MX-300 vs. MX-500 vs. Sony PDX-10 - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Old May 10th, 2003, 05:06 PM   #16
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Ariel, The PDX may be better in some ways but it'll cost you a lot more money; the DSR570 is better than the PDX10 in almost every way but it'll cost you a lot more money. The MX500 is the poor man's pro cam. The rest is all up to the skills of the shooter.
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Old May 10th, 2003, 05:13 PM   #17
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I think the original premise of this thread was that due to a problem the dealer was offering an upgrade to either an MX500 or PDX10 at a similar cost...
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Old May 10th, 2003, 05:25 PM   #18
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No, the premise was that he couldn't get the MX300's firmware upgraded locally.
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Old May 10th, 2003, 07:17 PM   #19
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Re: MX-300 vs. MX-500 vs. Sony PDX-10

Sorry, that's how I interpreted this:

<<<-- Originally posted by Ariel Hershler :
My dealer is very nice, has agreed that this "glitch" problem is not my problem, and is now offering me an "upgrade" to a Sony PDX-10. I do not know yet whether I will have to pay a price difference.

[stuff deleted]

Should I take this offer? Or should I ask for an "upgrade" to the Panasonic MX500 instead?

[stuff deleted]

I don't know how much any of these cheap(er) cameras go for, but the idea of an "upgrade" to the PDX10 or MX500 was that I woulddn't have to spend a lot of money.
Ariel -->>>

Whatever... seems like Ariel needs to find out what the upgrade cost is and then determine if he feels it's worth it.
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Old May 10th, 2003, 07:50 PM   #20
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The firmware upgrade is free. The cost is with shipping. However, sometimes Pana will pay for shipping as well, both ways.
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Old May 11th, 2003, 04:19 PM   #21
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Quite simply Ariel picture quality, there is another posting somewere in the mx forum that I wrote in the sony forum and was posted here by Frank Granovski, this posting outlines my opinions on the 500 but in a nutshell the 500s image has too much grain and I dont just mean indoors with a 60 watt bulb. If image quality is important on not so bright days forhet the 500.
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Old May 11th, 2003, 06:55 PM   #22
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I tried the PV-DV953 on a dark day with drizzle. The colors were great! However, inside the coffee shop the light was dim, and the colors became B&W. Still sharp, though, for what it's worth. Perhaps the PAL version needs more light?
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Old May 11th, 2003, 10:06 PM   #23
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My opinion is, the zoom factor 10x vs 12x shouldn't be such an issue. Is there a great difference of the 2x?

Depending on your needs, you may find the 2x crucial, or just academic.

If you shoot a lot of football matches, wildlife videography, or news events or concerts where they like to stick all the cameramen in a parapet at the back of the room / hall :( :(, then even 12x wouldn't do the trick.

Maybe 12x would JUST manage... but for "insurance" / more leeway in case the subject is too far & you need an even closer zoom, you would still bring along a teleconverter of 1.5x, plus your tripod, of course.
=====
Please try hard to fix your MX300 via firmware upgrade. The latest firmware 1.6 will also fix your stabilizer algorithm so that you can hand hold the MX300 better past 6x zoom.

The MX300 is a great second cam, it's size is so much more compact & you can bring it along to shoot video anywhere, where-else the Sony's are big & too pro looking sometimes you get stopped by the guards...

In low light the MX500 will not perform too well compared to the MX300. Can you live with that? I can't - especially since I need my cams to work ALL the time, not some of the time (only when the sun shines?). A waste of money & opportunities, I'd say. I can't be changing to another cam every time the lights are too dim.

Unless I get a Sony VX2000 - it performs EXCELLENTLY in dim light, but the cam needs MANUAL FOCUSING in dim light (else the autofocus starts "hunting" - ugh!). I've don't know the PDX-10's performance in low light. Anybody?

The MX300 isn't the best cam in dim light, with grain at 9db to 18db gain, but at least it doesn't go "blind" so fast in dim light, & you can still "see something" even if it's just shadowy outlines, and the autofocus still works where the Sony's autofocus have given up & starts hunting. To me, the faults above are acceptable, seeing that the MX300 just 1/4" CCDs, to beat the faults you really need 1/3" CCDs or single CCD vidcams like the Panasonic MX-8.
=====
Even though I had my firmware upgraded, I still felt that I needed a second DV cam for the second angle, and just in case my MX300 failed, and I certainly wanted the heads to last as much as possible.

I think that tape drive for US$1000 will be essential if:
1) you do transfer lots & LOTS of DV tape. The heads on those tape drives would be pro type, with better heads & tape transport mechanisms, compared to a vidcam's.
2) you've got lots of money to spare / can you justify this price : performance & reliability vs price?
3) you feel you've got to impress people ;) ;)
Thus, you may want to save the US$1000 and get a second cam.
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Old May 12th, 2003, 01:13 AM   #24
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<<<-- Originally posted by Steven Khong : My opinion is, the zoom factor 10x vs 12x shouldn't be such an issue. Is there a great difference of the 2x?

Depending on your needs, you may find the 2x crucial, or just academic.

If you shoot a lot of football matches, wildlife videography, or news events or concerts where they like to stick all the cameramen in a parapet at the back of the room / hall :( :(, then even 12x wouldn't do the trick.

Maybe 12x would JUST manage... but for "insurance" / more leeway in case the subject is too far & you need an even closer zoom, you would still bring along a teleconverter of 1.5x, plus your tripod, of course.
-->>>

Actually, the difference between 10x and 12x is not 2x, it is (12-10)/10 = 0.2x, which is why it is not very significant. Assuming the widest angle at 40mm, then 10x would be 400mm and 12x would be 480mm (in 35mm photography reckoning). Not exactly a large difference. But if you put a teleconvertor in front for 1.5x (I do that), then your 10x becomes 15x and my MX350's 12x becomes 18x. Now that is a large significance in zooming. Warning: you lose focusing speed and accuracy, and incoming light loss with convertors in front.

Still riding on this issue of zoom, not that the Mx300/350 is about 38mm at the widest, but the MX500 is about 42mm (all approximate, no hard numbers, but I have compared footage). The MX8 is about 35mm. Here, you'll find that in the widest angle the MX8 captures the most, followed by the MX300/350 while the MX500 has the narrowest view. An add-on wide angle convertor can help that (I use a 0.79x).
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Old May 12th, 2003, 01:54 AM   #25
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Steven thanks, those were excellent points.

While performance in low light is important to me, I also do a lot of trekking with my camera, and the VX2000 would be much harder to take along. The zoom range is important to me as well; I often use it to take shots of people (especially children) from further away so they notice me less or not at all (for this reason I also usually turn the red "on camera" light off so as not to alert subjects to the fact that the camera is rolling).

Yow, your point about the wide angle is well taken: I also need to film indoors with insufficient space to move around/back to frame what I need. Thanks!

Here is a summary of what I have gathered so far (not only from this thread). The features that are important to me I have marked with a *:
Code:
                             MX300          MX500          PDX10
manual iris control*          yes            yes            yes (no numbers in display)
manual shutter speed*         yes            yes            yes
manual focus*                 yes            yes            yes
manual focus ring*            good           good           terrible
zoom lever*                   nice           OK             too sensitive
progressive/frame mode        yes            yes            no
16:9                          not "true"     "true"         "true" with wider angle of view
low light performance*        reasonable     less           ?
LP mode                       yes            yes            no
DVCAM                         no             no             yes
zoom*                         12x            10x            12x
wide angle*        sufficient for me (38 mm) less (42 mm)   ?
picture quality*              great          good           great
size*                         small          smaller        larger
balance*                      good           good           tips over
CCD size                      1/4            1/6            1/4.7
tape loading                  bottom         top            top
optical stabilizer*           OK             better         great
custom presets*               no             no             yes
zebra*                        yes            yes            yes: 70 & 100 IRE
color bars*                   yes            yes            yes
lens make                     Leica          Leica          Sony
XLR*                         need BeachTech or similar      yes (detachable)
viewfinder*                   color          color          B/W
LCD monitor                   3 inch         3.5 inch       3.5 inch
spot meter*                   no             no             yes
spot focus                    no             no             yes
DV In with passthrough*       yes            yes            yes
If I could me as bold as to ask all of you to check my summary and comment on:
a) inaccuracies
b) issues missing from the list altogether
c) disagreements with the above qualitative assessments

Thank you all for your contributions. This forum is great!!

Ariel
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Old May 12th, 2003, 02:47 AM   #26
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A couple of things:

1) MX300 and MX500 start at 1/50th manual shutter & up. The PDX10 goes below 1/50th.

2) The MX300 viewfinder is 180K, the MX500's is lower resolution and has a smaller eye piece). The PDX10 also has a good viewfinder, plus B&W makes it easier to focus.
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Old May 12th, 2003, 03:26 AM   #27
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PDX10, because of special pixel arrangement has about 800 line horizontal tesolution on LCD and because of B/W viewfinder, it has about 500 lines there. DVX LCD and viewfinder is around 300 lines.
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Old May 12th, 2003, 03:32 AM   #28
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The PDX's LCD has 800 line resolution? Better than a monitor? You sure?
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Old May 12th, 2003, 08:16 AM   #29
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I don't have my owners manual here at work, but the brochure on Sony's website says the LCD is 1120x220 (246,400 pixels). It says the BW viewfinder has 180,000 pixels. See http://bssc.sel.sony.com/Professiona...pdx10final.pdf
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Old May 19th, 2003, 04:46 AM   #30
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Yesterday I went to my dealer to look at the Sony PDX10 (PAL) he is offering me instead of my Panasonic MX300. As promised, here are my impressions (sorry for the long post; I hope I am not boring any members):

First of all, a few things which I don't remember seeing mentioned here or anywhere else (please correct me if I'm wrong):

1. The PDX10 gives the impression of being built in a more solid way.
2. The PDX10 is quite a bit larger.
3. The PDX10's menu system is much nicer than the MX300: when browsing through the top level choices (which on the PDX10 are displayed with icons on the left hand side of the screen), one can see the "contents" of each menu item to the right, so it is much easier to navigate.
4. In my opinion, some buttons are more ergonomically placed on the PDX10 than on the MX300.

A few issues which I had already mentioned in my comparison table in this thread, but which require elaboration or correction:
5. The manual focus ring on the PDX10 is indeed terrible. Most serious photo- and videographers were taught and are used to manually focus by first quickly finding the approx. place where everything is in focus, then going slowly beyond that point and back again to be sure you actually have the best position. On the MX300, this works very nicely. On the PDX10, it is IMPOSSIBLE! The position CHANGES depending on the speed with which you turn the manual focus ring! Or at least, that's the impression I got when trying it out for myself (at maximum zoom).
6. The zoom lever on the PDX10, on the other hand, works very nicely. It seems this is a totally different button than the one on the Sony TRV-950 (the prosumer version of the PDX10). I still prefer the zoom lever on the MX300, though.
7. Low light performance: See detailed description of video tests below.
8. The PDX10 is indeed harder to hold, and tips to the front and the left, while the MX300 is nicely balanced.
9. The PDX10's B&W viewfinder is a pleasure to use, but except for it being B&W, is not significantly sharper than the (excellent) color viewfinder on the MX300 (which the MX500 sadly lacks).
10. The PDX10's LCD is much larger, sharper and brighter than the MX300 LCD.
11. The Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) of the PDX10 is much better than the OIS of the MX300. Note that my MX300 does not have the firmware upgrade 1.6 which is said to improve the OIS on the MX300. This is why at full zoom, the picture taken from the footage of the PDX10 looks much sharper than the same picture from the MX300 (see below).

Video performance:
All this is great, but in the end the most important question is: how does the PDX10 compare with the MX300 with regard to video quality?

I took my own tape (Panasonic mini DV Professional Master tape) and my own Panasonic MX300 with me. I took some video inside the shop, which was not very well illuminated by fluorescent light. I tried taking the same footage with both cameras. All footage was taken using DV (not DVCAM) and using all the automatic settings. I decided to use the automatic settings because even though I know how to use the manual settings on my MX300, I did not have time to experiment with the Sony PDX10. I later played back the tape on my MX300, connected to a large Sony monitor, and compared the footage simply by looking at it (I do not own any sophisticated video performance measuring equipment).

First of all, these are both excellent cameras, and any differences are very slight, may very well be subjective or a result of the individual units I used. The footage of both cameras looks great, sharp, no vignetting, no discernable noise, etc.

I used the "stills from tape" feature of the MX300 to take lower res. stills from the footage. Note that I did not edit, "balance" or otherwise touch these images, which is why, especially the "closeup" onces, are quite dark, which does not accurately represent the video footage itself. But I did not want to touch these images in any way, for obvious reasons.

When comparing very carefully, in my opinion, in general the picture from the MX300 is slightly sharper than from the PDX10, and the colors seem a little more natural. Also note the slight "halo" around the red-haired customer on the PDX10 footage (is this an artifact from the HAD CCD's?), and note the absence of "jaggies" in the PDX10 footage, as compared to the MX300:
PDX10 inside shop: http://www.papricode.atfreeweb.com/h...s/imga0057.jpg
MX300 inside shop: http://www.papricode.atfreeweb.com/h...s/imga0062.jpg

When fully zoomed in, the better OIS of the PDX10 is apparent:
PDX10 at full zoom (12x): http://www.papricode.atfreeweb.com/h...s/imga0059.jpg
MX300 at full zoom (12x): http://www.papricode.atfreeweb.com/h...s/imga0065.jpg

In a dark corner of the shop, with my dealer standing next to me to block out most of the light, I did a close up (you'll laugh at the object used...). Here it is quite apparent that the MX300 has the better low light performance: while the MX300's footage was still normally lit and the red came out nicely, on the PDX10 the footage was already quite dark and the red contained much more noise. Note that the still pictures are much darker than the actual footage; you can use them to compare to each other, but not to get an accurate impression of the brightness of the video footage.
PDX10 close-up: http://www.papricode.atfreeweb.com/h...s/imga0060.jpg
MX300 close-up: http://www.papricode.atfreeweb.com/h...s/imga0066.jpg

Using the "recording data" feature, I saw that while the MX300 utilized from 0dB to 8dB gain, the Sony used from 16dB to 18dB gain (the maximum) at the take inside the shop. At the close up, the MX300 reached 12dB while the Sony used 18dB (which is the maximum it had already needed at the better lit take inside the shop).

I still need to think all of this over, but right now I think I am not going to exchange my MX300 for a PDX10...

Please let me know what you think, and if you have any criticism of the way I compared these two cameras.

Ariel
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