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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old December 11th, 2003, 10:04 AM   #1
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Help! before I bye a PDX10

Hello from Sweden

Last days I have test the PDX 10 and the Panasonic DVX100
I like very the 16:9 and after some color correction etc. in AVID
The material was better that the material from DVX100
Sony is gret in Low light to (If you working manual & with exposue)
BUT I have 3 problems with the PDX 10

1. Is not easy to handle. I need something like a Grip -arm to hold the camera. Grip Any tips??

2. Smear. Any tips to contorl the smear

3. Video light and wide lens ( Is the Sony .7 VCL-HG0737 any good)

Regards Lambis
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Old December 11th, 2003, 02:50 PM   #2
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Hello from California

Hi, Lambis.

1. With practice, the PDX10 can be handheld, though, with two hands, making it difficult to use controls simultaneously. But it can be done. Others will chime in on products/ideas for stabilizing. I mostly use a tripod....

2. The most effective way to control smear is to avoid the causes while shooting. These usually come in the form of sharp light sources, such as candles or chandelier bulbs, overhead lights in general, I would say. Smear often occurs when these sources are directly above or at the top of the frame, and is accentuated when the foreground is dark. There isn't any kind of filter that takes care of smear, this just the bane of small chip camcorders. Be sure to have the large lens hood, this ought to help discourage peripheral light from hitting the lens.

3. I'll leave this one up to others to answer.

Shawn
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Old December 12th, 2003, 04:14 AM   #3
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On Point 3. I use this HG 0737 lens on my PDX10 and am very happy with the results.

I always use the larger hood to cover it up as it looks silly (in silver) comparer to the gunmetal black of the PDX10

Regards P
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Old December 12th, 2003, 10:08 AM   #4
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Thanks for the tips.

Is there a detachable handle (something like Panasonics ag-dvc30 handle)??

About low lights.... I have test the PDX10 and low lights is not a problem for this Camcorder. Blacks are exelent and with some post editing the material was great.
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Old December 12th, 2003, 01:17 PM   #5
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Glad to hear the low light performance is more than adequate for you.
I shot a singing group rehearsal in a church last night in not a huge amount of light and was pleased with the results, though the tendency towards red in lower light deserves some attention (color levels and white balance).

There isn't a handle for the PDX10, or at least it doesn't come with one.
Just have to be a bit more careful when grabbing it, like a baby ;-) .
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Old December 12th, 2003, 01:56 PM   #6
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> There isn't any kind of filter that takes care of smear,
> this just the bane of small chip camcorders. Be sure to
> have the large lens hood, this ought to help
> discourage peripheral light from hitting the lens.

Anybody tried one of those contrast reducing filters with this cam?
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Old December 12th, 2003, 02:41 PM   #7
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I'm using Tiffen Ultra Contrast 3, it doesn't seem to reduce the smear, but I do like the look of the picture with it on...

Graeme
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Old December 12th, 2003, 02:51 PM   #8
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> I'm using Tiffen Ultra Contrast 3, it doesn't seem to reduce
> the smear, but I do like the look of the picture with it on...

Cool. Do you lose much light with it?
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Old December 12th, 2003, 02:56 PM   #9
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I loose a fraction of a stop at most - you can hardly notice it...

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Old December 16th, 2003, 08:15 AM   #10
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You're right about the handling Lambis.
Although compact, the PDX10 is no lightweight, tipping the scales at 1.42kg. It’s also not that easy to hold. It’s not well balanced and needs to be used two-handed, with the left palm supporting the weight while the left thumb and forefinger cradle the focus ring. Unfortunately in this position fingers brush the microphone grilles, ruining the audio, and giving the supplied XLR microphone added appeal. On a tripod all is well. Sony has sensibly placed the tripod socket on axis with the lens’ centreline and within millimetres of the focal plane, an ideal position.

Now to CCD smear. Avoid high shutter speeds!
Although the multi coating of the lens elements and the lens hood keeps lens flare to a minimum, the PDX10 does suffer greatly from CCD flare – much like the TRV950. A bright point source of light in frame – or even just out of frame - can cause pronounced vertical smearing, where thick white lines slice vertically through the image. This is a serious retrograde step from the PD100. The effect gets worse with faster shutter speeds - a great deal of outdoor trampoline footage I shot was unusable because of frame-filling flare streaks. No such problem was seen shooting on a VX2000 in the same conditions. Sony obviously know there is a problem with fast shutter speeds and limits the top speed in portrait mode to 1/425 sec. But in the sports mode the speed climbs to 1/3500 sec in against-the-light situations and it was here that CCD flare ruined the footage.

Wide lens.

The PDX10 ‘s 12x zoom has a very poor wide-angle, so a 0.7x wide-angle converter is a very useful accessory. When the camcorder is switched to 16:9 mode, the wide-angle is increased as the full width of the three 1152 x 864 chips is being used. This gives the same wide-angle as filming in the 4:3 mode with a 0.8x wide-angle converter in place It’s still far from wide, but is a very welcome increase.

Low light. Yes - you'll probably need a HVL-20DW2 or something like it. Low-light performance of the PDX10 lags three whole stops behind the VX2000, and three and a half at full telephoto. Putting this into perspective, the PDX10 would have a fully open aperture and +18dB gain when the VX2000 was at its maximum aperture. However, the PDX10 has low-noise chips and, even using +12 dB of gain, it’s difficult to see the grain, though loss of colour is very noticeable.

I've lived 4+ years in Sweden and know that this isn't the camera for you. The sun is often low in the sky (CCD flare) and often not there at all in the winter (Low light performance).

tom.
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Old December 16th, 2003, 08:44 AM   #11
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From his posts on other boards, I know that Lambis is looking at this camera for underwater use. While Tom presents some well thought out arguments against the PDX-10, many of them are irrelevant to underwater.

I have no experience with the VX-2000, though I have seen on paper that its performance should be decidedly better than the PDX-10. However, the cost of that performance is not just in dollars at purchase time. The VX-2000 is significantly larger than the PDX-10 and even more so once you start shopping for housings.

I have not found vertical smear to be much of a problem shooting the PDX-10 underwater in a Sea & Sea housing. The ergonomic argument that is frequently brought up with regard to the PDX-10 is moot once housings come into the picture. If anything, I think the PDX-10 is significantly easier to handle than anything it could be compared to (I use it in a Sea & Sea VX-950 housing).

If you can afford the VX-2000 and don't mind carrying the size and weight around both above and below the water, I think just about everyone will agree that it will outshoot the PDX-10. However, as a travelling diver, I prefer the size and weight of the PDX-10.
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Old December 16th, 2003, 12:31 PM   #12
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I do keep coming across comments about how the PDX10 is a preferred underwater cam, for it's size, and, yes, for it's low light performance, (and, of course, for it's video quality), for what it's worth.

Even topside, the smear is avoidable, given enough experience.

How about a recap?

Pros

excellent sound quality, balanced XLRs
compact size
excellent video in normal medium lighting
low noise
wonderful 16:9
black/white view finder and big beautiful LCD

Cons

low light performance, but does this need to be said ever again? they are, after all, almost 1/5" chips. know what you're getting into and you won't be dissapointed!
vertical smear from direct light sources
somewhat imbalanced for handheld


I'm having trouble listing lack of wide angle as anything other than normal for fixed video lenses, dvx100/dvc80 aside, and people seem to be putting w/a adaptors on those too.
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Old December 16th, 2003, 08:28 PM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Shawn Mielke : I'm having trouble listing lack of wide angle as anything other than normal for fixed video lenses -->>>

You will want a wide adaptor, but the 37mm thread size is a real advantage in that filters and adaptor lenses are considerably cheaper, smaller and lighter than they would be for a 58mm camcorder.

Be sure to add DVCAM capability to your list as well...
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Old December 16th, 2003, 08:48 PM   #14
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When you're right, Boyd, you're right (37mm, DVCAM).
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Old December 17th, 2003, 02:06 AM   #15
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Jeff, I'm with you 100%, and had no idea (from his post) that Lambis wanted to go anywhere near the water. Another aspect in the 950/PDX10's favour is the very small front element diameter (the OIS is a vibrating doublet within the lens - unlike the VX/GL's huge VAP). This makes using very powerful single element wide-angle converters a breeze, and in tests here I've found that vignetting can be a real problem on the VX whereas the tiny front element of the PD has no trouble using small converters. These are much needed of course in underwater housings, especially so as the water 'telephotos' any focal length you've set.

Also under water I've found that auto exposure is much more acceptable on screen that filming in air, and the lack of v/finder aperture indications is not such a loss.

Agree entirely about the excellent side-screen, the compactness, the XLRs, the 16:9. It is indeed a camcorder designed to appeal to a very select group of people and I can't quibble with the pro list. I do feel that folk should know of the con list before they spend VX2k money though.

tom.

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