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Old January 14th, 2007, 08:16 AM   #1
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DVX100 vs Canon XL1s - widescreen question

Hi,

I am thinking of getting a panasonic dvx100 and I was wondering what the difference is in the widescreen mode between this and the canon xl1s. I have read the panasonic has a 'letterbox mode' which it applys to the image but results in a lower quality output. Now is this the same thing as the XL1s or will the widescreen quality be noticeably lower than the 4:3 on the panasonic when compared to the canon?

many thanks
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Old January 14th, 2007, 09:57 AM   #2
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the DVX100a or b has 3 recording modes
Standard (4:3)
Letterbox (4:3 with balck horizontal bars)
Squeeze (4:3 stretched vertically to simulate widescreen)

All of these are tagged with 4:3 metadata being that if u were to record in squeeze mode for 16:9, your NLE will NOT see it as widescreen, however u can import it into a 16:9 project and it will behave as widescreen does

the thing with the DVX100, is that if u record in progressive mode with squeeze, your not really losing all that much resolution. In PAL from 576, it drops down to 432, which really isnt all that much of a difference compared to NTSC's native 480
Now this drop in resolution is then refilled to fill the screen.. now one thing to note is that your footage is still 720x576.. (in pal)
Let me clarify here, that your NOT degrading the footage.. your NOT losing resolution per se, what your doing is losing PARTS of the frame.. and then refilling the gaps with the stretched frame
So in essence your only acquiring the footage within the cropped resolution (432 as opposed to 576), but outputting in full res.. (this is where pixel shifting plays a major part as well.. but again thats another issue..)


Also with the DVX, its lens is wide enough to make use of this stretched material, and with the macro abilities of the lens its uses for widescreen are much more versatile than the XL1s.. (ie the frame is wide enogh to acquire good focus and DoF in the background...sure enough it doesnt have the tele reach of the canon, but thats another issue altogether
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Old January 14th, 2007, 10:05 AM   #3
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peter,

thanks for your reply. what do you mean by tele reach?
Would you say the best thing to do for maximum quality with the pana is shoot in 4:3 mode and apply a 16:9 mask afterwards to cut off the top and bottom of the footage?
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Old January 17th, 2007, 12:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Payne
peter,

thanks for your reply. what do you mean by tele reach?
Would you say the best thing to do for maximum quality with the pana is shoot in 4:3 mode and apply a 16:9 mask afterwards to cut off the top and bottom of the footage?
Yes, that is your best option. I have actually found from doing tests using the EIA resolution chart, that squeeze mode actually gives you slightly LESS resolution than letterboxing in post. It's a 4:3 camera, always shoot in 4:3.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 07:32 PM   #5
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The same process will work with the xl1s. Does the dvx have frame guides for 16x9? If so, that will help framing a bit. The DVX will have more resolution than the xl too.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 07:54 AM   #6
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a friend of mine has always used masking tape on his dvx viewfinder so I assume the DVX doesnt have guides. I will know for sure on weds :)
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 10:36 AM   #7
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Hi David.
I've got a Panasonic AG-DVX100B and I also got a Canon XLH1.
If I should chose between those two today, I would pick the Canon.
If I should choose between DVX and XL1 or XL2 I also would choose Canon because you can change the object/lince.
The Canon also has real 16:9.
Nothing negative about the DVX which I still have, and still use in some ocations, and then there is the prize to consider.
The DVX have given me much pleasure filming different videos, but now I'm on to wildlife stuff, so I prefer the Canon.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 10:43 PM   #8
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I've got a Panasonic AG-DVX100B and I also got a Canon XLH1.

((Lucky boy.. :) ))

If I should chose between those two today, I would pick the Canon.
((So would I.. but then again, the DVX is almost 4yr old technology, using a 4:3 ccd... there are otehr factors involved here too, but if i to were to toss up between H1 and DVX, its a no brainer... H1 all the way.. then again, teh camera is almsot 3times as much in price... ))

If I should choose between DVX and XL1 or XL2 I also would choose Canon because you can change the object/lince.

((please explain.. im baffled here.. for native 16:9, the XL2 would be a better option re-resolution, however the original poster DOESNT HAVE an XL2.. I dont understand your reasoning behind this element of your post.. ))

The Canon also has real 16:9.

((XL2 i agree.. XL1s does not.. in addition, the Progressive scan modes offer higher resolution so a DVX ni squeee mode would be sharper than an XL1s in squeeze mode... theres also the CCD pixel size and gamma configuration, so the colours would also be superior (based on the skill of the camera operator of course... ) ))

Nothing negative about the DVX which I still have, and still use in some ocations, and then there is the prize to consider.
The DVX have given me much pleasure filming different videos, but now I'm on to wildlife stuff, so I prefer the Canon.
((Of course. who wouldnt be.. dude, teh H1 offers a 10x optical zoom, superclean HDV and albeit for HDV motion artefacts, the camera is an aaabsolute beast for the price.. love it..))

as for the DVX...

Now it doe not have a 16:9 mask. u can either tape it or use teh on screen info as a frame guide (what i do)

Shooting in 4:3 progressive then converting to 16:9 in post offers more options for shot reframing, however if you really want 16:9, id recomend a widescreen adapter. Be aware that Panasonics offering SUX.. the screw thread which you use to mount the lens to the camera bosy is made of SOFT plastic and if you tighten it just a tad to much, you'll chew it.. once its chewed, that lens is useless to you..
Ive returned 3 of these lenses...
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 01:47 AM   #9
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Sorry, my bad english strikes once again.
But then I'm only a Norwegian :-)

If I had to choose I would prefer Canon (today).
XL1, because I can change the object/lince.
XL2 for the same reason + real 16:9
XLH1, got it's own reason - it's HDV + the above reasons, amongst others.

DVX is not a bad camera, but if I should choose one today it would be two reasons:
1. how much money I would spend on it.
2. the use of the camera, what will I be filming.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 03:31 AM   #10
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One of the problems with the DVX (and I suspect the XL1s) in the squeeze 16:9 mode is that the viewfinders are distorted, making composition that much more difficult. The PD170 is much better in that the v'finders are the correct aspect ratio even though you're in electronic anamorphic mode.

Geir has the right approach. Choose the DVX or the XL1s if you want to make 4:3 films. Both cameras were designed (some time ago now) to do just that, and asking them to take on the widescreen boys is asking too much of them. Panasonic know this and want to sell you their expensive 1.33:1 anamorphic, because the inbuilt 16:9 modes are so-so, as Salil has found out.

Peter J, you say, ''Let me clarify here, that your (sic) NOT degrading the footage.. your (sic) NOT losing resolution per se, what your (sic) doing is losing PARTS of the frame.. and then refilling the gaps with the stretched frame
So in essence your (sic) only acquiring the footage within the cropped resolution (432 as opposed to 576), but outputting in full res.. (this is where pixel shifting plays a major part as well.. but again thats another issue..)''

I can't agree with you here, and just last weekend I was testing the DVX100A into a 16:9 TV and doing some comparison resolution tests between 4:3 and 16:9. The first point is that there is a noticeable drop in resolution as you ask those 432 lines to be interpolated to fill the 576. You're also taking the 720 pixels and stretching them out further over a bigger screen area. This doesn't affect the horizontal resolution, but it appears to until you move further from the screen.

You also go on to say, ''Also with the DVX, its lens is wide enough to make use of this stretched material, and with the macro abilities of the lens its uses for widescreen are much more versatile than the XL1s''.

Well I'm sorry, but the focal lenths available to the DVX or the XL1 owner have no bearing whatsoever on the 16:9 capabilities of the camcorder.

tom.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 07:37 AM   #11
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Maybe i wasnt clear..
I'll clarify...

I can't agree with you here, and just last weekend I was testing the DVX100A into a 16:9 TV and doing some comparison resolution tests between 4:3 and 16:9. The first point is that there is a noticeable drop in resolution as you ask those 432 lines to be interpolated to fill the 576.

((of course.. electronic 16:9 sucks ass.. still though, for what it is, its rather clean... cleaner than the sony and Canon models IMO ))

You're also taking the 720 pixels and stretching them out further over a bigger screen area.

((No, actually, you shouldnt have to do this.. the horizontal resolution doesnt change irrespective of your shooting mode..))

This doesn't affect the horizontal resolution, but it appears to until you move further from the screen.

((i dont understand your meaning? ))

You also go on to say, ''Also with the DVX, its lens is wide enough to make use of this stretched material, and with the macro abilities of the lens its uses for widescreen are much more versatile than the XL1s''.

Well I'm sorry, but the focal lenths available to the DVX or the XL1 owner have no bearing whatsoever on the 16:9 capabilities of the camcorder.

((Of couse not... however for a given composition, a wider lense with a wider field of vision, in addition to macro cabilities of the lense ITSELF.. offer more versatility.. than teh stock lens provided on teh XL
Put it this way.. u can do with the one DVX LENS (keyword is lens) which you would need 2 or maybe 3 lenses to do with an XL1.. IMO i dont think the XL can pull off macros like the DVX can, and its wide angle allows for a wider field of view.
With good framing, u can not only get the subject, but you also get a decent "gap" for your bokeh... wide enough to make a difference..
Also the lens itself gives a nice distortion to elements which are out of focus.. as opposed to being a basic blur, the dvx has an octagonal prism <or something along those lines.. (you can find this info in the DVX brochure) in essence, the background isnt just blurred out..
Im not saying focal length makes a difference to 16;9 technically.. it makes NO difference.. AT ALL
What im saying is that the versatility of the lens itself offers more uses and is a little more versatile for 16:9 FRAMING... whether it be a macro or a talking head the lense itself can cater for almost any use... the XL is restricted to long focal lengths and a focusing point of at least half a metre.. the DVX.. i can focus 3cm (well ive actually focussed so close that the subject hit the lens hood.. lol )


is that a lil better? LOL hope so..
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 08:22 AM   #12
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You're right, the horizontal resolution isn't affected by the switch to 16:9, though the PD170 does something electronic to the picture (sharpening?) that is meant to make the anamorphic footage look better. Manufacturers know that such footage will generally be shown on wider screens and will therefore be subject to greater enlargement. This is what I mean about viewing such footage from a greater distance.

It seems strange that you're giving a camera with a 10x zoom all the points when it's up against a camera with an interchangeable lens. You say the XL is restricted to long focal lengths but this is nonsense. The whole point about buying an XL is the fact that you can choose to fit the lens that does the job. The DVX must resort to A lenses to increase the focal length, but I do see you say 'stock lens'.

I think you're getting confused here when you say, ''the dvx has an octagonal prism <or something along those lines.. (you can find this info in the DVX brochure) in essence, the background isnt just blurred out.. ''

Both cameras have the same three prism system for ducting the RBG images to dedicated chips and this in no way affects depth of field or the look of out of focus planes. The use of 2 or 6 bladed iris diaphragms does indeed affect the look of out of fous material, but I'm not sure you're talking about that.


tom.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 09:12 AM   #13
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" The use of 2 or 6 bladed iris diaphragms does indeed affect the look of out of fous material, but I'm not sure you're talking about that. "

yup. thats what im talkin bout.. forgive me, its 2am and im half asleep, so im a lil vague.. i do know about cameras... lol and yes theyre both 3chippers... it seems u think i might be a newbie at this.. hehehehe im not... god i wish i was..

as for the lenses, of course u can do more with an XL.. however the investment for an EF adapter, as well as the lenses themselves are more on the pocket, which is why i was specific with refering to stock lense..

dont get me wrong, im not canon bashing... but when using th XL1 alongside teh DVX, i just found it to be a little better across the board with regard to performance and versatility...

thats just me though
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