Michael's highlights of the Australian mag MX500 review! at DVinfo.net

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Old December 19th, 2002, 04:21 AM   #1
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Michael's highlights of the Australian mag MX500 review!

Hi all, Just saw a message on the Yahoo MX-5000 forum mentioning the MX-500A has been reviewed in Australian Videocamera & Desktop Video Magazine December issue.

Just thought I would copy the whole message over to here so you can have a read of it.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Offe,
South Australia.

Message: 1
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002 12:59:05 -0000
From: "gavindullard "

Subject: MX500 Offical Review


The Panasonic NV-MX500A has been officially reviewed in Australian Videocamera & Desktop Video Magazine (December Pages 36-37,59).

The reviewer loved the Panasonic DV Camera "...I think the greatest compliment I can give a camcorder is to say just couldnt put it down. And in the case of the MX500 I couldn't ...."

The artice then compared shot by shot images taken with a 3 Megapixal still camera and the MX500's 3 megapixel shots. Unfortunately the MX500 with only 748,000 pixels could not match the 3 megapixel still camera regardless of it's electronic trickery. Image for image the MX500 did not have the clarity or sharpness.

However the reviewer gave it thumbs up for it's video camera images "...on the test bench, our results were closer to 520 lines of resolution, still well past the 500-line resolution of most current DV camcorders

"...objective tests show the Mx500 delivers excellent video picture resolution and great clarity ...."

"...when viewed on a studio monitor the picture from the MX500, from a variety of shooting environments is superb ..."

".....the RBG Frame noise Reduction delivers a far cleaner picture......"

".......While the Mx500 may lack the professional look of the larger Sony, JVC and Canon 3-CCD models , it delivers the goods when the output is viewed on a TV monitor ......."

The reviewer also made good reference to the MX500 true 16:9 widescreen mode with full use of 720 X 576 TV Lines (PAL)

Overall the Mx500 Review was of fine congratulations on its Dv video images but a failure when it's 3 Megapixel images were put under the microscope.
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Old December 19th, 2002, 04:43 AM   #2
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Hmm, I've been looking for that magazine for the last few days and it hasn't yet shown up in the local newsagents...
To be honest I would take what they say with a pinch of salt, just about everything they review gets the thumbs up - it's almost like they are paid to review these things. Many many times I have noticed where they have cut and pasted whole paragraphs of text from previous reviews (like the MX300) and made use of it again in the latest & greatest review
I certainly would not buy, unseen, based on the reviews of this particular magazine.
Having said that I will probably have a read of the review but then I will hopefully be going downtown to check out this beastie over the weekend for myself, like I keep promising...
I really hope the 16:9 mode and the improved OIS are as good as I hear - those plus the corded remote are worth an upgrade imho...
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Old December 19th, 2002, 05:05 AM   #3
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Some members of this forum, and other forums, have bought and are pretty pleased with the MX500. Many new features which are great and some improvements over the older MX models.

On the other hand, after a test drive of the MX500, I was quite disappointed. All the hype and publicity about it raised my expectations real high, but this cam is actually a 'budget model'. It is a good camera for its price, and for its price it comes with some disadvantages/weaknesses thrown in.

What I have learnt: go for a test drive. If test-drive is not availble, check out the forums for users' postings. Magazine reviews and brochures are at best guides to the good points. The bad points are often 'hidden away'.

Thanks to Frank and Mic for another review, and hopefully, official reviews can bring up a more balanced view-point for both the pros and cons of reviewed cams.
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Old December 19th, 2002, 05:33 AM   #4
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"...Hopefully, official reviews can bring up a more balanced view-point for both the pros and cons of reviewed cams."

I hear you. However, people here, including myself, have to depend on you guys to come across this type information. We have no MX500, MX350 nor MX300 cams sold here, except for the odd one coming in at local PAL specialty shops. (Vancouver has 2 which I am aware of.) So, no reviews from North America! Damn! I should really listen to my wife and move to Sydney Down-Under! But then, who's going to look after my mother and grandmother? My grandmother's pushing 96.... Ahh, I guess Vancouver's not that bad (except for the rain and the right wing government).
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Old December 19th, 2002, 09:03 AM   #5
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Glad to be of help, maybe I should stalk out the Super Stores here and test drive more PAL cams.

What pisses me most is that 'magazine people' review cameras as if they have used it. There are a few who really gets to play hands-on (like Colin) but there are also those who picks up a rumour or a brochure and sells the info like Gospel. I think magazines given freedom of speech need to be responsible, too, wouldn't you agree.

Frank: Glad to hear that you gramdma is around. Both mine are gone, and I'm 3/5 your age.
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Old December 19th, 2002, 11:18 AM   #6
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It will be interesting if it really has 16:9 CCDs. From what I have read here, if so, then it will be the first 16:9 in this price range.
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Old December 19th, 2002, 02:57 PM   #7
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I'm almost 49.
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Old December 19th, 2002, 09:27 PM   #8
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I would agree with you Yow about the mags. Sometimes you do wonder if they actually tried the cam they are reviewing. Worse yet, there tips are rarely reproducible. The only thing worse are newsgroups....

....except for this one!!!!!.......
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Old December 19th, 2002, 11:53 PM   #9
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Ok - I managed to pick up a copy of Australian Video Camera - I actually bought it instead of just glancing thorugh it at the newsagents stand, because it also has a report on the Panasonic HS2 HDD/DVD Recorder which is a brilliant piece of kit, IMHO... :-)

So, straight to the MX500 reveiw and I am sorry to say that this 'review' is up to AVC's usual pathetic standards - the whole 'test bench report' is all of three pages (sides) long, one of which is full of sample jpgs comparing the stills of the MX500 to the stills of a 3 megapixel camera. Of the other two pages there are about six colums of detail, most of which are devoted to the fact that the MX500 is not in the same league as a 3 megapixel stills cam when comparing it's still output!
OK, I agree with the theory - Panasonic should not be allowed to market this cam as a 3 megapixel stills capable device when in reality it is using 748000 pixels and the rest of the resolution comes from massive interpolation! What crap.
But to get back to the 'test bench report' - an even bigger load of crap. Major focus is it's not so good stills mode - hey guys this is primarily a *video camera*!
Figures guys - where are they? The only measured figure they present is the 520 lines of resolution. Good, very good but most single ccd dv cams will give this sort of res anyway. Where's the deatil about signal to noise or contrast etc etc? All we see is a few 'stars', most of them are 4.5 stars out of (I presume!) a maximum of five. Hmm....
Any other figures are basically weight, size, lens aperture, zoom ratio etc - all taken directly from Panasonics sales brochures.
Ahh, there are two paragraphs devoted to the 16:9 mode. Yes it seems the MX500 can give us a true 720 x 576 widescreen picture but there is no comment about it's true quality compared to the standard 4:3 mode or if the OIS and 'frame' mode (actually 'frame mode' is never mentioned anywhere in this report) still works in 16:9 mode or if you can capture 16:9 still shots to chip (you can't with the MX300).
It does refer us to a non-existant illustration that is supposed to show the full vertical resolution of the 16:9 mode, not to be found, which made me wonder if there was perhaps a page missing from my magazine? :-)
No mention of the built in flash - does it have any adjustable settings? Does it have a red-eye reduction?
No mention of the extra record button or the cable remote - two very useful 'extras' to the MX300 IMHO...
No mention whatsoever about battery life or screen brightness/sharpness or the new Panasonic 'instant zoom' feature...
Nothing mentioned about the tiny chips and their lack of ability to cope with excessive light or gloomy days or their lack of differential depth of field, but I guess that sort of thing is generic and not just specific to the MX500...

I could go on....

The report has a brief summary listing the 'pros' & 'cons' of the MX500.
Rather surprisingly (to me) after waffling on for most of the report about it's fairly ordinary stills capability they list '3 megapixel stills capability' as one of the 'pros' - hmm - i thought they just went to great lengths to show that as being a 'con'!

I finished reading this report knowing very little more than I knew to start with!


All this reminds me of why I don't usually buy magazines and read reviews....
Thanks to you guys and forums like this, where we get to find out the *real* truth from dedicated *users* and enthusiasts, glossy magazines that basically gloss over the facts will soon be a thing of the past...

Still going to town to test drive an MX500 for myself - tomorrow!
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Old December 20th, 2002, 12:11 AM   #10
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OK maybe I am being a bit harsh on AVC, they do have a fair bit to say here & there about how good the video image is and what a joy to use it is etc etc...
It just gets to me how they almost always give a 'thumbs up - highly recommended' to everything they review.
Never do we see 'not recommended' or 'could be better - wait until the next model' sort of statement...
Also lacking is any real comparison to previous models which we may have bought because of previous glowing reports - why not tell us what has been improved and do some direct comparisons - maybe even a few sample pics comparing the latest models to previous or even all the latest models of different brands...
For example, will we ever see a direct comparison of the output of an MX500 to a Sony TRV950 in Australian Video Camera magazine?
I doubt it - because to show up one manufacturers product over another manufacturers would be not good for advertising revenue, IMHO.
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Old December 20th, 2002, 02:04 AM   #11
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AngryofMayfair,

Thank you!

So this mag is more or less on par as the North American consumer cr_p mags. Actually, I think ours are worse.

Perhaps the great Terrence will do one of his reviews and post it on his website. Now that would be nice.

I'm curious about one thing: is the MX500 easier to grip than the MX300?

Oh, here's another 2 things: is the MX500 as quiet when recording as the MX300? More? Less? How's that new side loading tape mechanism? Noisy? Smooth?

Are there any other problems with the MX500?

1) Does it need a firmware upgrade?
2) How are the buttons/controls? Better than the MX300?
3) How's the zoom noise?
4) How good is the built in mic/audio controls? Better, or worse, than the MX300's?
5) Is it worth the Australian Bucks? I mean, this cam goes for pretty cheap in Japan.
6) OVERALL, is it better, or is it worse than the MX3000 - this is more or less a gut feeling after playing with them side by side. You know what I mean. I realize, the MX500 seems better in some ways, but but not as good in other ways. Examples: viewfinder pixels/size, "the feel of quality," etc.
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Old December 20th, 2002, 03:50 AM   #12
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I'll try to answer what I can.

1. The MX500 is easier to grip than the 3000 because of its lower height. The weight distribution of the 5000 is well balanced.

2. The 5000 is quiet enough when recording. No motor noise pick-up in the tape. I don't know how quite the 3000 is.

3. The side tape loading mechanism is noisy and slow. However, the "sudden and forceful" action (thud) at the actual moment of tape compartment opening almost gave me a heart attack the first time around. Inserting a tape into the compartment is not as smooth as my Optura100 but the tape goes in anyway.

4. Yowch once wrote that he had some problems reaching the Menu button of the 5000 while shooting. That's true for me as well so I use my left hand to access those buttons (while shooting). Pany should have moved those buttons a little more forward. However, I find the location of the Menu and Jog Wheel buttons of the 5000 better than that of 3000 because I can see them while pressing. The Menu and Jog Wheel of the 3000 are located at the front left part of the lens barrel and cannot be seen if you're using the LCD panel.

5. Zoom noise is fine by me. I don't know about 3000.

6. The mic/audio controls are exactly the same as that of 3000. As for actual performance, the 5000 sure is better than my upright Optura100. Compared to the 3000, I don't know.

7. I live in Tokyo. It's the best bang for the buck! Outselling the TRV950 by more than 10 to 1, outselling the TRV50 and JVC3500. In one of the biggest stores in Tokyo, they run out of stocks in the shop (that's unbelievable!) - and nobody seems to be complaining like many people outside Japan do!

8. Better or worse than the 3000? I don't know. The cam certainly feels quality. My initial basis of judgment on this is weight. Although it is pretty compact, it feels heavy and well-built so there must be some "valuable" components inside that cannot be found in top class 1-CCDS. The only component that looks cheap to me is the lens glass because it is small, but it is shrouded by the hood.

9. Does is need a firmware upgrade? One thing I noticed, my Optura's OIS seems more steady than Panys.

Regards
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Old December 20th, 2002, 12:15 PM   #13
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Allan: Nice layout of answers, I'll hitch an uninvited ride and compare the MX500 to the MX350 (the plug-looking 3CCD) similarly.

1. The MX500 is about the same grip as the 350 but weight distribution of the 5000 is better, the 350 tips forward.

2. The 5000 is quiet enough when recording. No motor noise pick-up in the tape. Pretty the same as the 350.

3. The side tape loading mechanism is noisy and slow and "sudden and forceful" just like the rest of them Panasonics, I guess. In this case, the Sonies (spelt like that?) wins with their quick loads, softer ejects, and less loding sounds.

4. I find the location of the Menu and Jog Wheel buttons of the 500 worst than that of 350 which I can access with my left hand. The 500 needs SUPER dextrous fingers.

5. Zoom noise is fine by me. I don't know about 3000, too, but the 350 is the same quietness :)

6. The mic/audio controls are exactly the same as that of 350. For actual performance, compared to the 350, very similar.

7. I live in Singapore. It's the best bang for the buck! MX500 selling so well that my regular shop dumped the last 350 on me at 30% discount, which is why I got the 350 instead of the 500 :) :)

8. Better or worse than the 350? Pros and cons. The MX500 is a good cam, but there are features that are inferior to its predecessors (I have said enough on this).

9. Does is need a firmware upgrade? No idea.

AngryOfMayfair, please do a nice and fair user review on the cam. The MX500 has really been through bitter sweet on these forums! Thanks in advance.
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Old December 21st, 2002, 04:01 AM   #14
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Allan Rejoso, yowch000, thanks for all the indepth observations.

The more feedback I get, the more I want to get my hands on a MX5000. However, I'm broke at the moment, so it'll take me a bit to scrape the scratch. (At least I freely admit this.) It seems tougher and tougher to make a buck these days. Ever since 911, (it seems).

Anyways. Don't get me wrong, I pay all my bills! The Christmas thing is always a bummer for me, especially since I don't even celebrate it! Ugh. It's always about the "presents" other people expect from you.... (Too bad we in Canada don't have K-mart anymore.)
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Old December 21st, 2002, 08:01 PM   #15
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Bummer - here i was all lined up to spend an hour doing some specific comparisons between my MX300 and the MX500 - I rang my Panasonic contact (Tasman AV) to arrange a time only to find out they are nil stock in MX500's!
So, the 500 must be selling well I guess...

They are hoping to have stock next week sometime so I will have another attempt after Christmas.

Seasons Greetings to all MX lovers! :-)
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