Summary Of MX500 REview in "What Camcorder " at

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Old January 24th, 2003, 07:42 AM   #1
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Summary Of MX500 REview in "What Camcorder "

Just read the review on the NV-MX500 in the British "What Camcorder" magazine. The January 2003 edition has a three page feature [pages 38-40] which is generally a big thumbs up. All of the cameras professional attributes are mentioned,

ie manual adjustment for mic levels/Picture Adjustment/Colour Bar Generator/Zebra Pattern/True 16:9/Zoom Mic

Here are some of the highlights...

* ...The introduction of the NV-MX500 is a direct challenge to the Sony DCR-TRV950 and theres no doubt that it's presence will shift things back in panasonics favour. The body has a sophisticated brushed aluminium appearance that allows the camcorder to look stylish while telling the world that it's ready to do business....

*...Panasonic has given serious thought and have improved access to the most commonly used controls like the power switch, menu button and manual controls.

*...Each of the three 1/6inch 800,000 pixel CCD's is designed to produce pin-sharp images, with the camcorder giving a decent performance down to 15 lux....

*...The range of electronic controls is impressive, the most useful being Frame mode .This produces a 25fps film-like exposure effect whic enables sharp individual frames to be captured to the SD card or later as stills in the editing program....

*...You'd expect a camera with a lens of Leica Dicomar pedigree to be pretty darn good - and it is. The camera handles perfectly in a wide range of of everyday situations, and the resulting images were good enough to eat. Not only did the manual overide give an acceptable level of control over most functions - the focus ring copes with the odd pull-focus from overhanging branches to distant landscape very well indeed. The camera doesn't disappoint even when in automatic mode. There is little of the annoying focus-hunting that occurs with many lesser mortals and auto exposure copes well when tilting from the top of the tree against a bright sky to the ground below....

*If thats not enough, the 800,000 pixels three CCD chips render a lovely mellow contrast ratio to images that befits a much more expensive camcorder.

*like the TRV950 the MX500's tape loading mechanism is now sensibly activated from above, a vast improvement over previously MX models that were bottom loading....

Resolution [excellent]
Colour Bleed [neglible]
White Balance [good]
Exposure [very good]
Autofocus [good]
Audio Performance [fair/good]

Now for the Cons.

...To begin with we can't see why on earth a maximum Digital Zoom magnification of 500x is thought necessary. The camera's 10X optical zoom is excellent, and even the 20x digital zoom has it's uses, but the maximum digital zoom is
completely and utterly useless! The other point of concern is the zoom microphone. The mic is positioned above the lens and is designed to provide a follow-through effect when the user zooms in and out. In practice, and in slightly
windy conditions, we couldn't detect much change in the sound while zooming, even when monitoring with professional headphones. While the zoom effect was slightly detected, it wasn't sufficient to warrant much attention. What was more noticable was the buffeting of the gentle wind on the mic itself....


...Despite the sound and digital zoom criticisms, it has to be said that the NV-MX500 is a triumph for panasonic. Whith it's great handling, comprehensive in and out facilities and superb recording capabilities, there is no doubt that panasonic is well positioned to go into direct battle with the mighty TRV950. Highly recommended and a strong contender for best buy....
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Old January 24th, 2003, 08:11 AM   #2
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Re: Review

Great post, and great review. Couldn't agree more.
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Old January 24th, 2003, 07:44 PM   #3
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I am going to purchase a cam next week.
Can't decide, mx500 or dvx100e. Nice problem to have.
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Old January 24th, 2003, 08:32 PM   #4
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Joe, both are very good PAL cams, but the DVX is a prosumer cam: better controls, better sound, wider angle etc etc. But..., do you need such a cam?

Keep in mind that the MX500's 16:9 is a way better than the DVX's 16:9---even the MX300's 16:9 is better than the one on the DVX (All sorts of threads with DVX owners wanting a 16:9 adaptor). And I would say that the MX500 is probably the best consumer cam right now, followed with the GL2/XM2. (Too bad that there's no more MX300s....)

Perhaps make a short list of must haves and not important, then pick the cam which comes closest. Hey, it might even be a cam you have not yet considered, like a PDX10, MX300, GL2/XM2---or even the new VX3000 and XL2 rumoured for later this year.
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