I saw the PV-DV953 today. It knocked my socks off. at DVinfo.net

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Old April 24th, 2003, 08:57 PM   #1
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I saw the PV-DV953 today. It knocked my socks off.

It's even better than I thought! More to come....

http://www.8palm.com/mx5000ad.jpg
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Old April 27th, 2003, 04:00 AM   #2
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I was expecting the PV-DV953 to be light and a bit puffy, like my MX300 (similar with the PV-DV950/AG-EX30U body shape). When I saw it, however, it looked all muscle and felt solid and heavy. I played around with the dials and buttons and everything seemed tight---no play whatsoever. The LCD monitor opened stiffly, and snapped back in firmly with a "click." The focus ring was also stiff with no slop at all. (Sorry DVX100 owners).

All the buttons and controls are placed logically. With the LCD open, you'll see a set of buttons. If you use the viewfinder, however, you'll have to flip open the LCD to get at some of the buttons, but chances are that you'll never use the smallish, lower resolution viewfinder. Instead you will want to use the large, sharp LCD monitor. Yup, that nice MX300 viewfinder is gone. You'll have to go the DVX100 route if a nice viewfinder is your number 1 concern. (Touche!)

I found the cam to be perfectly balanced, and easy to hold. It has a nice ridge for all your fingers---unlike the MX300. The MX300 (and Sony TRV950) lack a decent ridge or lip so the hand-strap must be kept tight. Bravo, PV-DV953 engineers!

Most of you already know that the PV-DV953 loads from the side, so there's no hassle with removing the cam from a tripod to get at the tape, but let me tell you a bit more about the tape loading mechanism. In short, it's quick and it's quiet! I couldn't believe it, so I opened and closed the mechanism several times. I have to say, another bit of nice Pana engineering.

When I turned the cam on, I couldn't hear the cam running. Yes, it was that quiet. Of course with the tape inside the cam, and recording, there's some noise. However, it makes less noise recording than my almost silent running MX300. So I would gather that the built-in-mic is more likely to pick up the operator's breathing than engine noise. Zooming was also silent, but it zoomed a bit fast. One has to be careful how much pressure is applied to the zoom lever. (I'll have to check the user manual to see if the zoom speed can be adjusted---but this is no big deal.)

Now for the resolution and the LUX. I only had the LCD to go by, but knowing that the MX300 viewfinder is the same resolution as the one on the 953, I was able to get a pretty good impression. The day was dark and drizzling, but the colors were amazing. The resolution seemed out of this world sharp! When I shot inside (very dim light), the resolution was still amazingly sharp, but the colors disappeared and looked almost black and white (dorky). With my MX300, there would have been more color, but the grain would have ruined the video. Nevertheless, the video knocked my socks off! I was that impressed. Would I buy this cam? You betcha! And when I have the cash, that's exactly what I'm going to do.
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Old April 27th, 2003, 02:36 PM   #3
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Here are some of Tommy Haupfear's PV-DV953 frame grabs. Note the colors even though he lowered the resolution for uploading to the website.

http://image1ex.villagephotos.com/pu...sp?id_=2351224
http://image1ex.villagephotos.com/pu...sp?id_=2351225
http://image1ex.villagephotos.com/pu...sp?id_=2351228
http://image1ex.villagephotos.com/pu...sp?id_=2351230
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Old April 28th, 2003, 09:52 PM   #4
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Hi Frank,

can't help noticing that the frame grabs of the airshow from Tommy Haupfear's PV-DV953 exhibit the same edge 'over-enhancement' we were talking about the other week. Check the white halo of pixels around the F-117a Stealth and even on the Thunderbirds, the lower edge of the F-16's fuselage is ringed with a white pixel edge. I guess this is an issue common to the camera and not just our dodgy unit. I'm not sure if I'm happy about that or not...

Best,

David.
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Old April 29th, 2003, 02:19 PM   #5
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Frank
I posted on dv.com in your thread about the PV-DV953, it's now in Vancouver (I called Panasonic). List is $2749 Cdn. Leo's did get back to me with a price also! Don't know if posting prices is allowed here though.

Tony
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Old April 29th, 2003, 02:35 PM   #6
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Thanks. I've got to pop done there anyways to buy some film. I'll see if they have the GS70 in yet. Should have, I think, but Leo's tends to only bring in the Pana models they believe are good, like last year's PV-DV702, 852, 952 and DVX100.
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Old April 29th, 2003, 02:41 PM   #7
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Gee Frank, didn't know that you wore socks.

Interesting info. Thanks.
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Old April 29th, 2003, 02:57 PM   #8
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white halo effect

compare these to pictures below:

http://www8.big.or.jp/~a_fuyu/PA/MX5...irt/resoDV.jpg
http://www4.big.or.jp/%7Ea_haru/SO/V...irt/resoDV.jpg

you can really see the white halo from the MX5000 at the top and bottom of the vertical lines in the center of the chart.

The vx2000 doesn't seem to have this.

What do you guys make of this?

The pictures came from the this link:
http://www4.big.or.jp/%7Ea_haru/0208_3CCD.html
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Old April 29th, 2003, 03:07 PM   #9
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>you can really see the white halo from the MX5000 at the top and bottom of the vertical lines in the center of the chart<

Sorry. I must be blind.
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Old April 29th, 2003, 10:53 PM   #10
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around the circles on the corners, too

The white halo is also quite noticeable around the circles on each corner, too.
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Old April 29th, 2003, 11:05 PM   #11
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Hey Frank,

I posted an enlargement of the test pattern frames given at that link above. Each of the frames were treated the same, enlarged 300% and then cropped to show just a corner. I think you can clearly see how the panasonic handles the edge detail when compared to the VX-2000 and the white and black ringing that occurs at the junction of a change in contrast. Perhaps it's an unfair comparison considering the price difference between the two units but it's just more evidence (for me at least) that I'm not just going insane.

http://www.visualmedia.com.au/Edge_enhancement.jpg

The aerial footage posted may have been shot with digital zoom and compressed to jpeg - but the halo of pixels is neither a zoom artifact nor a compression artifact. It's an edge detail issue, where the camera is trying to handle the change in contrast at the edge of a light/dark border. I hope none of these issues are present in your cameras and that's why you're not 'seeing' it. But it IS present in those photos, the test shots and the MX-500 we purchased.

Best,

David.
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Old April 29th, 2003, 11:48 PM   #12
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The halo happens in auto mode, when the sharpness is normal. The Panasonic guys obviously thinks that sharpness is what everyone wants. I believe that the built in firmware does the sharpening and high contrast areas gets too amplified, resulting in the halo. Seems like a lot of digital wizardry is going on in the MX500. Looks like a high-pass filter on photoshop, a trick which I use to improved out-of-focus pictures.

I checked my MX350, the halo is also there, not so severe, but when I turn the sharpness down 2 notches, the softening makes the scene looks much more natural (no halo). I believe that the softening on the Mx500 should get the same results.

But, I do think that for the price difference, comparing the MX500 to the VX2000 is not too fair. Maybe we can get a comparison on closer priced MX500 and TRV950 or the XM2/GL2.
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Old April 30th, 2003, 01:54 AM   #13
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Like I said, I must be blind. But I'll have another look at these pics tomorrow on a high resolution monitor at my friend's.

I still think the PV-DV953 is a great cam with super high resolution, but like I wrote, the LUX is bad indoors with poor lighting: "The day was dark and drizzling, but the colors were amazing. The resolution seemed out of this world sharp! When I shot inside (very dim light), the resolution was still amazingly sharp, but the colors disappeared and looked almost black and white (dorky). With my MX300, there would have been more color, but the grain would have ruined the video."
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Old April 30th, 2003, 10:13 AM   #14
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Putting things in their proper perspective, Frank is right, the 953 is a good deal. The 953 is a $1250 camera and the price will come down as it becomes more available. (all prices based on B&H camera's)
The TRV950 is $1630
GL2 is $2260 and the VX2K is $2350.
So for double what the 953 costs you can buy the GL2 or the VX2K. It depends on what you want out of a camera and how much you have to spend. I opted for the VX2000 over the TRV900 for the same reason (edge enhancement and low light), but I'm an old guy and wanted better.

So far as low light goes, it is unrealistic to expect quality footage without some sort of effort. Good video will always need quality light and that includes a decent level.
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Old April 30th, 2003, 12:13 PM   #15
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Re: white halo effect

<you can really see the white halo from the MX5000 at the top and bottom of the vertical lines in the center of the chart. The vx2000 doesn't seem to have this.

Frank, I didn't see the white at first either in the Internet browser, even on my LCD monitor which is definitely sharper than tube types. I copied the pictures to PhotoPaint and zoomed 4x. Now you can really see the white, about two almost totally white pixels around every black number or stripe with the MX5000, and really none on the VX2000. I'm thinking this is due to poor software manipulation.
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