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Panasonic DV / MX / GS series Assistant
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Old May 19th, 2003, 03:22 AM   #1
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GS70 review

Alan Rejoso writes:

Alright, the word cr_p is too harsh, but I simply didn't like the quality of GS70 video and worse, the much better MX5000 can be had for the same or even lower price (in Tokyo). I should have chosen a better word. In any case, let me qualify my impression of the GS70.

Set-up: TRV70, GS70 and Optura20 connected to a single 21?h Sony via composite video through a video (channel) selector switch. The store is sufficiently lighted.

GS70 video looks different compared to the usual razor sharp images of top-of-the-line 1-CCDs. My wife commented that it kinda reminded her of Catherine Zeta Jones' soft focus shots in many of her previous films. Personally, I thought it looked similar to Hi-8. At 1x zoom, the GS70's comparatively lower resolution video is even more obvious and it didn't help at all that it allows a pretty wider shot compared to the other 2. Of course, soft look per se may not be a problem to some (some actually like it), but unfortunately, Panny seemed to have tried too hard to compensate for the low resolution by oversharpening. When I focused the cam on my daughter, white halos are VERY VERY evident around the contour of her face, while the rim of her eyeglasses are jagged. I'm not saying that the TRV70 and Optura20 did not exhibit any halos. It's just that the GS70 showed them much more obviously. Also, I'm not saying that the TRV70 and Optura20 did not exhibit jagged edges. In fact, the TRV70 showed the worst jagged lines at its default setting, but thanks to its sharpness level adjustment feature, the jagged lines can be minimized. Color saturation is ok (I prefer Panny and Canon colors over Sony) but not impressive at all. I really thought the 1-CCD Optura20 color looked better overall, albeit dark.

Handling. It depends on the size of your hands. My hands are small and I have no problem at all with the GS70 (although the tip of my fingers are going beyond the rubber grip grooves on the top of the cam). But honestly speaking, I'm more comfortable holding the slightly bigger (taller) GX7 (352) which was also available on the store shelf at that time. I don't think anybody would complain about the weight. This one is LIGHT. Concerning body material, if you're looking for magnesium alloy bodied cam, this is not the one for you. But why bother, most cams on this price range are made of some kind of plastic anyway. Even the MX5000, I'm not 100% sure if it's really made of some kind of metal, although the cam feels quite solid. Makers usually boast loudly if their cam is made of some special metal but Panny is quiet on this one. Perhaps 953 owners can clarify this using the tongue test (LOL).

Menu and thumbwheel operations are exactly the same as that of recent models including the MX5000 and GX7. If you have handled the MX5000 before, the lack of ?gpro?h features, frame mode and enhanced wide mode (cinema mode is available though) is surely a letdown. The only manual features available are the usual stuffs such as focus, WB, iris opening (showing f-stops in case anybody is curious) and gain. Oh yeah, skin tone feature is easily activated by simply pressing a button. It also has a tele-macro feature which allows the user to focus at 10x zoom from a minimum distance of approx. 40cm (with the MX5000, minimum shooting distance at 10x zoom is 1.1 meters). I recall somebody in the other message board once requested me to check the macro feature of the MX5000. Whooa, it was tough shooting an object from only 2.5cm away. So those who need macro might want to check this cam. Perhaps the most useful new feature of the GS70 is the built-in mic in the wired remote. I didn?ft actually try the wired remote but I would certainly find lots of use for that feature.

BTW, low-light is not an issue to me. I think they all s*** anyway so I always have my cheap but handy 100W clamp light ready whenever I take indoor shots..makes a whole lot of difference.

Yeah of course you shouldn't judge a cam based on one's opinion. But we need to share each others opinion as much as we could. Check it out, you might like it.


(posted at's camera forum)
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Old July 25th, 2003, 03:41 AM   #2
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Old July 25th, 2003, 11:08 AM   #3
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It is a comparative review that includes the GS70, MX-5000 and the top end Sony VX-2000. It has frame grabs too. It's in Japanese so use to translate but there is a rating system of 1-10.

Of course, nothing beats the Sony but the MX-5000 comes close.

Contrary to the review above it claims in the page
that the effective resolution of the GS70 is 500x380, same as the MX-5000. The VX-2000 blows by at 580 by 380.

Furthermore it notes that the MX-5000 low light performance (in normal department store lighting) is similar to the VX-2000.

Another interesting comparison for me is the IRE comparison. While the VX-2000 exhibits a straight horizontal line. It seems Panasonic camcorders tends to curve. I am not sure what this means. If the horizontal axis is time, then it means that the Panasonics tends to be darker at the edges.
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Old July 25th, 2003, 02:37 PM   #4
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There are also owners in other fora posting their actual experiences with the GS70. Some of them seem to be pretty dedicated enthusiasts; most of them know a lot more than first-time camcorder owners like me; some really like what they've purchased, others are less happy. I took the advice of someone who suggested getting the best camcorder you can afford. As I looked at the costs involved of getting an additional battery, possibly adding a lens, filters, camera bag, etc., plus the cost of tape, it didn't make sense to me (lacking the income to treat camcorders like disposable cameras) to pay $600-$1000 for something, spend several hundred more on accessories, and then decide three to six months later the camcorder really is not capable of what you want and have to buy another one. Of course, what's on the market also plays a role. I didn't buy a digicam until late last year, when I found one small enough to actually fit in, say, a shirt pocket, capable (theoretically, at least) of taking 4M pictures, and capable of recording a few minutes of (uneditable and not high quality) video. The same issue of size plus performance capability is why the GS100 is my first digicamcorder. Bottom line: if you're not a pro and it doesn't make you take it with you whenever you go to an event, on a trip, or to visit folks you don't see all the time, you may not be getting your money's worth.
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