The (very) short story of an MX500 at DVinfo.net

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Old May 12th, 2003, 11:55 AM   #1
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The (very) short story of an MX500

Hello everybody,

I'm new in this forum, but I've been going around the various threads since last month.

Now as first time, I’m going to tell you a little tale.
I hope this short story can help somebody.

Last month, after a long search and a long wait (the toy was unobtainable before two months in local shops) I finally got in my hands a brand new MX500 thanks to an Internet Italian vendor who was able to deliver the said in a few days at good price.

I’wont conceal the fact that before buying the MX500 I read a lot about various 3CCD camcorders looking for one which could meet my needs (and my budget).

Finally I decided for the MX500. It seemed to me the best choice for features, dimensions and price.
“If I had to design a camcorder for me I’d made it like an MX500! “I thought.
Yes it has 1/6” CCDs, but they certainly know what they are doing at the factory!

Until then I had never seen or touched that camcorder, only read about on the Internet, but this was not a problem, as I own a cheaper camcorder of the same brand that works just fine. (I trusted that brand)

When the camcorder arrived, I opened the box helped by my son who was beside himself with curiosity.
We both realized that the thing was nicest than we had imagined.

That evening we made some quick tests to check if the camcorder worked and everything was ok.

The next morning I grabbed the camcorder with a fully charged battery, and went around to make some test shots. For the first time shootings, I decided to use the camcorder in automatic mode in order to check the “standard features“.
When I came back home, connected the camcorder to my TV and started the tape from the beginning.

At first glance the images looked nice especially in the colours. Going on with the tape I began noting something strange.

All the images flowed under a grainy mask visible even in day light.

The problem was visible, for example, when the image showed the ground in the lower half and the sky in the upper one (Gain=0dB ; F16 ; S 1/50), therefore with a very strong light.

I stopped the camcorder and made some tests directly connected to the TV.

Everything I tried to reduce the image grain was of no use.

Working in manual mode, I tried every possible combination of the controls, but the result was always the same.

After that, I waited for my son to come from school to show him my video.
I did not mention what I had noted, to avoid influencing his mind.

Pa’, he said, what’s all that noise in the video!

Huu!

And now? What to do? The problem was certainly due to low light sensitivity of the 1/6” CCDs and nothing we could do to change this.

I could not believe it, nearly 2000 Euro for that camcorder.




Ok, it’s beautiful it has almost everything you need, but …..

The same day I called the dealer and told the story.
He asked me if wanted my money back or another camcorder.

“Please send me a Canon XM2”.

I received the XM2 after a few days (paid the difference) and now I’m doing some tests.
It seems that everything is OK, beautiful video images and surprising beautiful photos.
I’ve made some really nice photos.
Tests are going on, but I can say that the camcorders are not comparable (even in price)

It may seem obvious that if something costs more than another it must be better.
Nearly 2000 Euro are not bad for a camcorder .It may have less facilities or different construction ruggedness but the minimum you expect from a so priced unit is that it makes good shootings.
(No noise)

Thank you for your attention.
Your comments are welcome.

Good bye from Mario.
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Old May 12th, 2003, 03:39 PM   #2
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Your short MX story has been told before, and the same story has been told many times before but with other cams. The story usually begins with someone who has little to no miniDV experience, and then buys a cam without trying it first and/or reading all the facts---only to be disappointed, for some reason, and then returns it for another model. Furthermore, the reason for the return/exchange is usually due to poor low light performance. When the VX2000 and GL1 first came out, there were many such stories regarding their "poor low light." Then their stories began to change: the GL1's video quality is poor, the GL1's audio is no good, the GL1's video quality is too warm (too much red), the VX2000's video is too cold (blue), the VX2000's resolution is bad---it's audio hisses like a snake---how do I fix it? etc etc.

Certainly the lux requirements are higher with the MX500 due to the smaller CCDs. That's why if you are going to be shooting a lot of indoor stuff without the increased light, this is not the cam for you. However, if most of your shooting is going to be outdoors, even on clowdy days, and indoors with the right type of lighting, then this cam should shine---like with most prosumer cams. "Lights, camera, ACTION!" Note the word, lights.

Incidentally, I've watched cams getting cheaper and cheaper over the years, both in price and quality. This includes CCDs and lenses getting smaller, and LUX requirements increasing. But there are always some cams which stand out above the crowd; the MX500, XM2/GL2 and VX2000 are among these elite.

In conclusion, thank you for sharing this with us, and enjoy your great new Canon cam!
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Old May 13th, 2003, 04:52 AM   #3
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Thanks Frank for your reply,

I read with much interest your post.

I know that my story is not the first of this kind.

But as you can see, there’s some manufacturer who continues to built camcorders with CCDs smaller than ¼” and somebody (like me) who continues to buy them.
I think that the problem of MX500 is different from the others.
If you read what the world says about that camcorder (except this forum, fortunately) you will think that finally the industry has made “the miracle”.
But, being in the field of technology, those miracles are often called “progress”.

That’s why I bought an MX500.
I’m not disappointed for the camcorder, but for the manufacturer in which I trusted.

Those camcorders are not for professionals.
They are normally made for people who take shootings of their families and friends going around for vacations or for other anniversaries. Most of those shootings are made “indoor”.
Not everybody can mount a Hollywood stage to make some good shootings of his son for his birthday.

Do I have to think that the MX500 is sold at that price for its small 1/6” CCDs?
Do they have saved money in its construction only for the dimensions of CCDs?
I don’t know.

Finally, the MX500 is a beautiful camcorder, full of features that makes it one of the most versatile camcorders on consumer market, if it could make videos with much less noise it would be perfect.

Now it's time to begin using my new XM2 for real shootings and not for tests.

Thank you very much indeed for your attention

Bye
M.Lauria
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Old May 13th, 2003, 05:07 AM   #4
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Mario,

You make good points not unlike what I believe. All cams have some shortcomings, strengths and weaknesses, unfortunately, the shortcomings are usually things of importance. You have to keep in mind that consumer cams, high end and low end, are designed for the Japanese consumer. Look at it this way, Italian motorcycles are mainly designed for shorter men with short legs. My old Laverada 1000 and Ducati 900SS made my legs cramp. Things are different in different parts of the world. I'm used to Canadian food. When I first tried Persian food, well, I couldn't care less. Now I eat it every day. Back to the MX500. This cam requires more light than say a GL2 and a VX2000. The trade off is LUX and the small viewfinder. Everything else is great about the cam, as far as I know---I've only played with the North American NTSC version, not the PAL. Take care.
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Old May 13th, 2003, 05:22 AM   #5
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Frank

Thank you again for your reply

Ciao
M.Lauria
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Old May 13th, 2003, 02:36 PM   #6
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Hi,
So do you think maybe, your MX 500 was faulty?
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Old May 13th, 2003, 03:49 PM   #7
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We'll never know. He exchanged it for a XM2 (PAL GL2).
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Old May 14th, 2003, 02:49 AM   #8
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Sean Allen

I don't think it was faulty.

You can find other threads on this forum where is mentioned the same problem.

Ciao
M.Lauria
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Old May 14th, 2003, 03:02 AM   #9
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One member had similar problems and finally decided to exchange it (a PV-DV953). Now he has no more problems. However the higher lux requirements are still there. I guess he's going to live with it. (But then again, we'll have to wait and see---or read his posts.)
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 02:38 AM   #10
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"Papa, he said, what’s all that noise in the video!" - I keep asking myself this very same question, but when I hook it up to my 20" Emerson NTSC TV, the one with the built-in VCR (I got for free), it doesn't look so bad. I just have to sit back about 10 feet, from this 20" Emerson NTSC TV, the one with the built-in VCR (I got for free). :)


PS: it's really only 19 inches, I measured it. So I don't know why they call it a 20" TV. :( http://www.dvfreak.com/mx5_go.htm
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 09:01 AM   #11
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Frank

Try with a Sony Wega 32" 16:9. (My TV)

It's quite a different matter.

(You cannot listen to a CD (s/n more than 90dB) on small radio recorder expecting to hear the original recording hiss)

Frank, I compared the video of the MX500 with the ones
shot with my "old" camcorder NV-DS150 (800.000 pixel 1/4" single CCD).

The comparison was made ON THE SAME TV.

There was a sensible difference in noise response.

On the other hand I can say that the image colours and sharpness of the MX500 were better, but this is obvious.....

Ciao
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 11:14 AM   #12
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PAL has a 32" Wega 16:9? I've only seen 30", 34", and 38" widescreen tubes.

I have a 34" Wega 16:9 but its of course NTSC. (KV-34XBR800)

I'm a big fan of the DV953 on both of my HD sets. Its no VX2000 but it also travels a lot better. Of course its no wonder cam and not going to please everyone but I think a lot of that is user error or lack of manual settings knowledge.
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 12:47 PM   #13
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Tommy

I don't know all Sony TV production.
My TV model is KV-32FX60 (PAL 100 Hz).

I'm pleased to know that you are satisfied with your camcorder.

I don't know if DV953 and MX500 are the same thing.

If you read my first post you will see that my shootings were all made in "AUTO" mode.
There's nothing to be wrong in settings or whatever...

Anyway, with the MX500 story I did not want to discourage anybody to buy that camcorder.

The only message is: try the camcorders before buying.
If you like it then you are not wrong.

Ciao
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 02:19 PM   #14
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I have tried the PV-DV932 (NV-MX5), and I love it! I think it's an amazing machine, sexy too. (But I haven't bought one yet), see here:

http://www.dvfreak.com/mx5_go.htm

Note: you'll see that even Chucky can afford one one, so this bum's gonna get one too. Only 24,000 bottles left to collect, and cash in! :)

PS: the Emerson 20" TV was free, from "The Brick,"when I bought my new bed, couch, love couch and tables! Great TV! I don't have to hook in a VCR because it's got one built-in.
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