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Old April 16th, 2011, 06:55 AM   #136
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Andy,

so to be clear on the -2 AE, you are saying that by adjusting shutter speed down 2 and not adjusting iris, the camera continues to adjust iris automatically resulting in the overall exposure remaining approximately -2 from what the camera would have chosen in AE?

As long as you have some wiggle room both ways on iris, this would seem to be a good deal. I was shooting the other day and found I still had automatic exposure after adjusting shutter, but I didn't do things systematically enough to draw these conclusions. If this holds true, this will be very useful, essentially giving us a Tv - shutter priority mode.
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Old April 16th, 2011, 07:28 AM   #137
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Re: Intelligent Contrast... Good idea or Not?

Alan's first question also asks "Does the intelligent contrast mode get rid of overexposure in bright conditions? If so, does it work well without other undesirable side effects?"

I'd like to once more state my opinion of this option, which is "not much!"

Every time I try it I tell myself not to use it ever again, heh! What I see happening and which is proved by the vectorscope in Edius is that all luma values over IRE 100 are very steeply compressed down to IRE 100. (remember most cameras record to around 109 IRE and these high lights can be rolled back smoothly in post to remain legal for distribution while enhancing the video. Conversely, all luma values at low levels of IRE are lifted and both dark and light areas are sort of squeezed and very widely expanded or "stretched" into the fixed range 0-100 IRE (16-235 RGB).

Perhaps you think this might be a good idea? After all everything is now clearly visible, no peering into shadows or seeing featureless skies? Also 0 - 100 IRE is the required legal range for broadcast, well, it's a trade off and for me the trade off seems to be that the image has becomes "plastic", "artificial", like a kiddie got loose with the controls in Photoshop.

I suggest NOT using this feature, instead make a sensible compromise while recording, choosing your bright and dark areas to record the maximum range of luminance you can, deciding yourself where the emphasis should be and go for it, then lift shadows in post, but don't use a contrast or brightness control unless you have a gap at one end or other of the luma range, this will just raise or lower the total scene as a complete block.. instead use either YUV filter or "curves". Then you can tweak dark, mid and and bright areas separately and restore balance while retaining a much more natural look.

With maximum recorded luma range that has not been "photoshopped" by the computer chip in the camera you get to decide the final look when in post. Well, that's how I see it, great camera, shame it's not as able to cope with extreme highlights as well as some pro cameras that offer a wide range of gamma profiles to shoot in, but heck at the price and it's ever so convenient small size, I think it's well worth going to some extra work in post for.
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Old April 16th, 2011, 08:12 AM   #138
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

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Originally Posted by Colin Rowe View Post
Hey Jason, we all would lol. Have you tried editing this stuff ? you need a very high spec PC just to do simple edits. To stream full res would be nigh on impossible, and anybody viewing it would need a hell of a fast broadband connection/PC to play it out.
Mayby one day.
I'm running my stuff on a high end PC. Editing isn't a problem (So far). In order to play back longer clips I have used Neoscene to make it easier on the computer. Still, when I bring it down to 720 at 60p I'm not getting that nice, smooth 60p feel. I'm just figuring a lot of video stuff out (I'm a photographer first...video is a recent 'hobby' since 2009). Not sure what to expect of the different sites. Still a lot to learn...
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Old April 16th, 2011, 09:39 AM   #139
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

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Originally Posted by Mark Rosenzweig View Post
No problem.

But it *is* a true manual mode if you want it to be. Panasonic "Manual" is just a mode in which essentially you can choose: aperture priority - set the iris only - shutter priority - set the shutter only - or set iris and shutter. So you can have "true" manual mode if you want. And, independently you can set wb, or leave it auto, or set focus manually or leave it auto. Every combinations of options you would want. Pressing iAuto sets everything - iris, shutter, focus, wb, audio agc - to auto all at once.
As I mentioned a few posts back I am considering going for a TM900 and I would appreciate some clarification on this. Specifically, my understanding has been that the TM900, like it's predecessors, is essentially a Shutter Priority camcorder i.e. unless manually adjusted, the shutter speed is automatically set by the camcorder to (default) 1/50 (Pal models) or 1/60 (NTSC models). Aperture Priority, by definition, would imply that when the iris (only) is manually set, the camcorder automatically adjusts the shutter speed for optimal exposure. Is that really the case? And then what happens in iAuto mode - does the camcorder automatically adjust both iris and shutter speed to acheive optimal exposure, or iris only?

I`ve yet to get my hands on a TM900 to test myself, but could someone verify whether the displayed shutter speed changes (in a fast moving scene) when the iris is manually set ? It`s important to know, as to my my understanding, lack of a true Aperture Priority mode is one of the features that distinguishes the Panny`s from the Canon range of AVCHD camcorders which have this capability.

Thanks.
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Old April 16th, 2011, 01:32 PM   #140
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Bryan,

I'm sure others will help try and clarify this too but the TM900 will only "automatically set" it's own Shutter Speed when in iAuto. Forget iAuto. You sound like a guy who knows about cameras so you'll be shooting in one of the variants of Manual that the TM900 offers and this will bring you all the options recently discussed.

When set in Manual, a PAL version TM900 will give you 1/50 sec as the slowest selectable shutter speed and a NTSC 1/60th (I would imagine). Other slower Shutter Speeds are possible - but only in Automatic Scene modes like Colour Night Shot where, again, you have no control over (or ability to know) what the Slow Shutter actually is.

In the Manual mode, you set the Shutter speed for what you want - and that's it - it'll be there FOREVER at 1/50th or 1/60th or whatever, as long as you opt to use the camera in Manual mode. You can then set the Iris to whatever you want (or let it ride in AE as discussed in the last few posts, i.e. even with a user defined Exposure adjustment to help prevent clipping of highlights in bright sun).

Of course, once you've opened the lens to max (F1.7) then futher attempts will (obviously) just add Gain. There is no independent Gain control - but that's perfectly acceptable on such a small cam in my book. This Gain addition happens in paired steps (two visible Gain changes when only one reading increase is shown on screen in increments of 3dB) as you head right on up to +18dB...if you ever want to go that far....about +12dB is about my personal absolute limit, +9dB is better/really pretty noise free. See my low light video posted a while back on this thread for how this "paired" step-up works.

It's a lot simpler to understand with a camera in your hand! Basically, the shutter speed is MANUALLY set to 1/50th or 1/60th when in Manual mode and then you can decide to use Auto Exposure (or Manual) and Auto Focus (or Manual) and Auto White Balance (or the typical predetermined colour temperature options, or manually set). So, there is a LOT of levels of control in Manual - and you can easily leave one or more of these key controls in Auto whilst being in full control of the others, if you desire.

I don't know if the new small Canon's have better Manual control (I believe from handling them at recent Expos they are pretty good - I looked very hard at an XA10 but ruled it out on cost/bad ergonimics) but I hope that helps clarify things.

Maybe someone else can explain it better if this still leaves it unclear/I've missed or missunderstood something....I'm only now finding the time to really get to understand this lovely little cam!
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Old April 16th, 2011, 03:50 PM   #141
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Andy,

The TM900 has yet to hit the shelves in my locale, but, yes, I really do need to get one in my hands -"better felt than telt" as they say.

Anyhow, thanks for your clarification, which pretty much convinces me that, as I thought, the basic mode of operation is ("intelligent" this and that aside) essentially the same as of my trusty old Panny NV-GS400 DV camcorder (the "TM700/900" of it's day), at least in terms of available manual options. It was the suggestion of an optional 'Aperture Priority' mode that got me going.

Out of interest, does the TM900 iris not increase from f1.7 to 'Open 0db' before adding gain, as it does on the GS400 ? If so, (fully) 'Open', equivalent to f1.6, should perhaps be considered the maximum lens aperture.

Cheers.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; April 16th, 2011 at 04:57 PM.
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Old April 16th, 2011, 08:37 PM   #142
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

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Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
Bryan,

I'm sure others will help try and clarify this too but the TM900 will only "automatically set" it's own Shutter Speed when in iAuto. .................
(Disclaimer.... I use a TM700........but I believe the 900 to be the same in this respect)

I'm not sure your statement is totally accurate Andy.... when you first enter Manual mode (by pressing the iA/manual button) the focus, white balance, shutter and iris settings are ALL in auto mode. You can now choose to switch any or all of them to manual with the sole exception that you cannot have auto shutter speed with manual iris. If you attempt to switch to manual iris only, the camera will "fix" the shutter speed at its current setting and you will now have manual shutter and manual iris. You can of course now change the shutter speed (...because it's now in manual mode...). Once the shutter has been changed to manual it will stay in manual until the camera is put back into iA mode. All the other three settings can be "toggled" between auto and manual as required.... but the way you toggle to automatic iris is to touch the shutter icon.... and then touch the iris icon to switch it back to manual...! Well, that's how it works on a 700 anyway...

The manual operation logic is actually one of the reasons I bought the TM700. I wanted to be able to run with a mixture of auto and manual features. The AF is good.... and the auto exposure is well damped in rapidly changing lighting conditions, so I'll maybe have them on auto, but with a manual 1/50th shutter (forcing the iris/gain to do the auto exposure) and I might have a manually set white balance. I have the freedom to choose the mix I want.... the sole exception being aperture priority auto. I can live with that.

If I'm honest, I would like to see a more easily accessed auto exposure offset (maybe by bringing "picure adjust" out onto the manual control or quick menu?) but you can't have everything.

I agree with Claire about Intelligent Contrast. Much as I'd like a gamma curve option (or two) that goes in that direction, the one on offer is very heavy handed. It is also disabled when using manual exposure. I find it unuseable most of the time.

dave

PS for Bryan.... The iris does indeed go to "Open 0db" and then on up the gain settings as you described... at least it does on a 700.....

PPS for Roger... I think Andy's "-2" was describing an exposure offset setting in the main menu (...there is a menu setting called "Picture Adjust"......). I hope I have clarified the other manual options in this post....

Last edited by Dave Jervis; April 16th, 2011 at 09:24 PM. Reason: PS added
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Old April 16th, 2011, 10:35 PM   #143
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Wow. You guys have cleared things up for me a lot with your excellent series of posts. It sounds like there is a "picture adjust" that is similar to the custom presets on my PD-150. Great!

I do have a question regarding the display when in manual mode. Are the f-stop/gain and shutter speed always displayed when in manual? If so, then the sequence to shoot at a particular f-stop in full manual mode would be something like the following. 1). Put the camera in manual. 2) Hit the shutter icon. 3) Adjust the shutter speed until the desired f-stop/gain is achieved. 4) Hit the iris/gain icon. This will freeze the iris/gain and the shutter setting. Can you confirm that both f-stop/gain and shutter speed are displayed all the time when in manual? Are these displayed when in iAuto?

I wonder why they don't implement some sort of Aperature Priority mode to go along with the Shutter Priority mode that the camera has. Do you think that it is technically challenging in some way, or a way to differentiate from higher end cameras, or that they don't think it is that useful? The Sony CX700 provides it.

I am definitely running out of reasons for not going ahead and buying the TM900 instead of the Sony CX700. The only significant advantages of the CX700 relative to the TM900 (from my perspective) seem to be 1) the ability to shoot SD as well as HD, 2) the wider lens, 3) the lower power consumption, 4) the lack of any issues with beeps or fan noise in the audio, and 5) true aperature priority mode. From what I am hearing on this forum, item 3 is not that much of a problem and item 4 may not exist for most cams. The TM900 has advantages in 1) picture quality, 2) low light performance, 3) cost, 4) full manual mode, 5) better focusing in low light (anecdotal), 6) better control and I/O locations, 7) better viewfinder, 8) bigger LCD screen, and possibly 9) better image stabilization (anecdotal). At the end of the day the better PQ and better low light performance are difficult to ignore. I suspect B&H will be getting my order within a few days.
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Old April 16th, 2011, 11:39 PM   #144
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Alan, on the TM700 the aperture/gain and shutter speeds are only displayed after they have been switched to manual, so your proposed "workflow" would be impossible....

If I wanted to use the auto exposure as an "exposure meter", I would switch from iA to manual, frame the shot, tap the IRIS icon twice (second time is just to clear the dialogue box in which you make the iris adjustment)..... you will then be able to see the shutter speed and iris settings that the auto exposure was using. You could then decide on the values you wanted to use and set them manually... shutter speed first, (which will drop the iris back into auto) and then the iris.

(I would be grateful if a 900 owner could confirm that the 900 is the same in this respect.)

On your advantages comparison, I'm not sure I would call the low light capability of the TM700 spectacularly good.... but then again,I am not familiar with the 900 or the Sony......

dave
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Old April 17th, 2011, 01:12 AM   #145
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

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Originally Posted by Dave Jervis View Post
(Disclaimer.... I use a TM700........but I believe the 900 to be the same in this respect)

I'm not sure your statement is totally accurate Andy.... when you first enter Manual mode (by pressing the iA/manual button) the focus, white balance, shutter and iris settings are ALL in auto mode. You can now choose to switch any or all of them to manual with the sole exception that you cannot have auto shutter speed with manual iris. If you attempt to switch to manual iris only, the camera will "fix" the shutter speed at its current setting and you will now have manual shutter and manual iris. You can of course now change the shutter speed (...because it's now in manual mode...). Once the shutter has been changed to manual it will stay in manual until the camera is put back into iA mode. All the other three settings can be "toggled" between auto and manual as required.... but the way you toggle to automatic iris is to touch the shutter icon.... and then touch the iris icon to switch it back to manual...! Well, that's how it works on a 700 anyway.....
Dave, this is correct for the TM900 too - I'd not explained this bit very well (sorry for the lengthy quote but it seemed the best way to make sure this is finally nailed once and for all!)

Dave, I can also confirm that the "exposure meter" on screen display works as described but on my TM900 you just need to tap on the main part of the LCD (at any time) to bring up shooting and camera information - i.e. it is independent to whether or not the Side Bar Menu Tab is displayed or not. Info stays on screen for a couple of seconds. Alan, the detailed camera/shooting info is not displayed on the LCD in iAuto, a tap just brings up a few things things like battery level, Image Stablisation indication etc.

Also, when in Manual, in my main Menu options I've also got Exposure Meter and Histogram enabled (and Peaking to aid manual focussing, on adjust for a couple of seconds) and these 1st two come up with the Iris tab tap, the last one when adjusting focus manually, obviously!

Alan, looks like a good comparitive list. CX700 has higher res screen (unimportant and overuled by its reduced size, IMO - the Panny screen is really very good, albeit a bit oversaturated). The CX700 has a lot more on-board flash memory (96GB instead of 32GB) which partially offsets/accounts for its higher cost. I would add the advantage of the 20x iZoom of the TM900 to your list as another reason to go with the Panny - it really is very good as I hope some of my test films demo - but that is slightly offset by the fact that the Sony goes wider than the TM900's 35mm at the other end! The TM900 is probably better in low light than the Sony - it's much better than my old HC1 or V1 that's for sure but, like Dave, I would not say it's a king pin in this area. My 7D and EX3 feel "unthreatened" compared to the TM900! Give the TM900 adequate or good light and, as you've seen from Mark's videos etc., it delivers spectacular images.

I'm sure either the TM900 or Sony CX700 would be an excellent small form 1080p50/60 cam to have - I know one of them certainly is. Good luck choosing what's right for you.

P.S One other correction - that I've just discovered! I stated a few posts back that the slowest selectable shutter speed was 1/50th. It is of course 1/25 (but that only becomes possible when Slow Shutter is enabled). For NTSC I imagine it'll be 1/24th.
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; April 17th, 2011 at 11:01 AM. Reason: typos/adding info
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Old April 17th, 2011, 10:06 PM   #146
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

As of this week (4/18/11), the TM900 street price appears to be $999.

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Old April 17th, 2011, 10:47 PM   #147
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

If I could just try one of these out then I'd be positive that there aren't any surprises. However, no one in the area has them. I looked at the CX-700 today at BB. I just can't believe the location of the headphone jack and the external mike connection. What was Sony thinking?

I did think of another question with respect to the TM900. Is it possible to zoom slowly and smoothly with the zoom control on the top of the camera? How about with the zoom ring? This would be important if using the camera to film events. My impression is that the zoom ring on the front may be clumsy to use when the LCD is open if you are hand-holding the camera. Is that the case?

Are there any issues downloading video files from the internal flash memory? I've noticed that some CX700 customers have complained about slow downloads with the CX700 as compared to the CX550. If you enable relay recording before you start filming, then I guess you can transfer the video stored in the internal memory to the SD card. Does this take a long time? It sounds a bit risky as the video file is deleted from the internal memory when it is copied to the SD card. Are folks typically using the internal memory and downloading from the camera afterwards or typically using the SD card and then removing the card for download afterwards?

If you wanted to use the TM900 as the B cam, then what more professional looking A cam would you recommend that would match nicely with the TM900? (I am absolutely spoiled by the 3 identical cams that we currently use as color matching is a non-issue). Although the TM900 might actually work well as the A cam for some of the events that we shoot (w/ an external mike), our credibility would be in question if we actually filmed with one. So we would need a more professional HD cam for our main cam.

I wonder if the price will drop some more.... $999. Wow.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 02:30 AM   #148
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Panasonic TM900 - Easy Creep Zooms

Alan,

Creep zooms are really very easy with the top button (this was a dellightful surprise to me when I first got the cam). If you are on a tripod and accidentally leave the Image Stabilisation on while you try and do it then it'll do funny things to the picture (like it did in my low light test video!) - but that's just operator error. It's really very good at this. It's less easy to do a creep zoom with the lens ring (simply because the camera is so small and light) but with practice you'll be fine.

Download speeds seem fine - compared to the other cams I use - no issues at all that I can see. I just plug the camera into the PC via a USB lead, copy the whole folder (CAM MEM and everything in it, i.e. with its file structure intact) into a newly named master folder on my PCs RAID 0 drive, e.g. 'TM900 Ely Sunrise Clips'. This is to future proof me for other NLE ingest. Once copied, I then burn that folder to DVD or DVD-DL to have a back-up archive if ever my RAID 0 on the Win 7 box I'm using ever goes funny.

I've been using a solid state workflow for nearly 3 years and it's just so much better than hours of boring tape capture in real time :-)

Regarding the "professional camera".... well I use an EX3 and 7D. I hear you on that - some of my clients would raise an eyebrow if the ONLY camera I turned up on site with was a TM900 - for sure!!!! The few clients that have seen it in action, so far, were totally comfortable with it. This is probably because I was using it mostly for close-up technical work (on a table dolly) or in cramped situations around machinery. So, my reason for it's choice was obvious, even to a non-techie. I also explained why I was going to use it before getting it out of the kit bag. They had already seen me use my "pro cams" for the bulk of the shots, interviews done previously etc. No issues. Great images.

For sure, colour correcting would probably be a little easier if you stick within one camera manufacturer - something I find hard to do! Maybe when I eventually upgrade to Final Cut Pro X with its 1 click colour correcting this will be so much easier anyway! The most obvious suggestion would be to take a look at some of the new Panasonic cams announced at NAB or maybe a HMC40/41 (I have no experience of that model but many on here do).
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Old April 18th, 2011, 02:48 AM   #149
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

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I wonder if the price will drop some more.... $999. Wow.
Of course it will. The HDC-TM700 was down to $850 by July last year.

In January 2012 they'll announce the successor to the TM900 and we'll all wonder if we should keep the old one. Early adopters will pay the premium price and the discussions will continue here.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 12:31 PM   #150
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

"If you enable relay recording before you start filming, then I guess you can transfer the video stored in the internal memory to the SD card. Does this take a long time? It sounds a bit risky as the video file is deleted from the internal memory when it is copied to the SD card."

1. Relay recording has nothing to do with copying files from internal memory to the sd card. RR allows a seamless handoff to the sd card if you, while filming, run out of internal memory. Then afterwards you reconstruct the complete clip. This is nice to have, but I do not think it would happen much.

2. You can copy internal memory files to the sd without erasing the internal files. This is independent of whether you allow RR or not.
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