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Old December 9th, 2005, 02:29 AM   #1
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LCD not too great

Went to DVExpo today and I'm really excited about the camera. They did have footage playing on a larger plasma screen and it looked great.

The ONE thing that I wasn't too impressed with was the LCD. I'm fine with the fact that it's 4:3 and the info is in the black. That's kind of nice. But I just didn't think it had that great of resolution. It wasn't too easy to see exactly where the focus was. Even with focus assist.

I guess I was a little disappointed because the day before I was using the Sony FX1 and I thought the LCD was big and great and I could tell focus well (and I thought their "focus assist" feature was a little nicer).

Other than that I'm really excited about the camera. But did anyone else have the same feeling on the LCD?
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Old December 9th, 2005, 01:24 PM   #2
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I don't think the 4:3 was a great idea--you need as much real estate dedicated to the image as possible. It has to have been done to keep the costs down on an already pricy camera and the "we're putting it out 4:3 because we care so much about you we want you to have your focus and zoom info separate" is just Panasonic (understandibly) trying to put the best face on an imperfect situation.
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Old December 9th, 2005, 03:54 PM   #3
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Well look at the specs.... The 4:3 LCD on the HVX has 210,000 pixels. The black bars in the letterbox will use about 25% of those, so .75 x 210,000 = 157,500 pixels available for the 16:9 image. The Z1 has a native 16:9 LCD with 252,000 pixels. The HVX viewfinder is spec'ed at 235,000 pixels so .75 x 235,000 = 176,250 compared to the Z1's 250,000 native 16:9 pixels.

Of course there are always tradeoffs in designing cameras, and Sony is no exception to this rule either.
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Old December 9th, 2005, 03:59 PM   #4
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Actually, I believe Panny's claims about the 4:3 LCD... I have yet to see it first hand, but according to the numbers, it has equal or better resolution compared to the LCD on the FX1/Z1. So it *should* be superior in that it can show about the same number of pixels for the 16:9 video image plus having additional info in the top/bottom black areas. I have also been told (although have not yet been able to confirm this) that the LCD allows a zoomed view of the primary focal region with 1:1 pixel mapping of that area of the image. I wonder if Barry or others who have seen the camera now can confirm this?
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Old December 9th, 2005, 04:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Kilgroe
but according to the numbers, it has equal or better resolution compared to the LCD on the FX1/Z1.
I don't think so... or at least not according to the numbers in my post above which come directly from Panasonic's and Sony's brochures. There are less pixels on the Panasonic to begin with, and 25% of them will be devoted to black bars...
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Old December 9th, 2005, 04:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Kilgroe
it has equal or better resolution compared to the LCD on the FX1/Z1.
Just in using the two of them, that can't possibly be true.
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Old December 9th, 2005, 04:59 PM   #7
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Sorry guys, I guess I misread the pixel count for the HV200 LCD and I was off in my calcs by about 40K pixels. I wonder what the actual resolution is? Probably something like 530x396, assuming square pixels.
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Old December 9th, 2005, 05:11 PM   #8
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I really have no idea, but those numbers don't sound like LCD panels I've seen on other cameras. For example, my PDX-10 has a 3.5" 4:3 LCD with 246,000 pixels at 1120x220 (and I find it hard to focus in 16:9 mode with the image letterboxed on this screen). The Z1 LCD is 1120x224, but in the 16:9 form factor. The limitation that I've noticed on most small LCD panels is the vertical resolution.
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Old December 9th, 2005, 05:24 PM   #9
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As a followup, I just had a look at the spec sheet for the DVX-100B. It apparently has the exact same viewfinder and LCD panel... or at least the specs are identical (210K on LCD, 235K in VF). So if you're familiar with that camera then it should provide a good frame of reference.
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Old December 10th, 2005, 01:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Kilgroe
Actually, I believe Panny's claims about the 4:3 LCD... I have yet to see it first hand, but according to the numbers, it has equal or better resolution compared to the LCD on the FX1/Z1. So it *should* be superior in that it can show about the same number of pixels for the 16:9 video image plus having additional info in the top/bottom black areas.
I doubt the 16:9 image is as high-resolution as the Sony's full 16:9 image, but frankly, as a real-world usage, that's almost irrelevant. Both LCDs are grossly under-pixeled to represent the full frame. With the Sony you're talking about a 1.5 million pixel frame -- so whether you're getting 170k pixels or 235k pixels, it's irrelevant -- you can't judge focus with either. The "focus assist" is absolutely mandatory, if you want to have a prayer of judging what your shot actually looks like.

The FX1/Z1's LCD has been the hallmark. It's just a really, really nice-looking screen. I think the actual LCD on the HVX probably isn't quite as nice, but I think it's a lot more usable because all the feedback is moved outside of the image area. And the HVX's "focus assist" slays the Sony's -- it's really, really cool and totally useful, unlike the Sony's.

Quote:
I have also been told (although have not yet been able to confirm this) that the LCD allows a zoomed view of the primary focal region with 1:1 pixel mapping of that area of the image. I wonder if Barry or others who have seen the camera now can confirm this?
I can confirm that it works extraordinarily well. I don't know if it's exactly 1:1, although I think it probably is. We were shooting up by the "Hollywood" sign, pointing down at the city, and popping on the "focus assist", we could discern individual windows in the buildings, windows that were nearly invisible to the naked eye (well, at least to my eyeglass prescription!) It was great. And the HVX's focus assist can be used while recording, something the Sony can't do -- so if you need to track an object and focus with it while recording, the Sony leaves you completely on your own and it's impossible to guarantee accurate focus in that case, whereas with the HVX you still see the live frame around the "focus assist" pop-up window, so you can actually track with the object and keep everything in razor-sharp focus.

When we shot the demo stuff (the outdoors, the karate guy, the indoor/morning scene, etc) we didn't even have a monitor. Focus in HD is absolutely critical, far more critical than it is in DV, and you really need to have a sharp monitor on hand. We didn't have one. We had to totally rely on the "focus assist" and it performed perfectly.

All is not sweet-smelling roses as far as focus goes, at least on the prototype camera, as the focus ring felt more like the Sony's than it did the DVX's. I really hope they can tighten up the response to get it to act like the DVX -- if so, it would be nearly perfect for a fixed-lens camera.
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