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Old June 23rd, 2004, 10:45 PM   #1
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DVC30 question

I just purchased a DVC30 and have tried it out this afternoon. I think my camera is not functioning properly. I can't hear the audio from the built-in speaker even though the volume is turned all the way up. Also, auto white balance seems to be very inconsistent. The manual is very poor so I thought I would ask a few questions here, hoping dvc30 users can help me.

1. Is it normal for the display to show total white on power up?
2. Is there a problem with my speaker that it is so low?
3. Has anyone noticed a problem with auto white balance?
4. Is it necessary to set white balance every time you turn on the camera?
5. If so, are all other prosumer cameras like this (GL-2, VX-2100)?

I am sure I will have other questions soon, but I am so frustrated with trying to get consistent white balance.

What am I doing wrong??? This is my first miniDV camcorder. I previously had a Sony Hi8mm that didn't have many possible adjustments. Perhaps I am doing something wrong, or expecting too much?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old June 24th, 2004, 07:36 AM   #2
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Dan,

I also have the DVC30 so this might help. Just remember it takes time to get used to a new cam. I too was a little frustrated, but after a week everything on the cam feels more familiar.

1. Is it normal for the display to show total white on power up?
Yes

2. Is there a problem with my speaker that it is so low?
Did you open the LCD screen. Sound from speaker will not be unobstructed unless it is open.

3. Has anyone noticed a problem with auto white balance?

No.

4. Is it necessary to set white balance every time you turn on the camera?

No, You can leave the switch (lower left side rear) in auto but I prefer to use manual mode because the DVC30 seems very accurate to me. Make sure the manual switch is on, press the white balance button until the manual symbol is displayed, hold a white card in front of the lens and hold the button until the screen goes black then reappears. It should hold this setting as long as the camera is on.

Also in manual mode you can just press the white balance button until the correct symbol is displayed for the conditions you are filming in. The "sun" button is pretty accurate for most outdoor conditions and will stay in memory the next time you turn the cam on.

5. If so, are all other prosumer cameras like this (GL-2, VX-2100)?

The GL-2 is , don't know about the VX2100.

Regards,

Mark
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Old June 24th, 2004, 08:55 PM   #3
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Mark,

Thanks for the reply. I have the LCD open when I am viewing the tape, so there is nothing in the way of the speaker. I can hear the audio just fine when I use headphones, but I hear faint hints of sound at best through the speaker. This doesn't seem normal.

I spoke with Panasonic today regarding both issues I had (speaker & white balance). I didn't get a clear answer with regards to the speaker, but the white balance issue is that the camera tries to detect white, so if there isn't any white in a shot, it will throw off the white balance.

I am not sure why this was never a problem in my consumer camcorder, and I am not sure I believe this is a problem with most cameras. They told me that the camera intentionally waits 5-10 seconds to change white balance, because if the lighting were to briefly change the white balance would be constantly changing. I guess my point in this issue is that I understand why you would want this, but in auto mode I would expect the camera to respond quickly to changing conditions.

Now my issue is whether to exchange the camera for the same model or a start over with a different model. I am going to test it some more this weekend and decide on Monday. I really want this camera to work out, but I am not sure I can justify the cost for the workarounds I will have to employ. Are there any cameras that will be better suited for me? Again, thanks for your reply.
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Old June 28th, 2004, 12:38 PM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dan Owens : Mark,

Thanks for the reply. I have the LCD open when I am viewing the tape, so there is nothing in the way of the speaker. I can hear the audio just fine when I use headphones, but I hear faint hints of sound at best through the speaker. This doesn't seem normal.
... They told me that the camera intentionally waits 5-10 seconds to change white balance, because if the lighting were to briefly change the white balance would be constantly changing. -->>>

Dan,
I also have the dvc 30. On the sound issue - I am wondering if the sound was simply recorded at a low volume. You can tell by watching the volume indicators - is there any red? There should be some if you are recording at optimal volume. The dvc 30 will not automatically boost low volume audio - the auto gain is really just a limiter, preventing overly loud sounds from clipping. (Most consumer cameras do full auto volume control - which can result in the background noise being boosted unnaturally during quiet passages, and then suddenly pumped down when the volume picks up).

On the white balance - I see the same thing your are seeing and that the Panasonic reps describe. I just finished shooting a lot of video at my family reunion. A lot of activity took place in a large dining room / kitchen lit with tungsten lights, but surrounded by three large windows - a real mix of color temperatures. If I moved from a daylight dominated corner to a tungsten dominated corner of the room, the camera would respond in about five or six seconds. This was, of course, on automatic white balance. And the switching can be prevented by going over to manual and just setting the white balance using a card, and then letting some parts of the room be warmer and some parts cooler - which is the reality of the environment. Or I could leave it on auto, and just wait a few seconds for the camera to adjust after moving.

On both these issues, the moral of the story is that the dvc 30 is not the best camcorder for someone operating in full auto mode. While it can be done - there are compromises. However the camera really comes into itís own when you take some control of the audio and video.

// Ric
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Old June 28th, 2004, 05:11 PM   #5
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Hi Ric,

I played with the camcorder more this weekend and have become comfortable with the white balance issue. I was trying to use it on full auto to start, but I realized how easy it was to do things in manual that it will not be much of an issue. Also, once I was told how the white balance responds to the changes, I felt more at ease. It was a little un-nerving to turn on a camera and have everything red and orange. At that point, I thought there was a problem.

Regarding the speaker, the recorded levels probably weren't ideal, so I boosted the levels manually. I can still only barely hear the audio from the speaker. I have decided to exchange the unit for another one to make sure there isn't a problem with my particular camcorder.

I was going back and forth this weekend trying to decide what I was going to do. My other choices were the Canon GL2 and Sony VX-2100. I loved the size of the GL2 and originally chose the DVC30 because it had everything I wished the GL2 had (such as a larger LCD screen, XLR adapter with phantom power, and better low light capabilities). If this camera does this well in low light, I can only imagine how well the VX-2100 does. Overall, the DVC30 seems like a perfect compromise between size and capabilities. I have gotten used to it, so I am going to keep the replacement, assuming there isnít anything blatantly wrong with it. And if the speaker is the same, I will make accommodations for it.
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Old June 29th, 2004, 01:49 AM   #6
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Can anyone give me an idea of what low light capabilities this cam has? any frame shots you can post at night with ambient street lights etc???
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Old June 29th, 2004, 07:23 PM   #7
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Scott,

My camcorder is in transit back to B & H. My replacement should be here in a week or so. I will try to get night ambient street light shots when I get it back (unless anyone else can do it sooner).
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Old June 29th, 2004, 07:34 PM   #8
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Great thanks Dan, : )

You sent it back because you thought the speaker was too low?? Hell my DVX100A is the same way. They are all real real low and you have to strain to hear them in a somewhat quiet room.. just FYI..

The screen shots of ambient lighting and low light indoor shots would be great. I am somewhat intrigued by this lil camera..

It would be nice if someone that had a dvx who also owned the dvc 30 could tell me about matching video for wedding videos and events... Anyone?
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Old June 30th, 2004, 08:46 AM   #9
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Hi Scott,

I am gonna try and post some frame grabs of its low light capabilities later or tommorow.

I have had the DVC30 for a week or so, and it is great. I had been leaning towards the VX2100 for its low light advantage, and make no mistake - it has the edge over this cam in this regard, but the sony has no frame mode or cine gamma, which I think adds a lot to the DVC30. Also it is smaller, and has a great 16x zoom lens that can zoom from wide to tele in 1 to 100 seconds! The cam also has a very rugged metal construction (which is why I didn't get the XM2/GL2)

Check out this thread (if you haven't already) for mine and others impressions on this camera:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=26904

Dave.
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