lyonhart reviews the MX5000! at DVinfo.net

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Old April 20th, 2003, 12:19 AM   #1
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lyonhart reviews the MX5000!

A friend of mine just bought a Panasonic MX5000, and I got to try it out tonight! Wow. First of all, I would like to put to rest all the rumors that I've read about on the Web that this camera does not perform well indoors. I have heard so many discussions of people being afraid that the camera's sensitivity falls off in average indoor room lighting. Here it is folks: THE MX500 HAS NO PROBLEM DEALING WITH NORMAL INDOOR LIGHTING!

We met at a tavern that was pretty dark on the inside. It was night so there was no light coming in the windows. There were only a couple of small recessed lights in the ceiling, besides the colored beer decorations on the walls. It was much darker than my living room, or any other typical family room setting. The camera performed fantastically! I couldn't believe it. I double checked to make sure it wasn't in any kind of special effect "slow motion" mode. Color and detail remained true. You could still pick out subtle shadows and detail on people's faces. There was absolutely no noise in the picture at all. I did not get to see the picture on a TV screen, but the large LCD display was razor-sharp. The best LCD I've seen on any camera yet. I couldn't imagine anybody shooting professionally in a situation darker than that without expecting to bring in lights.

I have a late-model Sony D8 camera, and have always been proud of its low light performance. It has a megapixel 1/3" (I think...) chip, compared to the Panasonic's 1/6. Believe it or not, the Panasonic performed even better than my Sony's in a very low light setting, as I said exhibiting no noise or grain at all in the picture. The amazingly razor-sharp detail of the video in the LCD reminded me very much of the video I've seen from the DVX100. It had a very similar "look" to it, without being "videoish" or over-enhanced.

The MX5000, although small enough to sit in the palm of my hand, immediately gave me the impression of being a very solid professional tool. This will definitely not be considered a dated piece of junk in a few years. What a beauty! Everything about it just exuded weight, precision and quality. As my friend had just received it, he hadn't learned his way around the Japanese menus yet, so he really wasn't familiar with any of the controls. I wanted to give it a run through in 16 by 9, and try out the frame mode - but that will have to come at a later time.

All I can say is, my fears about this camera have been relieved. I can't wait to see how it will do in an outdoor daylight situation. I think this is the next purchase on my list. It also came with a very expensive looking wide-angle adapter, that I don't think comes with the PVDV953. I would really like to find out once and for all now if the two cameras have the same video quality. My friend Tim said that he had heard about the MX5000's low light performance, but read somewhere that Panasonic had fixed that with an update. I can't say if that's true or not, but this camera is a stunning performer all around. Sorry if I sound like I'm gushing here, but now I know why this camera has caused such a stir. This little beauty blew me away!

From the thread, "Got my hands on a MX5000," thread at dv.com's camera forum.
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Old April 20th, 2003, 07:54 PM   #2
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Did he check on a TV or a monitor? The LCD by itself is not a good indicator of noise/grain.

Maybe the MX5000 is different from the MX500, because the MX500 that I have tested is really much poorer in quality under low lights compared to the MX350 and, of course, the MX8 "Super poker for dork shadows".

Most of my friends who did buy the MX500 agree with me that the grain and low lights performance is really a let-down on a good cam otherwise.
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Old April 20th, 2003, 08:13 PM   #3
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I don't know, You. That's all he wrote.


--------------------------------------------------------
My charm is held with the right, and my thumb is used to push for creation. Delightfully zooming in and out, gently panning to this side and that, yes, my PAL companion is a good thing. It's because she's stabilized: smooth and 'couth.' Now never you mind those ill-mannered 1 chip affairs. Go with the MX and you'll stay on course.

The only question that remains is, which MX? (And is the MX a PV?)
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Old April 23rd, 2003, 12:40 PM   #4
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I have MX500 for 2,5 months and I can say that I'm very disappointed with it. The reasons:

1. Awful low-light performance (on the LCD it looks OK, but on SONY Wega 29" it is very awful). I tried to shoot the video in many places, but the poor quality remained everywhere. A lot of GAIN.

2. Optical image stabilizer is awful as well; if you shoot video from a car, even at zoom of 3-4x, the image is jumping.

3. There is too much red colour even if the minimal colour saturtation is set ,e.g., not orange but almost red colour is showed if you shoot objects of orange colour; numbers on different displays (e.g. bus number) are in red-orange but not green or yellow colours... And street lights are not of yellow-orange but almost red colours

4. I compared it to my old SONY TRV35e (Video8XR, 1/4 CCD, '98 model) and... in many situations SONY beats Panasonic. Low light performance is better, no problems with showing the right colours, no problems with image stabilization (at 18x optical zoom with SteadyShot (electr. stab.) it can be compared to MX500's 7-8x optical zoom (with OIS). So I'm very disappointed. Now the camcorder is in the service and it will be returned on Friday, I'll write then what they said.

Please write about your experience with MX500. Thx!

Is it true, that all digital camcorders in auto mode make image with a lot of blue colour, or is it problem with all Panas (I've used MX3 - the same problem)?

Conclusion: the camcorder does not performs so wonderful as it is mentioned in Panasonic's advertisements and commercials, and if it is common for all MX500 units then it is not worth buying it (in Latvia it costs 2100 $).
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Old April 24th, 2003, 05:18 AM   #5
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From Andris' item 2, on a bumpy car ride, nothing works, maybe not even Steadycam!

I have similar gripes about the MX500 low lights and graininess.

As for the OIS, is is rather subjective, but I'll say that Sony may be better in this area. The VX2000 has much better OIS.

Remember, the selling point of the MX500 is the price, not necessarily the quality. In Chinese, the saying is "The price and the quality commensurates".

Audris found the cam to be too red, I find the contrast too high and the colours too dark on LCD, but the recorded image is comparable to my MX350, which is quite true to the eye on my Panasonic TV.
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