Some more questions before splashing for MX500 at DVinfo.net

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Panasonic DV / MX / GS series Assistant
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Old January 4th, 2004, 07:31 PM   #1
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Some more questions before splashing for MX500

Hi,
I am new to the forum and new to the DV.
I have been reading your posts for a month now and would like to thank you all, this is the best forum i have seen (and I follow quite a few and some usenet groups). Great info, friendly atmo, no flaming and spamming.

Now back to business. Questions, questions, questions. You answered most of them already, thanks.

Some more. But background first.

The cam will be used for:
1. developing art ideas, like playing with possibilities, documenting effects for later use, the important aspects are portability and ease of use (you don't want to study manual every time you see something interesting that sparks your creativity, the spark might just die on the page 10)
2. filming of art projects during development and when finished, the result to be editable by professionals and finally presentable, therefore good video images with low artefacts are important, flexible manual settings for best results in difficult light situations desirable.
3. family shooting, out and indoor.

The cam will be used by me and my wife. She is the artist and doesn't like the technology much :):)
Also my hands are large hers are small.

The choice is down to:
1. Panasonic MX500 (Pal)
2. Canon MVX3i (Xi in USA)
3. Sony VX2000 (only if we find the quality of images of 1 & 2 unacceptable) but there goes portability.

How do you find zoom control on those cams, especially Pana? Can it be adjusted on those cameras? I filmed our last exhibition on borowed small Sony and zoom was almost impossible to control (I mean nice slooow zoom).

After studying tests and life grabs (thanks for all those links) I noticed black and white edges produced by Pana especially on dark details against light background more on horizontal than vertical.
Not many grabs there from Xi but against VX2K the difference is noticeable.
Is it visible on TV as well? Can it be eliminated by lowering sharpeness setup on Pana? If the result not sharp enough can it be sharpened in post production without generating those b&w edges? For stills sharpening is always best left for Photoshop and avoided in camera (my experience).

After studying some video from MX and Xi (DV953-CanonZR60 1_and_3_ccd.mov & first.ASF) I noticed grainy halo effect in first.asf by Xi. This is supposed to be raw unprocessed footage. Most noticeable around her head and around wire cable. No such effect in the first film and in the processed Xi version (CanonXiShort.wmv). Probably not raw footage after all but compressed for internet use.

I failed to find any footage made by VX2000 (apart from all those BBC made in Iraq :):).

This is getting too long.

Any comments are greatly appreciated.
Any shops you would recommend in UK?
thanks
a
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Old January 4th, 2004, 07:45 PM   #2
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i cant offer you a lot of help but direct you to a website.
http://www4.big.or.jp/~a_haru/0208_3CCD.html this is a japanese sight with the 953(mx-5000) and also the 2000. you will see images there which will show you the quality of the two cameras. i would advise you get 3ccd for good color rendition and sharper images. the panasonic has a sharper picture however is not as good in low light. for you type of filming the 2000 would be better because i would assume that you would be using it indoors and is better in low light but since you will be in a studio i will assume that you will have access to plenty of lights so the pana will do just fine. it is smaller than the 2000 however the 2000 is still "portable" if you ask me. it is not a big camera. The vx2000 is the better camera and the one that anyone would chose if money was not an object however if price is an issue then the 953 performs just as good in "your" situation.
I hope this helps
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Old January 4th, 2004, 08:18 PM   #3
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If you are asking me which is better, I would say the VX2000 is.

If you need small (and 16:9), go with either the MX500 or the MVX3i. Which is better of these 2? I would say the MX500 is. If you don't believe me, read Tom Hardwick's reviews posted on these forums.

So, it all boils down to large verses small, no 16:9 verses 16:9---but you can always get an Optex or Century 16:9 adaptor for the VX2000---and don't forget the BBC's VX2000 audio fix. ;)
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Old January 5th, 2004, 04:04 AM   #4
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Hi,
Thanks Justin, I downloaded those tests, the black & white edges are visible there as well on MX and less on VX. But in your opinion, how visible and anoying are they on TV. VX is portable but so is a vacuumcleaner :):). By portability I ment that I can stick it into a bum bag and have it with me most of the time without thinking and planning.

Thanks Frank, it looks like I will have to do my own tests for MX against Xi to see about those edges. The thing is here in London in shops they don't like you playing with their toys nor swapping them week after week. In USA consumer is god but not here. But I understand you played with MX (or 953). How do you find zoom control?

Everybody knows VX2K is better but would I have it in a bus to capture the play of condensation on scrach-a-fitty on a window? Surely not with VX and maybe yes with MX.

Best regards
a
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Old January 5th, 2004, 04:34 AM   #5
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I found the zoom smooth, easy to use on the PV-DV953 (MX5).

I also found the 953 just as solid/well-built as the VX2000. But the VX2000 has a better viewfinder, if you need to use this (I don't). The 953's LCD is very sharp and not accurate from what I've read---what I mean is that in lower light situations, the LCD will pick up the footage sharply, but when played back on a TV, it will look darker and with more fine grain.

What edges are do you mean? The area which isn't visible on a TV set?
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Old January 5th, 2004, 06:11 AM   #6
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I agree with Frank on the DV953 (MX500) over the Xi (MVX3i). I've had both and while the Xi has a slightly beter 16:9 mode the video quality just doesn't hold up to the 3CCD DV953.

I found the contrast ratio to be quite limited on the Xi. Outdoor shots were always difficult and often with an overexposed sky or severely underexposed subject. My DV953 and VX2000 are much more capable in this type of shot.

You can't go wrong with the DV953 or VX2000. Although the VX2000 is just no fun when handheld. I'm not sure its available but the Sony DSR-PDX10 is handheld (noticeably heavier than DV953) and has 3CCD, OIS, and one of the best 16:9 modes and is under $2000 USD.

Here is a pic of my past PDX10 all dolled up.

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2003-...040(Small).jpg
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Old January 5th, 2004, 06:46 AM   #7
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Hi,

If you compare this test image of MX5000
http://www8.big.or.jp/~a_fuyu/PA/MX5000/chirt/resoDV.jpg
with this one of VX2000
http://www4.big.or.jp/~a_haru/SO/VX2000/chirt/resoDV.jpg
you will notice white and black shadows most noticeable on diagonal and horizontal edges in the MX sample and not VX sample.
I would not be alarmed by this if I haven't seen the same effect in some MX grabs earlier (from air show, planes against sky for white shadow and plane on the ground against lawn for black shadow) lets see if I can find URLs. Can mail jpgs is interested.
Didn't but here is another one by Young Lee
http://www.dvuser.co.kr/zboard/data/panasonic/Grabbed_Frame_1.jpg
Look at white horizontal shadow at shelf and TV top box.

Not many grabs from Xi to compare.

What do you think?
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Old January 5th, 2004, 08:31 AM   #8
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OK, in my view the quality list goes like this: VX2000, MX500, MVX3i. Not surprisingly, the same list charts the price. The VX is huge in comparison, but its Info Lithiums are the best as is its OIS. Extra lenses are dear (58mm filter thread) but DOF control is ace.

If you're after the best low light performance the VX wins by miles, and the Panasonic is very poor in comparison. But its 16:9 mode is very impressive, and it's compactness amazing.

The Canon has a remarkably good lens and if I wanted the very best stills to card, that's the one I'd buy. But the Canon and the Panasonic are greatly troubled by CCD smear and both cameras force you to use ND filters where you might like the pictorial control offered by aperture selection.

The Canon is bottom loading and this is a PAIN, in field as well as on the desk. The in-built mics hear every exposure wheel movement - a stupid design flaw. Fot a single-chipper it gives great footage though.

I don't think I'd recommend a shop in the UK unless it was within half an hours' drive from your front door - I'd buy it over the internet. Use your credit card though.

tom.
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Old January 5th, 2004, 11:37 AM   #9
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Hi,
Thanks Tom.

In the meantime I found those airshow grabs in my history (good old Opera) Here we go:

Note black contrast lines around the wings on this one:
http://image1ex.villagephotos.com/pubimage.asp?id_=2351230

Notice the white halo edge efect under both planes:
http://image1ex.villagephotos.com/pubimage.asp?id_=2351228

Halo here goes all around the plane, more on the bottom side:
http://image1ex.villagephotos.com/pubimage.asp?id_=2351225

White halo here under plane noses. Also a nice example of vertical smear:
http://image1ex.villagephotos.com/pubimage.asp?id_=2351224

If I remember correctly, and it was some time and a hundreds threads ago, it was somebody called Tom from dvinfo and/or dv.com who posted these links back in July. I have no idea how this shots were done, I mean what settings.

But back to the questions.

Is that the result of sharpening and will it be eliminated by manual adjustments in Pana MX500 (5000 or 953)?

Can the overal contrast be controlled manually (to have less in clear sunny days and more in gloomy rainy rays or inside)?

Can the sharpening effect be added later during editing (if the footage is shot with that control at minimum) with less artefacts using better editing software?

I realy hate those black & white edge effects. Can you see it in your footage? If yes can you avoid it?

Is there another thread/forum for that level of detailed questions?

How do you call that efect (new to the game and terminology), so I can do a proper search?

Here is a sample clip shot with Xi and posted here earlier in other forum, I see no such artefacts in this clip.

http://www.photomosaic.com/movies/CanonXiShort.wmv

Thanks
ayosha
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Old January 5th, 2004, 07:30 PM   #10
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I captured those frames from an air show I taped in spring of last year.

The footage was 16:9 frame mode, AWB, default sharpness/color, and unfortunately some digital zoom. Not the greatest weather conditions for taping and definitely not showing the full potential of the DV953. I want to comment on the vertical smear as I don't think I've had a cam that wouldn't smear with the blinding light come off of the wings. It was pretty harsh.

I also agree with Tom's order of VX2000, DV953, and Xi and I've owned all three. I also agree that in full resolution of the CCD that the Xi takes a cleaner still but the DV953 has better color accuracy and a higher contrast ratio.

Here are some better frame grabs from the DV953

16:9 and Frame Mode

http://www.villagephotos.com/pubbrow...elected=339297

and a few frame grabs from the Sony PDX10

http://www.villagephotos.com/pubbrow...elected=441334
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Old January 5th, 2004, 08:09 PM   #11
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The problem you are finding with the white behind the black lines is what is called a halo affect. this can be corrected by turning the sharpness down. this does not affect the picture quality much. The thing i was trying to point out is that this camera shows a lot of detail. eg in the photos where they had grass it would show every blade in clear detail where as the other 3 cameras were often quite blury. The reason why the halo was so visible in the aircraft photos is because of the digital zoom. it effectively doubled the size of the halo and as a matter of fact is not visible while operating the camera under normal zoom and played back on the tv. All i can say is that i am happy with this camera. one fix for the low light is to use a mode called gain up which brings it up to par with the vx2000 however it slows the shutter down but not to noticeable. i would recomend you look at this feature under digital effects while in a store looking at it. This mode is quite acceptable in scenes where there is no fast movement and the camera would need to be on a tripod to limit shake. The only problem with this mode is the camera goes on to manual focus but the focus ring is quite efficient. another thing that is a must with this camera if you want good color is to put it on manual mode and leave everything auto except the white balance where you can put it on the presets of sunlight of bulb. these two settings are very efficient and seem to work in most situations. if someone could tell me where i could post pics for free on the web i can put up some frame grabs

Justin
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Old January 5th, 2004, 08:18 PM   #12
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just one thing check out this thread for some more tests on this camera. it doesn't come up in google. I found it looking at mx500's little brother the gs70 possibly another candidate for you and cheaper. http://www.dvspot.com/reviews/panasonic/pv_dv953-review/index.shtml

heres the one for the gs70
http://www.dvspot.com/reviews/panasonic/pv_gs70-review/index.shtml
note that from what i have seen the gs 70 is slighltly better in low light. the picture is not a lot brighter however there is less noise. the only problem is that with this camera you will probably need a tripod because there is no OIS but rather EIS. There are frame grabs from this camera and pretty much every other camera you can think of here
http://www4.big.or.jp/~a_haru/
Justin
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Old January 5th, 2004, 08:58 PM   #13
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Hi Tommy,
I am sorry not to connect those frames to your excellent reviews.
I agree, for small chips camera, 953 usually produces little of smear but there you got the full midday sun reflection (my opinion based on other people footage).

I have seen those water pics but wasn't sure if they were grabs or stills. Nice shots and no smear in spite of the strong sun reflections.

I would be grateful if you would care to coment on my current obsession with those black and white halo efects I see in some grabs made with Panasonic MX5000 (or 953 or 500).

Are they caused by sharpening proces? Or maybe digital zoom? Probably made worse by that, but even in those water shots the efect is present, I think, look at the top of the green baloon right up and again top of the pink baloon right up in the last frame.

Is there a name for that efect? Can it be avoided if sharpen control (or something else) is set to min?

Close examination of those grabs at
http://www4.big.or.jp/~a_haru/0208_3CCD.html
reveals again that efect, more on horizontal dark lines against light background than vertical, more pronounced with MX5000 than VX2000.

I don't have enough frames made with Xi for any conclusion but on the footage I have (.mov standard) I haven't seen any of those efects.

Again, thanks for great contribution to you and the rest of the crew.

I hope to be able to return the favor to a new set of newbies one day.

Have to log of now, it is almost 3am here in London.

Best regards
ayosha
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Old January 5th, 2004, 09:26 PM   #14
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Hi Justin,

Just saw your reply after my post was already submited.

Thanks for clarification. It is very hard for me to discuss these faults without a proper terminology, and without my own tool and based on other people's work.

I saw that GS70 review with interest as that camera employs almost the same engine but without manual controls. I prefer to be able to tweak and play with setings.

That site in Japan is very good indeed, but they didn't test Canon Xi yet (XMFM1 or similar there).

This is the site I used some time ago to made available some catalogues for a friend who couldn't receive attachments in Email.
http://geocities.yahoo.com/ps/learn2/HowItWorks4_Free.html

I don't know what the deal is today but my space is free and add-free and still stands after more than 6 months of not in use:
http://www.geocities.com/ayoshakon/

Hope this helps:):)

Must logoff I am dead on my feet.

Best regards
ayosha
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Old January 5th, 2004, 10:01 PM   #15
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The GS70 is a striped down version of the MX500. Digital stabiliser, and probably inferior lens. Lack of many 'manual' controls. But very good size and uses the newer series of batteries (the MX500 is using taller batteries, which is good for the older Panasonics like the MX8, MX300/350, and some other 1CCD cams).

Unless you really like the small size of the GS70, the lack of an optical stabiliser will probably be a big issue on free-hand shooting.
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