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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old June 19th, 2006, 04:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Alvin
Hey Boyd,

Yes, I know the PDX-10's chips are like 1/4.7". But that should primarily affect its low light capability, right? I shoot with lights and I don't do any wedding or event work, so I feel that I can deal with its unimpressive low lux rating (I think its like minimum 7 lux).

Also, the A1U uses a different chip than the Z1U. I think the A1U uses a CMOS chip and the Z1U uses 3 CCD 1/3" chips.

Am I wrong about that?
I've got to believe that chip size will also affect resolution and color rendition too, else my 1/3 VX2000 should be as good as a 2/3 chip camera.
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Old June 19th, 2006, 09:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Alvin
Thanks Duane for the info. When you say the down converted image is better, how do you mean? Resolution, color, sharpness, all of the above?
I am curious because it doesn't seem that the single CMOS chip reproduces color as well as the three ccd's do? Since you have both cameras I would love to hear your opinion on that particular issue.

Thanks in advance.

Since the A1U downconverts in-camera to standard interlaced DV, the final resolution between the two cameras in DV mode is *exactly* the same (720x480 with a 1.2 pixel aspect ratio).

But regardless of that, the sharpness and definition of the A1U's footage is noticably better, particularly with areas of color next to briliant highlights. The A1U's color is also generally a bit more lively...except for RED of course, which is tricky to get right on the A1U (you can read plenty about that in the A1 forum). But honestly, as long as you white balance carefully and religiously, most of the red problems aren't anything to worry about.

Also, both cameras SUCK in low light situations, but the A1 is a bit more forgiving...that is to say, it can be 'pushed' a bit further than the PDX10 can. Also, the dark areas IN GENERAL are better on the A1 because of the black stretch feature. The A1U also has the addition of an IR nightshot mode, but that's nothing more than a novelty; I can't imagine the 'green' nightshot footage being even remotely useful for my needs.

Note that the vertical smear problem with the PDX10 is very real. You can learn to shoot around it once you learn why it happens (bright, direct light) but that's one thing that I just don't have to worry about with the A1...no vertical smear on it.

I know that it doesn't make any sense to think that a 1 CMOS cam is better than a 3 CCD cam, but the proof is in the pudding. And as far as my eyes are concerned, the A1's footage simply looks better. And then if you DO import in the HD footage...prepare to be blown away! The PDX10 obviously can't even compete with the A1's full 1080i resolution (which looks SPECTACULAR by the way).

Oh, and about the manual controls between the two cams...while I definately prefer the way the PDX10 is setup (with all of the primary controls all in one place on the back of the cam), I must admit that for the way that I work, the A1's controls aren't BAD or anything. You see, I set the white balance manually with a Petrol card; then set the shutter speed at 60; then I adjust the audio levels for my surroundings--and all that is done on the touch screen. It's kind of annoying to have to use the screen for those settings, but it's pretty much just a set-it-and-forget-it dealm, because after those settings are locked down, all I have to deal with is FOCUS and EXPOSURE...and the neat thing about the A1 is that both of those controls are on the FRONT of the camera, near my hand. Granted, I definately prefer the little wheel on the PDX10, but in day-to-day use, I've gotten quite used to the exposure lever on the A1. The manual focus ring isn't as good as the PDX10, but it's not like the PDX10 had a good one either. I acutally use auto focus quite a bit on both cams (shocking!) but truthfully, the PDX10's auto focus wanders less, probably due to the lower resolution.

The audio functions between the two are practically identical. Same XLR box (just with a different pigtail plug) and same crappy stock Sony mic. Same basic audio controls in the cams themselves. Audio is a wash between the two.

One big nasty problem with the A1 is that it's a bottom loader, so you'll have to get some sort of a step up adaptor. There are several on the market, and they all will do the job...but I still prefer the PDX10's top loader.

I also prefer the way filters attach to the PDX10; because it comes with a secondary 'large' hood, I am able to run a UV and/or circle polarizer filter and still use a hood. But the silly design of the A1 hood doesn't allow that. Thankfully, I use a wide angle adapter lense with it's own hood and filter setup, so that doesn't affect me much, but if you didn't want a wide angle lense on the A1, your filter/hood options are pretty much zilch.

Also, like Boyd pointed out, the A1 is substantially smaller and lighter; for my needs, that's good. Your requirements may be different.




Okay, that's all I can think of right now. Ha-ha! I hope that it's helpful info. Like I said, each cam had its strengths, and if you do decide to ge the PDX10, realise that there's nothing terribly wrong with it if you know how to work around its quirks. I know for a fact that it produces absolutely beautiful 16:9 DV footage in the proper lighting conditions. Mine has been an absolute workhorse that paid for itself time and time again, and I still love it.

Just consider your needs (how you will use the cam, what kind of conditions you'll be shooting in, what accessories/filters/lens you'll need, etc) and determine what will best work for you.

A very long-winded 2

- Duane
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Old June 19th, 2006, 10:15 PM   #18
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THanKS!

Hey Duane,

You the man! Thanks for answering every possible question I could ever have and then some. I owe you a beer.

Cheers,
DvLvN
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Old June 19th, 2006, 10:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos
I've got to believe that chip size will also affect resolution and color rendition too, else my 1/3 VX2000 should be as good as a 2/3 chip camera.
Not necessarily--some of the smaller chips use smaller pixels to compensate. The resolution and color rendition of smaller chips can be quite good. The XL2's chips, for example, are the same size as the XL1's, but pack in about double the number of pixels. And the 4:3 section of the chip is closer to 1/4" than 1/3", but the image is still quite a bit more detailed than in the XL1.

The trade-off with the smaller pixels, as Dave was saying, comes into play with light sensitivity, and vertical smear is sometimes more of an an issue. Also, smaller chips produce an inherently larger depth of field than large chips.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 12:27 AM   #20
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Thanks Jarrod. That's what I thought, although I must admit I wish the PDX-10 had bigger chips, but then it would cost more money.

Bottom line is they have yet to invent a perfect pro level camcorder for a consumer budget. Lots of good ones, but nothing "perfect".

Dare to dream.........
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Old June 20th, 2006, 08:40 AM   #21
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Excellent post Duane! Thanks for sharing your experiences, and they seem to fit with comments others have made in the past.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 01:17 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Smith
Also, both cameras SUCK in low light situations, but the A1 is a bit more forgiving...that is to say, it can be 'pushed' a bit further than the PDX10 can. Also, the dark areas IN GENERAL are better on the A1 because of the black stretch feature. The A1U also has the addition of an IR nightshot mode, but that's nothing more than a novelty; I can't imagine the 'green' nightshot footage being even remotely useful for my needs.
Actually, the nightshot mode of the A1U is pretty good if you combine it with the B&W or Sepia effect. Basically this converts the footage from green and white to black and white as you're shooting it. It looks pretty darned good and is quite effective in dark situations. I have a wide angle lens on my A1 and that blocks the IR light so I have that function turned off. It's still pretty good though.
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Old June 20th, 2006, 08:24 PM   #23
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Hmmm...you know, I might have to try that, Laurence. I have the wide angle lense too, so I should have the same light blocking condition as you do.

Thanks for the tip!
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Old July 5th, 2006, 09:49 AM   #24
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You can attach a separate IR illuminator to teh top of the A1 so that gets rond the internal IR-LED blocked by the WA lens issue.

Also you can buy completely separate and far more powerful IR illuminators that will greatly increase IR levels and let you get better footage from the Nightshot mode.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 11:02 AM   #25
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Duane, I enjoyed reading your post on the A1U and PDX10. I've owned a PDX10 in the past and I just got an A1U last week but its nice to hear from someone who has both at the same time. Very well put!
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