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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old August 6th, 2003, 05:00 AM   #1
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Vertical Smear: sounds like the worst skiing accident ever.

I have been with my new pdx10 for one day now and we're gettting along very well, thank you. And thank YOU B&H. But damn! that vertical smear. You guys weren't kidding. Do other cams suffer this? It's practically a defect. Fairly avoidable, though I do have a thing for shooting directly into light sources. Mostly it is the sun that sets it off. And so, my question is: is there a specific filter out there that disallows such phenomena, a basic nd or other, without disallowing much light?
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Old August 6th, 2003, 05:30 AM   #2
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I dont think any filter can remove this. However, I recall somebody posted about a post-processing routine that can deal with smear. The name of this routine escapes me, sorry.
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Old August 6th, 2003, 06:35 PM   #3
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Huh! Fascinating. But if images are made of light, how does post then compensate for this....ah, removal of light (His Newbyness speaks...), and, thus, removal of image.....Help! Pull me out of the abyss of my ignorance, here. Anyone know about this possible post process? Mr. Ostroff? Anyone?
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Old August 6th, 2003, 08:18 PM   #4
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Do a search, it was discussed before. But I also doubt there's much you can do, other than being careful where you point the camera. There is a certain contrast threshold where the smear will occur. Try pointing at a light source, then stopping down one click at a time. At some point it will vanish.

I posted this clip awhile ago as an example. Wait until your browser loads the entire clip, then scrub the Quicktime slider back and forth. You'll see the smear grow from nothing into a solid bar as the sun drops below the clouds and intensifies.

As long as it doesn't reach this extreme point I (personally) don't mind it. It can be sort of a nice effect, like a star filter...
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Old August 6th, 2003, 10:50 PM   #5
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Hi Boyd and Shawn:

Boyd, I saw your clip the other day about vertical smearing. You mentioned the solid bar ... geez is that so apparant on the PDX-10? The video is beautiful and then this solid bar grows from the center/top of the screen to midway down. I understand what you say like a "star filter", but this is nothing like a star filter. YES the sun seems to glow like a 5 point filter as it's setting, but the growing bar takes away from your video.

Am I to understand that you can do away with that and maintain the quaility of the video by stopping down some more? Did you find a happy medium or is it like you said, the extreme most point it can be?

Shawn, when you say the smear is "fairly avoidable" do you mean you can adjust for it or you can't seem to get rid of it? Now that you have had use of your camera for a few days are you feeling better about it?

I ask these questions, because I have one on order and I'm waiting for it. If the smear is going to be a problem, I will get cancel my order and get something else. I'm very curious and I know Boyd loves his PDX-10. I like it's size and I expect a little more quality out of a camera because I work in television and demand good video quality, but at what price. I have never heard of a Panasonic camera doing this, at least not in any post here in these forums.

Your thoughts or comments would greatly be appreciated. Thanks very much.
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Old August 7th, 2003, 02:44 AM   #6
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Rick,

The smear is brought on by a very special and so limited set of circumstances: shooting directly into a particularly intense light source, really I mean the sun, at the widest part of the lens. You almost have to try to find the parameters for it to happen. I shot in this way into a 500w halogen light: no problem. I didn't mean to scare anyone away from the pdx10, it's a great little cam, the smear, with a little know how is completely avoidable. Not a reason not to buy. Just that it's an unusual thing to see, for me. And yet gorgeous sunset shots are out? I think i'll live.
Mr. Ostroff, sorry to trouble you when a simple search could have clarified instantly; I usually am good about that sort of thing. I found in a post something called Video Finesse (software?), "from the synthetic aperture site", it has a....feature: "sa drop out", that seems to clear up horizontal streak lines, and can (probably) clear up an image with vertical smear. Hope that makes enough sense. The post can be found quite easily by searching "vertical smear". Thanks all for thoughts!
Shawn
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Old August 7th, 2003, 08:57 AM   #7
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Thanks Shawn, I feel a little better about the camera now. I didn't want to keep my order in if it was going to be a persistant problem. I believe I understand when you say "avoidable" and with a little cropping, zooming and/or reframing it can be avoided! I hope I understood you correctly and that is the worst of it.

Thanks for addressing my concern.

Rick.
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Old August 7th, 2003, 09:08 AM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rick Tugman : Am I to understand that you can do away with that and maintain the quaility of the video by stopping down some more? -->>>

There seems to be a threshold for the contrast of a point light source where the smear becomes objectionable. If you stop down the iris one click at a time you'll reach a point where it becomes less noticeable or even vanishes. However this may result in an underexposed image. Really depends on what you're trying to do. I think it's one of those things where you need to experiment around a bit yourself and see how much of a problem it is. There is so much that's subjective when it comes to camer choices...
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Old August 7th, 2003, 06:15 PM   #9
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Thanks Boyd and Shawn.

I have been going over the camera choices for about 5 months and know I want to get something that was 3 CCD and delivers good video quaility but in a small package. A tall order today especially if you take into account the small package. I had a order in for the PV953 and liked what I saw till I saw a PD-150 at work just over a week ago. I work in television was able to see "big brother" first hand. I was amazed how light it was so I figured the PDX-10 couldn't be too heavy. I thought for sure the PDX-10 would be able to do the job that I expect from a camera.

I was concerned about weight and size because I travel alot for work but I demand good video quailty. This is mostly for personal use, but I will use it for the shows I work on for scenics and such. I like the ruggedness of the PDX-10 and believe it will be compact enough to through into my backpack and go. If it's just over 2 pounds than that is not too much. The camera itself without the XLR block seems pretty compact.

I don't believe the PV953 is too much different in size and the PDX-10 is only heavier because of it's construction. I'm not against spending about $ 600.00 more for the PDX-10 if I'll get more out of it. I was just afraid of hearing about the vertical smear and if it is pretty much avoidable then ok. As with anything you have to learn what you can do or not do.

Boyd, I know you've had your PDX-10 for a while and I have read a lot of your posts. I have seen the video the camera produces and all I can say is it does look great. Do you miss the F stop numbers? Does that make a difference in adjusting the iris? Is there anything you think I should know about when I get the camera? Some cameras come with built in flash for the stills... is that something you miss? Do you have suggustions for low light shooting like in a living room etc? I just wanted to be sure I was making the right decision. The place I ordered my PDX-10 from promised to send it in the coming days as they were over sold.... so we'll see but it would be nice to get the feel for it first hand.

I know I asked a lot of question here, I just like to gather all information so I know what to expect.

Thanks for your replies and input.

Best regards, Rick.
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Old August 7th, 2003, 07:12 PM   #10
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Rick:
At first the missing f-stops bothered me. But when someone pointed out that dead center on the "slider" was f4.0 then I got used to it very quickly. Personally, no it doesn't bother me now. I know approximately what the f-stop is and I use the zebra pattern to determine exposure.

One other thing to be aware of - there are no built-in ND filters on the PDX-10, so pick up a few 37mm ones for your kit.

I don't take stills with my video camera(s), that's what my Nikon 5700 is for :-) And when I do take stills, I never use a flash....

The other night I was playing around and had the PDX-10 hooked up to 16:9 HD monitor. I had the camera in my living room and was pointing it a the far end where the only light is a 25w bulb in a floor lamp with a fairly dense silk shade on it. There was no problem whatsoever properly exposing objects near the lamp. So I pointed the camera into a very dark corner and cranked the gain all the way up. There was still an image,albeit dark. I didn't try lowering the shutter speed. Personally, I prefer the image with the sharpness turned all the way down, it's less harsh. I've found that this will also minimize the effect of any noise in a dark scene.
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Old August 12th, 2003, 11:59 AM   #11
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I tried the PDX10 for a week. It seems every point-light source would cause smear. When I went outside, the low-pressure sodium street lights created a solid bar that was difficult to tell from the poles. The street lights weren't even in frame! A passing cars headlights created two vertical white bars travelling accross the screen, ditto for tail lights!

Here is the kicker that made me return the cam. I was filming indoors and my 2-story family room has a fan with a three spot-light fixture. Every shot I took that had the lights nearly in-frame showed easily recognizable verticle strips. The BIG ONE cam while passing the camera in front of the TV. The TV sits on a dark entertainment center and there was a recognizable (tho distorted) image on the front of the entertainment center that was a copy of the TV image!

I called Sony and they were serious when they suggested a star filter to cover up the effect?! I did not try this. I feel I payed $1900 for a camera it should work as advertised. Oh and Sony does document the fact in the manual that smear is a normal function for this camera.

The only luck I ever had of getting rid of the smear is to seriously under-expose the shot, or seriously over-expose. Under exposing just minimizes the length of the smear while over-exposing seemed to make it fade and disappear into the background. But man was it ugly. I did not even attempt to correct either in post...
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Old August 12th, 2003, 02:58 PM   #12
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Try Panasonic NV-GS100K, IT doesnt produce smear!
excellent camera for the bucks, just 1200$, I am not a panasonic rep! LOL
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Old August 12th, 2003, 10:09 PM   #13
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"Sunset": MX5000

http://www.dvuser.co.kr/zboard/data/...y/IMGA0151.JPG

You don't need a star filter w/ this cam! :)
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Old August 13th, 2003, 12:42 AM   #14
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Pretty nice shot there, Young. Perhaps you don't want the filter, but you do have light smear that is particularly visible in the bottom darkness of the picture. Perhaps you like the effect, perhaps that is an acceptable amount to you, but it is smear, and it certainly wouldn't be acceptable to certain shooters/future camera owners. Huh! This is great! Now I know something about the mx5000. Under the right conditions, that camera produces at least some vertical smear.
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Old August 13th, 2003, 12:47 AM   #15
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I just dumped my order for the PDX-10 because of these reports. I have never read anything about smear on the Panasonics so I put in a reorder for the PV953. As much as I wanted the PDX-10 hearing some of these stories changed my mind. If there isn't that much difference in the video quality I can deal with it. I know Tommy Haupfear says the PDX-10 is slightly better than the PV953 in low light, but it is only "slightly" less grainy which I can deal with.

As for the GS100... that was one my list of cameras to also buy. But when making my decision, I just didn't want to deal with the Japanese menus although I love everything I see from that camera. Again .... while there are improvements over the PV953.... it isn't all that much to have to deal with the menu issue especially when several people in my family will be using the camera.

Sad to hear these stories about the PDX-10 which had promise.
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