Comprehensive camera tests needed at DVinfo.net

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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
...plus TRV900, PD100A and other Sony DV camcorders.


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Old September 21st, 2002, 12:54 AM   #1
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Comprehensive camera tests needed

Forrests recent comments re his dissappointment with apparent smearing in his TRV950 has pointed to a glaring requirement and opportunity for someone on the net.

The fact that no one is performing comprehensive camcorder tests that make quantitative measurements as well as qualitative evaluations.

If you visit dpreview.com you will see what I believe is THE standard for reviews of imaging equipment. What we, in the video world need is something similar for camcorders. Until then we will only be able to respond to posts like Forrest's with conjecture.

Meanwhile, does the TRV950 have excessive smear? I'm planning to purchase a PDX10 soon and I plan to have a good look at it because of this post. I hope not, but who can authoritively say?

Jim
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Old September 21st, 2002, 01:12 AM   #2
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I agree regarding the quality of output from dpreview.com (his reviews, not his forums however). The thing is, new cameras are put into his hands all the time for that purpose. For anyone over on this end to accomplish that sort of reporting, would call for one heck of an arrangement with some dealer. I'm tight with our sponsors, but not like that.
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Old September 21st, 2002, 07:09 AM   #3
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Even with a system llike that you can run into problems with consistency in first run productions.
Forrestt was not the only person to have that particular problem with the 950 but his camera was the exception rather than the rule as it turned out in that case. Needless to say Sony was anxious to replace the 950's with that problem.
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Old September 25th, 2002, 02:34 PM   #4
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I can't even speculate on Sony's changes to the TRV-950 (if there were any) after the "initial " ones were released. All I know is that my camcorder was considered "within specs" by the Sony engineers, so I replaced it ASAP with a VX2000. There has been no smear problem with the VX2000, straight out of the box! I couldn't live with the TRV-950 I had, but maybe mine was an "exception" and not the rule, when the vertical smear is the question.
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Old September 26th, 2002, 09:11 AM   #5
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just wanted to check out how bad this smear problem with 950/pdx10 is.
so. I put a candle into dark corner of the room and pointed pdx10 in that direction. When in auto, there was some smear visible. When in manual mode, I opened iris and decreased shutter speed, smear got more visible. Tried the same settings with pd150 and got no visible smear.
Seems that pdx10 gives smear or something like that easier than pd150. But that effect was different from smear i've seen before. It's quite wide and not as sharp as usually. Interesting is, that i saw smear sharply on camera's LCD display, on the monitor (Sony PVM20-N5) it was very weak.
It's purely unofficial test, please don't take it as a final truth.

regards, Margus
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Old September 26th, 2002, 09:31 PM   #6
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Regarding vertical smear - i haven't used a 950 for more than a few mins at a camera shop so I can't really comment on it directly but I can tell you that the TRV900 I owned for 4 yrs had only a very small amount of smear, if any. It had bags of lens flare (one big reason I got rid of it) but no smear. The Panasonic MX300 that I bought to replace the TRV900 has a bad smear problem, as did the 3 other MX300's I tried in the shop and as does it's Panasonic pre-decessor the DX100/EZ30.
So it seems that different cams can have different smear levels, depending on ccd/lens design and to further complicate matters - the same cams can have different smear levels (by the sound of the 'smear' thread), dependent on factory setup...
My TRV900 lens flare was very bad but I know of other TRV900 owners who never had a flare problem and one owner with 2 x TRV900's - one with flare and one without..

Sorry for all the waffle - what I am trying to say is that the only way to be sure the cam in question will be OK *for your purpose* is to try it yourself. Be as intensive as possible and then buy that particular cam, not even another of the same model in an unopened box.
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Old September 27th, 2002, 01:56 PM   #7
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Smear can be caused by light leakage in IT CCD's or by blooming and the related charge leaking in the transfert channels which normally has to be avoided by the use of antibloom gates(drains). Both "steal" active area in a CCD and thus sensitivity. Because of the struggle and competition on lowlight performance going on in those small, high pixel count CCD camera's (TRV950) these two smear blockers are kept as small as possible and thus dependent on all kinds of tolerances. Bottom line: check smear before you buy.
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Old October 7th, 2002, 06:48 AM   #8
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dre, thanks! I learned something!
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Old October 8th, 2002, 05:11 AM   #9
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hi,
i was asked to do some captures with pdx10.
I put pdx10 and pd150 side-by-side and made some shots in 16:9 mode. Both cameras were in fully automatic mode, checked twice (you'll see why). Shot to the same tape, imported through firewire to fast purple editor and exported as .tif files. Pictures are in
http://www.opossum.ee/ftp/skydive/kiwik_lowres/pdx10_pd150/
For some reason picture from pdx10 was much darker than pd150, although both cameras WERE fully automatic. IMHO PDX10 has much more light graduations and a bit sharper picture than PD150.
I'll try to take same shots in manual mode, and see what happens.
Great thanks to Karl Arrak for allowing to use 'opossum' server room
any comments?

Margus
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Old October 8th, 2002, 04:36 PM   #10
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Not all camera have the same concepts for adjusting auto exposure. Some take the peak lights as reference (max video amplitude), others the average picture values...See my last post in "open DV discussion" on this. Large differences can occur in high contrast images.
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