I think the low-light abilities are exaggerated? at DVinfo.net

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The 4K DVX200 plus previous Panasonic Pro Line cams: DVX100A, DVC60, DVC30.


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Old July 31st, 2003, 05:32 PM   #1
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I think the low-light abilities are exaggerated?

Hey kids!

Well I finally got the cam I couldn't wait for and maybe I'm typing this prematurely, but I used to hook up my trv900 directly to a monitor to establish some capabilities as far as detail, low-light, and color rendition. I could hook up a monitor and tell if a red shirt was going to blow out (since that cam was twitchy on reds)... the other thing I could tell was how much video noise I was going to get for a given lighting situation... although I liked the trv900 I wasn't quite satisfied with it. I was under the impression that the dvx100 on progressive wouldn't have the video noise that was prevalent in the trv900.

It does.

I guess the old adage is true that if you want your videos to look professional there is no way around lighting your shoot.

Stephen, if you read this... I got the impression from you that when you were shooting your pc-case that you had no noise in those shots... "In reality the picture is cleaner..." Can you please tell me how you got those results?

I mean all due respect... I guess I'm just feeling a little nervous because the primary reason I dumped my 900 was for the apparently perfect low-light of the dvx100...

Don't get me wrong, I can tell this cam is on a whole 'nother level... I'm only one day into it.

Thanks.
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Old July 31st, 2003, 07:18 PM   #2
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what mode were you in 60i? or one of the progressive modes? if you were in 60i and used gain, there will be noise.
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Old July 31st, 2003, 07:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
I guess I'm just feeling a little nervous because the primary reason I dumped my 900 was for the apparently perfect low-light of the dvx100.
The DVX100 should be slightly better than the TRV900 in "low light." But neither cam are as good as the XL1 and VX2000 in low light. The JVC DV500 (1/2" CCDs) is even better.
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Old July 31st, 2003, 07:43 PM   #4
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Matt:

Download the raw clip I posted. I have not altered the noise. Shot at 24p cinegamma at 1/24th shutter speed.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 08:06 AM   #5
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Stephen, Thanks. I promise I'll check it out... remember I'm the guy with dial-up so it's pretty hard to get over 10megs downloaded... I thought your file was around 14? I'll see if I can get it. I'm not dissing the cam BTW... just posting thoughts.

The trv900 was rated at 4lux with max gain and this cam is rated at 3lux with max gain... I figured due to the lens and 1/3" chips that Panny's lux rating might be more on the mark then Sony's. Manufacturers are often accused of fudging the numbers for marketing's sake, but in this case I think Panny and Sony are at least using the same system of measure. The Panny is just slightly better then the trv900 was, at least with gain.

And yes I should mention that I was finding noise in progressive mode. I had it at 30p with 1/30 shutter. I'll try the 24p with 1/24 shutter next...

Today is Friday, the next morning after my first post. I do want to emphasize that I am very happy with this cam and I feel lucky that I was able to scrape the cash together to buy it... I've already been playing with it since 6:30 this morning and the images under medium, average, and high light are fantastic... the only reason I posted this yesterday evening was because I thought I'd be able to get 100% grain-free video out of this thing in low to NO light. I don't care if the image goes almost totally dark... it's far easier to deal with footage that's dark with NO noise then footage that's acceptably light but full of dancing pixels. Shadows without noise will be filled by your audience's imagination.

How I normally get (what appears to be) low-light shots is by lighting a shoot close to normal and then darkening/filtering in post, kind of like day for night. I was hoping to be able to abandon that approach in favor of true low light shooting, but I don't expect to be able to do that just yet.

It's funny Frank, somehow I really think you're on to something with that mx5000 you've been touting. That probably is the best value available right now... feel free to use the following point in future debates about low-light:

I inquired about the mx5000 on one or two of your posts earlier this year and my biggest complaint was that the lux rating was I believe around 15? When I compared that to the trv900's 4 I made the choice to get a trv900 on ebay. I had the cam for less then a month because of the grain with gain issue... that's when I noticed something interesting in the owner's manual... under specs it says "minimum lux...4 recommended lux 100,000"... yeah, ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND!... so I'm guessing that if somebody goes to the trouble to use a little lighting, which you all should, then there won't be THAT much difference between 4 and 15 when you're on a scale that goes to 100K.

Any video shot at less then fifty lux is probably unacceptable for criticism.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 11:05 AM   #6
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I found the the MX5/953's super high resolution makes up for its higher lux requirements. But when I tested the cam, I found that on a dark, rainy cloudy day, the footage was still stunning. It was indoors in a restaurant where I noticed the colors had disappeared. So, for "regular" indoor shooting, were the lighting cannot be controlled, the cam presents a problem. The new GS100 is supposed to be slightly better. Compared with the older MX300, the MX300 performed better in this restaurant's lower light. However, the MX3's footage is not as spectacular as that of the MX5/953.

I used to do a lot of shooting with the PD100A, and it required less light for good footage, but its resolution cannot be compared with the MX5 footage, nor DVX footage.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 12:50 PM   #7
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Matt:

Note that the other settings in the camera will affect this as well t (master pedestal, detail etc.) so you may want to experiment.

When I first got the cam, I had my wife sit in a chair lit by a single 60W floor lamp at night. I turned out the lights and ran the S-Video into a 32" Sony Triniton XBR in my living room. I then proceeded to play with all the settings and mode.

It gives a good sense of what effect the settings have when viewed on high-quality NTSC
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Old August 1st, 2003, 06:29 PM   #8
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3 lux specification for the DVX100 is in interlaced mode, using maximum gain. I think you would find the DVX100 in interlaced mode is much better than the TRV900, in low light. There is no gain in progressive mode, and Panasonic don't quote the lux figure. It would, presumably, be much higher. In other words, you need light to shoot progressive, but you can shoot in very low light interlaced.
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Old August 3rd, 2003, 12:27 AM   #9
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Low Light Happiness

I'm shooting in exclusively 24p advanced and very happy with the low light.

You have to make sure and adjust the auto-iris in the SCENE edit to 0 or + higher, or use manual iris. Otherwise, the camera defaults to a -3 iris value in 24pAdv.

Also, and I've done this several times, make sure your ND fiter is not on (!)

Finally, if you are still not getting enough light, set the shutter to 1/24 second (this is done with the LCD open using the shutter buttons on the inside side of the camera.

I've shot in amazing low light doing the above and been quite happy with the results.

Neil
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Old August 3rd, 2003, 02:44 AM   #10
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Chris is gonna kill me for linking... sorry Chris :) you can kill the link if you want.

but I took some shots here in various modes and an example of Master Ped effect with the DVX with lighting of only 4 candles. you can see the screen grabs half way down the page.

http://www.dvxuser.com/cgi-bin/DVX/Y...0515;start=9#9
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Old August 3rd, 2003, 10:49 AM   #11
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Well now it's Sunday... four days since the beloved package came... I am STILL learning how to cull the best low-light footage from this amazing cam so I don't have any new info on THAT and I am trying all the experiments you guys have suggested. I should mention that I've been into SLR photography for over 10 years so I'm very familiar with AE and ND filters and such...

I felt the need to add to this thread because I started it off in a way that may spook potential buyers away from this cam. Therefore I just wanted to say that I am continuously more and more impressed by how nice the footage is out of this baby. I can see how most of you guys never return to 60i after playing with progressive. On 24p the footage stutters too much for me, but on 30p it's nothing short of amazing. I've set F1 to detail -4, chroma -2, master ped -2, gamma cine, skin detail on, matrix normal, v detail thick... this was after a half-hour of experimenting to make my cousin look as good as possible. To be blunt about it, he is a carpenter and has that red, weathered, outdoor look (and so do I, but not as much). He also has some complexion scaring. If you saw him you'd think he was a good looking guy... I'm just making the most of his flaws to make this point...

The point is that you can witness a transformation within the camera by switching from F1 to F2 and back again. I reprogrammed F2 off the fluorescent and made it operate like standard video... purposely NOT changing the settings that a "normal" cam wouldn't have... I only set it for white balance, exposure, etc. Anyway, when you switch from F2 back to F1 it's like a totally different cam... there is such a change in the feel of the video that it's hard to describe. It's like having Magic Bullet or Cine-Look running real-time right in the camera.

I used my brother and my cousin as guinea pigs for the cam's abilities and then we watched the footage on my brother's 62" Sony... I think my cousin said it best, "I can't believe that camera sees clearer then my own eyes." I was standing next to the tv holding the cam as it played the footage and both he and my brother said it looked like I was out of focus as I stood there in front of them. They said the picture was clearer then reality.

It kind of made me think that we're all going to hate HD when it gets here. Personally I'm going to buy stock in Tiffen and every other filter company before HD does get here because nobody will want to see themselves THAT clearly.

I'm going to order a soft-fx filter and a gold diffusion fx 1/2 for this thing next week.

Bottom line on this post is that it's an injustice that I compared this cam to my trv900 due to the low-light issues. So far I'm stunned at what's coming out of this thing and I'm only 4 days into it. The settings and progressive features ARE the dvx100. To get one and not immediately delve into the manual capabilities would be rediculous.
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Old August 3rd, 2003, 11:04 AM   #12
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<<<-- Bottom line on this post is that it's an injustice that I compared this cam to my trv900 due to the low-light issues. So far I'm stunned at what's coming out of this thing and I'm only 4 days into it. The settings and progressive features ARE the dvx100. To get one and not immediately delve into the manual capabilities would be rediculous. -->>>

Nicely put. I thought once you had a chance to really play with it, the camera would come alive.

That's why it got kind of mixed reviews when people first saw the cam at NAB etc. A few minute of playing with the cam under bad lighting with default settings, especially in 60i tells you nothing about what the cam can really do.

But when you look at the what people are creating right now, to me it looks better than most non-HD interlaced cams, regardless of price.
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Old August 6th, 2003, 04:14 AM   #13
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Re: Low Light Happiness

<<<-- Originally posted by Neil Slade :
Also, and I've done this several times, make sure your ND fiter is not on (!)
-->>>

Indeed! I just got my DVX100, and went over to my producer's this evening to show the camera off. Since it was night, and there was only one light in the room, she decided to test the low-light response. After a few seconds, she handed the camera back to me, saying that the performance was really disappointing. (This is crucial, since the film we're shooting includes several night-time scenes.) I took a look through the viewfinder, and could only agree with her -- I could see nothing. Just when I thought we were going to have to go back to the TRV-900 for this project, I happened to glance on the side of the DVX and noticed that the ND filter switch was set to the middle location...
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Old August 6th, 2003, 10:03 PM   #14
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It's kind of crazy that by the end of the same thread I started I feel the need to declare my original points invalid... I have since had a chance to test this thing pretty darn much in low light and it indeed is absent of grain.

If you try to shoot total blackness you will see grain, even on progressive modes... if however, there is even ONE tiny emission of light anywhere in the frame the video is absolutely grain-free in the progressive modes.

In this respect this camera DOES in fact BLOW my old trv900 OUT OF THE WATER. It isn't even close... I couldn't get the 900 to produce low light shots without a ton of grain, even with the gain kept at zero (clearly at zero in the display... no ND on either.)

I took the dvx to several very low light locations over the past few nights and I've been EXTREMELY happy. This cam is VERY capable. It can clearly produce independent films. I'd originally hoped the trv900 would be capable of minimalist independent films, but it wasn't worth a crap in low light. Everybody touts the 900's low-light abilities but they can't be exploited w/o a ton of grain... if you keep it at NO gain, then the output picture is STILL loaded with dancing pixels... that is NOT an option in any "film"... it instantly distracts the veiwer no matter what the action is.

Happily it's pretty easy to have grain free images pumping out of the dvx... which is 80% the reason I wanted it in the first place.

Also the more I use it the more amazed I am. This thing can take any ordinary object/person and transform it into beauty... with proper set-up and lighting of course... but you need to see it to realize what I mean. It's great.
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Old August 7th, 2003, 01:03 PM   #15
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Here are some VERY low-light clips. I think they look great:

http://www.aviewofyou.tv/dvx100/duo.html

and

http://www.aviewofyou.tv/dvx100/duo2.html
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