MX300 PAL firmware 1.6 solves DV OUT Glitches & IMPROVES OIS by 2X! at DVinfo.net

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Old December 4th, 2002, 10:03 PM   #1
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MX300 PAL firmware 1.6 solves DV OUT Glitches & IMPROVES OIS by 2X!

Hi, everybody!

Just want to share the good news! I have had my MX300EN (PAL) upgraded with the latest 1.6 firmware, thanks to advice from Frank Granovski; and Stuart Cooper of Panasonic Australia.

The default firmware in MX300 is version 1.4. Frank got his done in Australia and they have 1.5. Version 1.6 is the latest as of Oct 2002 - that's when mine was upgraded and Panasonic Malaysia had to get the latest firmware from Japan.

Expect the following:

1) No more glitches / video squares when exporting DV out to either my NLE or my Sony Digi8 TRV410E's DV in port.

The glitches appear randomly, lasts for about 2 to 3 frames, where certain squares of misplaced video will appear. By rewinding the tape & playing back the same section you may or MAY NOT encounter the glitches again. Note it only happens with PAL models. I suspect it has to do with my Matrox RT2000 using Texas Instrument DV drivers, and not Microsoft DV drivers.

It was suggested that my NLE could be faulty, but I know my NLE works, and worked fine for the last 2 years - and it's a DUAL Pentium III both CPUs not overclocked at 1 Gigahertz with 1 Gig of PC-133 SDRAM, and RAID using dual 7200 rpm IBM ATA-66 drives, so I don't think it's my system.

How do you explain the fact that if I pump the DV video to my Sony TRV-410E I also get the glitches, when my Sony isn't even recording, but just monitoring?

Whatever, right after the upgrade, I had no more glitches when exporting DV from MX300 to my NLE!


2) Improved OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) by up to 2 times!

Before the upgrade, I could barely hold my MX300 at 6x zoom with one hand. I could manage for just a few seconds before the camera shakes come.

After the upgrade, I can hold it steady with one hand, at up to 12x zoom!

Must be an improvement in the latest upgrade - maybe it shares the same algorithm as the MX350 which has Mega OIS.


I don't know if version 1.5 has this OIS improvement - perhaps Frank can try on his MX300s and comment? Version 1.5 already fixes the DV out glitches problem.



Upgrading firmware has to be done at an authorized Panasonic service center, 'cos you wouldn't have the special software and hardware board required to hook to your MX300. After the upgrade your LCD and Viewfinder has to be calibrated again.

regards,
Steven Khong
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Old December 4th, 2002, 11:40 PM   #2
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Guten Abend! You mean I have to send my MX300 to Australia again for the 1.6 upgrade!?

Regarding the OIS, I always found that mine works like a charm, and I could not notice any difference between it and the one on the GL1, TRV900 and VX2000.

I'll check out the OIS at 6X+ tomorrow, when there's light---it's night here now.

Oh, and most of the time I shoot with a tripod, with DIS/OIS "off."

Thanks for your informative post!
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Old December 5th, 2002, 02:39 AM   #3
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This is good news as the crummy OIS on my MX300 is perhaps the one thing that really bugs me about it compared to my old trv900 - the 900's OIS was way better than *my* MX300.
Seeing as it was me who started this whole glitch problem and firmware upgrade back in Aug last year I guess I should ask my local Panasonic repairer if he has yet got the latest 1.6 update - that might just be enough to make me hold off from upgrading to the MX500 - although I hope to give a '500 a thorough check out (including it's 'mega ois' and the 16:9 resolution etc) this weekend...
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Old December 5th, 2002, 02:48 AM   #4
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That's right. YOU ARE the one who first mentioned this glitch problem over on dv.com's camera forum! And I'm sure that many MX300 owners appreciated your information. I for one. Thanks!

When you take the MX500 for a test drive, could you, pretty please, post your findings here? We need more reviews! Heck, I need one. Thanks again.

Do you still post up at dvdoctor? I haven't been there for a while. I still buy those Brit cam mags, "Computer Video" and the other one that you're so fond of (joking).
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Old December 5th, 2002, 02:59 AM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by AngryofMayfair : ... I hope to give a '500 a thorough check out (including it's 'mega ois' and the 16:9 resolution etc) this weekend... -->>>

From what I know, the Mega OIS is only for stills, kinda like to save the tripod.

Please do test drive. I gave a very critical review on the MX500. On one hand, I hope that you can reinforce my findings, on the other hand, I am also hoping that the camera is not as bad as I reviewed it to be. Quite a number of people bought the cam, based on the advertisements and hype generated from the advertisements. I know of a few who are in deep regret now...
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Old December 5th, 2002, 03:24 AM   #6
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Hi, yowch0000.

I agree when you say MX350's MegaOIS is for stills. It says so in the literature. No doubt there.

The bonus is: MegaOIS for 350 works in Movie mode too!

Some background history: Terrence Smith & I went to a shop in Kuala Lumpur to test the MX350 back in July this year, we did a comparison side by side of the MX300 vs MX350 at http://www.mycen.com.my/inbox/mx2.html. I have tested both MX300 & MX350's (MEGA) OIS in movie camera mode.


I better qualify what I mean by "camera shake" first.

Shakes, as in wobble - like the picture is rotating around the center of the picture, slightly counter clockwise & anti counter clockwise alternatively, many times a second. OIS or DIS is designed to minimise this. Turn off OIS from the menu, zoom out, and you will see the camera shake.

This is DIFFERENT from your hand moving left or right or up or down slightly at high zoom magnifications, a small movement equals a big degree in angle. Err... try this. Put your cam on the table, thereby stabilizing it from going up & down. Now zoom out to 6x, and just slightly change the angle by nudging it left or right, and you will notice that the picture has shifted a lot! Hope you get what I mean.... it's like having binoculars but finding it hard to search for the object... No OIS is going to help you with this problem.


At the time of the MX300 vs MX350 test,
when I held the MX300, I could only zoom up to 5x, or 6x MAX if I try really hard, before the camera shakes occur - because the OIS reached its MAX operating capabilities. More shakes / tremors from my hand than the OIS can handle.

When I held the MX350, I could zoom up to 11x, or even 12x if I try really hard, before the camera shakes because the MegaOIS reached its MAX operating capabilities. I was impressed!

What do I mean by "try really hard?". 5x & 11x is achievable with one hand. 6x & 12x can be achieved by steadying the cam with 2 hands. 6x & 12x can also be done with one hand, but you need really steady hands. I better qualify that with the fact that I've done many shoots with heavy Sony handheld camcorders, with one hand, shooting at zoom for minutes at a time, for many years now. So my hand is quite steady.

Anyways, I ended up buying the MX300.


This weekend, I hope to meet Terrence and compare our MX300s since his is still with the original firmware. Then he can test out my new "MegaOIS" enabled MX300 too. Will keep you all informed.

regards,
Steven Khong
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Old December 5th, 2002, 03:48 AM   #7
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Steven,

I need you to clarify 'camera'. I think you mean 'video camera' mode, as opposed to 'still camera' mode.

Does it mean that all this time, I was shooting with OIS (as shown on the screen) but Mega OIS is actually running on my MX350? Or do I need to upgrade the firmware?

I have the MX350 with me now, but under tape mode (video) the OIS seems less 'powerful' in stabilizing than the Mega OIS in card mode (stills). I see this as the different between OIS and Mega OIS. In any case, if Mega is already enabled, then I've been living in bliss without knowing it. The performance of the MX8 is very similar to the MX350, maybe the Mega is also activated for video on the MX8, too!

I have rather steady hands, too (from a few years of being in the air-rifle team and a few more doing videos), and I am very thankful that the OIS helps when a tripod in not available.
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Old December 5th, 2002, 03:50 AM   #8
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BTW, please call me YowCH, the '000' is to make the minimum name length.

Hope to meet you one day, I'm also Malaysian.
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Old December 5th, 2002, 05:30 PM   #9
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Hi, YowCH!

Glad to meet another Malaysian! Sure, sometimes I go to Singapore, we can meet. Or if you get back "home" to PJ or KL we can meet too. Where's your hometown?

Yes, you are right - when I said "Movie mode" I meant Video Camera mode. To be more precise: I know from my earlier testing with the MX350 that MegaOIS works in Camera- Tape as well as Camera- Card (that's how it's written on my MX300).

Most likely you perceive the MegaOIS works better in Camera - Card 'cos of the "Progressive scan" still picture capabilities are VERY IMPRESSIVE at reducing blur.

The Camera- Tape mode's equivalent is Frame Mode. If you are NOT in Frame Mode (25 fps) then when you press the PhotoShot button to take a 7 second still with sound, and you accidentally shake the camera too much, or there's motion in the scene itself, then you will get horrible "jaggies" - the interleave effect - when you try to lift a still frame from the video with your NLE. Frame mode is nice when you need to lift nice stills from the video. Perhaps other forum members can elaborate?

Note that Camera- Card even has a "light booster" / Gain where in low light, when taking stills, the picture is brightened. That's when the "candle"Card (looks like ICARD) appears on the screen.

Besides, how many still cameras out there have a OIS built in?

Back to video...

Like I wrote earlier, in an actual side by side, same scene comparison, the MegaOIS on the MX350 is better than the OIS on the default firmware of the MX300. The barrel shape of the MX350 also helps me to better get my fingers wrapped around the cam, improving stability as well. I have yet to test my new firmware MX350 with a MX350 (anybody in PJ / KL area with one?).

Therefore I don't think you need a new firmware upgrade for your MX350. Your MX350 already beats the default firmware MX300.
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Old December 5th, 2002, 08:01 PM   #10
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Hi Steven,

From PJ, too! SS4C, but now staying full time in Singapore.

I'll be back the week before Chinese New Year.

Back to OIS, my MX8 is currently away in Philipines on a mission trip (my good friend/brother took it, he's from JB but now in KL). I'll test the MX8 side-by-side the MX350 when it comes back.

I have not seen anyone using the MX300 here in Singapore, although it was available for sale. Maybe someday I'll get to test them side-by-side.

Hi angryOfMayfair,

How's the MX500 test drive?

Hi Frank G,

Is there any difference in using OIS and not while on tripod? I know that sometimes, when I pan really slowly, the camera 'thinks' that it's shake and startup the OIS, hence making my pan very jittery!
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Old December 5th, 2002, 08:17 PM   #11
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>Is there any difference in using OIS and not while on tripod? I know that sometimes, when I pan really slowly, the camera 'thinks' that it's shake and startup the OIS, hence making my pan very jittery!<

I shut of the OIS when using a tripod. I've seen no jitters. I haven't tried the 6X zoom test yet. I'm going to go into the parkade later, and try it, to see if I get "jitters" from 6X and on.

I'm waiting for Pana's answer concerning this firmware upgrade. I recieved about 10 files from them today with strange extentions---waiting back about this too! Heck, I don't have a clue about what these are! They took almost an hour to come in as attachments on an e-mail. Crazy.

***Concerning circular verses linear polarizers for the MX line of cams, either type will work.***
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Old December 6th, 2002, 05:43 AM   #12
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You're right, Steven. In 6X and up in auto, the video dances around like a nutty drunk doing a jig in high speed. It's crazy! Jittery is understating this problem! Man..., I guess my MX is going back to AU, and if I'm lucky, I'll have it back by spring. I'm not happy.

I thought this was normal before. I should have known something wasn't right. My DVL9500s with DIS don't do this. And neither does the GL1 and PD100 I've used many times in the past---heck, the VX2000 doesn't have these jitters either (I must be getting old, and relying too much on my tripod.)

Steven, I owe you a Cuban cigar!
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Old December 7th, 2002, 06:05 PM   #13
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G'day Yowch, Frank & Steven,
Sorry to have to tell you that I have not been able to check out the MX500 - too many things happening and Christmas just around the corner - hopefully I will find some time over the next week or two - I would like the MX500 over the 300 for a number of reasons - better OIS, bigger screen, USB streaming, hi-res 16:9 mode, extra record button and cord remote - both *very* useful!, also better battery life due to *less* power consumption, oh and the built in flash is nice - lots of good things BUT the video quality has to be at least as good as the MX300 otherwise I will not be upgrading!

I was so close to checking out the MX500 on Wednesday - I was 10 mins away from Tasman AV and I rang them to make sure thay had a 500 in stock - they said they were nil stock so I turned around and drove in the opposite direction, 40 mins later they rang back to say sorry - they had 4 in stock all the time! Argh!

In the meantime I will pester my Panasonic Authorised repairer in Melb for the 1.6 upgrade for my '300 - thanks again Steven

Cheers for now
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Old December 8th, 2002, 07:17 PM   #14
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My comparison shows that the video quality of the MX500 is very similar to that of the MX350 (which is similar to the MX300).

My cons on the MX500 are early use of digital gain (smaller CCDs?), and when digital gain is activated grain. Also, higher minimum lux of 10 (the camera goes blind at 10 lux!) and poor LCD brightness (what I see is about 1 F-stop dimmer than what I get).
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Old December 8th, 2002, 08:38 PM   #15
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Yowch000, thanks. Actually, I'll have some MX500 resolution details soon, and I've already have detailed info about the firmware version 1.6 upgrade. I'll be posting this info soon (in a couple of hours).
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