1/4th 1CCD + F1.2 lens V/S 1/6th 3CCD + F1.6 lens when both in low light at DVinfo.net

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Old March 24th, 2003, 07:04 PM   #1
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1/4th 1CCD + F1.2 lens V/S 1/6th 3CCD + F1.6 lens when both in low light

Hello folks (this is my first post which I hope I placed in the right section)

After reading almost all internet reviews about the MX-500 I can conclude this cam has one big drawback: The low light performance. If I'm correct this is caused by the 1/6th CCD-chips used whereas others like the MX-350 use 1/4th inch CCD's that 'capture' more light (hence the better low-light performance of the MX-350)

If I look at the cheaper 1CCD DV3000 cam from JVC, I notice this cam has an F1.2 lens which passes through more light instead of an F1.6 lens found on the MX-500. Also the DV3000 has an 1/3.6th inch CCD chip which captures more light instead of the 1/6th chips on the MX-500

Because of the lens and the bigger CCD chip my logical conclusion would be that the JVC DV3000 cam is an good low-light performer

Bearing this story in my mind I have two questions:
-Does the DV3000 with the F1.2 lens and the 1/3.6th CCD give me better/even/worse image quality when there is little light in comparision to the worse low-light performer (but 3CCD cam) of an MX-500 with the F1.6 lens and the smaller 1/6th CCD's?

-How much worse is an 1CCD cam in comparision to the cheapest 3CCD cam? I can't really find comparision screens/video's anywhere... Yes, I do believe there is a difference, but is this hardly noticable or can my grandmother even see the difference in a blink of the eye ;)?

So far I did find a comparision video between the Canon GL2 and the Canon ZR45MC. Where the GL2 has three 1/4th CCD's + a F1.6 lens, the ZR45MC has one 1/6th CCD and an F1.6 lens.

Contrast is far worse on the ZR45MC and thus the green trees on the otherside of the lake are far more dark, the sky is far too light and on the ZR-45MC there is an abundancy of Red. The Gl-2 just looks 'fine' But how about the DV3000?
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Old March 24th, 2003, 09:02 PM   #2
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The Panasonic DV 852 has a 1/3.8" CCD ,a Leica lens and optical image stabilization. That's one kickass combination. Everyone that's bought that model has raved about it.The street price is around $900.

If you're in PALsville then it wpould be the MX-8

The JVC sounds nice but my moneys on the panny. I own 2 Sony's so i'm not brand biased.
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Old March 24th, 2003, 09:14 PM   #3
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I agree with Bryan. Go with the MX8.

Also, the F1.2 lens on the DV3000 is no wider (larger) than the Leica lens on the MX8. I'm compared both. This f1.2 lens is just marketing hype. Also, when I compared both these cams, the JVC seemed cheap, toy-like. The Panasonic MX8 (PV-DV852) looked and felt like a solid cam.


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Old March 26th, 2003, 10:51 AM   #4
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Thnx for the info, but the MX8 is not available anymore here in holland... so I'm now trying to get the spec's of the JVC DV4000

Or maybe a second hand cam ;)
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Old March 26th, 2003, 12:58 PM   #5
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Better order your MX8 in England then Bram. And to put you straight - low light ability is certainly not directionally propoortional to chip size at all, and you can have two 1/4" chipped camcorders that are miles apart in the low light stakes. The TRV900 and the MX300 are a case in point, the former being a good two stops better than the latter. Thast's at wide-angle - at telephoto when the Panasonic has its automatic ND in place the difference is even greater.

OK, some pointers. I can't go along with you Frank re your thoughts on the f1.2 lens of the JVC vs the f1.6 lens on the MX8. It sounds as if you're comparing front element diameters, and the f number has very little to do with that dimension.

Take it from me - even with production tolerances - an f1.2 lens will work in exactly half the light that a f1.6 camcorder needs. So the JVC starts with a huge optical advantage, though it may well loose this through chip design and electronic processing. No, the only way to see if camcorder A is better than camcorder B in low light is to A/B test them. This really sorts the boys from the girls.

tom.
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Old March 26th, 2003, 02:10 PM   #6
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Thanks, Tom. I was comparing front element diameters.

I think that one of the main reasons that the TRV900 is better with lower light than the MX300 is because the TRV900 has less pixels on the CCDs, so the MX300 pixels are smaller. Just my opinion.
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Old March 26th, 2003, 02:58 PM   #7
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Frank - you jump to lots of conclusions! :-) PAL DV is 720 x 576, period. So the Panasonic and the JVC and the Sony and the Canon all use this pixel pattern. The fact that some camcorders have mega-pixel chips doesn't affect their low light capabilities or their movie resolutions at all.

tom.
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Old March 26th, 2003, 03:39 PM   #8
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I realize PAL is a broacast standard. I disagree that smaller CCDs and CCDs with increased pixel counts do not require more LUX. I also disagree that increased CCD video effective pixel count does not increase resolution. It does. But the MAX playback resolution, for miniDV, whether PAL or NTSC is 540 horizontal lines. Few cams can achieve that though.

Tom, here's a bit about resolution:

The resolution topic shouldn't be puzzling, it's just facts and math; the higher the resolution, the sharper or more detailed the image---whether from a scope, screen, printer, camera and even film. Let's take a look at our wonderful television sets, then go from there.

The NTSC TV picture is made up of 525 horizontal "scanning" lines. (PAL TV picture is 626 lines.) Sounds good, right? Well, with those wonderful 525 horizontal TV lines, you actually only get or see 483 of them. And the larger the TV screen, the less sharp it looks. Why? Because these same lines have to accommodate for the larger screen, so the lines are further apart. If you think that's sad, the actual vertical resolution is even lower: 240 lines (483 x .7 = 240). PAL of course, has higher resolution, 576 visible lines, but less frames per second.

PAL has 25 frames per second, and NTSC has 29.97 frames per second. Note that when NTSC color TV was introduced, the frame rate was offset from 30 FPS to 29.97. (Let's just say, 30.) PAL TV also has a better color sampling rate of 4:2:0, NTSC only has 4:1:1. Frames are split into fields, sweeping from left to right: 50 fields for PAL and 60 fields for NTSC. Fields, or 1/2 frames, alternate between odd and even fields. This is called interlacing. Progressive means non-interlaced in which only frames are displayed consecutively.

There are 2 methods camcorders use for recording progressive video. Some use a progressive scan CCD (or 3 CCDs) while others use a progressive shutter/interpolation mechanism. Both work similarly by skipping every second scan for a total of 30 NTSC frames---25 FPS for PAL. The progressive shutter type camcorder interpolates 2 rapidly shot fields, while progressive cams actually capture 1 frame at a time. However, a few Sony NTSC consumer cams only record 15 frames per second (PAL, 12.5), with the intention of grabbing stills---useless for video unless it is used for a special effect.

"Yeah, but my video camera has 800 lines!" How many times have we heard that before!? Well, most cameras capture at a higher resolution than what it can actually output, or play back. This makes for resolving a more accurate "picture." For example, if you playback footage from a higher end 3 chip cam and from a lowly 1 chip cam, on a normal TV, you will immediately notice the 3 chip cam playback to be superior---even though the TV's resolution is the same with both cams. One will be fuzzy, while the other will be sharp, with accurate colors and less grain.

Why less grain? Because the superior cam will have the superior signal-to-noise ratio. Furthermore, the more video effective pixels on the CCD, the more video information is captured. The combination of effective pixels from all 3 CCDs, of a 3 CCD cam, will also increase capture resolution significantly. A broadcast quality lens has far less chroma aberration, aiding to capture truer color and sharper detail. Expensive lenses also have less barrel and pincushion distortion, as well as little to no flare. Flaring occurs when light bounces between poorly designed and/or uncoated lens elements---even filters can cause flaring! Let's stop here, though, and have a glance at the higher resolution stuff: SVHS, DVD and even HD!

So normal TVs and VCRs are good for a solid 240 lines. Hi8 and SVHS cams are advertised as 400 lines! But are they? Well, let's skip the dip into these higher resolution TVs and VCRs and just leave this here: to get those 400 playback lines it would depend on the cam.

TV lines or TVL is a standarised definition of horizontal resolution performance for Television. TV = L/ph (lines of horizontal resolution on a horizontal length which is equal to the pixture height). If the height is 3/4 of the width and the width has 720 lines (pixels) in DV, the number of resolution lines on a horizontal length which equals the height, we get 540 TVL resolution for DV. The (theoretical) max number of pixels of the DV standard in horizontal direction (=max number of vertical lines) equals 720. In video, however, resolution is expressed in "lines per picture height (=l/ph) or TVL and this is 720 x 3/4 = 540. The 800 lines resolution is one of the irelevant specs belonging to the world of the many misleading information used in the semi pro and consumer world. Even if the cam itself had 10,000 lines of resolution it will end up by the 540 TVL limit at the DV output. The more initial resolution however the "cleaner" (aliasing) the 540 TVL can be reproduced, but the limit is still 540 TVL.
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Old March 27th, 2003, 01:52 AM   #9
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Frank, you say that... " Max playback resolution, for miniDV, whether PAL or NTSC is 540 horizontal lines. Few cams can achieve that though."

Again you're mistaken. Horizontal line resolution is a parameter laid down by the TV standard you're using, so PAL cameras have 576 and NTSC have 488 horizontal line resolution. They *have* to, otherwise they don't fill the picture height.

Horizontal resolution is the ability of the camera to differentiate vertical lines on screen, is a different parameter, and is affected by a combination of the cameras lens and chips. If you shoot a test chart the best DV cams can indeed approach 540 vertical line resolution - measured in the horizontal plane. But with the best and meggerest chips in the world you won't get these sort of readings at anything other than about f4. All other apertures will give you worse results and loose you resolution.

tom.
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Old March 27th, 2003, 01:59 AM   #10
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Er, Tom. I was talking about the playback resolution of miniDV on a wave-form monitor:

TV lines or TVL is a standarised definition of horizontal resolution performance for Television. TV = L/ph (lines of horizontal resolution on a horizontal length which is equal to the pixture height). If the height is 3/4 of the width and the width has 720 lines (pixels) in DV, the number of resolution lines on a horizontal length which equals the height, we get 540 TVL resolution for DV. The (theoretical) max number of pixels of the DV standard in horizontal direction (=max number of vertical lines) equals 720. In video, however, resolution is expressed in "lines per picture height (=l/ph) or TVL and this is 720 x 3/4 = 540. The 800 lines resolution is one of the irelevant specs belonging to the world of the many misleading information used in the semi pro and consumer world. Even if the cam itself had 10,000 lines of resolution it will end up by the 540 TVL limit at the DV output. The more initial resolution however the "cleaner" (aliasing) the 540 TVL can be reproduced, but the limit is still 540 TVL.
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Old March 29th, 2003, 09:13 PM   #11
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Here's a great resolution article by Dr. Peter Utz:

http://www.iki.fi/znark/video/
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