MX300/0 color correction at
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Old February 16th, 2003, 06:11 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Hope, BC
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MX300/0 color correction

This was posted on the MX3000 Yahoo group, by Steven Khong.

Hi, please explain what you mean by color balance problems. Is it because you see differences in what your eyes see & what you see on the LCD / Viewfinder / DV Tape playback?

Remember, the MX300 is a great cam, and what you see with your eyes is very very accurately recorded & shown on LCD, Viewfinder & AV out / DV out, there is still some limitations.

They include:

1) DV range: DV doesn't reproduce the complete range of colors & luminance / brightness that your eyes see. Especially if the contrast with bright light hitting the object is too much. This is most apparent on skin tones, the full range cannot be shown, it's either too bright, or too dark, something in the middle is missing. But you'll get used to it :)

2) Your LCD & Viewfinder may need some calibration before you get the "what you see is what you get" look. i.e. You can go the menu and change the brightness & color until everything matches. Do it while in cam mode, connected to your TV, camming an bright, evenly lighted room - preferably indoor lighting, not using sunlight which can vary over time.

3) In low light, the white balance doesn't work well. How do you know? If in Manual mode, you press the WB button but the WB indicator keeps blinking & but never becomes steady, then you've hit the limit.

4) In Auto mode, in a "florescent tube" lighted room, there is still some blueish tone. This is normal. If this bothers you, go to Manual mode & press WB button until the blinking WB indicator stops blinking. Or if the "florescent tube" is one of those Daylight types, you can change to Outdoor WB (sun indicator). Note that the further away from the "florescent tube", the less light there is, so the colors gets less intense & start getting darker & inaccurate. This is normal.

5) In low light, if the Manual WB works, then it could be that the cam needs a light "boost". Note that the MX300 stops at 1/50 open aperture with boost of 12db. You may need to be in Manual mode and boost it to 15db or even 18db before the colors are "correct". I have noticed that once you boost from about 6db to 18db the colors aren't that correct anymore i.e. yellows change to orange. But if you don't boost, you won't even see anything!

6) In mixed lighting i.e. sunlight + tungsten / filament equipped bulbs (Thomas Edison bulbs?) it is hard to get the right white balance.

7) I notice that it is impossible to get the LCD & viewfinder to be totally 100% accurate compared to each other. Perhaps 98%. If you are a perfectionist, you would notice it :( i.e. LCD is very very slightly more reddish, viewfinder is very very slightly more blueish. Never mind, Panasonic does a better job of it than Sony! Also, if bright sunlight falls on your LCD or cam, the colors shown on LCD & viewfinder are less intense, you may need to recalibrate color & brightness again.

Hope that helps!
Steven Khong
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Old February 16th, 2003, 09:33 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Posts: 112
Hi, all :-)

Just re-read my post. Hope it doesn't discourage anyone from getting the MX300(0), MX350 etc.

Just to elaborate some more:

Point 1) Every DV cam suffers from this DV luminance limitation. Something to do with how we in PAL land have cams that sample pictures at 4:2:0 while those in NTSC sample at 4:1:1.

Though I always wondered what the MX3000 Skin Tone feature actually does? It's not available in MX300. Can someone with MX3000 do a comparison & report? Thanks in advance!

Besides, I find PAL Panasonics tend to capture more on the red side by default i.e. orange tends towards red.

Anyways, if you don't like this, use the Picture Adjust-> Color feature, turn it towards the left until it shows about 2 bars. Still, the added redness seem to make the skin tone more "interesting" & gives folks with very fair skin a bit of a tan.

Or if you find that the colors are too light, move it more to the right end.

There, I can have my cake & eat it :) Thanks for the Color Adjust feature, Panasonic!

I read somewhere that depending on the cam maker, the picture tends towards blue or red or cooler or warmer. Anybody knows the details?

Point 3) I meant to say, "There's a limit to the capabilities of White Balance. When Auto mode stops working due to the lack of light (picture colors look dark & no longer correct), you can try manual White Balance. BUT it can get so dark that you can't even manually White Balance anymore".

Point 7) Most people, at first glance, wouldn't notice the difference in luminance between LCD and viewfinder. The viewfinder can have brighter colors than LCD i.e. yellows & oranges that "glow". The viewfinder seems more like a TV screen in this respect. It's LCD technology that can't reproduce the full range of brightness. Vidcam shadows that taper off from bright to dark, or objects with bright neon colors, and you will see what I mean.

Never mind, I'm still very happy with my MX300. Except in very very low light, I have a choice. I may want to stick to my 1CCD Sony Digi8 'cos it sees more detail though it's very grainy (4 lux min with a CCD of about 1/3.??"), or the MX300 which sees less details in darkness BUT can be adjust to be less grainy (Picture Adjust->Sharpness turned all the way to the left).
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