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

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Old May 10th, 2004, 02:07 AM   #1
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Tough decision for cameras

My deadline to buy is coming up. I love the feel of the variable frame rates of the panasonic, the picture it creates, the size of the camera, XLRs, and the general feel of the unit. But now I have doubts to whether it will fit the job I want it to do.
(I've searched the posts for this topic already)
I shoot, primarily science, nature, adventure type of work where a very wide and a very tele lens is paramount. Obviously, the panny's 45mm lens with only a .6 tele converter is definitely lacking here. I also do a lot of work on mountain tops and other extreme terrain so the bulk and weight of the XL1 hurts.

Here are other things that are important for my work (and I'm looking for something that best meets these in the panny's price range).

---the best optics I can afford

---resolution (and quality of the CCD chips)

---lens adaptibility (wide, tele, macro)

---dynamic range

---color rendition (something that gives rich, saturated colors, echoing of fujichrome velvia in stills)

---size and weight

---XLR inputs

---variable frame rates (progressive option as well)

---matte box campatible

---adjustable zebra settings, adjustable LCD screen, minimum illumination, manual white balance, manual audio control

Obviously I know that nothing meets all of these standards in this price range, otherwise my decision would be easy. By knowing my needs and what I'm looking for. Does anyone have any advice?
Michael Bendixen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10th, 2004, 02:14 AM   #2
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As you are aware, the DV format has limitations. However, the DVC80 is a nice cam for the price. It's now discontinued but as far as I know, B&H still has some left, and at a bargain price, considering you get a lot for the money with this cam.
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Old May 10th, 2004, 03:28 AM   #3
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In all actuality, the dvx100a meets all of your requirements, except for the tele range.

-best optics, have you seen the price on the Leica lenses? Can't do much better than that.
-Resolution. As far as the dv format goes, the Dvx100 has the xl1 beet by far. I believe that the pd170 comes close, but then you kick it into thin line detail with progressive scan, and the resolution from the dvx can't be beat. And don't even try and say "but the Jvc hd1. . . blah blah balh" I won't even go into that.
-Lens. The dvx has a great built in wide lens and the 100a has some great macro capabilities. Like you already know it is lacking on the longer side of the barrel, but for me, I would rather move the camera than zoom anyways.
-dynamic range. NO other camera in this price range gives you the kind of image dynamics that the dvx does. No comparison here.
-color rendition. See the above point and switch out the words image dynamics for color/image control. You get my point.
-size and weight. This is something different for everyone. I personally prefer a heavier camer as it adds to the smoothness of motion for handheld shots, hence the reason I just bought the dv rig pro. I think the camera weighs in at about 4.5lbs so you can base your decision on that.
-XLR inputs. Gotem built right in, no adapter necesary, and they have phantom power as well. The dvx/dvc has the best audio in the price range as well, see other posts about this on this forum.
-Variable framerates. The dvx is the only choice for this. Never mind the movie mode on the xl1 or the gl2. If you want frame rates, you got 'em with the dvx. 60i 30p or 24p, what else could you ask for. And this is true progressive scan, no frame blending added. This will tuely give you the sharpest, cleanest, highest resolution on any NTSC/PAL camera in this price range.
-THere are lots of matte boxes available for the dvx, ranging from around $200 up to a couple grand, depending on what you want.
-Adjustable zebra, yup from 80 to 105 depending on your shooting style.
-adjustable LCD screen. Don't know what you mean by adjustable, but you can set the brightness/ contrast on it. I would reccomend getting the LCD hood for any outdoor shooting. I actually end up using it outdoors and indoors, its great.
-minimum illumination. The PD170 has the dvx beat when comparing pd170 60i to dvx100 progressive, however, kick the dvx into 60i and the gap gets closed quite considerably.
-Manual white balance. yup, and it's not burried in the menu just to get to it, like some other cameras. There is an easily accessable Manual white balance button right underneath the lens.
-Manual audio control. Sure is, from volume to redirection mic channels, the DVX has it all.

So in short, the camera that you should get would definatly be......
drum roll please..........

The Sony TRV 19 with nightshot that gives you x-ray vision during the day, hurray.
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Old May 10th, 2004, 01:22 PM   #4
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Easy decision. It comes down to one simple question--is a maximum 35mm equivalent focal length of 520mm adequate for your needs? If so, buy the DVX. The 45mm maximum focal length multiplied by the 1.6X Century teleconverter is roughly equivalent to a 520mm lens on a 35mm camera. Unless you're going to be hauling around a *substantial* tripod, any longer focal length will be wasted. Just something to consider.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 02:46 PM   #5
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Good point Barry, but could you elaborate on "substantial" tripod. I would think anyone serious about wildlife filmaking would invest in a decent tripod. I just don't want to be backed into a corner
with no possibility of extending the lense.
Is there any other extender that would provide greater distance for the panasonic? And do you have any comment on the loss of quality when you add glass on top of glass(in terms of the panny's tele extender).

Thanks for the responses.

Michael Bendixen
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Old May 11th, 2004, 09:23 PM   #6
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I don't know of any quality extender that is greater power than the Century 1.6X. There may be some cheapo brands, but I wouldn't trust them. Century is a division of Schneider Optics and they have a reputation for high quality optics. As with any lens extender, you can expect a loss in quality, but I've heard that the Century 1.6X is a good piece of glass.

What's a substantial tripod? I think you need to talk with some nature filmmakers and see what they recommend for very long lenses. My point is that you should be prepared to lug around a heavy tripod if you expect to be able to take advantage of long telephoto focal lengths.

Since long focal length seems to be one of your primary concerns, you might be better off with an XL-1s. Not only does it come with a longer stock lens, but you can mount as long a lens as your heart desires on the XL-1s body. A specialized case like nature/wildlife filming is going to be better served by a camera that can accept very long lenses. In all other respects I'd recommend the DVX100, but this sounds like a showstopper for you.
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