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Panasonic DV / MX / GS series Assistant
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Old September 23rd, 2004, 07:16 AM   #46
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Allan, first off congratulations on your purchase and secondly count me in for a black GS400.
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Old October 1st, 2004, 12:23 AM   #47
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finally in japan

Allen, you being a Canon fan finally also bought your GS 400? yesterday, finally in Japan, I went down to Yodobashi Camera in Osaka and had my feels of the GS 200, GS 400 ( both available in black ) and the Canon Optura 500 and Optura 40. My thinking was that I may opt for the Optura 500, because the Canons have the option to choose the language on their LCD. But then, having all these models in my hand I really did not like the Optura 500, it simply is too small for my big hands, and the low light performance of the Opt 40 should be still bad. Again I tended towards the Panasonics, not sure if going for the GS200 only since it is not as big as the GS 400 which could be an advantage as I will take the camera along on many travels. - But then after all, why not going for the best, and my favourite is the GS 400, and it did become cheaper recently again.

My big concern now is the language problem! As I mentioned I thought I would rather go for the Canons for this reason, but the Opt 40's low light performance and the Opt 500's size made me want the panas again. But in the shop I was told that many models do have the language choices, the JVC's for example. Any recommendable JVC model?

- How much of a problem do you think think the japanese menus will be? Could it be enough, for me as a beginner, that I start using mostly the automatic settings, and then only slowly learn the menus - and it only could be very slowly, considering thoese japanese hyroglyphs!
Or is there any way one could reprogram the Panasonics to have the menus in English? Taht would be perfect! Anybody?

Thank's,
Andreas

und mein Namenskollege Winkler wird sich darueber freuen!
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Old October 1st, 2004, 01:13 AM   #48
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Danke Andreas! ;)

Go for the GS400!! If you will use automatic controls almost all the time, the Japanese menus should be not a big issue. There are also English menu translations available to print out.
But of course, if anybody could find a way to change Japanese models to English would be perfect and I'd sell my PV-GS400 right away to get a black NV-GS400 ...finally with a 24hrs clock! ;)
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Old October 1st, 2004, 03:05 AM   #49
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Danke auch, Andreas :)

for convincing me to get that very cool looking camera, I can't ait anymore anyway and will order it this evening. Which accessories would you recommend? A second battery? The 'VW-VBD140', the smallest one, is included. There are the bigger 'VW-VBD210' and the biggest 'VW-VBD7'. Could the last one be too big, is to speak too heavy, and the '140' the better buy? And how about the microphone? Better to get an 'external' one which can be connected to the 'hot shoe', and there again are two models, the VW-VMH3 and the VW-VMS2. And protecting UV filter? And Video light? How necessary is it? Again there are various models, VW-LDC10, VW-LDDS9 and VW-LDH3. I have the information about all these accessories in japanese language only, and I hardly can tell what is their difference. Anybody has some recommendations?
And I suppose there will be cheaper non panasonic accessories as well, batteries or camera bags. Any recommendations there? And if so, where do order/get?
( Why I have not ordered the GS400 yet is just because I had written to various internet shops for a special prize including accessories, and a Panasonic Lumix LX7 which I will get for my friend here in Japan, but there has been not any answer yet )

'wuensche noch einen schoenen tag'
andreas
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Old October 1st, 2004, 09:47 AM   #50
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Re: Danke auch, Andreas :)

Hallo Namensvetter,

> Which accessories would you recommend? A second battery?

I would definately recommend a second battery! The small original 1360mAh doesn't last that long. Sorry, can't give you any exact real life details, I had no time for intensive continuous testing/measuring yet. But I bought a 3rd-party 2100mAh battery too which works a bit longer, might be 2 hours operational time with PowerLCD and recording/playback. Furthermore I built another battery pack by myself. It has 4400mAh and works about two days with recording and playback as well - can't tell you any continuous operating time too. Feel free to check here for more details and photos.

> And how about the microphone?

Hm, I'm not very satisfied with the built in mic. The results disappointed me several times - very "thin" sound and seems the wind filter doesn't work well - maybe I'll try to attach some kind of physical wind protection soon.
I'd also buy an external mic, preferably for the hot shoe. But the Pana originals are quite expensive and the specifications don't sound that good - starting from 100Hz only - I need lower frequencies, as I might record some music events in clubs.
I'd also try to build some kind of hot shoe adapter for a "normal" mic by myself, if I only could get a pin description for the GS400 hot shoe!

> And Video light? How necessary is it?

I myself never needed any video light so far. I think the GS400 can record more than you can see with your own eyes.

> camera bags. Any recommendations there?

I bought a small camcorder backpack in my local store. Very satisfied with it! It has sufficient space for all needed accessories incl. some tapes, cables, lenses and my seldmade battery pack ;). There is even a small "rain coat" included hidden in a compartment on the bottom. It's from Jenova, but I can't find my particular model on their website.

You might also check for a wide angle lens. I purchased the Raynox HD-5000PRO, but found it's vignetting in wide and photo still modes on full zoom back. Therefore I sold it to my brother who owns a Pany with 37mm thread. I'll look around for another wide angle - unfortunately I can't get the Raynox HD-6600PRO43 over here in Taiwan. Maybe I'll look for it when I go to Japan soon.

Schoenes Wochenende!
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Old October 1st, 2004, 09:56 AM   #51
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...oh, I forgot - lens protection...
I don't like too many unnessesary things infront of my lens, so I only bought a circular polarizer, which I use in several situations - i.e. shooting while riding on the back of a scooter, it keeps flies off the lens. ;) Of course the polarizer is also very useful in museums or exhibitions to shoot through glas.

Oh, and think about a small tripod - although the optical image stabilizer of the GS400 is very good!
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Old October 1st, 2004, 10:41 AM   #52
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Andreas W., how come I am not getting any vignetting with the HD5000 even on wide video mode? Did you remove the Pany stock hood? The only problem is, the black GS400 together with the gray/silver tiny HD5000 do not look aesthetically pleasing to the eyes...it should look a lot nicer with the silver GS400.

Andreas G...I like both Canon and Pany...and the Sony tripod with remote :-) Too bad Pany does not have LANC :-(.

First thing you should get is an MC Protector and attach it immediately in front of the stock hood before you even do anything else with the cam. If money is not an issue, then get a step-up ring 43-49 and one of those Hoya HMC filters.

For outdoor shooting, get an ND4 or 8 filter and stack it on top of the MC. I have a Kenko catalogue in front of me right now and it says that ND filter is a "required" filter for digital cam and videocam..their statement not mine!

Battery: Buy compatible batts from Powergears (directly or through e-bay). Don't waste JPY14,000 on a single genuine VBD210. If you like the VBD7, I think Japan is the only place to get it. It's not that big - almost like carrying a compact cam on your waist.

Mic: VMH3 is a stereo zoom mic and hot shoe compatible. VMS2 is just a stereo mic and self powered.

Video light: LDC10 is a 10W video light powered by the same type of batt as the GS400. LDDS9 uses the same batt as the MX5000 (so dont buy it). LDH3 is hot shoe compatible but is rated 3W only...3W is practically useless.

Bag: Go to cam bag section of Yodobashi cam and check any of the following: Lowepro, Tamrac, Aosta, Benetton, Kenko, whatever meets your budget. If you're lucky, depending on your source, you might even get a free Pany bag...cheap looking but well padded...a good start.

Sorry to discourage you but writing to internet shops to get a special price is not likely to work because their prices are heavily discounted already compared to say Yodobashi. Ask your Japanese friend to talk to them over the phone and confirm their sales conditions. Better yet, ask your friend to bring you to one of those tiny discount shops and bring cash. Good luck anyway!

Take it easy and have fun!
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Old October 1st, 2004, 10:59 AM   #53
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It may cost cheaper outside Japan but while you're in Yodobashi, try to check Velbon C-500 or C-600 fluid head tripod...they're the most reasonably priced fluid head tripods.
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Old October 2nd, 2004, 10:36 AM   #54
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<<<-- Originally posted by Allan Rejoso : Andreas W., how come I am not getting any vignetting with the HD5000 even on wide video mode? Did you remove the Pany stock hood? The only problem is, the black GS400 together with the gray/silver tiny HD5000 do not look aesthetically pleasing to the eyes...it should look a lot nicer with the silver GS400. -->>>

Allan, yes I removed the Pany hood!
I got vignetting in photo and wide/ProCinema modes. It was not visible on the LCD, only when you watched the whole frame/photo on a computer screen. Even more vignetting - which was also visible on the GS400's LCD - appeared when I attached a polarizer.
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Old October 2nd, 2004, 09:33 PM   #55
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<<<-- Originally posted by Andreas Winkler: ...I got vignetting in photo and wide/ProCinema modes. It was not visible on the LCD, only when you watched the whole frame/photo on a computer screen... -->>>

Many thanks for the clarification. Good thing I never use digital still mode and only watch video on TV :-) The HD5000 works perfectly with the GS400 (4:3 and 16:9) when I tested on a 36 and 42V wide TV.

You have to try those Hoya thins or wide-angle filters if you want to attach a filter in front of the HD5000. Another option is to step up from 62-72 or bigger diameter and use bigger filters.
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 12:35 AM   #56
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Allan, yes I was also thinking about a step up ring for the filter. Anyway, at the moment I don't own a wide angle, but I was searching around a bit and found the Kenko KNW-05 PRO-II on the net. It's 52mm and would need a step up from 43mm on the GS400. Unfortunately I couldn't find any real images shot with this lens attached and any camera yet. Maybe I'll visit my local dealer today to ask for details...
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 05:25 AM   #57
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filers etc.

Allen, why should there be a stepup ring? Because filters will be more readily available with a 49 mm mount? what good do the ND filters? thank's a lot for all the tips regarding the accessories!
and Andreas, why would you prefer the Kenko KNW-05 PRO-II to the original Panasonic VW-LW4307M or VW-LT4314N-K, which seem top be cheaper than the Kenko? and for the wide angle lens, a stepup ring will be needed, and if so, to which size will be most usefull?
what's vignetting?
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 05:41 AM   #58
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Andreas, sorry, the one Panasonoc lens I mentioned is a telephotp lens, and the wide lens is only 0.7.
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Old October 3rd, 2004, 08:55 AM   #59
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<<<-- Originally posted by Kaku Ito : Allan,

My information about HC1000 having wider dynamic range was said in their own development team's interveiw (kinda bogus because interview is done internally, and Panasonic does that too on the website, kinda silly).

So, I don't know how much to believe, but it mus have better dynamic range comparing to its older model (don't know which one).

I will find out soon and provide you folks a comparison footage. -->>>

I tried the HC1000 for a short time, but this model lacks quick control of everything. Pretty much everything is controlled on the touch panel. The dynamic range was nothing for them to be proud of.
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Old October 4th, 2004, 12:18 AM   #60
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Allen, which source for the black GS 400?

Last friday I finally ordered the GS 400. Because in the order form the color was not clearly given I was careful and specifically asked for the black model, and today, thinking that my camera will arrive very soon, I received the answer that the shop of my choice only has the silver model. Allen, could you tell me which internet shop in Tokyo ( or Osaka ) is selling the black model? I sent this request to a bunch of shops today, but I am getting unpatient, maybe you can help me to spped things up by telling me a specific shop. If better you could send this information to my private address, e_motion11@yahoo.com
thank's a lot,
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