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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old June 20th, 2004, 12:49 PM   #1
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Sony DCR-PC-330 How good is it?

I am about to buy a camcorder and am now down to two candidates, the Sony DCR-PC-330 and the Canon Xi.

Unfortunately, I can't compare the video taken by these two cameras side-by-side. In fact, I haven't been able to see videos taken with either of these camcorders.

The 330 offers nearly double the number of pixels in both video and still modes as compared to other camcorders. This should result in better images. The question is, does it get better images?

Thanks for your comments.
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Old June 22nd, 2004, 10:47 AM   #2
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Sony DCR-PC-330 Evolve into HD camcorder?

I think the Sony *330 is interesting. It has a large sensor and 3 times the number of pixels as the typical camcorder. This infers that it could evolve into a HD camcorder.

Does anybody have thoughts on what a HD camcorder might require in the way of sensors?
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Old June 22nd, 2004, 03:58 PM   #3
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The JVC GR-HD1 is only 1 mega pixel

It's more than enough pixels for HD. The issue for camcorders is how they are employed. For DV, the extra pixels are used for recording higher resolution still photos, and capturing more color information. You only need 1 mega pixel CCD for the JVC HDTV 720p camcorder.

No matter how many pixels get stuffed into the CCD sensor of a DV camcorder, the maximum NTSC resolution is 530 horizontal lines defined by a circle the diameter of the vertical resolution (480 pixels), so the actual horizontal resolution would be 795 lines, 4x3 image.

For 720p ATSC 16x9 (Hi-Def) camcorder like the JVC GR-HD1, the horizontal resolution is 700 lines defined by a circle the diameter of the vertical resolution (720 pixels), so the actual horizontal resolution would be 1244 lines, 16x9 image.

In the case of SD, more pixels does not directly relate to more resolution, but it does relate to better picture quality for DV stills and better color sampling.
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Old June 22nd, 2004, 04:40 PM   #4
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For a couple hundred bucks you could step up to the Sony TRV950. This would give you 3CCD and is better ergonomically to operate. I have A PC110 which I love but can be a little awkward to operate at times due to its layout etc. A zoom controller is a must if using this cam for more than a family/vacation cam etc. The bottom tape load can be a pain at times when a quick tape change is needed and are mounted on tripod.
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Old June 23rd, 2004, 07:55 AM   #5
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I read a comparison test in a french magazine three or four months ago. Unfortunately the magazine is not on Internet. The Canon Xi and Panasonic (don't remember the model) gave more saturated colors but were less impressive in low light than the Sony PC-330. Also the PC-330's pictures were sharper and the color balance was more natural. On an outdoor daylight scene, the Pana had a greenish hue while the Canon was definitely red.
Night scenes of Paris came out very natural on the Sony, while the other 2 had an embarrasing amber tint all over.
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Old June 23rd, 2004, 10:55 AM   #6
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Progressive Scan

Also, doesn't the Sony 330 have true 30fps progressive?
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Interesting, if true. And interesting anyway.
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Old June 23rd, 2004, 11:34 AM   #7
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Just a few comments:

Low light performance with the new Canon models is probably better due to the large sensor. The RGB CCD should give you a more faithfull color reproduction. The Canons have frame mode (not real proscan) for video. The Sony has neither, progressive scan I believe is only available for digital stills. Then again, the Canon might be more expensive and, depending on where you are, service and support might be better with Sony.

1 megapixel is not really enough for real HD, less so with a single CCD. You need a little more than 2 for the 1920x1080 CIF. Sony professional HD cameras have a 2.2 megapixel 3 CCD array. The JVC is a cool experiment but has not been very popular with the pros.

Even though you only need a little less than half a million pixels for an optimal 16:9 SD image (and even less for 4:3), having at least a megapixel helps diminish noise and aliasing. This is why the TRV950/PDX10 has such a great image. Then again, at a given size, a CCD with less pixels means larger pixels, which in turn gives you more sensitivity, thus a better low lux performance. This explains why the VX2100/PD170 are much better than the TRV950/PDX10 in low light.

The TRV950/PDX10 is not very well balanced and too heavy for comfortable and steady handheld work. For handheld a smaller camera might be better.

Rounding up, I think the new Canons might be a really very good option. But don't take my word for it, check one out in the store, even if you can't compare it side by side with the Sony 330, you can buy a tape, recod the store settings with both cams (which most likely will have the same kind of illumination whichever the store) and view that tape connected to a good TV or monitor, in a third store if you like :-)

Don't buy a camera that you can't test.
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Old June 27th, 2004, 04:15 PM   #8
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Thanks Ignacio, Norm, Matt, Tom for your very helpful comments.

Has anyone here actually seen video taken with the PC-330?

I've printed out some still shots in the store and they were excellent. No idea about the video quality.
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Old June 28th, 2004, 11:24 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Matt Stahley : For a couple hundred bucks you could step up to the Sony TRV950. This would give you 3CCD and is better ergonomically to operate. -->>>

I'm moving in this direction. Today I found out that there are no manual controls of either aperture or shutter speed on the PC-330. That was a surprise!
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Old June 29th, 2004, 08:09 AM   #10
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Bill,
The PC-330 has a manual aperture control.
Who told you it did not?
You simply go into the P-MENU, select EXPOSURE and choose MANUAL. Then you can adjust the aperture with a "- / +" slider. It also offers "Spot-Meter" for quick fine-tuning.
As for shutter speed, you can select the "SPORT" AE program to go into the 1/1000 - 1/5000 range, or choose the AUTO-SHUTTER to adjust the shutter speed between 1/60 to 1/500 according to available light. But this is not completely manual.
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Old June 29th, 2004, 10:01 AM   #11
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Thank you very much Norm... the labeling is just different.

I remember your comments earlier about the positive comments in the French magazine. Have you seen any video taken with this camcorder?
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Old June 29th, 2004, 10:48 AM   #12
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I haven't seen actual video from the PC-330, but that french magazine I was talking about ("Vidéo Caméra & Multimédia") compared it to the Panasonic PV-GS120, the Canon Optura Xi and a JVC (model?).
The Panasonic gave warmer colors in daylight with contrasts a little heavier. The Sony was clearly truer to life when the light went down though. According to the grabs printed in the magazine, the Sony was more constant in its picture quality, and the editors gave both Pana and Sony an 8/10 rating while the JVC and the Canon got a 7/10.
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Old June 29th, 2004, 11:28 AM   #13
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The 330 has been replaced by the 350, an RGB sensor model that does 3 megapixel stills, native 16:9 and is rumored to do 24P! It's low light sensitivity is said to be better than the 330 and it's list price is lower. It also has zebra and AE shift and seems to use the same batteries as the PDX10. If it does real proscan, wow!

I guess Sony finally decided to get ahead of Canon and Panasonic in the low-end prosumer segment.

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content...der-$1,300.htm
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Old June 29th, 2004, 01:53 PM   #14
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Thanks for the cue on the PC350, Ignacio!
That new cam is good news!
Could it be that Sony was listening from one ear, while barging out BlueTooth, Web-surfing, One-Step-EasyCams for 2 years?
Or did they change the product manager in the camcorder dept.?
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Old June 29th, 2004, 02:10 PM   #15
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Rumor: the new PC350 has NO FireWire nor USB connector.
Only A/V and Power.
Is it reduced to... BlueTooth transmission ?
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