eye, the xi has better resolution but lousy color and the vx2000 is the opposite. did i get the right answer?

so it sounds like the tradeoff is good color vs. really wide screen (and maybe higher resolution). sigh. i hate tradeoffs.

thanks for all your help, tommy, i appreciate it.

frank, i just got the 953 yesterday and i haven't even used it yet, trying to resolve this issue of whether i should return it in favor of the xi. i have hooked it to the tv but i really don't know what is "good" resolution for widescreen 480i. it doesn't seem to look as good as a dvd, which is my only basis for comparison. but i was also hooked up composite and i have the dvd player hooked up component. btw, i should buy a smaller tv to compensate for shortcomings in my camcorder? i think you forgot a smiley. :-)
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Old December 13th, 2003, 09:37 PM   #15
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OK, I don't have Power Point but I don't expect to see 934x576 pixel resolution there. You will rather see the generic DV resolution for PAL 720x526.

The mentioned pixel areas are used from the CCD then down sampled to the generic NTSC DV resolution 720x480 for both 4:3 or 16:9 ratio - difference is only the different pixel aspect ratio for the 2 screen modes.

Pana will not compare straight MX5000 to GS100 so to appear that MX5000 is so inferior. I have the Pana catalogs in Japanese though. There in the specification row clearly is written the new wide/pro cinema modes. GS100 is checked */* while MX5000 -/-.
I think that means the MX doesn't share this improved wide mode and the new pro cinema mode.

On the previous page is explained what exactly is the improved wide mode - I can read the number 28% up, which matches the claimed in the home page.

But this is only the technology and what you see is the real thing. If Tomy is happy with the widescreen of DV953 then it shouldn't be so bad. I heard GS100 is impressive on big wide screen and Xi doesn't do any interpolation at all as it has higher generic CCD resolution. However I also read Xi had some focus issues not found on MX/GS (very good at that) as well as the highlight issue mentioned from Tommy. The price in Japan is also higher and if I had to buy cam now I would go with GS100 again.

In all cases though the final resolution is DV generic 720x480 and you end up with about 380 lines I expect for Xi (370 claimed for GS100). If you want full wide screen resolution you should go with JVC HD1 - the consumer HD cam. The recording is in MPEG2 and I've heard there are some issues with the editing.

Bare in mind that consumer TV sets are sporting about 480 lines of resolution compared to the claimed from NTSC format 525.

Compromises, compromises...
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