DV Info Net

DV Info Net (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/)
-   Panasonic DV / MX / GS series Assistant (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/panasonic-dv-mx-gs-series-assistant/)
-   -   DVC30 Impressions (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/panasonic-dv-mx-gs-series-assistant/26904-dvc30-impressions.html)

Mark Williams June 2nd, 2004 07:30 AM

DVC30 Impressions
My DVC 30 arrived yesterday and I thought I would list a few first impressions after playing with it for about 6 hours. This might help some of you who are considering buying this cam but can't test one before hand. I may learn a work around for some of the negatives.


- Built like a rock. Very solid and reminds me of the construction quality on my old Nikon F2.
- The zoom rocker control is the best I have ever used. It can hold a constant speed even at crawl.
- 16x lens is very nice and sharp. Focusing is easy.
- Although this is a small cam, all the buttons are large and easy to find.
- Tape mechanism is very solid.
- Viewfinder is very sharp.
- Lens hood is well made.
- Connected perfectly to my NLE system. Captures fine.


- No ND filter button. What was Panasonic thinking. I believe the ND filter kicks in automatically in high light conditions leaving no manual activation .
- Awkward manual control of shutter speed, iris and gain.
- No exposure meter in viewfinder. I really missed this

Bottom Line for me:

- This cam lacks the full manual control that is important to me. I am thinking about returning it for a VX2100 but the positives are so strong I am going to wait a few days to decide.


Mark Williams

Robert Kirkpatrick June 2nd, 2004 07:55 AM

Re: DVC30 Impressions
<<<-- Originally posted by Mark Williams : - No ND filter button. What was Panasonic thinking. I believe the ND filter kicks in automatically in high light conditions leaving no manual activation. -->>>

That's interesting. The review at camcorderinfo said that the ND filters were only available from the menu. I don't like the idea of it just kicking in, and not being able to override it. This is what turned me off to the PDX10.

<<<- No exposure meter in viewfinder. I really missed this -->>>
So not even a zebra feaure on the LCD monitor. I rarely use a viewfinder, except in bad lighting situations.

Have you tested the Cine-like feature? I'm wondering if it's just marketing hype or not.

Thanks for the info.

Mark Williams June 2nd, 2004 08:31 AM


Yes it does have zebra and a pretty good one. As far as an exposure meter, I was use to the one on my GL-1 which was similar to the meter on a 35mm camera where there is a graphic display for + and -
I haven't tried the cine like mode yet.



Tommy Haupfear June 2nd, 2004 09:08 AM

Sure would be nice to see some widescreen frame grabs with cine-like gamma settings...


Chris Hurd June 2nd, 2004 03:32 PM

We're workin' on that! Stay tuned!

Lou Bruno June 2nd, 2004 07:03 PM

Can't wait....................thanks

<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Hurd : We're workin' on that! Stay tuned! -->>>

Richard Brennan June 2nd, 2004 11:24 PM

Re: DVC30 Impressions
<<<-- Originally posted by Mark Williams : My DVC 30 arrived yesterday and I thought I would list a few first impressions after playing with it for about 6 hours. >>

Well, Mark, you beat me to the mailbox by 24 hours (mine came this afternoon). I’ll throw my initial observations in here as well.

Holy, moley – how can something so lean be so solid at the same time? It really is a remarkable sensory experience after twenty years of plastic (but top of the consumer line) camcorders. This machine has the camcorder equivalent of a swimmer’s build – streamlined and solid, without an ounce of fat. It feels more like a German film camera; an Arri or a Beaulieu. If the building collapses, I may be history, but this baby will still be kicking.

It was a beautiful day here in DC, but I watched the light fade out the window while the battery got it’s all important first charge. The sun was just disappearing when it finished, and I grabbed the camera and headed outside to shot some stuff and try out a few things. I love the way the colors pop on this thing! Even though I was filming in a partly cloudy twilight, it never let the scene sink into muddy tones. (So far today, I’ve just been using it on automatic.)

The 16:9 mode looks fine – my initial impression is that is looks better than average. In a quick comparison, I can tell you that it picks up a bit more horizontal view than the 4:3 – but not too much. My Sony Digital 8 actually does somewhat better in this regard than the dvc30 – but I expected that. The 2001 Digital 8’s for some reason have extra horizontal pixels they can bring into play for 16:9 – maybe they are grabbing them from the electronic image stabilization. But I digress…

What really gooses the 16:9 is to add the “Movie” scene settings. Wow! It (among other things) drops the frame rate down to 30. The color: I can only describe it in audio terms – do you know what a compressor does to sound? It raises the lows and brings down the highs. That’s how I see the color and exposure shift in the movie mode – the highlights come down and the shadows come up a bit – giving the feeling of the lower contrast of a film print stock. Add that to the wider aspect ratio, and this Pavolvian reaction takes over my brain and says “film!”

This weekend I’ll start working with sound to hear what it’s capable of.

Mark – regarding manual control – I’m curious as to what is missing here. If you want to you can:

* Have the F-stop and shutter speed displayed in the viewfinder (not to mention on the PLAYBACK, if you want to see what you filmed it at.)
* It’s got that great big honest-to-god focus ring on the lens that you can control manually.
* You can manually set F-Stop, Shutter speed, gain.
* As you know, you’ve got the zebra stripes to aid in exposure.
* You can make the viewfinder B&W!!! Yeah!!!
* You can increase the sharpness of the viewfinder and / or LCD to aid in focusing, without changing the sharpness settings of the actual recorded picture.

And you can put just about any of those things on the three programmable buttons, if you find the “normal” control too time-consuming.

I’m not knocking your observation about manual controls – I’m just not clear on what it is you want that’s not there.

Oh, biggest beef so far: The manual. I won’t say it’s bad – because I’ve certainly read MUCH worse. But it leaves a lot to be desired in the explanation department. For example, on page 73 talking about the camera setup menu, it comes to setting titled rather ambiguously “Setup (Camera)”. The manual explains:

“Use this to add the setup level(black level).
0% - The setup level is not added.
7.5% - A 7.5% setup level is added for recording.”


// Ric

Peter Jefferson June 3rd, 2004 12:30 AM

yeah try the DVX manual.. LOL
no shit of a lie, this thing is the poops.. hahahaha
it goes thru HOW to set up the cinegamma, matrix etc etc etc but its doesnt explain WHY you would want to use them.. they automatically assume that you know what all the jargon means..

as for the reviews, thanks guys... it seems to me, the the DVC30 is a MX500 big bro, and the DVX lil bro.. the lost one in between.:)
It also sounds as if the display panels and default configs are set similarly to the MX.. being that to get most of teh pro features, you need to activate them to make them visible or easily accesssable.

how does it fair in low light?
Im particularly looking at using it as a second cam to teh DVX..
Here in is, the difference is 2000 dollars.. and i really dont need another DVX, but i like the idea of the way the DVC handles cinegamma as well as the huge zoom which will definately come in handy.
Also the wide angle lense is always a godsend so puttin that typ eof tele lense on wide is whats appealing.

No doubt it poos on the MX when it comes to lowlight, but would anyone have any comparison pics??

Id love to see them :)

Gary Garner June 3rd, 2004 08:39 AM

Re: Re: DVC30 Impressions
<<<-- Originally posted by Richard Brennan : For example, on page 73 talking about the camera setup menu, it comes to setting titled rather ambiguously “Setup (Camera)”. The manual explains:

“Use this to add the setup level(black level).
0% - The setup level is not added.
7.5% - A 7.5% setup level is added for recording.”


// Ric -->>>

Thanks for the observations, Ric. Mine's on order now, too. For anyone looking for a better explanation of setup, I ran accross this short piece by Adam Wilt that does a good job of explaining what it is and whether/how to use setup for in-cam recording.


Justin Boyle June 3rd, 2004 06:02 PM

I have been quite interested in the dvc-30 since i first saw it but i never really looked at prices etc because i didn't know that it came out in pal yet. The other day when i looked though i was very surprised to see the prices they are charging for this cam. It is almost as expensive as the vx2100. Robert i have not used a cam with cinegamma but i dont believe it is overrated. just do a search for dvx-100 reviews in google and you should find some stuff on it. I saw some shots comparing the same scene same lighting etch with and without cinegamma and the difference is amazing. Instead of having images silhouetting you can light up the whole scene. you can add warmth and colour. I guess you just gotta see it. For a fair idea of the difference just get a photo with bad exposure of a person or something with the background nice and bright but the person dark or vice versa and then play with histograms in photoshop or similar program and you will see that you can brighten up the dark areas to almost match the rest of the scene with practically no artifacts or noise.


Peter Jefferson June 4th, 2004 07:09 AM

"Instead of having images silhouetting you can light up the whole scene. you can add warmth and colour. I guess you just gotta see it."

and this is the exact same reason i use a DVX for live stuff, exspecially weddings.
When you consider that the camera is facing the ENTRANCE to a church, most of the light comin in is from behind, so there is potential for lots of shadows and silhouettes.
The DVX does no thave this, instead, with a skin detail on, you can achieve accurate skin details, as well as soft white glows which brides love, without the need to overprocess the footage in post.

Here in oz, i can score a new DVC30 for 3700... which is 100 more than what i paid for my MX500 approx 18 months ago..

A vx2100 is over 5 grand, i think the toss up between CCD size and actaul camera features leans more towards the DVC.. as in reality, most people dont mind an onboard cam light when they know that the footage will be great :)

Justin Boyle June 4th, 2004 07:52 AM

is that pal or ntsc
have you noticed the price for vx2100 has gone done a lot and you can pick them up for under 5000 and the pd170 for under 6000. the 170 is great value because it comes with other accessories like XLR and wide angle converter. well worth it if you ask me


Dave Croft June 4th, 2004 03:47 PM

In the UK, I can get a VX2100 for £1700, but the dvc30, which is very thin on the ground in the UK cost £1995! What is going on with these prices.

PAL video cameras - especially in the UK seem very expensive. I want the dvc30 as a more rugged altenative to an XM2 but it does seem overpriced right now.


Mark Williams June 5th, 2004 05:36 PM

Well I've gotten over what I refered to earlier as awkward manual controls since my experience level has gone up some. However, I still miss a dedicated button for ND filter and a +- graphic display for exposure. The 16x lens, solid body and fantastic zoom control won me over. Since the manual is somewhat lacking I have two questions.

1. The manual lists the video quantizing as 8-bit. However, advertising lists it at 12-bit. Anyone know what is correct?

2. Also, the review in camcorderinfo.com states "The 30 frames progressive scan mode can be disabled for times when it is not appropriate for the shooting circumstances, and CineGamma can be activated on its own." I interpret this as meaning CineGama can be activitated at 60i normal 4:3 mode. If so, does anyone know the exact steps to do this in the menu?

Thanks in advance.

Mark W.

Tommy Haupfear June 5th, 2004 06:21 PM

Frame mode (not progressive scan) is on the DVC30 but I'm not sure whether you can shoot interlaced and cine-like gamma. On my GS100 you can only shoot cine-like gamma in Pro Cinema mode which also defaults to frame mode and widescreen.

Its nice to finally have some first hand info on the DVC30!

Mark Williams June 5th, 2004 06:45 PM

Yes, you are exactly right. it is frame mode. I just didn't want to quote them incorrectly. At this point I want to learn how to tweak the settings to maximize the cams potential.

Dave Croft June 6th, 2004 07:22 AM


You previously said it was a close call as to whether you would send back your DVC30 for a VX2100. Was this because you had tried the VX2100 and liked it?

The sony seems to be more of a 'news' or event style cam, but for experimental short films, would you say that the DVC30 is the better choice (considering I can't afford a DVX100a ;)

Everyones thoughts appreciated,

Mark Williams June 6th, 2004 07:42 AM


I do nature video which requires a longer lens, really good zoom control (slow) and full manual control. I got the DVC 30 because it has 2 of the 3, a great long lens and zoom control. The bonus was its very rugged construction and light weight. I still find its manual control lacking compared to the VX2100 but others do not. Like anything there is no PERFECT cam out there so it was a compromise for me. I have not handled the VX2100 but have studied its specs. to death. I would have had to buy a tel extender and a remote zoom control to make it equal to the DVC30. Maybe someone else can chime in and give an opinion on its experimental short capability since I don't do this kind of work.

Best of Luck ...


Mark Williams June 7th, 2004 04:26 PM

Just spent the day up in the North Georgia mountains with my new cam. I now have a new appreciation for its light weight. Have been experimenting with different settings and so far the best I've found in normal 4:3 mode is +1 sharpness and -1 AE when using zebra for general scenery, plants, streams and waterfalls. The 16x lens has that extra punch that comes in real hand. I have not experimented with frame/movie mode yet. I already like this cam better than when I bought my GL-1.



Tommy Haupfear June 7th, 2004 07:27 PM

Here is an interesting comparison between movie modes on the DVC30 and GS100. These frames are widescreen, frame mode, and cine-like gamma with the original credit going to new member Kaku Ito from Shibuya Tokyo.


Bob McCarthy June 11th, 2004 11:56 AM


I'm currently evaluating a DVC30 and will write a review for a trade publication.

Like you, I've been impressed with this camcorder. There are so many features and adjustments, that's it difficult to comprehend it all.

To your concern, there is a video signal level meter available in the viewfinder. To access, press the zebra button twice. The smallest grid box measures light levels and a numerical display is visible in the lower left hand corner. To eliminate this level function, press the zebra button again.

I would be interested in knowing more of your overall and specific impressions of the DVC30 if you wouldn't mind sharing them.

Thank you.

Ryan Gohlinghorst June 11th, 2004 12:51 PM

Is it me, or did the grabs from the mamba look cleaner than the grabs from the 30?

Tommy Haupfear June 11th, 2004 12:56 PM


Is it me, or did the grabs from the mamba look cleaner than the grabs from the 30?
Its a little unfair since the DVC30 has a low quality widescreen mode. Of course I only shoot widescreen so I think I'll be keeping my GS100 a little while longer.

If you shoot predominantly 4:3 and value low light then the DVC30 is the better buy.

Dave Croft June 11th, 2004 01:00 PM

Longlife Battery?
I'm probably gonna buy myself a Pal DVC30 next week, and as with most cameras the supplied battery won't last very long.

So does anyone know if the DVC30 uses the same batteries as the other Pana cams in this price range eg. DVX100, DV953, GS100 etc, and what are the model numbers (such as NP-F960 if it were Sony).

This will make tracking down a long-life battery a bit easier.


Scott Plowman June 11th, 2004 02:08 PM

yes they do all use the same. It is a CGR D16 or cgr D28 , cgr D54 I believe CGR is nomenclature and the numbers following behind it are the - Mah -

Go to DVX user .com they have some good hi caps for 45$ 3500 Mah.. Although I have never purchased them.. Many say they are of excellent quality..

Mark Williams June 13th, 2004 09:10 AM

I noticed today that Panasonic is giving away 10 free master quality tapes with the purchase of a DVC30. See here for details.




Young Lee June 14th, 2004 02:18 PM

The DV953 is a good camcorder.

(MX5000 Frame Grabs)



Dave Croft June 15th, 2004 03:14 PM

Got my DVC30E today!!!
Hi All,

I thought I'd let everyone know what I think of my cam so far - although I have only used it for a few hours.

Obviously because it is a PAL model it is significantly more expensive than the NTSC vesion. The best price I could find here in the UK was £1900 - which in USD is $3,482.37!!!! I know you US guys must think this is a crazy price, maybe it is. However, there are a number of reasons why it is more expensive. Firstly PAL just costs more for some reason, then in the EU, we have to pay VAT (value added tax) which is an extra 17.5% ontop of the original price, and lastly this cam, as well as the DVX is pretty thin on the ground over here which also pushes up the price.

I noticed on BH that they sell the PAL model of the DVC30 for about $2700-2800. If I bought this, VAT would be added when it came into my country, and import duty, and a large shipping charge. There also is problems with warranty. So by the time I had bought one from BH, it would end up being about the same price anyway, so... By the way, the DVX100AE is £2900.00 or $5,314.95 in the UK!, so I would definitely not have been able to afford that.

Anyway here is what I think of my new cam:

Great zoom! - fantastically controllable, good manual controls (so far), Frame mode + Cinegamma is excellent and really adds to this camera. VERY sturdy metal construction, is small and light, but not too much, I think its just right.

I want to use this camera for nature/landscape, but also some experimental short films - so I think this cam is a better compromise than the DVX for me.

The one main thing that made the expensive price more worthwhile, is that the store I bought it from in the UK supplied the optional (and quite expensive) XLR adapter for *FREE*. I suppose most people in the US have not got the XLR yet, but I can safely say it is a solid little metal box with all the requirements needed for pro sound - dual XLR inputs and 48v phantom power etc. I fitted it to my cam, and it makes it look more professional IMO.

I will report back soon with more thoughts on this cool camera.


Mark Williams June 15th, 2004 04:52 PM


Try out the 1.25 x digital zoom and let me know what you think. My preliminary tests shows that it doesn't degrad the image that much and may be good for low detail subjects.



Dave Croft June 15th, 2004 05:24 PM

Hi Mark,

To be honest I try to stay away from digital zoom. I once had a nasty experience using a digital still camera on holiday. I used digital zoom for quite a few shots, and when I got home they looked pretty terrible.

However, I have tried the digi zoom on the 30 and it didn't look too bad. I am hopefully buying a bunch of four Panasonic lenses from someone - there are two 0.7 wide angles, and two tele convertors 1.4, and 2.0. They all have a 43mm filter thread as well which is perfect for this cam. I think that this camera with a 2x tele lense would reach pretty well for some nature shots.

I would suggest trying to find a tele convertor, if I get hold of mine I will let you know if its good, it would be nice to post a few shots, maybe I can arrange that over the next week or so.


Mark Williams June 15th, 2004 05:49 PM

Thanks Dave,

Yea, you are right about using digital zoom. I tried it out in more of an artistic setting (sunset etc. )and it looked cool. However for detail work I agree with you it is best to forget it. Let me know you fair with the 2x adapter. Having 32x would be amazing on small birds etc.



Robert Kirkpatrick June 15th, 2004 09:45 PM

Re: Got my DVC30E today!!!
<<<-- Originally posted by Dave Croft : Frame mode + Cinegamma is excellent and really adds to this camera.-->>>

Dude, if you could post footage or stills of the frame mode+cinegamma, both indoor and out, I will love you forever. I'm talking eternal devotion. I'm also looking at doing experimental short films, so I'm curious how film-like the image looks in action.

My only concern is if there is or if there will be an anamorphic adapter for it. (I'm shopping for cameras that have future upgrade potential. And the widescreen mode didn't look too great in Ito's examples.) Thanks for mentioning that there are wide angles available.

Dave Croft June 16th, 2004 05:01 AM

Hi Robert,

How do I post frame grabs? Do I need a website, or can I email them for somone to post?

I read somewhere that Panasonic is or has made a 16:9 adapter specifically for this cam, presumably with a 43mm filter thread. Try doing a search on google etc. (or I might have read it on a post on this forum).

I think that many people will right off this cam because it doesn't do true progressive like the DVX. However, having tried Frame + Cinegamma I have been very impressed so far the footage definitely did not look like video (don't forget my PAL cam is 25p though ;) as opposed to NTSC 30p

I tried switching back and forth between normal and movie mode, and there is a real noticable difference, mainly due to the motion signature being closer to film, although the cine gamma does lower contrast, by lowering highlights, and bringing up dark areas a bit. The picture does lack a bit of 'punch' and might be a bit muddy for some - maybe more like the DVX100 (not A) than the DVX100A which has more gamma settings. I do think that by using Cine Gamma on the 30, that you have more range to mess with gamma in post (which I'm gonna try).


Tommy Haupfear June 16th, 2004 08:08 AM

First I've heard of an anamorphic adapter for the DVC30 but that would be a really good thing. So far I haven't been impressed with the DVC30's widescreen mode. Of course anamorphic adapters often have issues of their own..

Guy Bruner June 16th, 2004 03:45 PM

Panasonic has an anamorphic adapter for the DVC80 and DVX100. It's about $800, IIRC, which is still less than the Crystal Optics. I suppose you could use it with stepup rings.

Dave you are welcome to post pix and video in the Members Album on my website.

Mark Williams June 16th, 2004 04:28 PM

Hey guys,

Here is a frame grab at 60i 4:3 mode. I had to covert it from .bmp to .jpeg to reduce the file size for the picture service that I use. Cam was set to +1 sharpness. All other settings at 0, using zebra for exposure control and manual white balance.




Tommy Haupfear June 16th, 2004 06:06 PM

Now thats more like it! Nice frame and a much better representation of what the DVC30 is capable of. 4:3 is definitely its strong point.

Mark Williams June 16th, 2004 06:22 PM

Here are some pics of a bag that I got for my cam. It is actually a carpenter's lunch bag with built in insulation, and an upper and lower compartment. Great for keeping the cam and tapes at an optimum temperature. It is very high quality. Here is the link to the site. I paid 27.00 for it including shipping.


Here are some pics with the cam inside. I also bought a plastic compartment from Home Depot for $1.99 to go in the top so things stay organized when openning the bottom compartment. It also has 3 side pockets.



Scott Plowman June 16th, 2004 06:27 PM

Am I gathering that the 16:9 mode is not of the same quality of dvx100A?? Why isnt your pic there no more? hmmmm

Mark Williams June 16th, 2004 06:31 PM


Sorry I don't understand your question. Was it to me? I didn't post a 16:9 mode photo.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:22 AM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2020 The Digital Video Information Network