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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 January 1st, 2003, 02:26 PM   #1
Chris Bell
Posts: n/a
Lens Issues

Hey all,

I am a new owner of the DVX-100 and I think the camera is a big step forward from the competition (pd150/XL1). I know it's tough to complain about a $3500 camera, but it too much to ask for a lens system with more finess? Maybe not. I was impressed that the lecia lens holds focus thoughout the zoom range unlike the sony/canon so I guess progress has been made. There are, however, a few issues I have with the lens and I would be curious to get feedback from other owners.

First, I find the zoom mechanics to be loose and I see a fair amount of image shift when the focal length is changed (espically in 24p). The zoom motor is too choppy and manual mode is too loose. I have been contemplating finding a lens technician who could put a heavier grease in the zoom mechanics, or finding a way to adapt a chrosziel fluid zoom (remember those?) to the body...hint hint aftermarket manufactures.

Second, the lens looses a lot of light through the zoom range. This is far worse than the pd-150 or XL-1. I wish panasonic had placed the iris contol next to the zoom ring (ala film lenses) or had designed a lens which held "stop" throughout the focal range. I would say this is the most serious issue with this camera...its hard to be spontaneous with the lens when you know the image will dim as you change focal lengths.

Any thoghts? Anyone from Panasonic reading this forum?

Chris Bell, DP
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Old January 1st, 2003, 03:05 PM   #2
Major Player
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Northridge Ca
Posts: 734
Hello Chris,

First off, I own a PD150, and have no idea what you are referring to when you say the camera does not hold focus throughout the zoom range. That simply is not true in my experience.

Second, I think you answered all your questions when you stated you can't expect everything from a $3500 camera: there will be compromises. Sony, Cannon, and others chose to manufacture a digital command lens as a way to keep down costs. This resulted in the notorious "hiccup" problem and a few other minor irritations, such as the difficult manual focus control in the PD150. But all in all, great cameras for the money.

Panasonic took a different tack, and created a true analog lens for the DVX100, but were forced to cut corners in other ways. The good news is the DVX100 does not have the dreaded "hiccup." The bad news is, they made
such a wide "dead Window" in the middle (certainly to be sure to have no
drift problem) that you must press the rocker switch quite a bit before
something happens with the zoom. More bad news: They only allow the
remote control of the Zoom and record, but no other function.

Regarding the loss of light at the long end of the zoom, this is an anamoly know as "portholing" and is common to all lenses, although some will have a worse effect than others. As you well know, a longer lens requires more light and as you zoom in, if there is not adequate light, you will begin to see the "portholing effect." My PD150 creates this problem the last few mm when it is wide open. So, I simply avoid those situations. No solution, no problem.

Again, amazing cameras for the money.

Wayne Orr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 1st, 2003, 03:45 PM   #3
Chris Bell
Posts: n/a

Do you have a late model pd-150? Every pd-150 I have used will not hold focus though the zoom range. Perhaps this is an issue they fixed?

The "portholing" issue is far worst on the panasonic than the pd-150...I see the image start to dim in the middle of the range and I find it fusterating...I think they could have done a better job on this.

Your're right...its still a lot of camera for the money and I am glad I held off buying a dv camera until now. The 24p thing really looks great as I am always trying to escape that dreaded 60i look.

They also did a very good job on the sound section...I have had serveral pro soundmixers compliment the audio section.

Chris Bell, DP

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