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Old May 25th, 2011, 05:39 AM   #196
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Andy,

I think to answer your question we'd have to know what you do not like about the gear you have. Are you finding the quality lacking in specific ways? If not, I'd say keep going with what you have. Don't underestimate Andy's point about AVCHD workflow being more demanding than HDV. I had to do a serious PC upgrade to make this codec work reasonably well. I owned a Sony HC3 and Canon XHA1 and have loved getting away from tape and find the image is much superior to the HC3 in all situations, superior to the A1 in some situations (low light especially). There are features of a high end professional camera that you won't have, so don't fool yourself in thinking that this is the match of an XF305 or other modern professional camera. It's not that good (but sometimes you will wonder who will know the difference from the image!).

Aside from going tapeless and the great image, perhaps the biggest benefit you may enjoy is the ability to do fantastic slow motion when you shoot in 60P. Additionally, you should consider the incredible Image Stabilization and Auto focus. Absolutely amazing and better than the other cameras I have used in my past, even those costing much more.

Perhaps the most negative things I can say about the camera is that it tends to over expose in bright light when in automatic (easily fixed) and the 4 blade iris doesn't give a super smooth bokeh like cameras with more blades. Obviously it doesn't have 3 ring manual control, XLR's, ND filters, but you don't expect that in a $1,000 mini-camcorder.

Last edited by Roger Shealy; May 25th, 2011 at 11:41 AM.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 06:39 AM   #197
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Andy.
I agree with the last 2 posts, this is a completely different ball game to HDV. But well worth the extra work involved. I owned a Canon HV30 until I sold it about 8 months ago, lovely little camera, capable of producing amazing footage. The TM900 will give you amazing quality in AVCHD, jaw dropping quality in 1080p, but this comes at a price As the others have mentioned your computer will need some serious grunt to edit it. Probably your best bet would be to use an intermediat codec, ie Cineform. Although you will end up with enormous files using Cineform, it makes the edit process so much smoother. Hey, maybe your computer is fast enough without. There is a free programme out there called Mpeg Streamclip, if it will handle the TM900 files it may be worth checking out. If you decide to buy the TM900, I dont think you will be dissapointed, more like amazed.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 09:03 PM   #198
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

So much for splitting this thread.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 09:25 PM   #199
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Thanks for the feedback. I wish I had some great quantitative answers to questions asked about my HV 30, like it has focus issues or the TV mode was malfunctioning, but it is performing very well. I think part of my "search" is the fun of new technology and just being a tech geek(??). I am the same way with photography although my Canon 50D is still my number one camera.

My PC is strong Intel i7 870 with 12 MB DDR3 RAM, overclocked to approx 3.32 (stable but WARM) running W7 with 16 TB (Yes TB) of storage including external connected by eSATA and two Asus 24" monitors. I have CS3 (it was cheap) and a one-off NLE called Power Director (64 bit version) which has met my needs to date. As noted, my video is purely family (grandchildren, yeah I just hit the big 5 0 in April)

Claire, since you moved away from the HV30, it seems like you are very much enjoying your new setup. What really made me question the need (probably more like a want) to move on is Andy's experience with the Panny. Given his profession and the high quality equipment he uses every day, his assessment of the 900 has really made me rethink moving to something like an Xa10 or the highly rated 300/305 (not sure any of these are "run and gun" style cameras anyway). I may just sit on the sidelines and wait for six months or so.

I guess I will at least wait until I finish my yearly trip to Disney in July.

BTW, I did see an external battery charger listed for the 900. I will try to find the link.

Here is the link. I have NO idea if this is accurate but the website lists it as a charger for the 900:

http://www.digitaltoyshop.com/BATTER...0_t2389_1503_1

Last edited by Andy Popple; May 26th, 2011 at 09:03 PM. Reason: Added link
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Old May 26th, 2011, 03:22 AM   #200
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Filter protection

Unfortunately, when you put a filter on the Panasonic 900 it sits unprotected at the front (with a lot of camera's the filter is deeper seated). My camera fits nicely in my small camerabag, not much space anymore ...
But, when I put an B+W filter on it, the danger of getting "things" on my filter exists. A protection cap on the filter and I have to buy an new bigger bag ...
I do not like a camera with an unprotected "expensive" filter in a bag. How do you all cope with this camera construction?

Last edited by Anthony Schrijer; May 26th, 2011 at 05:46 AM.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 02:59 PM   #201
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Hi Andy,

I own an HV40 and have access to the TM900. The image on the HV40 is excellent and I don't think the TM900 is 'better' in that respect but is also excellent.

I also own a Sony HC3 and that is definitely inferior in image quality to both by some distance (though still a great cam!).

I have the XH-A1 too and in good light the HV40 can look almost as good but in poor light, well it falls apart, comparatively.

So if you are looking for a significant improvement in image quality on the HV30 (pretty similar as far as I know to the HV40) you won't get it.

But if you are interested in progressive (50p) shooting and are drawn by the TM900s amazing image stabilisation and want to go tapeless then clearly the TM900 won't disappoint - it is a fantastic all round cam for the price. But as everyone has commented AVCHD is much more tricky codec to deal with than HDV due to its ultra-compressed nature.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 07:53 PM   #202
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Thanks Geoffrey. I am just going to stay with my HV30 for now. I have already somewhat solved the "low light" issue at least in my home by using 6,500k florescent bulbs. For example, I have two "chandelier -type lights in my den that have 7 light sockets each. I have used 150 watt equivalent bulbs so I have 14 times 150 watts in that room. Needless to say it looks like a few dozen football stadium lights are on when I "light up" the room. I have done something similar in most rooms in the house (to a lesser extent) and it was for the express purpose of increasing photo and video performance. Sounds crazy but it was a cheap solution and I really like the 6,500k temperature. I also have 4,200K lighting for a warmer (more normal) lighting scheme. As a result of this experience, I now only use 6,500k bulbs in my commercial buildings as well.

Last edited by Andy Popple; May 26th, 2011 at 07:55 PM. Reason: typos
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Old May 27th, 2011, 01:47 AM   #203
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

I recently purchased the Panasonic VW-4607 .7X wide angle lens and the Cavision LH77 lens hood to use with my TM900. Here are some initial reactions based upon some pictures that I took of a TV resolution chart:
1) The lens is relatively sharp edge to edge. There is some softness as you get near the edges, but does not appear to be significant if you stay at the wide angle end of the zoom range. I actually can't tell from my measurements if the softness is due to the lens or due the fact that the edges of the frame are at a slightly greater distance from the camera and consequently aren't as accurately focused as the center of the chart.
2) You can zoom through the entire range and retain focus.
3) There is no vignetting, even when starting a pan with full IS enabled.
4) There is considerable barrel distortion when shooting at maximum wide angle. You will definitely notice that straight edges (doorway openings, building edges, ... ) are curved if they are anywhere near the edge of the frame. This does go away fairly quickly as you zoom. Note that the stock TM900 has some barrel distortion when at maximum wide angle. However, it is relatively minor and is not nearly as noticeable as what you get with the wide angle lens at maximum wide angle.
5) At maximum wide angle, purple/magenta fringing is significant as you approach the edges of the frame. This goes away fairly quickly as you zoom. However, if you zoom a lot the crispness of the image, particularly around the edges, does suffer a bit. I haven't done enough investigation to figure out if this reduction in image quality is due to the reduction in available light or due to lens-related factors. BTW, the stock TM900 has considerable purple fringing at maximum wide angle. The wide angle lens at 1.4x zoom (making it equivalent to the stock 35mm lens at 1x zoom) has a lot less purple fringing than the stock lens.
6) The weight and position of the lens seriously unbalance the camera. Because the strap is centered along the side of the camera without the wide angle lens, the strap is positioned well behind center when the wide angle lens is added. This makes it difficult to keep the front end of the camera from jiggling when attempting to shoot with one hand. Even though the IS is fantastic on this camera, I can't hold the camera steady enough (one-handed) for decent video without rotating my hand forward and under the camera. This makes it difficult for me to get on the zoom and start/stop buttons. Using both hands to support the camera does allow me to shoot steady video.
7) Although the Cavision LH77 lens hood appears to be the only candidate for this lens, the inside diameter of the hood is 3mm larger than the outside diameter of the lens. The only way to use the lens hood with this lens is to build up the outside diameter of the lens with tape. Once this is done the thumb screw on the side of the hood allows it to be securely locked in position. The other problem with using the lens hood is that it makes it very difficult to get the lens cap off. The lens cap is a simple press on plastic lens cap. Because the cap is relatively tight when pressed on, the easiest way to get the cap off is to catch the back edge of the cap with your fingernail and pull it off. With the hood on, you can't get to the back edge of the cap. With a lot of finger strength and dry (not slippery) fingers you can get the cap off by squeezing around the perimeter and pulling. However, it is a lot of work and can't be done quickly and easily. It might be possible to file down the bumps on the inside edge of the lens cap to cause it to fit less snugly. This should make it easier to pull off the cap, but if overdone might cause the cap to fall off when you don't want it to. Another solution, (probably better), would be to glue some sort of strap on the front of the lens cap that you could use to pull the lens cap off.

My overall conclusion with respect to the lens is that it will work OK for my application. I will use the lens for outdoor sports videography where the extra wide angle will come in handy. Because I'll normally shoot with a tripod, the balance issue won't be a problem for me.

The lens hood isn't ideal out of the box but can be made to work with some tape and with some modifications to the lens cap.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 01:10 AM   #204
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Hi,

With all the upgrade from Canon HV* talk... you's have got me to ask a question thats been niggling me. :)

I have a HV20 and i'm wanting to upgrade to get rid of the old tape capturing and to go 50/60p (i'm 50p here unfort!! or is the TM900 region selectable? dont answer that.. i know its a no!).

The one burning question i have is how the HV20 can do ultra close ups! Its always amazing me that no matter how close i jam the camera to my target... it'll just focus keep capturing that stunning detail! So my big question is... how close can the TM900 get? Will i have this same functionality if i bought it...?
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Old May 28th, 2011, 05:35 AM   #205
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Hi Daymon.
Just conducted a very quick, non technical test with the TM900.
By engaging Macro Zoom and i.Zoom 20x I can get perfect focus with an area of about 2 square inches filling the screen, ie a small apple. In this mode the camera is about 4 feet from the subject.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 05:41 AM   #206
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Ultra close ups

Hi Daymon, as someone who uses the TM900 a fair bit for ultra close ups I thought you might be interested in my findings. Firstly I think the TM900 would work just the same as your HV20 for what you describe.

The minimum focus distance on wide for the TM900 is 4 cm assuming focus does not lock on to something else in the frame in which case I would just use manual focus. If the subject is small and you wanted it to fill the screen then as with your Canon HV20 you would need to step back and zoom in to your desired magnification. The minimum focus distance at full zoom for the TM900 is 1.2 mtrs, a little less if you engage tele macro but I believe this mode is cancelled once you zoom back a little from full optical zoom (X12).

All in all I think you would be happy, but if you wanted to do lots of close up work I suggest the addition of a close up lens. I have a set of these and for instance with my +1 diopter minimum focus distance on full zoom drops from 1.2 mtrs to 21 inches so the subject is greatly enlarged. With my +4 diopter at full zoom at 8 inches from subject a 1/2" diameter flower head more than fills the screen.

Here are the minimum/max focus distances I found for my TM900 with close up lenses,

+1 diopter = 21" to 42"
+2 diopter = 13" to 22"
+4 diopter = 8" to 10.5"

The +1 diopter is the one I find myself using mostly as it allows more depth of field. I used it recently when I found a spiders nest with about 1000 tiny brightly coloured spiders in it, made an interesting shot viewed on a 42" plasma with the remarkable detail this camera is capable of recording!

edit: oops, see Colin now replied... Hi Colin!
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Old May 28th, 2011, 05:47 AM   #207
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Hi Daymon.
Just conducted a very quick, non technical test with the TM900.
In normal mode, almost touching the front of the lens, ie an AA battery filling the width of the screen
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Old May 28th, 2011, 05:54 AM   #208
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Quick edit on my above post.
Hi Claire, Have you tried the Windgag material yet ?
Have a quick question, if you have the time, could you PM me the output settings you use for 1080p to Mpeg 2 in Edius. I have started to use Edius more since getting the TM900. I think I have it sorted.
Programme stream gives me a single file with sound that plays back fine on my WDTV, but as you use Edius a lot more than me, confirmation of settings would be nice.
Thanks.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #209
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

Thank you very much Colin and Claire!

I honestly didn't think the camera would do good close up work given no one has mentioned it! I really like how i can do it with the ol' HV20 so its pleasing to hear it does have it to some degree. Looks like i have no excuse to hold back now. :)

Thanks again for the excellent responses! :)
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Old May 28th, 2011, 02:45 PM   #210
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Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread

I have had my TM900 for a few weeks now and I really like it. It is a great camera and a huge step forward from my HV30. I am still amazed by how good the PQ and IS are.

There are lots of things that I love about this little cam but there are a couple of things that I don't like as well. These rarely get mentioned so I thought I'd mention a few of the things that Panasonic might want to work on for their next camera. It may also be possible that as a newbie I am ignorant of features that overcome the shortcoming.
1. Although there is a true shutter priority mode, there isn't an aperature priority mode. The "iris" setting is really an absolute luminance control. There are occasions where having a large depth of field is important and where one would also like to take advantage of the camera's autoexposure system due to changing light conditions. It would be nice to be able to set the f stop at 3.4 and have the shutter speed varied automatically to compensate for changes in lighting conditions. This feature exists on my HV30 so it seems a step backward to not have it on the TM900
2. The manual "iris" control is limited to a set of pre-defined combinations of f stop and gain. The settings are f4.0, f3.4, f2.8, f2.4, f2.0, f1.7, open, open w/ 3db gain, open w/ 6db gain, ... all the way up to 18db gain. Notice that no gain is ever applied until the iris is completely open (f1.5). This means, for example, that you can't select f2.8 with 12db gain to increase depth of field at the cost of noise. You are stuck with the lower f-stop equivalent of f1.5 with 0 gain.
3. There are half-stops between each luminance setting above. The added granularity is nice but there is no visual indication to allow one to tell if they are on f2.8 or on the half stop next to it as the display just says f2.8 for both settings. This is probably only important when doing tests or in situations where you absolutely have to know the exact f-stop while shooting. However, with the flexibility of an LCD display to provide the information on the intermediate f-stops, it seems like they could have easily made these settings less ambiguous. I have yet to determine if these settings are distinguished in the recorded EXIF info.
4. The "iris" gain setting doesn't seem to get recorded in the EXIF information even though it does show up when setting the iris. The f-stop value, focal length, and shutter speed all show up but not the gain setting. (This might be a problem with the program that I'm using to read the information.)
5. Full access to all the menu functions is only possible when using the LCD. I need reading glasses when using the LCD but can see clearly without glasses through the viewfinder (assuming the diopter adjustment is set correctly). A few of the most important adjustments can be made while using the viewfinder (shutter, iris, focus, WB) which is nice but it would have better for me if full viewfinder access to the menu were available.
Feel free to add a few of your own or make suggestions for workarounds to the issues I have observed.
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