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-   -   PV-DV53 Low Light "Tricks": How Low Can You Go! (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/panasonic-dv-mx-gs-series-assistant/17369-pv-dv53-low-light-tricks-how-low-can-you-go.html)

Dave Largent November 20th, 2003 09:09 AM

PV-DV53 Low Light "Tricks": How Low Can You Go!
In auto mode, the camera has good low light capabilities. But there may come a time where the lighting is even lower but you still
want to capture an image. You have two options. The shutter
speed is limited to a low of 1/60th so you can't lower the shutter
to, say, 1/30th. Now, this isn't mentioned in the manual, but in
auto exposure mode, the cam will not go beyond +15 dB of gain.
I imagine this was done to preserve image quality. But if you really need it, if you put the cam in manual exposure mode, you can increase gain to "+18" dB. Actually, there are about 8 different steps of gain within the +18 dB designation, just as there are multiple steps within all the other gain settings. This way you can precisely dial in just the amount you need. And if this isn't enough, there's Plan C. The PV-DV53, like many cams, has a "low light" mode. Unlike many of the others that use techniques in low light mode such as infrared "night shot" (which gives awful footage) or slowing the shutter down to speeds where the handheld image becomes a blur, the DV53 takes the high road. In all modes the shutter is limited to 1/60th at the slowest. What Panny did here is give this cam hyper gain. In low light mode, the gain flys up to something like +30 dB to +40 dB, I would guess.
Yes, the picture is grainy. But it's usable, viewable. It'll really light up a room. It looks overall better than the low light mode of most others. This mode might come in handy for someone doing docs where an on-cam light is not advisable but capturing the scene is important for the content. Or how 'bout for discreet
concert or club shooting. Or surveilance. Or late night camping with friends; capturing by moonlight the animals that only come out after dark. Or hiking at night.
This cam does have an on-cam light which is fairly bright and can
also light up a room. But it is harsh on peoples' eyes to look into.

Frank Granovski November 20th, 2003 06:45 PM

Every cam has its "low light" limitations. The DV53 is no exception. Perhaps try using lighting. Even a lamp will do.


Dave Largent November 20th, 2003 11:47 PM

And it floats on water, too. And it's totally waterproof! :-)
One more low light "trick" they don't tell you in the manual is:
To get it to go to 1/60th second in auto mode, you need to turn the EIS (electronic image stabilization) "off". With it "on", the lowest shutter speed is 1/125th. Unlike many other cams, switching EIS on and off is not done by digging through a menu; rather, it's done with the simple pressing of a button labeled "EIS", which is located right on top of the cam.

Frank Granovski November 20th, 2003 11:58 PM

Thanks Dave for the tips. That's exactly how I squeeze every ounce of LUX out of my DVL9500: EIS off, 1/60th or lower shutter speed, manual exposure/manual focus, and tripod mounted. But even this has limitations; it still would shoot as good as a XL1 or VX2000 in lower light. :)

Dave Largent November 21st, 2003 07:56 AM

Is there anywhere I could post some low light examples shot with this cam?
I've got a 15' X 15' room I can show how, with one 25 watt bulb, this cam kicks. Anyone wanna see? Y'all with yer 1/6" 3CCD better turn away. It's gonna hurt.

Frank Granovski November 21st, 2003 09:00 AM

Don't know where, but don't worry. Most of us have a good idea what poor low light frame grabs look like.

Dave Largent November 23rd, 2003 04:17 PM

Frank, I just figured not everyone has seen what +40 dB gain looks like. It's "otherworldly". Sorta like the images shot with that Fischer-Price 2000, if you've ever happened to see them. That thing's a cult classic right now. Goes used for 4 - 5X its original price. For those who've never heard of it, it records video on regular audio cassette tape! Heard of one guy who picked one up at a flea market for like $10 and sold it on ebay for $400. Some have even been modified to record direct to minidv tape, I believe. The "deluxe kit" came with a field monitor, which was basically a 4" black and white TV. To clarify: the images of the DV53 @ +40 dB gain do not look like the images of the Fischer-Price. What they have in common is that they look kinda freaky. Perhaps I'll make a horror short with the DV53. I'll shoot in "low light" mode by moonlight. "Cornfield Carnage". Setting: abandoned farmhouse. Now casting. Brittney, Jessica, and April: must be cute. Brian: guy next door. And Devon: must look a little "off". Anyways, I have plans to get three more DV53s and use them for multicam shoots. For money. Really. From now on I'll be referring to the cams with pride as my "professional DV53s". Now if I could just find some place that sells the pro look "camera black" paint.

Frank Granovski November 23rd, 2003 07:55 PM


From now on I'll be referring to the cams with pride as my "professional DV53s". Now if I could just find some place that sells the pro look "camera black" paint.
Okay, professional it is, since you'll be making money with it.

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