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Old January 23rd, 2004, 06:41 AM   #1
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Bright Light, ND and Zebra

I have read that the DV953 has built in ND filters to bring brightly lighted scenes under control. However, these are not manually selectable. I have been unable to detect any perceptible change when viewing bright scenes, with zebra, through the viewfinder which might indicate the ND filters are being employed. In other words, I still get lots of zebra on bright objects even at minimum aperature. To compensate, I have to go into manual and change shutter speed, which isn't as desirable as reducing the light. I know about screw on ND filters but I want to limit this discussion to the basic camera configuration.

Do the ND filters kick in after aperature hits its limit in auto?

What happens to kick in the ND filters in manual?
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Old January 25th, 2004, 11:12 AM   #2
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Guy,
Where you've read that DV953 has built in ND filters? I don't think that is correct.

You are left with screw on filters only. Even in the accessory list for MX5000 you can find the 43mm ND filter. If the cam had built in, Pana wouldn't make the effort to include such in their accessories. Don't you think?

One more thing. You say that you can't control the iris to minimize the zebra. On GS100 you can even fully close the iris.

I had the chance to shoot in very bright light (sunny and snow) recently (I forgot my ND4 at home). I decided on shutter 1/100 and f16 and could eliminate the zebra patern to my liking.

Check the manual mode again.
Good luck.
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Old January 25th, 2004, 12:41 PM   #3
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Bogdan,
I read it here on DV Info, and according to the .PPT slides for the MX500 here at Frank's site there is a two-step (40% and 12.5% transmissivity) ND filter. However, it is not clear that the ND filter is for video since the presentation talks about still pix. Also, the presentation says nothing about what actually causes them to kick in.

Just to make it easier, I have posted the slides from the PPT presentation in the DV953 album on my website. Rereading the slides, I see they talk about the iris triggering use of the filters which then readjusts the iris (opens it). It still isn't clear when all this happens and if it works in manual (which I doubt). I suppose the only place to get a trustworthy answer is Panasonic (hah) if one could get them to answer.
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Old January 25th, 2004, 07:05 PM   #4
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Guy, thanks for the link - I informed myself but I'm still not convinced (as you are not too I guess).

First if there were reall ND filter (as VX2000 for example) you would be able to set it manually in only 2 positions - ND4 or 8.

What I understand it's simply auto adjust of the iris - if Pana calls this ND filter - well kudos to their marketing section.

If it was a reall valuable function Pana Japan would prety much blow our years putting it in their pamflets and on the web.

As Peter wrote - in bright light or to mantain consistent results do the setting in manual mode. You can pass even without screw on ND filter. I don't notice any difference using ND filter vs. just setting manually smaller aperture (f16) or higher shutter speed.

I asume ND is very good if you use auto mode - then the cam is trigered to close the iris a bit. I often adjust just the shutter in manual and iris is left on it's own - then screw on ND is also handy.
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Old January 25th, 2004, 07:14 PM   #5
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Bogdan, yes if the filter is there and executes automatically, how would one know? I guess if you had a separate light meter and could detect when the ND filter is operating...but it probably doesn't matter in auto. I agree that using screw on ND filters is a way to deal with the light. I have a .6 ND Tiffen filter that I use.

What has been your experience with higher shutter speeds (greater than 1/60)? Do you see problems with shooting at shutter speeds above 1/100?
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Old January 25th, 2004, 07:22 PM   #6
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For the type of shooting I'm doing right now I mostly need light so I rarely go above 60.
When I notice the light is too bright outdoors I usally set to 100. 100 is often suficient for even faster moving objects so I haven't experimented much in fact.
I usually correct te zebra reducing it to just having 'flying' one-two stripes using the iris aperture. Sometimes you have to leave more zebra stripes if your main object is dark (forgraound on a light backgroud). That's not always easy to judge on the LCD depending on the ambient light.
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Old January 25th, 2004, 07:28 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Bogdan Vaglarov : Guy, thanks for the link - I informed myself but I'm still not convinced (as you are not too I guess).

First if there were reall ND filter (as VX2000 for example) you would be able to set it manually in only 2 positions - ND4 or 8.

What I understand it's simply auto adjust of the iris - if Pana calls this ND filter - well kudos to their marketing section.

-->>>

It is an ND filter, even on my older MX350. On my MX350, 1t is activated automatically by some mechanical link to the iris, and not triggered by excessive light. The MX500 claims that the ND is driven independently, but even then, automatically.

So one more point for the MX500/DV953 not being 'pro'.

If you'll point the camera to a bright light, and stare into the lens, and slowly control the iris manually, you'll probably see the ND appearing. At least, this happens on my MX350 which the iris and ND are linked.

For sure, it is an ND filter, not a marketing term. :)
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Old January 25th, 2004, 07:36 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Yow Cheong Hoe : If you'll point the camera to a bright light, and stare into the lens, and slowly control the iris manually, you'll probably see the ND appearing. At least, this happens on my MX350 which the iris and ND are linked.

For sure, it is an ND filter, not a marketing term. :) -->>>

YowCH, so you can SEE the filter being implemented in MANUAL? I'll have to try that...maybe make a video as an example. Don't see why that would exclude the 953 from being "pro." Simply because it isn't manually controlable?

Bogdan,
You don't get artifacts when shooting at higher shutter speeds?
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Old January 25th, 2004, 07:41 PM   #9
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OK - I haven't seen any documented function like this for the japanese MX5000. Allan?

But MX500/DV953 are different cams after all.
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Old January 25th, 2004, 07:47 PM   #10
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Guy,
I'm sorry but I can answer after I start editing my footage on PC and inspect it from closer.
I'm just configuring my system now.
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Old January 25th, 2004, 07:51 PM   #11
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Bogdan,
Ok. Let us know what you find.
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Old January 26th, 2004, 03:19 AM   #12
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I really want give up on this argument on "pro" or not. On pro cams, as expressed by Bogdan, the ND is definitely switchable.

I am happy with my MX350, and I use it to make some extra pocket money. So that may qualify the cam as 'pro' to some people. This will be my LAST comment using 'pro' or not.

Look at the footage and controls available on a $50,000 camera and you'll see the real difference between 'pro' and consumer. In this expect, even the XL-1s is considered by many big time videographers as a toy.

I am sure flames will follow and some of our ego will be hurt, but I live in my own reality. Here we have people talking about HD and lines and low light performance and noise and dynamic range. In the 'pro' arena, there's really no need to talk about all these, they are already top-of-the-line, and the pro can focus on using the camera to shoot video.

Please forgive my arrogance and let's end this 'pro' or not discussion.

As for the MX500 and DV953 being different, probably only the software and CCD. The hardware, e.g. body, lens, zoom, etc, should be the same.
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Old January 26th, 2004, 06:27 AM   #13
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YowCH,
[soapbox]
I don't think anyone is going to flame you for expressing frustration over this forum's obsession on minutiae. I believe "Pro" is defined by the product of the tools, not the tools themselves. Too many people attach significance to the color of the case, the lens shade, whether the camera has switchable ND filters, are the CCDs 800K or 3Meg, is the still picture quality equivalent to a $3000 Nikon 35mm, and so on. But, that is the nature of this forum. It is about the technical qualities of the tool, not about how to use the tool to make excellent videos. It is about bragging rights over who selected the "best" camcorder, not about someone who used the tool he/she had to produce a marvelous video. I play this game, so I'm as guilty as anyone else.[/soapbox]

Now, let's shed this nonsense and get on with using the tool.
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Old January 26th, 2004, 06:56 AM   #14
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Yow, I'm far from getting into discusion for the argument 'pro'.

But you just made me go and read my post - am I missing something - I don't mention anything about Pro in this thread. VX2000 is a good prosumer cam - I even don't consider it Pro. But this is not the topic.

Are you mixing my other thread where I'm joking for the Pro based on color?

There were very funny treads in the past based on what is Pro and not so I also decided to add some 'fun ellement'.

Cheers and take it easy!

P.S. Again to clear that I was reffering to MX5000 as not having announced internal ND filter.
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Old January 26th, 2004, 07:54 AM   #15
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Our good member, Tom Hardwick, examined and wrote a MX500 review article for a UK cam magazine. He's also posted here and on the TRV950 forum about the MX500's built-in ND filters. He wasn't too thrilled about its 2-blade iris with built-in NDs. Panasonic also sent me an extensive Q&A about its iris/ND system.
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