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Old June 26th, 2004, 03:14 PM   #1
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nd filters on panasonic prosumer

I have been reading Optura Xi and 40 manuals and the auto ND function is really annoying. I want a button on the side of the cam, or at least a quick menu choice to turn ND filter on - off. Which Panny's (other than DVC series) have that function??
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Old June 26th, 2004, 07:11 PM   #2
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Stephen, please correct me if I am wrong but as I recall, the Xi's auto-ND function is for stills only. That option in the menu appears only when you are under card mode.

I use Hoya ND4 and ND8 filters ($10 each) with both my black mamba and Optura. Works GREAT outdoors when it's very bright.

As far as I know, none of the MX and GS series cams have manual ND on-off function but most of them are supposed to have 2-blade iris with built-in ND.

The Optura Xi has a 6-blade iris (thus capable of producing a natural looking blur - blurred subject with rounded edges instead of pointed as in the case of the GS100 and PC300), with independent ND.
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Old June 26th, 2004, 10:35 PM   #3
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Thanks - I've just been downloading manuals and reading up since I cannot find an Xi or Panny cam higher than a GS120 around here.

I have to say, I dislike the manual controls on these level cams. I'm abandoning the consumer cam market. The GS/MX/Optura are just too consumer for me. I'm going to try to scrounge up a little more cash and buy a used high-end prosumer.
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Old June 28th, 2004, 02:05 AM   #4
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You're heading the right way Stephen, as nearly all the current crop of consumer cams come with in-built automatic ND filtration. My test of the Canon MVX3i (an Optura in some markets I believe) works like this: Note Allan, that this is in all modes...

The exposure control operates two neutral density filters in combination with the diaphragm. They are there primarily to avoid the destructive effects of diffraction when such tiny chips and short focal lengths are employed, and itís interesting to see that the camera plays with a combination of these ND filters and their positions in the light path rather than changing to a smaller aperture. In automatic the camera will hang onto f4 for a as long as possible, raising the shutter speed but unfortunately giving some footage a rather staccato look.

For a camcorder in this category the system works well and ensures that non technical owners get the best performance out of the lens.

Sony also went that route. The TRV900 allowed you to chose whatever aperture you wanted to shoot at, but the replacement TRV950 uses 3 auto ND filters that severly limits your chioce of aperture. Same with all the Panasonics below the DVX/c.

The bottom line is this: If you don't see an ND switch on the side of the camera (and it better be a two position switch to be of any use) then you can safely assume that the manufacturer thinks you're a nincompoop, and needs auto ND insertion in the same way as you need auto transmission.

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Old June 28th, 2004, 02:16 AM   #5
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Yeah, I'm shooting right now with a 35mm still camera and just love having all manual controls and solid feel at my fingertips. Sure, I can use auto when i need it, but most of the time it stays in some manual mode.

I came very close to getting an optura xi or tommy's gs100, but just could not because in addition to the lack of manual, I forgot about the huge hassle of getting all my phantom powered XLR mics to work on these cams...

So, I'm hunting used.
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Old June 28th, 2004, 02:27 AM   #6
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It's not that they lack manual control Stephen. Everything can be locked down - the w/bal. focus, audio, shutter speed, exposure. The only problem is that they won't allow a selected aperture to be used, that's all.

Panasonic and Sony also lie when you hit 'display' on replay. The readout will tell you that you shot at f8 or f11 or f16, whereas in fact all the frames were taken at f4.5 with differing amounts of ND filtration added behind your back.

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