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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old January 17th, 2004, 11:57 AM   #1
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user manual for VX2100?

I'd like to know details on the features of VX2100. Does anyone know where can I download the user manual? I can't even find it in Sony's site.

I wish to make up my mind on these 2 cameras: DVX100A and VX2100. Beside XLR and cineLike video (inclusive of progressive and Gamma curve of DVX100), is there any other important features that I left out? (inclusive of any good to have manual controls) Since DVX100 is $1000 ahead of VX2100!

Thanks!
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Old January 17th, 2004, 12:24 PM   #2
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I do not know where to find a user manual for the VX2100.

As far as difference between the VX2100 and the DVX100 there are two other differences to keep in mind.

One, the DVX100 has a higher pixel count and to my eye delivers a bit higher resolution image than the VX2100. And two, the DVX100 has full DSP control. While the VX2100 does allow you some image control of the sharpness, saturation and white balance shift, the DVX100 allows you control of the detail, saturation, WB shift,phase, gamma, skin detail, color matrix selection, master pedestal, vertical detail, etc.

Depending on how the DVX100 is setup, the VX2100 may deliver better low light video though.

If the progressive scan function is not of any importance to you, then you may be interested in the Panasonic DVC80. The DVC80 is the same camera as the DVX100 but without the progressive scan functions. The DVC80 should be closer in price to the VX2100 and will still give you the DSP control.

All three cameras produce excellent video. And you really can't go wrong with any of them. It just depends on what suites your video needs.
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Old January 18th, 2004, 10:43 AM   #3
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I have used both cameras. I found the Panny to be sharper at 6db and below. The VX2100 displayed less noise than the Panny in low light. As a matter of fact the VX2100 was more light sensitive.

They are BOTH excellent cameras. The Panny lets you adjust more parameters in regards to the picture. However, the colors on the VX2100 appeared more pleasant to some people.
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Old January 19th, 2004, 09:40 AM   #4
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http://www.iq.sony.com/srvs/sosdocs/default.asp I found the manual at this Sony site. Type in dcrvx2100. If this doesn't work I can email the pdf document but it is a little over 4 meg in size and some email services can't handle this.
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Old January 19th, 2004, 02:46 PM   #5
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Bret,

Thanks for the link. How did you download the pdf files?
Neither Windows Explorer nor Netscape 7.1 allow me to do this.

Thanks !
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Old January 19th, 2004, 03:25 PM   #6
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All you do is save it locally from Adobe Reader.
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Old January 19th, 2004, 03:27 PM   #7
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http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html In order to open and/or save a pdf file you need Adobe Reader. It is free viewer and can be downloaded from the link I've included. I hope the reason you can't open/save the manual is due to not having this free software. If not I don't know what would be causing you to not be able to do so. Good luck!

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Old January 19th, 2004, 03:40 PM   #8
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I may have mis-spoke here. I would think you should be able to download the file whether you have Adobe or not. You do however need Adobe to open the file. There may be other viewers that will work with pdf files but I don't know of one.

Typically you should just have to "right click" on the file you want to download and select "save target as" to save the file to your computer.
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Old January 19th, 2004, 04:00 PM   #9
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Thanks Bret and Mike,

I never thought of saving directly from the Adobe Reader.

>Typically you should just have to "right click" on the file you >want to download and select "save target as" to save the file to >your computer.

I was trying this to no avail.
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Old January 19th, 2004, 08:03 PM   #10
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Thanks guys for your input :)

Jon, in fact, I really wish to understand where does the advantages of progressive video come in place. Is it only useful for transferring to film for screening? I mean, if the screening format is miniDV and the screen size is not as huge as cinema-size (conference hall or even home tv), is the differences hardly being seen? For video sake, the CineGamma is even more effective (film-like) than progressive it seems? Thanks for pointing out DVC80, I'll take a closer look at this camera if it has the CineLike gamma adjustment, that would be excellent!

Thanks Bret for the site, finally got the manual!
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Old January 19th, 2004, 09:34 PM   #11
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Kaif,

Progressive scan video is superior to interlaced regardless of the presentation. For a couple reasons...

Primarily because progressive scan video is actually giving whole frames instead of half fields. In other words, you're getting full vertical resolution.

And second, if you want to get into the whole "film look" thing, interlacing is what makes video "look like video".

Forget about the "Cine Gamma" stuff. Cine Gamma as implemeneted on Panasonic's line of prgressive cameras is mostly a marketing gimic. Yes, I must admit that the cine gamma functions do give you a little more natural fall off in the shadows. But it's not a magic setting that makes your Handycam look like 35mm. "Cine Gamma" is a clever marketing phrase. And as much as I like the cine gamma setting on my DVX100 is certain situations, it's not an "all the time" setting. There are actually very few shooting situations where I actually use it. Perhaps with the new Knee functions built into the DVX100A, my use of the "Cine Gamma D" may be more frequent. But with highlights blowing out at 80 IRE, the original cine gamma is rarely the best gamma choice in my opinion.
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Old January 20th, 2004, 06:44 AM   #12
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Hi Jon, I'll really interested to catch the differences between progressive and interlace video in the sake of final product quality. I did downloaded some videos from some websites of these two (and others) cameras, but it's still quite hard to see the advantage of progressive of them. Probably because those video files are still compressed too much (20MB for a 5 mins video). The easier notice difference is usually CineLike Gamma, which makes contrast (bright and dark area) softer. Question: do you think the contrast of VX2100 can also be adjusted to get close quality like DVX100?


Can you name me some of the most notisable differences? Such as "progressive video flaker less" etc. Also, I'm quite confused of how effective progressive video can be when displaying on an interface TV? Also, in editing software (using Premier 6.5 now), even for interlace video capture, each frame is a full frame when we view it in the software. So, what's the difference when capturing progressive video? From the DVX100's introduction, it said "interlace record A+A' to "A", but progressive record A+A to "A" -- So, if in software, each frame is "A", then there's no difference in quality also! And I know I must be wrong, please tell me where.
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Old January 20th, 2004, 10:25 AM   #13
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Kaif-

Not knowing what you downloaded or how the cameras were set up for the comparisons, it's hard to say why the difference may or may not be noticeable. If you were to view two side by side comparison videos compressed for the web and the cameras are set up properly, then you should be able to see a difference in resolution, motion and clearer images. However, setting up the cameras properly is a must. And unfortunately, there's no right way to set up a camera. I will say, if you were viewing material that was comparing the VX2100 with the DVX100 in 24P mode, then there are two variables that may though off the advantages of the DVX100's progressive mode. One, if the DVX100 was shot in standard 24P mode, then you are still seeing those progressive frames get split by interlacing of opposing fields. And two, if the DVX100 was not set to "thin" line detail, then the camera wasn't using the full vertical resolution that it is capable of.

Progressive video, when done right, will always compress better, look better, and be noticeably different than interlaced video.

Yes, the cine gamma function does reduce contrast by lifting the blacks. Unfortunately, the VX2100 doesn't have any gamma functions that can be changed. That doesn't mean you can't get similiar results with the VX2100. Just that you can't do it through the DSP. By using an Ultra Contrast filter with the VX2100, then you could achieve similiar results opticaly. Then using the VX2100's Custom Preset menu, you could turn down the color a notch or two and that would give you something that looked pretty close to "cine gamma".

Progresive video will have a slightly stuttered look while interlaced video will have that normal fluid motion that looks like, well video.

On an interlaced display, progressive video will still have an advantage in resolution and clarity. One of the nice features of the DVX100 is the fact that you can switch between progressive or interlaced. So, if you find the progressive scan function to be preferable, then you have that option. If not, then you can continue to shoot in normal interlaced mode. And, as I mentioned, I personally feel that the interlaced of the DVX100 is still superior to the interlaced mode of the VX2100.

When it comes to NLE editing, it may look like you are seeing full frames. But you're not. Even though you won't get the tell tale interlaced jitter on a computer monitor when viewing interlaced video, you are seeing two fields captured 1/60th of a second apart being displayed at the same time. In other words, if you shoot interlaced video, you will never get full frames. Only half fields. That's just the way video works.

The quality difference is in the resolution of whole frames vs half fields. There is a difference regardless of how it looks on your computer screen in your NLE app.

I'm not exactly sure what you are referring to with the A+A reference. But let me try to explain using that type of method...

First of all, video standards must adhere to the parameters of the video standard. So ALL NTSC (or PAL) video must adhere to NTSC parameters to be NTSC. So even when shooting progressive video, the VTR has to record to the interlaced format. Thus, progressive frame A gets recorded to fields 1 and 2. Pogressive frame B gets recorded to fields 1 and 2, etc. With interlaced video, interlaced frame 1 (single field, half frame) gets recorded to field 1. And interlaced frame 2 (single field, half frame) gets recorded to field 2 and so on. Thus each field is only half a frame. And it takes 2 fields to make up the frame.

That's as best as I can describe in typing...

Now if your A+A reference is regarding the 24P pulldown options of the DVX100, then that's a whole other ball game.
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Old January 20th, 2004, 12:00 PM   #14
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Thank you very much Jon for the input, now I have a better overview of the performance in progressive video. So, I guess at least progressive gives better resolution and stability of the video (since interlace is combining 2 different half frames into 1 frame).

>Progressive video, when done right, will always compress >better, look better, and be noticeably different than interlaced >video.

You said "when done right...", how to do it right? (or do it wrong?) For instance, if say I simply shoot some 25p PAL (forget about 24p first!) videos, and then edit it in premier, then I output it back to miniDV and play it on interlace TV. Is this ok for progressive video? Any other steps to do in order to produce better video?
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Old January 20th, 2004, 12:40 PM   #15
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When I say "progressive done right", I'm refering to setup parameters. In other words, some (not all) cameras that offer progressive scan give you the option of full vertical detail or standard line pair summation type of image blurring to take the sharp edge off of the high resolution pitcure. So, you have to know your distribution venues and how to best optimize your image for that type of display.

For example, if you were to shoot progressive scan video for web compression, set to a high shutter speed, full vertical detail, high edge enhacment, and handhold the camera, you'd get an image that was overly sharp, way too shaky and would be difficult to compress without serious artifacting. However, if you were to tone down the edge enhancement, use a standard shutter speed, and put the camera on a tripod, then you're going to get very high quality video that will compress well and maintain a very clean and clear image after compression.

Of course, these guidelines hold true for any display. But you'd be surprised at how many people approach Digital Video completely wrong. And the added pitfalls of progressive scan add to the many things that a lot of people approach wrong and end up with lack luster results.

In regard to your question about 25P for interlaced television dsiplay, yes, that's a good way to go. 25P is fantastic. Just remember to follow these guidelines: Select the full vertical detail option if available. You want to use that resolution. In the DVX100 menu, it is called "thin" line detail. Then turn the sharpness down. Not all the way. But a good 30 to 50 percent down. Then make sure your shutter speed is off, or low. The "off" shutter speed in PAL is 1/50th a second. You could do 1/60th a second if you needed to, but keep it low. This should give you the extra resolution without sharpness and the low shutter speed should keep the stuttering from being objectionable.
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