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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old January 11th, 2004, 10:25 AM   #1
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Why PDX10?

I kept hearing about PDX10 from you guys but I don't recall coming across it when I was researching Sony cameras. Finally sat down and looked up some of its spec. Got many questions.

7LUX? How is the (bright) indoor picture quality w/o cam lighting? I presume it has to be done at full gain?

Priced a couple hundred less than VX2000? OK, that is not fair, got to compare it to PD-150 at $3000, so it is quite a bit less.

But w/o zoom ring, how do you "pro's" zoom? Just handheld operation with this baby? Maybe use the LANC control on a Sony tripod (when on tripod)?

How is the LANC control on Sony tripod any way? Does the zoom buttons variable speed or just one speed? If one-speed, can the speed be changed via some other control (like VX2100 and PD-170 handle zoom)?

How is the picture quality in general compare to the 1/3" CCD like PD-150?

How is the audio quality?

Seems pretty limited in exposure situation range w/o the ND filters.

TIA.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 12:04 PM   #2
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In good lighting, I prefer the picture of the PDX10 to that of the PD150. Also, it has a superb widescreen mode which doesn't compromise the picture, which makes the PDX10 the best little camera for 16:9 shooting.

It's also DVCAM, which can be preferable over DV for robustness reasons.

Audio quality is great.

It has built in non-controllable NDs. Adding external NDs works great.

Graeme
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Old January 11th, 2004, 12:25 PM   #3
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Hey Graeme,

I presume the camera do 4:3 just as well as PD-170, or is PDX10 a 16:9 camera exclusively?

I notice it has the same original mic ECM-NV1 as my DSR-250. Do you like that or did you change the mic? If so, to what?

Do you mount it on a tripod some time? If so, how do you control the zoom? "Conventional" tripod position is standing to the left and behind the camera, using left hand to move the zoom ring, and of course viewing the LCD which is on the left side. On the PDX10, where do you stand and how do you control the zoom and view the LCD?

How long does the NPFM-50 battery last? Do you use a larger one? Please describe.

TIA
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Old January 11th, 2004, 12:50 PM   #4
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Yes, 4:3 is also native. It uses a special 4:3 chip that has more than enough pixels spare for both 4:3 native and 16:9 without compromise.

I'm using the original mic at the moment - looking to get some radio mics soon, so I don't have anything to compare it with yet, but there are no obvious sound nasties.

I use it on a tripod or with a glidecam V8.

I'm not doing event work, so I don't tend to zoom other than to set up the shot.

The battery I'm using is a NP-QM91D and I'm getting over 4 hours off it.

Graeme
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Old January 11th, 2004, 01:50 PM   #5
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Hi Law. If you just browse back through this forum you'll find extensive discussion of most of your questions, especially LUX issues, audio and picture quality.

Although they aren't documented anywhere, the PDX-10 has internal ND filters which are busy working in stealth mode. These are one of the big mysteries of the "ParaDoX-10". You will probably want a few external ND filters however for further control, and due to the 37mm size they're quite inexpensive, as are telephoto and wide adaptor lenses. And you should note that this is a big advantage on the PDX-10, in that you can use tele and wide adaptors while shooting real 16:9, something that wouldn't be possible on other camcorders using an anamorphic adaptor.

Maybe Sony makes some LANC enabled tripods I haven't seen? I looked at one a couple years ago, and it was pretty flimsy consumer model with a cheap head that really wouldn't do justice to a camera like the PDX-10. I wouldn't consider anything less than a Bogen tripod with the 501 head personally (in the $250 to $300 range), but the better ones will cost you $800 and up (I use a Miller DS-5); see the "Support your local camera" forum for lots of tripod discussion.

I also miss the zoom ring, so I got a Varizoom Pro-L controller and it is great when working on a tripod. It let's you select the full range of zoom speeds available, from the slowest crawl all the way up the the maximum. Unfortunately, it's just the nature of all these prosumer cameras that starting and stopping the zoom always involves a slight bump. There are plenty of other makes and models of controllers to choose from, and doing a search here should yield lots of advice. AFAIK, anything that is LANC compatible should work fine with the PDX-10, but you should probably confirm this with the manufacturer before buying.

I'd suggest getting a couple of the QM-91 batteris that Graeme mentions. I also get around 4 hours on each. The little battery that comes with the camera is all but useless (as they are with most camcorders). I wish the PDX-10 had the equivalent of the NPF-960 batteries for the PD-150, they can keep you running for 8 hours. Unfortunately, the QM-91's are the largest that fit the PDX-10.

I find the included mike pretty good, but if you have the DSR-250 then you should already know what to expect there. Filming our performances I feed the onboard mike to one channel and the house soundboard to the other. The ECM-NV1 seems to hold its own quite nicely as compared to the soundboard feed, something which actually surprised me.

I almost never hand hold the camera. I use the tripod, but also have a GlideCam 2000 which I've used a few times. The varizoom is mounted on the tripod handle which uses my right hand, I adjust focus and exposure with my left hand. Most of the time I use the LCD screen instead of the viewfinder (which is very nice for judging focus and contrast however). The LCD screen on the PDX-10 is a huge improvement over the screen on my VX-2000. It's larger, brighter and has more pixels. Using a Petrol hood I find it works just fine outdoors, even in full sunlight on the beach.

One dislike the the way they hid lots of the button under the LCD screen, which is especially bad placement for the custom preset button. Then when you use an LCD hood (mine is one that Sony included as part of a mail-in promotion), it blocks off access to many of these buttons.

But overall I'm really happy with the camera and don't find the low light issues to be much of a problem for my type of work. But I think the main attraction is the 16:9. If that isn't a "must have" for you then you should also consider some other cameras in this price range like the VX-2000/2100, GL-2 and maybe DVC-80.

They can be hard to come by "in person", but if possible try to get your hands on a PDX-10 to see if you like the overall feel and function of the camera. It has a very solid, well-built feeling and does look attractive with the black finish.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 04:59 PM   #6
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Yes, small form, 16:9, "native" XLRs, better than average audio, DVCAM, together with brilliant video in good light, and a reasonably low price, make for a fine little instrument. Unfortunately, Law, it has a B/W VF. Too bad, could have been a beautiful thing, huh? ;-]
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Old January 11th, 2004, 05:18 PM   #7
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Thanks. You guys are great.

It's OK that is has a BW VF, I only use VF on the DSR-250, and only when I have to shoulder-mount. Everything else is LCD.

Got me salivating just thinking about a 3.5" LCD. Why couldn't they put one of those on the DSR-250? $5000 is a big jump from $2300 VX-2000 which has the same CCD. I guess they must expect DSR-250 user to have external monitor.
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Old January 11th, 2004, 05:27 PM   #8
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I was a little surprised they didn't use the new 3.5" LCD panel on the PD-170 actually. I guess that would have required too much re-engineering since the physical size is different and so is the resolution.
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Old January 12th, 2004, 04:30 PM   #9
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Thought I'd just attach myself to this thread by saying,

My PDX10 has just arrived!!!!!!!

How can it be this exciting, the second time ????

;-]


xoxoxo,
Shawn
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Old January 12th, 2004, 05:20 PM   #10
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:-)

Shawn,

I thought that the introduction of the PD170 would tempt me to it, but it didn't!


Succes with yr 2nd PDX10(p).

I think we all hope to see some footage from you!
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Old January 12th, 2004, 06:48 PM   #11
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Oh, the PD170 has it's place, and will fill a slot in my tool box at some point....

You know what, I don't know the first thing about providing downloadable video or stills. Time to find out.
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Old January 13th, 2004, 04:45 AM   #12
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Shawn,

regarding your mention of translating your video to digital for downloading.....it was precisely this activity, with an inexpensive Pinnacle Deluxe board and my old 8mm Camcorder that led me to the TRV-950.

Prior to the experience of creating my first DVD I was an avid still photographer and was mildly elitist when in the presence of video. How could such low resolution, such a cramped color gamut, moving and talking at once offer much?

But, after I made my first DVD (at a friends recommendation) and subsampled some video to send to my folks via email I was hooked. THANKfully, my wife had forced me to get a Canon ES-970 when the kids were born AND she had done a lot of video capture (that I never looked at).

Now I am building a library of DVD's from those old tapes. It is a wonderful experience.

And the TRV-950 is helping by reducing my angst when viewing the low resolution (and extremely high noise indoors) of my old 8mm tapes (ES-970 had only 270,000 pixels).

All of this is a hearty encouragement for your comment to begin the digital/web video experience. You will love it. Especially since you already appreciate what vide can do.
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Old January 13th, 2004, 04:58 AM   #13
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Wow, thanks, Mike (aka colorgamut? ;-] ). Encouragement taken! I'm wrestling at the moment with various aspects of NLE (FCE, specifically), but web video will find it's place on my plate, to be sure.

Regards,
Shawn
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Old January 13th, 2004, 08:49 PM   #14
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Shucks!

My new PDX10 had a bad sound in it's zoom, or too much sound, compared to my purring #1. Sent it back today. Will probably take two weeks to rerecieve it. It was kind of worth it, actually, just to hang out on hold, listening to what was some of the best on-hold music I've ever heard ever . Seriously! Call them up, tell them to leave you on hold for a while. Something like Bartok, and then later on Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, all periodically punctuated by efficient New York accents transferring my call, etc....Really made my day....

B&H is the best!

;-]
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Old January 15th, 2004, 03:12 AM   #15
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Shawn,

Good luck on the return and updated PDX10.

Why did you get rid of your first one??
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