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-   -   Low light: someone give me the real nitty gritty (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/open-dv-discussion/7609-low-light-someone-give-me-real-nitty-gritty.html)

Josh Bass March 11th, 2003 12:25 AM

Someone give me the real nitty gritty
This is just to satisfy my curiosity. This guy I work with on a local show insists that Sony cams (PD150 and TRV900 to be exact) are lightyears ahead of my XL1s in terms of low light capability. I've heard the comparison before, and I've heard Sony's have better capability, but I figure it can't be a huge difference or no one would own an XL1s (maybe a few people would).

The thing is, this guy leaves his camera on auto mode (his Sony), so I don't what kind of gaining up he's doing to get the results he's so proud of. The guy whose XL1 footage he uses as a comparison 1) doesn't know how to use the camera and 2) his camera might actually be malfunctioning. I took some footage the other day that he called rather dark, and this is because I had my on camera light somewhat restrained, was far from my subject, and didn't have my gain maxed out. Anyway, what I'm getting to is: what's the real? Are you just a damn fool for trying to use a Canon in a low light environment, gain or no gain, light or no light, or what?

Frank Granovski March 11th, 2003 02:05 AM

I've got some tests printed out. The XL1(S) is better in low light than even the VX2000, and for sure better than the TRV900. This guy is confused. But, the resolution is higher with the VX2000. Both good cams---and so's the TRV900. For what it's worth, though, I like the GL2 best (after my MX300).

I wish I were younger, but I'm not.

Josh Bass March 11th, 2003 03:02 AM

That's weird. This guy just insists on it. Could I see your tests?

Frank Granovski March 11th, 2003 03:08 AM

One's an old test from PC Magazine. When I'm back home, I'll see if I can find the link.

The XL1 and XL1S have lower CCD pixel counts, than the VX2000. So, better low light.

Josh Bass March 11th, 2003 03:24 AM

Well, I don't feel like arguing with him. So what I'll do is just point and laugh every time I see him. And he'll be all like "whatcha laughin' at," and I'll be all like "nothin' at all."

Zac Stein March 11th, 2003 03:40 AM

I would disagree, i have owned both cameras and my pd-150 does perform a bit better in low light. Sony's also tend to stay much cleaner even if the gain is a bit up.

But i am talking about both with gain on 0 the sony HAD ccd design is better for low light capture.

Are we talking a real lot? Hell NO, and it shouldn't effect your use, it is just knowing the cameras limitations.


Frank Granovski March 11th, 2003 04:05 AM

I was just going by the lux PC Mag posted and the "official" Sony minimum lux claim. However, on that test, the XL1 blew away the TRV900 with low lux. I realize both the XL1(S) and VX2000 are low light winners.

Chris Hurd March 11th, 2003 08:24 AM

There may be a very slight advantage to the Sony but the difference is marginal at best. Don't waste your time arguing about it.

Zac Stein March 11th, 2003 08:32 AM

Chris well put,

I have found both cameras to be fantastic and the differences are less than the similarities.

I really would be hard pressed to say which one would produce a better picture, they both excel at their own characteristics.

I guess it is a tool for a job thing, do the job well the tool is not imporant hey?


Robert J. Wolff March 11th, 2003 09:03 AM

nitty gritty
Might I suggest, that you set up both of your cameras facing a moon-less night sky, with plenty of stars. Hook them to a monitor, at 0db, and observe the results.

I doubt if either cam's results will be greeted with OOH!'s & AAH!'s.

I equate this type of discussion with the "My camera is better than yours, because of its body color."

I have an ancient (1957) Bolex, which still turns out manificent pic's. Doesn't even have a meter built into it.

Trust to what knowledge you put into the view finder. The ability of one instrument to be superior to another, is incidental.

Josh Bass March 11th, 2003 01:03 PM

That's all well and good, but you don't understand the immense satisfaction of being right!

Rick Spilman March 11th, 2003 03:48 PM


Might I suggest, that you set up both of your cameras facing a moon-less night sky, with plenty of stars. Hook them to a monitor, at 0db, and observe the results.
Ah, OK. Why not go whole hog and try shooting in a completely dark room. Pitch black and see what you get then!

Having shot with a camera not noted for it's low light performance (the venerable VX1000 that I still love) and then moved on to a PD150 I appreciate how important low light performance can be. And correcting dumb salesman blather has a value of its own.

Ethan Goldberger March 11th, 2003 04:33 PM

I'm working on a feature music documentary right now, and I've shot segments for it on a BUNCH of different cameras:

In order:

In my (humble opinion), your best bet, strictly for low light quality is the PD150. In one shoot, I side by side compared the VX2000/PD150/TRV900. The VX & PD were clearly the best. With the TRV900, the black sections of the frame would develop lots of grain, while in the same shots the vx2k and pd150 remained pure black.

While there is lots of argument on this page for the xl1s's low light quality, I'd just have to argue that the PD150 seems to produce better blacks in low light (in case you can't tell, that's a big test for me). Not to say that you couldn't increase the contrast in post with the xl1s and have excellent results, but not right to tape.

The PDX10, although I haven't a/b'd it directly with the other cams, it seems to have the same "black gain" issue as the trv900 (but still a great camera--highly recommended for the $--if only for the superb audio section and lcd).

If its low light shooting you care about, I'd stick with the PD150. Just my 2.

SIDE NOTE: On the XL1s and the TRV900, you do have the option to drop the gain from "0" to "-3", which I would presume would fix the "black gain" problem, but then you're losing 3db of low light shooting ability.


Josh Bass March 11th, 2003 05:24 PM

What this guy meant was simply the ability to pick up the image. . i.e. the sony would pick it up and it would be lit up "like a Christmas tree" and the Canon would barely pick it up.

Frank Granovski March 11th, 2003 06:43 PM

The low light of the VX2000 and PD150 should be the same or damn near the same.

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