16x vs. 20x Zoom at DVinfo.net

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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 September 3rd, 2005, 05:42 PM   #1
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16x vs. 20x Zoom

Ok, Ok, here's another DVC30/GL2 comparison that I'm curious about. Zoom will be important to me bacuase I tape live shows where I stand in the back and zoom in on stage. I need to know how far in distance is the difference between these two cams going to be? Everytime I use the GL2 I always have it zoomed in the full 20x. How much will I lose with 16x zoom. I'm not too worried however because in the description of the DVC30 it states that you can use up to "20x digital zoom with virtually no degradation". Does this hold true? Any users confirm this? Thanks again!
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Old September 3rd, 2005, 06:37 PM   #2
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I think you can make an objective comparison by looking at the camera specs on each company's website. See what the 35mm equivalent maximum zoom focal length is. That will put things on an even playing field. Things like "20x" and "16x" are not meaningful in an of themselves. They denote the ratio of the shortest focal length to the longest focal length - they aren't absolute numbers.

FWIW, I also shoot live performances and have been using a Sony PDX-10. At maximum zoom the lens has a 35mm equivalency of about 500mm. I shoot from a distance of about 100' from the stage. If a performer is standing at the curtain line then I get a bit less than a full body shot. If I add my 2x telephoto adaptor (35mm equiv of 1000m) I get a shot from the waist up, maybe a bit less. Here are a couple examples with the telephoto which give you an idea of a 1000mm lens from a distance of around 100 feet:

http://tech.operaphilly.com/sets/fau...lentine-02.jpg
http://tech.operaphilly.com/sets/pas.../norina-01.jpg

So compare the 35mm equivalent focal lengths to see how the cameras stack up against each other. Also realize that you can get a telephoto adaptor for those times you want to move in really close.
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Old September 3rd, 2005, 07:30 PM   #3
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Thanks Boyd!
Here are the specs in case you want to elaborate for me:

The Gl2 - The 20x optical zoom is the 35 mm focal length equivalent of 39.5 -- 790 mm.

The DVC30 - 16X, f=4.1 to 65.6mm, 35mm equivalent: 39.5 to 623mm, 1-100 seconds from Wide to Tele

I completely forgot about being able to purchase a telephoto lens as well. So I guess I won't have to worry about "on-camera" zoom. So basically how much will a 1.5x and a 2.0x telephoto lens increase the zoom range? and will it do so with "no degradational loss of image quality"? Thank you.
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Old September 3rd, 2005, 08:14 PM   #4
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For the adaptor you would just multiply those focal lengths by either 1.5 or 2.0, that's what they mean. Adding any glass in front of a lens degrades the image somewhat, that can't be helped. Also, almost no adaptors are completely "zoom thru." With a telephoto adaptor you will vignette (cut off the corners) as you zoom out at some point, probably slightly past the midpoint in the zoom range. So only use the adaptor when you really need the extra reach.

Use my example photos as a gauge. The 1000mm shot at 100 feet would have a 20% wider field of view with an 800mm lens or 40% wider field of view with a 600mm lens:

http://tech.operaphilly.com/sets/fau...lentine-02.jpg
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Old September 4th, 2005, 06:57 AM   #5
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If you want a top notch image you will be disappointed with the DVC30 digital zoom or for that matter IMO any digital zoom. I was basically in the same position you are with my DVC30 since I frequently video at maximum telephoto. I ran side by side tests at 16x optical then with 1.25x and 1.5x digital. It was a disappointment. Go the telephoto adaptor route.

Regards,

Mark
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Old September 28th, 2005, 06:28 PM   #6
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I am using a GS400 with a 1.7x Olympus Tele and am disappointed with the video quality at full zoom. My old MX8 gives similar results and is only 1 chip. I noticed that Mark uses DVC30 at full zoom regularly. Could anyone give me some feedback on the DVC30 at full zoom? I film ocean sports and am panning regularly - sometimes quickly. I am contemplating upgrading to achieve better results and in particular better resolution. The DVC30 seems to be a handy little sports unit.
Thanks, Ian
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Old September 28th, 2005, 09:53 PM   #7
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Long time lurker first time poster.

I've had my DVC30 for about a 9 months now. because of its bad OIS, full on zoom unless on a tripod is pretty shaky. So I decided to buy a wide angle and sit in the front row, much better.
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Old September 29th, 2005, 01:48 AM   #8
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Sitting in the front row in the ocean means getting wet and spending another $1500 or so on waterproof housing! But thanks anyway Michael - is the OIS poorer quality than the GS series? My MX8 and GS400 have reasonable OIS and I assumed the DVC30 would be the same.
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Old September 29th, 2005, 06:38 AM   #9
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Sitting in the ocean doesn't sound so bad.

I don't have a lot of hands on experience with other prosumer cameras other than holding them at B&H. From this experience, I have to say it's probably one of the worse OIS's. Some of the things I've done is weigh the camera down with a big battery, xlr adapter, large shotgun mic. I also bought a nice shoulder mount that the camera mounts to. nice padded over the shoulder rest and a front handgrip. This really helps steady the camera when I have to hand hold it for a period of time. On my tripod, I also replaced the cheap head with a nicer smoother bogen head and that made a huge difference too. Another thing I've found is if I convert the video to 24p in final cut, it seems to smooth it out a touch more. I used to use the frame mode in the camera and this seemed to also smooth is out but I couldn't get over the stair steps on edges. So I shoot in interlaced and use nattress film converter plugin and it does a much better job. All of these little things add up to a nice shot. But I was playing around with an XL2 camera the other day and the stabalization was so much better, made me wish the DVC30 was better.
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Old September 29th, 2005, 01:34 PM   #10
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No OIS that I've ever used will allow me to handhold a camera at the far end of the zoom range......at least not for anyhting important.
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Old October 7th, 2005, 03:39 AM   #11
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Lots of good points raised here, especially about digital zoom (don't), telephoto converters (always vignette as you zoom back) and OIS systems that can't steady anything down the tele end (tripod is always better).

But another point worth mentioning is that all zooms lose speed as you zoom, and if you use your DVC30 at the wide end at full aperture, you'll need to use +9dB of gain up when on full telephoto, in the same lighting. This can mean the picyure quality varies quite considerably - especially so if you're watching a DVD version. Some cameras like the GL2 lose even more light at full tele, so lurker Michael makes a good suggestion. If you can go closer, do so. Less shake, less grain, more sharpness (no 2x converterin place) and probably better sound.

tom.
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