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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
Sony PDW-F800, PDW-700, PDW-850, PXW-X500 (XDCAM HD) and PMW-400, PMW-320 (XDCAM EX).


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Old November 2nd, 2006, 09:30 PM   #1
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low light issues

ok.... I've had my 330 about 3 weeks but have been on location on a job shooting DVCAM < with my DSR500 > for the past
2 weeks and just finally getting my hands back on the camera.
I've noticed a few quality issues that I wanted to run past the group for comments.
First of all, low lighting scenes seem overly poor and noisy. I'm basing the comparisons against my DSR500 and the FX-1.
I thought maybe because I know what the 500 looks like with 3 or even 9db < quite good > that it was probably that SD def
was smoothing out the noise factor and that I just "see it more in HD".
Well... I did a test in the studio under low lighting with the 330 and the FX-1 hooked up to a hd monitor.
The FX1 looked much better/ much less noise at 3 and 6 and 9db.
9db is totally useless on my 330 and I would hate to even push past 3db because of the noise that it produces.
Are you guys getting the same low light noise issues?
I know wide open without correct lighting will produce noise but this seems much worst than I'm used to.
I also noticed several odd "white short streaks" in a couple of low light clips I shot, similar to a tape dropout.
I will post a frame of it.... I have had it happen it at 2 different spots on a clip.
Thanks guys....
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 03:36 AM   #2
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Low light is not the XD HD's strong point. Neither is gain. It is the Achilles heal of the XD HD cameras unfortunately.
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 04:43 AM   #3
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As Simon said XDCAM HD is not the best in low light. The FX1/Z1 has some pretty agressive noise reduction electronics which reduces noise, but at the same time reduces the resolution. At 0db the F330/F350 are reasonably clean, better still at -3db. For most applications I have found the sensitivity to be fine. Sensitivity/Noise/Resolution/Cost are all a trade off. Increase the resolution then the sensitivity tends to fall off, Increase the sensitivity and the noise increases. I believe Sony have produced a good balance of sensitivity/noise/resolution at a quite remarkable price.

In the last few years many have become used to the latest range of ultra sensitive cameras and as a result don't bother to light anything and just shoot with available light. Sometimes this works, but so many times it just dosn't and shots look flat, dull and uninteresting. Maybe this will force people to think about light and lighting a bit more.
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 07:23 AM   #4
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The camera is indeed a bit slow in low light but that is the case of most HD cameras. As for gain, I think you can actually work comfortably up to 6 or even 9db or gain. The noise introduced with gain is very fine and somewhat closer to film grain than any noise I have seen on SD cameras.

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Old November 3rd, 2006, 08:09 AM   #5
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I have the 330 and the FX1 and am to say the least disappointed with the low ligh on this camcorder. Like Brian I use the DVCAM settings at the moment (just a little things) like the flip out screen which on the FX1 is 1st class but on the Pro 330 is all but useless having used a 390 for a few years maybe we were spoiled with the DSR300 camcorders. Sony gives the Minimum illumination for the 330 as 0.13 lux which seems a lot better than any preivous models. it is no where close to this to be honest if I had known what I now know I would not have bought tbe 330
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 09:12 AM   #6
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I first noticed it when I shot some footage of a blues band at a local pub
when I first got the camera.
A friend was in the band, no real lighting on the stage so I just took the
camera along to get some test footage and play. I've shot stuff like this with my DSR500 a ton of times and a little gain goes a long way at punching up the image. I was hoping to get a decent image at 6 with the noise passing
as grain.... but not so. I could never use this at 9db, but I know a 3 or 6
boost could get me by in a pinch.
I'm hoping that I don't have problem'd camera.
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 05:27 PM   #7
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Earlier today I set up my F350 and DSR500WS side by side. With both set at no shutter (60th), auto Iris, 0 DB and framed on the same wide angle scene ( in my edit suite) the DSR 500 was reading about 1 stop better. F 2.8 compaired to F2 for the F350. I may try again tomorrow if I get the chance and add the Z1U.
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Old November 4th, 2006, 11:56 AM   #8
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About 1 stop less sensitive than a DSR500 is about right.
If you want a camera to shoot cheap grainy videos in un-lit dark clubs then stick with the Z1. If you want to craft beautiful programmes that will be accepted for HD broadcast then the F330/F350 are the minimum.
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Old November 4th, 2006, 01:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman
About 1 stop less sensitive than a DSR500 is about right.
If you want a camera to shoot cheap grainy videos in un-lit dark clubs then stick with the Z1. If you want to craft beautiful programmes that will be accepted for HD broadcast then the F330/F350 are the minimum.
At first, I was also a bit surprised by the noise but I have got used to it. It is actually not that bad. Up to 9db or 12db, it has a film grain feel. Also, on a side note, the peaking adjustment on the F350 viewfinder is very sensitive to noise. It can be missleading. When using gain, the picture appears much more noiser in the viewfinder that it really is.

I just posted test pictures using gain at www.telecamfilms.com/xdcam.html

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Old November 4th, 2006, 02:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thierry Humeau
It can be missleading. When using gain, the picture appears much more noiser in the viewfinder that it really is.
Agreed Thierry, and it looks ok in your screen grabs.
Thanks for the links!
Maybe it only happens if you are "shooting cheap grainy videos in un-lit dark clubs."
I'll have to stay away from the pubs! GRIN
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Old November 5th, 2006, 03:23 PM   #11
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I guess it might just give the pictures a "gritty" look :-)
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