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Old August 24th, 2009, 11:49 PM   #1
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What's all the hubbub about rolling shutter?

OVERALL CLAIM:
It seems the EX1 gets chastized for the rolling shutter. However, I personally think it's way overexaggerated by Panasonic loyalists.

DISCLAIMER: PANNY OWNERS PLEASE READ THROUGH AS I DO GIVE RESPECT TO PANASONIC LATER IN THIS POST!

MY VIEW:
So, I guess, I just don't see what people get so upset about when it comes to the rolling shutter issue. Quite literally, when i asked a lab instructor to show me, he whip panned it and then paused the whip pan. Sorry, but when whip panning are you expecting for your eyes to seriously see everything perfectly crisp? Whip pan your head and tell me how much of that picture processed while doing so. Usually it's blurred all out until you stop the whip pan. Upon pausing the picture I was able to see the effect. But the rolling shutter is not as bad as people are making it out to be. I love the how the words, "horrible", "terrible", etc. are added to describe the rolling shutter. Usually, by Panasonic owners, even more so, by HVX200 users.

SIDENOTES FROM MY EXPERIENCE WITH HVX200:
After really learning the EX1 camera I learned to use the HVX200. For the most part, I think there is NO comparison. Everything felt cheap on the HVX200. The cheap plastic focus ring or as I like to call it, "the zinger". that you can quite literally spin and have it keep going if you really wanted to. Really don't like the iris knob instead of having a ring. The 4x3 screen. In fact the biggest part that pissed me off about it was the LCD shows a different brightness and look than the EVF. That is hard to deal with because, if you never shot on one and you are brought onto a project and have to use that camera, your picture could be affected. That is not excusable. All the placement of buttons around the camera is very counter intuitive. Yes, I will admit that menu system on the EX1 takes getting used to but at least everything as far as physical buttons is very accessible. AND I WILL ADMIT, the only buttons I'd change are the ones under the handle on the EX1...they are a little bit annoying as far as accidentally hitting them. The fact they are flush buttons don't help the situation either. Also, it just seems that every feature the HVX200 has, The EX1 greatly implements better. For instance, timelapse, the ex1 gives you a choice of time intervals plus how many frames you want to capture. The HVX is just one frame for whatever time you choose. Also, on the HVX, it seems that the manual controls had been given the shaft, while things like Autofocus were extremely accurate and quick comparitively. I guess in the long run, The HVX seems to make more for a lazy shooter while the EX1 makes you concentrate harder to be a better shooter. I needed and expected the later. So did you hear that....i sorta gave the HVX a compliment. It can do something better than the EX1.

MY RESPECT PAID TO PANASONIC:
So, some may be asking why I'm bashing on Panasonic? I'm not, but truthfully there is a rivalry between Panny fans and Sony fans so some may percieve this as me being a fanboy. Both sides spew disinformation or exaggerate strengths and weaknesses. Let's get this straight. I commend Panny for being the original pioneer into Solid State Recording. They got the ball rolling. My comparison of the EX1 and the HVX200 is really somewhat unfair. Granted, the HVX200 came out a long time ago. The problem lies in the fact that they sat on that camera for so long without pushing forward until recently. Now they are working on newer stuff and I'm interested to see and try some of their newer cameras, for fun. I have to admit though, I'm stuck on Sony and openly admit my bias.

ANOTHER GREAT CLAIM:
That's not the only thing those loyalists try to claim. Now, I'm not sure how on point I am with this but if mistated please forgive me. Anyways, I love the whole, "4:2:2 and you won't be able to chroma key easily" arguement. I turn that around and tell them to capture a TRUE 1920x1080 picture, they usually end up confused and then I try to explain the difference in how their picture is captured and how the picture on the EX1 is captured. I'm not sure my terminology is right but from what i understand, the panny sensors capture 960x540 and there is some form of pixelshifting going on. I guess that's right. And I only speak as far as the HVX200. Having more true resolution captured makes it easier to chroma key even with 4:2:0. Not saying it's easier or harder than the Panny. Just saying I can do it and pretty easily too. The key is lighting as well.

THE LOOK:
Lastly, as far as picture, I am way underwhelmed with the supposed "Panasonic Look". I personally feel that I can achieve any look I want due to the picture profiles. Including many looks, that as far as I am concerned blow away the Panny. The problem lies in that fact that the stock picture settings are left very flat and not as appealing on the STOCK ex1. However, Sony expects you to be the judge of what you want your picture to look like. I find that reviews given to the EX1 saying the picture isn't as good, generally come from people who compare both of the pictures flat. Flat in Panasonic's eyes is a nice looking picture they have already worked on and then given to you and expect you to tweak from there while Sony say's just do it yourself and gives you way more control.

SO WHY DID I TYPE ALL THIS UP?
I figured it would make for some good conversation. Although, it's not just about rolling shutter, I'd love to investigate truly and accurately all the subjects, I have discussed, and what better way than this excellent forum. So please, tell me your findings, discuss why you like one company over the other, etc. Just don't let this become a flame war. Thanks.

P.S.- And always remember it's what behind the camera that matters, not the camera itself.

Last edited by Nathan Hudson; August 25th, 2009 at 01:06 AM.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 12:16 AM   #2
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Well,

This is sure to turn into a flame-fest. I give it 12 hours. Honestly, I got tired of listening to the loyalists and Panny fanboys I just gave up. So much misinformation out there it was just silly. People who really ought to know better. Like the comment over the weekend from someone in the company that the Sony EX series could not record an hour of footage onto it's SxS media. Which is just flat wrong. I do it all the time.

The sad part is I *OWN* 2 Panasonic's and like them both. Still use my DVX from time to time. It's really a shame.

You did get some things wrong by the way about the HVX but the point was understood. It doesn't have 1920x1080 sensors so it can't capture a full signal. Beyond that though is the fact that it's codec is 1280x1080 at best, so it can't STORE a full signal even after doing all the gyrations to create a full signal in the camera.

One of the knocks levied by Panny loyalists is that the Long-GOP structure of the EX codec is tanamount to HDV souped up. I ask then what is the Panny codec if it has LESS resolution than HDV?

The "color" thing is a red herring. I'd would lay cash money on the table to anyone who could tell me the difference between the Panny and the Sony post-processing. Let me take both through the wringer and tell me which is which. You can't do it. As we enter post, I can guarantee you that well shot video on both cameras will see the EX1 looking significantly sharper with less noise.

But anyway, these arguments are silly. Panny's HPX170 is the real EX1 competitor and it's a good camera. The HVX200a is a nice update on the original.

Horses for courses. Shoot what you want.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 12:26 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan Hudson View Post
P.S.- And always remember it's what behind the camera that matters, not the camera itself.
That sums it all up in a few words.

I own and play on a Stradivarious violin, does that make me a better violinist ? No, but having the best does help to make it easier.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 01:37 AM   #4
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I just did some test shooting with an ex1 and hpx300. I find the weight issues of the ex1 exaggerated, though I found the hpx300 more comfortable to use. I also found the rolling shutter( skewing) with both cameras, to be way exaggerated. The one thing I did notice with the ex1, was when you panned the sharpness/detail seemed to drop off(The panning wasn't too quick or aggressive). I was taken aback by that. I wonder if somebody can explain that to me? What I don't get, is the footage of both cameras showing unacceptable skewing online(I couldn't reproduce that degree of skewing).
I am a little annoyed with both companies in regards to quality/customer service. I find from these forums that Sony has bad customer service and the build quality of the ex1 is unsatisfactory especially for what you pay. The Panasonic's, seemed to have better build/customer service, but have the smaller chips and use pixel shifting (though the hpx300/hmc40 have full raster chips, but still smaller). A quick example of this; 1yr warranty compared to 3-5yr warranty. Panasonic has a presence on these forums, sony doesn't APPEAR to have any. I however, can see that the ex1 has a very good pic quality and the hpx300 is right there with it( maybe a little noisier in lowlight, but not too bad).
I believe the panny's codec to be superior to the ex1. 4-2-0; long gop compared to 4-2-2; intraframe. I'm torn to witch camera to buy. I'm no brand loyal guy either, especially since I currently own a JVC.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 01:40 AM   #5
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I don't think a comparison of the ex1/3 to the hvx200 is a fair comparison. You need to compare the hpx300 to the ex1/3 sonys.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 01:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Joyner View Post
The one thing I did notice with the ex1, was when you panned the sharpness/detail seemed to drop off(The panning wasn't too quick or aggressive). I was taken aback by that. I wonder if somebody can explain that to me? .
I had the same problem, but cured it by turning the shutter On and using a shutter speed which was twice the speed of the frame rate. i.e. 720p 25fps and shutter speed of 1/50 or 720p 50fps and shutter speed of 1/100
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Old August 25th, 2009, 02:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Oliver View Post
I had the same problem, but cured it by turning the shutter On and using a shutter speed which was twice the speed of the frame rate. i.e. 720p 25fps and shutter speed of 1/50 or 720p 50fps and shutter speed of 1/100
How did that affect your footage in regards to the timeline and did this make the footage darker?
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Old August 25th, 2009, 02:33 AM   #8
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I set my timeline up to match the video, i.e. 720p at 25 or 50fps.

I haven't mixed frame rates within the same timeline. I goes without saying that shooting at 1/100 will be darker than footage shot at 1/50.

I will drop some 50fps footage into a 25fps timeline and see what happens - will post the findings later.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 02:38 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Vincent Oliver View Post
I set my timeline up to match the video, i.e. 720p at 25 or 50fps.

I haven't mixed frame rates within the same timeline. I goes without saying that shooting at 1/100 will be darker than footage shot at 1/50.

I will drop some 50fps footage into a 25fps timeline and see what happens - will post the findings later.
That would be very nice of you.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 03:57 AM   #10
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So far so good. Good responses. Perrone, there is nothing sad about owning multiple cameras. I'm jealous. The 170 is the competitor however, i just don't get why they would allow the specs to fall under the EX1. If I were in Panny's shoes after the ex1 came out, I would do everything in my power to release a competitor that is a similar sized camera that tops every single spec of the EX1.

John, The HPX300 is REALLY NICE! I am a little bit surprised in the decision to have 1/3 inch sensors regardless of technology. I think the 300 was panny's way of placing a camera that competes ex3 due to the interchangeable lens. It does really well in comparison and I would love to get some hands on use. From everything I have read, I don't see it as surpassing the ex1 or 3. It's more on par with tradeoffs, with it's codec being the highlight, however it suffers the same issue as the EX1. In HDVideoPro magazine, they list the same negatives as you did for the 300. Rolling Shutter and Lowlight performance. They also added that it was an issue not having peaking, brightness, or zebra controls on the viewfinder itself. Not that you can't control it but you just have to go through menus to do so. If I'm reading this right. I think they are saying there is no button to turn on or off these items on the camera, and that you have to navigate through menus to do so. I don't like zebras however i use peaking quite a bit. I couldn't imagine keeping it up full time though. Having a button for that makes it easy for me to check it out and then be done with it. If I'm follow focusing I leave it on when needed.

One thing, that helped make my decision to go with the ex1 is that I have a macbook pro with expresscard34 slot. What will be the next update for Panny? The size (physical size not data size) of their cards don't make sense now. Soon, sxs will be in that same boat as apple screwed us over and dropped the expresscard slot. I can almost guarantee that the next iteration of the 17" model will drop it too, unless there are enough complaints like there were with firewire and glossy screens. I wouldn't be so upset if there were an alternative way to get the same speed solution to dump footage and USB2 is not the answer. Ideally, a Firewire 800 expresscard reader i think would give me the speed I'm looking for. I just can't understand going backwards in speed because I update my computer. Somebody has to come up with a solution for this. So is highspeed SDHC the next evolution. It appears to be in the years to come with advancement. But you never know what else will be around the corner to compete.

So, here's the part the panny loyalists will love, I'M GOING TO PICK APART THE EX1..........

What needs changing in the EX1:

1: Battery/Charger......Really Sony, we are months away from the year 2010 and you can't figure out a way to get rid of the switch to either charge or provide your camera with power through an outlet? Why can't it charge your battery and allow you to hook up to your camera and provide power at the same time. My freakin cheap cell phone can do it, so why can't my $6000 camera do it?

2: This is changing for me as I can fly through the menus now, but my initial response to the menu system was overall confusing. It still can use changing but I made myself already get used to it so now if it changes again I have to change again.I guess mostly in the fact that the "camera" submenu and the "others" submenu could be combined. Things like Time Zone and Set clock could be under one submenu under camera instead of two different items in "others". My initial response to changing the format i was recording in was to go to the camera options but it was under others.

3: A way to quickly switch into S&Q motion. I don't even care if it's a way to change the options for it....i just simply want to turn this mode on/off with a button. Leave the options inside a software menu. Rarely would I change the options for the S&Q motion. But for things like action sports and whatnot (Primarily wakeboarding for me), it would be nice in the spur of the moment to hit the button to turn the mode on, capture a clip, and just as quickly turn it off.

4: Ok, this is most peoples biggest gripe......The power switch. First off it's backwards. I always associate switching the power on with flicking a switch to the right. With this camera you switch left to turn on into camera mode and then right if you want media mode. Just give me and ON and OFF power button. This ties in with my next gripe which would be one of my biggest complaints.

5: Reviewing clips is annoying. First, the Rec Review button does allow you to play the last clip back, however it seems stuttery. If I want to review previous clips beyond that, I must switch the power to media. This effectively reboots your camera and you must wait for that to load up. Same thing vice-versa. I have never seen a camera where I have had to wait around just to go back and pick a clip, watch it, then go back to camera mode. For continuity purposes, I have to do this and this takes too much time when dealing with shoot schedules and high pressure situations. So overall strip the media part out of the power switch and give me a normal power switch then give me a mode i can quickly flip too to review whatever clip i like. Then get rid of the rec review button if it doesn't play back at full performance.

6: The small things that are more or less wish list items that would make sense. Give me a matte box that accepts filters. I don't ask for rails or anything like that but give me a good matte box. I personally like the mic holder position however it's way too big and from what I understand when you buy a sony mic they give you a rubber ring that makes it fit. Why would they do something like this? That decision has escaped me as I can find no reason to do such a thing. Given the right time of foam they could make a mic holder that will fit almost every standard shotgun mic out there. Some a little tighter because of width. That's where foam comes in handy. I have rigged my own version of this and honestly if done right works really well and dampens out most vibrations. Standard type batteries. Sony always finds a way to shoot themselves in the foot with proprietary crap. How many times does it take for them to learn. Standardized is the way to go. At the very least, they could open up so that other companies could produce batteries that don't need DC IN plug to work. It doesn't deter people from buying the other battery so it's not making a difference for them so why not open up for third party batteries even if not standard.

7: The most minor of inconviences is the buttons under the handle as I stated earlier are flush and accidentally get pressed every once in a while.


So there you have it....what I don't like about my own camera.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 04:11 AM   #11
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It's the rolling shutter's handling of electronic flash that I object to, not the distortions generated by whip-pans.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 04:14 AM   #12
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I also agree with the Vincent. Why wouldn't you use the shutter? I think the shutter options for this camera is amazing and most people generally seem to run the same equation of twice the framerate. I usually stay there. From what I understand, if you use the angle setting instead of the speed setting and set it to a 180 degree angle then it's the same as that equation without needing to change the shutter settings. Let's say you had 24fps, a 180 degree shutter would act like a 1/48 shutter. If you changed it to 30fps then your shutter would act like a 1/60 shutter.

I do however use higher shutter settings for Wakeboarding and Action sports but not so much that it looks like saving private ryan or anything but 1/120 at 24fps which is 4 times. That seems to work really well.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 04:17 AM   #13
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My question about how the flash is handled, couldn't the vast amount of shutter options and speeds eliminate that.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 04:27 AM   #14
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No. The CMOS chip is read out rather than dumped out whole as CCDs are.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 04:27 AM   #15
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It's the rolling shutter's handling of electronic flash that I object to, not the distortions generated by whip-pans.
Whilst I agree there does seem to be a glitch with flash capture and have read many complaints about the half frame flash etc. To be quite frank, any flash that goes off whilst filming is a pain in the @?#$ - I would rather not see any, but the reality is that people will take pictures using flash at an event. Most people will accept that a flash has been fired and probably won't even notice that it is a half frame capture. The problem is with us guys not accepting that this is just the way things are. If filmiing a wedding I usually tell the bride and groom well in advance of the wedding that any flash from a camera will be captured on video, it's up to them to ask their guests not to use a flash. Never had a complaint yet, even with footage that includes flash.
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