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Old February 23rd, 2007, 03:43 AM   #1
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Ducks After Dark with a VX2100

I've been out a few times recently in the late afternoon and have rediscovered how good a VX2100 is in limited light with wildlife. I got some good waterfowl footage after sunset and have included a memory-mode J-PEG I snapped. It was taken at 8 minutes after sunset. This camera actually does better in the video mode in dim light, as it doesn't use the faster mechanical shutter that functions in the memory mode. This shot was taken with a Raynox 2.2X telex attached.
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Ducks After Dark with a VX2100-dsc00135.jpg  

Last edited by J. Stephen McDonald; February 23rd, 2007 at 07:37 PM.
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Old February 24th, 2007, 02:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald
I've been out a few times recently in the late afternoon and have rediscovered how good a VX2100 is in limited light with wildlife. I got some good waterfowl footage after sunset and have included a memory-mode J-PEG I snapped. It was taken at 8 minutes after sunset. This camera actually does better in the video mode in dim light, as it doesn't use the faster mechanical shutter that functions in the memory mode. This shot was taken with a Raynox 2.2X telex attached.
1.With x12 max zoom + 2.2x how much magnification did you actually use for this shot, Steve?
2.What distance were you from the ducks?
3.When you say "This camera actually does better in the video mode in dim light, as it doesn't use the faster mechanical shutter that functions in the memory mode." would you happen to have a frame to show from a video clip of the ducks at about the same time for comparison?
4.(my old favourite curiosity) Was your VX2100 handheld or on a tripod?
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Old February 24th, 2007, 07:24 PM   #3
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Note: This reply message now contains some revised and corrected lens specifications from what I originally posted, so if you read it earlier, please go through it again.
------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell
1.With x12 max zoom + 2.2x how much magnification did you actually use for this shot, Steve?
2.What distance were you from the ducks?
3.When you say "This camera actually does better in the video mode in dim light, as it doesn't use the faster mechanical shutter that functions in the memory mode." would you happen to have a frame to show from a video clip of the ducks at about the same time for comparison?
4.(my old favourite curiosity) Was your VX2100 handheld or on a tripod?
Brendan, tomorrow when I take the VX2100 out for an afternoon of fun, I will do an internal tape to memory-card still-capture of a frame of the ducks, to post here. I just hope it actually looks brighter, to support my claim.

With the 72mm focal length of the VX2100 lens at full zoom, in order to convert that to compare to the 35mm film standard, you multiply by a factor of 6, so that becomes the equivalent of 432mm. Divide that by 50 (the focal length that produces 1X of magnification with 35mm film) and you get 8.64X of magnification. Multiply that by 2.2X for the telex and it's a 19X total magnification that I used for this picture.

This may surprise some people who thought that this 12X zoom lens gave 12X magnification. Actually, the focal-length is increased 12X by the zoom from its starting point at 36mm, but it takes 50mm of increase in the focal-length for each additional 1X of magnification. This disparity in the amount of increase in the focal length and in the increase in magnification, exists because the focal length of 36mm is below the "normal" or zero-magnification level of 50mm. There's a minus-X of .28, in magnification below 50mm. The top focal-length number of 432, divided by the bottom focal-length number of 36, equals 12. But, the number 432 divided by 50, is just 8.64. By having a focal-length that starts below 50mm, the ratio of that number to the top focal-length is always higher than the magnification X-power. This is why manufacturers never include the magnification factor (MF) that a camera/lens combination produces, in their specifications. They'd rather have many people think that a camera advertized as having a 12X zoom, also gives them a 12X magnification.

Of course, all this is based on the acceptance of the 35mm film standard as the proper comparison for video lens specifications. If anyone wants to reject this common practice and base their lens magnification X-power on the size of the image at zero-zoom, they can do so. For this camera model, the image at that point (36mm focal-length) is just 72% of the size it becomes at the 50mm focal-length. And this 72% image does get magnified 12X at full zoom. Those who belong to the "Mine is bigger than yours" camp, may want to choose that way of calculating it.

My estimated distance when I shot the ducks, was about 200 meters.

I was using my shoulder-mount for this shot, as I do with almost all my camera work. There's a thread farther down in this forum with its picture. Search my name in the Support Your Local Camera/Shoulder-mounts forum and see the one I use with still cameras. I was using it without the lower, counter-weighted section and didn't have those big, 19-inch XLR mikes on it. When I do full-zoom still-camera shots, using the Raynox telex on an "ultrazoom" Olympus C-2100UZ or a Sony H5 and use the other version of this shoulder-mount, it's essential for getting unblurred pictures. Even with a 1/800 shutter and OIS, they will still lose that fine edge of sharpness, if there's any movement in the camera.

About the only time I resort to using a tripod, is when I'm taping a long speech by some talking-head. I also have to do this when presidential candidates come to town, as the SS would think my shoulder-mount was a submachine gun or a portable GTA missile-launcher and would take me out. I've actually had local cops start to draw their weapons on me, when they didn't look closely enough at my shoulder-rig.

Last edited by J. Stephen McDonald; February 24th, 2007 at 11:05 PM.
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Old February 25th, 2007, 10:21 PM   #4
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I find it interesting you still collect reflecting light off the water so late in the evening.
I like the gadwalls but the buffle heads are awesome!! I hardly get a chance at them where i live. I love shooting waterfowl.
could you attach a bit of a clip?
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Old February 26th, 2007, 02:27 AM   #5
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Vid-Cap of Duck Picture

Here is a picture that was re-captured internally in my VX2100, from videotape and put into J-PEG form on a Memory-Stick. Compare it to the shot on the first message in this thread, that was directly captured as a J-PEG from the raw camera image. Both tape and J-PEG were recorded at about 8 minutes after sunset. This vid-cap doesn't look too bad in a small size, but if you expand them both to full-screen, you can see a great difference. The vid-cap, in a word, looks like crap. It shows what happens to an image when it is encoded and compressed twice, for two different formats. The video footage of these ducks looks so much better than this re-encoded frame shows, that it's good that I snapped a few memory mode shots, which aren't that bad, even at full-screen.

It was wise and useful for Sony to put the 640 X 480 memory mode into this camera. I imagine that many VX2100 users don't often grab still-shots with it, but it's the only way to have decent single frames to show of what you've recorded on video. Converting video into vid-cap frames later, just doesn't cut it.

My statement about how much better this camera does in dim light in video mode, as opposed to the memory mode, isn't demonstrated very well by these pictures. You can see a little more brightness in the vid-cap on this message, than in the memory-mode image on the first message, but not much. Other times, I've noted more difference in dim light between the two modes.

Dale, the Buffleheads are among the most lively and interesting ducks. In contrast, the Gadwalls are the most subdued and non-demonstrative species. In the early Spring, the Buffleheads put on some very entertaining courtship antics, chasing each other around, above and below the water. I have some footage of this from a previous year and at the ideal location where I got these recent pictures, I hope to get some that is even better in a few weeks. I wish I had a way to send some of it online.
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Ducks After Dark with a VX2100-dsc00013.jpg  
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Old February 27th, 2007, 02:47 AM   #6
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One More Correction on VX2100 Lens Specs

My apologies-----hopefully, I will have the lens specifications right in all respects this time. I had used the specifications for the wrong Sony camera about the focal-length conversion to the 35mm film equivalent. The 6mm to 72mm VX2100 focal-length is converted to 43.2mm to 518.4mm, for the 35mm film equivalent. I had mistakenly listed it as being 36mm to 432mm. The reason it has a higher focal-length range, is because its .33-inch CCDs are smaller than the .4-inch CCD in the camera from which I took the conversion figures.

This longer focal-length has an effect on the magnification-factor (MF) of the camera/lens combination. The smaller the CCD, the greater the MF will be, in relation to the focal-length of the lens. Therefore, the correct MF of the VX2100, without any add-on lens, is 10.37X, at full zoom, for the 35mm film equivalent. Using the Sony VCL-HG1758 telextender, the MF is 17.63X. With the 2.2X telex I used for the pictures with the previous messages, the MF is 22.8X. At the 43.2mm or wide-angle end of the focal-length, it has a minus-.14X MF, as the image at that zero-zoom point is just 86% the size it is up at the 50mm level, which is where it reaches 1X or no magnification.

This greater magnification-factor for the VX2100 and the other Sony camcorders in its series, differing from what I first described, is one of the characteristics that smaller CCDs have in performance. Another is that they can give a longer depth-of-focus. Cameras that have 1/2-inch and 2/3-inch CCDs need larger lenses with longer focal-lengths or their magnification-factor will be lower.

Last edited by J. Stephen McDonald; February 27th, 2007 at 04:38 AM.
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Old February 27th, 2007, 11:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald
...
... This greater magnification-factor for the VX2100 and the other Sony camcorders in its series, differing from what I first described, is one of the characteristics that smaller CCDs have in performance. Another is that they can give a longer depth-of-focus. Cameras that have 1/2-inch and 2/3-inch CCDs need larger lenses with longer focal-lengths or their magnification-factor will be lower.
It's a very interesting bit of info that "Cameras that have 1/2-inch and 2/3-inch CCDs need larger lenses with longer focal-lengths or their magnification-factor will be lower". Thanks for the revelation Steve. Reminds me of consumerism at work ... the bigger my car or house or my waistline the more they cost to run;
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