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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old November 13th, 2005, 07:15 AM   #16
Inner Circle
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Posts: 3,695
There's two thing to look at when looking at a camera's low light sensitivity:
Sensitivity and noise.

Actually the 170 is no more sensitive than the 150. It has a lot less noise though. Those low light lux ratings from model to model often don't follow the same standard. When I compared 170 to 100 to FX1, to my eye it wasn't close. The most significant difference though was NOT sensitivity. The 170 was much less noisy.

BTW I'm hearing that's waht Panasonic has done the the 100B. Much less noise at the same gain up.

A year from now I don't know if the chips will be any more sensitive on the next generation of the FX/Z series buy my bet is they'll be better at filtering the noise.

This sensitivity and noise issue is important for wedding videographers and those shooting performances in clubs, it can be too for certain types of doucmentary work, but it's not an issue for other kinds of work such as corporate video or local cable spots where you'll range from reasonable natural light or use camera or light kit. I wouldn't recommend the HDV cameras for wedding/event work but they can "blow away" the Standard Def cameras for any other kind of normally lit work. Again, there's no "best camera" it's the right tool for the right job.

I believe the HDV cameras, by the end of next year, will have at least less noise in low light. That's why I wouldn't rush to buy unless you're sure you'll get an increase in business and rates right now, that'll cover the increased costs and the increase in time to your work flow (render, downconvert, etc. for every shoot).

There was a looong haul between the vx1000 and the vx2000. Look at how fast Panasonic went from 100, 100A, 100B though. In fact the reason why I think they announced the HVX200 so early and have waited so long is that they were making changes based on user feedback rather than go through the yearly changes with the 100. There was no hurry to get the 200 out since there's still time to go for P2 to become affordable for the consumer (already being used in ENG work along with Sony's XDCAM) and/or for Focus Enhancements Hard Drive recorder. I think they want a model they can produce for a while. When P2 and XDCAM (which is a Blu Ray disc) hit the Prosumer market, HDV will begin to fade. That may be 3 years or so for prices to drop. It'll hit the local cable spot market first because Performance shooters need 1-2 hours of storage and Wedding shooters need 4-6 hours per shoot.

Point about cameras is by the time 25% of the weddings are willing to PAY MORE for HD since they'll have HDTV and HD disc playback, the next generation cameras will be out.
Craig Seeman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 13th, 2005, 01:22 PM   #17
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Brooklyn, NY
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Some excellent advice in terms of waiting to go to HD... While the video quality is there, I'm not convinced that the models currently out are mature enough (in comparison to the PD and VX series) to safely invest in them. I thought I was a bit too anxious to venture into high def whereas most clients wont be able to enjoy that quality for some time. By that time, as we approach the Dec 08 SD cutoff, I'm sure we'll have some mature HD cams to choose from that will have improved on todays Z1s.

The 200 from Pana looks like an incredbile unit - and seems to sport every mode one desires - however using tapes it records nothing more than DV. The cost & capacity of the P2 cards in the next few years will definitely become more appealing and affordable.

After reading the posts - I'm surprised how I even let the PD170 slip my mind. I almost forgot that one as an option should I wish to go SD...
So now perhaps the two units I should compare head to head would be a PD170 and a DVX100B... and with my concern being low light performance and minimum grain.
Albert Baier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 13th, 2005, 07:37 PM   #18
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Location: Sacramento, CA
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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman
When I compared 170 to 100 to FX1, to my eye it wasn't close. The most significant difference though was NOT sensitivity. The 170 was much less noisy.
Was that comparing to the FX1 in HDV mode or DV? From what I've seen the HDV mode has less noise in low light than most DV footage, and this translates to nice clean SD footage after downsampling. Plus if you want to deliver widescreen footage the FX1 has another advantage in terms of noise there, compared to cropping 4x3 footage or shooting in pseudo-widescreen mode.

I have found that shooting in poor lighting is a challenge for the FX1, but if you bump the gain all the way up and (if necessary) slow the shutter speed to 1/30 it can do surprisingly well. I can't say how well this compares to the PD170, but it's at least as usable in low light as my Canon GL1/GL2.
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