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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old April 17th, 2003, 07:20 AM   #16
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<<<-- Originally posted by Erik J Na : only question is that how bad it is under the low light situation. have you done video for opera with PDX10? would PDX10 be enough for shooting indoor classical concert?-->>>

Well I just got the PDX-10 a few days ago and probably won't have the chance to shoot anything onstage this season (our last show is Saturday). But I think there might be some issues, depending on the lighting of course. Some lighting designers and directors like it really DARK. I have been guilty of this myself at times ;-)... for example, see http://tech.operaphilly.com/sets/traviata/pix/4/01.pdf. This is actually a still taken with a Nikon CoolPix 990 wide open with a .25 sec exposure. I shot video of this also, and it looked good on the VX-2000, but I remember I was wide open with the gain at +6db. Don't know how the PDX-10 would handle that. This is one reason that I think I'll hang onto my VX-2000 for awhile :-) But for normal concert lighting levels I suspect you would be fine.
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Old April 17th, 2003, 07:34 AM   #17
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jan O. Norrman : Would you please take the trouble to tell a little about in what situations you use different settings -->>>

I think you just have to do some creative play to see what you like; that's what I've been doing personally. I've seen other postings where people are looking for some sort of magic formula to make their video look like film, etc. Don't think you'll really find that :-)

I've experimented with softening and sharpening. Dialed the sharpness down for some shots on a misty day to make them look more dreamy. But you should probably have a good monitor hooked up to the camera when you try this sort of thing. The little LCD can tend to make everything look great (as others have commented). This wasn't really practical for the sort of sky and sea nature shots I've been doing recently. When I looked at this footage later at home it just looked out of focus. For another shot I turned the sharpness all the way up to accentuate a foreground object in front of an out of focus background in a telephoto shot. This was more successful.

I like to play with the WB shift. For time lapse shots of clouds at sunset I set WB for daylight and set the shift all the way towards blue which gave a very nice effect... crystal blue sky but still showing nice orange highlights. I also turned the color level up a few notches for that.

I generally shoot in manual mode, so the AE shift doesn't apply. For some indoor opera performance shots I've played with the color and wb settings to try and make them match what I was seeing on the stage a little better. But generally this seemed like more trouble than it was worth, and I now use the 3-way color corrector in Final Cut Pro for this.

Like I said, take some time to experiment and note the results. Regardless, don't expect too much because it seems the range of what you can set is actually pretty limited.
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Old April 17th, 2003, 01:24 PM   #18
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<<<-- Originally posted by Tom Hardwick :

Might I add a couple of points? The first concerns focal lengths. The VX2k uses 1/3" chips and the PDX10 uses 1/5" chips. So what? you might think - they both have 12x zooms. But the beauty of bigger chips is that the VX2k has a 72mm telephoto whereas the PDX10 only has a 43.2mm focal length. If you're after depth of field control, there's no contest. Also the two stage ND on the VX2k allows much greater aperture control and therefore differential focus manipulation.

Lastly I'd like to reinforce your concern over the lack of viewfinder information on the pDX10's side screen. To be given a 'bar chart' of exposure information is like taking me back to Hi8 days, when you had no idea what shutter speed or aperture or ND filtration or gain up was taking place. This - more than the lack of the manual zoom control - is the PDX10's gratest failing in my view.

Does nobody else feel this way? Are you all happy to record then rewind then replay with 'display' turned on just to see what aperture you shot at? Lovely camera Sony, but this is a real failing on a proffessional camera.

tom. -->>>

I see you are pretty hot on the specs, but my practical experience suggests you may be exagerating somewhat

The DOF difference between the pd150/vx2k versus pdx10/950 at full telephoto at f2.8 on a subject 5m away, I calculate as 1m approx

REF: http://www.8mm.filmshooting.com/community/articles/dof.php

this is hardly worth following the other lemmings over the cliff for and would be really hard to tell the difference on a television

furthermore Sony have really done themselves an injustice in quoting the chip size as 1/4.7" - the chip size is actually 1/4" since the pdx10 uses the full width of the chip in 16:9 mode and it is in fact a letterboxed 1/4" . In normal video mode they crop the 1/4" by a 10% border all around giving 1/4.7"

REF: compare images with 16:9 pdx10 versus letterboxed pd100 at same zoom settings - they are identical the pdx10 just uses more pixels, 750k worth thats all

Next, both the ND filters on the pd150/vx2k are really necessary on the ubiquitous Kodak "sunny f16 day" - this of course cuts the signal and allows the noise to shine through ( rule - sensitivity works for you in low light but against you in bright light)

REF: compare noise in a deep blue sky shot at say f5.6 (adjust speed) between pd150/vx2k and the pdx10/950 - I see about 6db more noise in the former

Last, the exposure scale on the pdx10/950 is simple to use -
when the cursor is dead center you are at f4.0, with f5.6 two cliks to the left of center and f2.8 two clicks to the right of center
John Jay

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Old April 17th, 2003, 05:11 PM   #19
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Good points John, especially regarding f-stop. I'm confused about how gain is handled on the PDX-10 and the manual doesn't seem to help. On the VX2000/PD150 in manual iris mode as you open you see the sequence 2.4, 2.0, OPEN, +3db ,+6db, etc. On the PDX-10 you just have the +/- bar graph. I realize the gain behavior is affected by a custom preset menu item, but as you open the lens and the bar graph moves towards the +, does it start increasing the gain after the lens is full open (as it would on the other Sony cameras)? If so then how would I know at what point the gain is increasing and by how much?
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Old April 17th, 2003, 06:01 PM   #20
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pdx10/950 operates over the aperture scale at 0db (no -3db setting possible but not necessary because of its low noise profile)

after max aperture f1.7 the gain clicks are in 3db (half stop) increments

the scale has 24 x 3db clicks

so from the center at f4 going to the right we have

f4.0, f3.5, f2.8, f2.4, f2.0, f1.7(0), f1.7(3), f1.7(6), f1.7(9), f1.7(12), f1.7(15), f1.7(18)

after a while you get used to it (a bit like not looking to see what shift gear you are in when driving)

remember f4.0 is dead center
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Old April 18th, 2003, 12:25 AM   #21
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Thanks for your comments on the custom presets. I will follow your advice and experiment more but not expect any magic results.

I also prefer manual mode but learned/read somewhere to use AE to "ask" the camera what it thinks is the right exposure and then go over to manual and modify if you wish. As the vx2000 seem to overexpose in auto mode I change the aeshift down. More notches seem advisable the brighter the light is. But I am still experimenting.

I have also tried the sharpness set up but have failed to see any effects at all. But I have so far only looked at the lcdscreen - not filmed and looked at my monitor.

I can very well see changes in "level" - saturation - on the lcd screen but not any changes in sharpness. Maybe it is my camera? Or my eyes?

I noted that when you use daylight WB it can be modified by the CP.
I did not think this was possible why I never tried it. I will..

Thanks once more for sharing your expertise and experience - I really appreciate it and I marvel about the internet and the community it makes possible. The world can be great!
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Old April 18th, 2003, 01:39 AM   #22
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John Jay,

I didn't know that f4.0 was the dead centre.
I will experiment with it.

How is this related to the shuttertime?

Does it make difference if the shutter is set to automatic or not?

Jan Roovers
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Old April 18th, 2003, 04:31 AM   #23
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Great thread guys!

Jan R, the shutter speed is independent of the aperture except when the auto shutter is 'on'. Normally in the AE mode the camera will hold 1/50th and keep closing the aperture until about f6.9 at which point it will start upping the speed to compensate for brighter conditions. If you lock the auto shutter 'off' then the camera will choose apertures smaller than f8 (or f11 in the TRV900 and VX2k's case) to give you correct exposure.

Jan O - generally you'll not see any of the effects of the custom presets until you view the results on a good TV, the v/f and the side screen are simply to coarse to give you any accurate assesment.

John J you give the max aperture as f1.7 but the Sony spec states it's f1.6. OK, only 10% in it. And although f4 is the middle of the scale, wouldn't we all rather have the numbers on screen rather than the bar chart? I simply can't see any advantage in going down this route, unless the simplification and de-cluttering of the v/f means more sales of the 950.

I like your interpretation of the 1/4" vs the 1/5" chip technology especially as regards the 16:9 usage on the PDX10. Very interesting.

The other point is regarding DOF at maximum telephoto. The PDX10/950 is 43.2mm at f2.8 (nominal figures of course). The VX2k has 72mm at f2.4, half a stop wider. The chip sizes don't affect the dof in the real world, and you can show this by looking at the focusing screen in your SLR. I have a 35mm camera that can be switched between half and full frame and pictures taken on either format have the same dof - although the half frame negs are enlarged more of course, so the dof looks to be less.

I attach a zoom lens to my 35mm SLR and set it at 43.2mm, focused at 2 metres say and f2.8. I then zoom up to 72mm and open up half a stop. I can't - my zoom has run out of apertures at this focal length, but this is hypothetical. The dof is startlingly different at the same focused distance and the clarity of the v/f will show this immediately.

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Old April 18th, 2003, 02:54 PM   #24
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As far as shooting concerts I have had great success shooting the Tidewater Classical Guitar Orchestra with the 950 and think that in most situations you will be satisfied with the x10.
Thanks to all of you guys for contributing such good information in this thread.
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Old April 18th, 2003, 07:26 PM   #25
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Thanks Guy I appreciate you answering my question and giving me more info to boot. I think that I will try out the PDX10 not only because it will work for with all of my Batterys and 37mm lens attachments but thanks to this wealth of knowledge the great looking 16x9 shooting mode...I think that some of my cleints would like a true 16x9 ratio as it might give them a more pro of cinema style look.....Who knows I might like it so much I will get two of them....The only problem I think I might run into is the cam being too top heavy once I stick my ME/K6 mic and my light on top of the already unbalance cam....I guess I will have to get used to it....Although I guess I could stick an L bracket on it and move some stuff down closer to the desired centerof gravity...This is what I doo with my TRV50 , but that camera doesnt have that big XLR box perched atop it either. OH well guess nothing can be totally perfect

Scott Osborne
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Old April 22nd, 2003, 12:58 PM   #26
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Good Stuff

You guys keep at it. I'm learning a ton here! I've had awesome results with my PDX10 in the month that I've had it.

Thanks for the link to the free hood, as well. I wasn't aware of that. I see that Frank is not impressed, as usual, but all the freebies I can get only help justify (in my mind) the expense! LOL!

The problem that I encountered is that I've already sent a claim for the JumpBack animated backgrounds, which also required the original UPC. That left me with a bit of a dilemma since there's only one original UPC, and both offers require it. I called the claim dept. for the hood and they told me I could take a pic of the serial number on the actual cam and that would suffice. Now, I just hope the serial number is on the cam! I'll have to check when I get home.

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Old April 22nd, 2003, 01:06 PM   #27
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Don't you hate that UPC rebate nonsense? I was kicking myself when I finally got around to filing my Verizon $100 rebate for my daughter's cell phone. I had sent the box off to school with her and of course she had no idea of what happened to it!
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 07:31 AM   #28
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Thank you all for your fantastic coverage of the PDX 10 and the PD 150. Now for the tough decision....For me, I find myself doing mostly high end wedding videos at an exclusive island resort off the coast of Florida. I've come from a 15 year corporate video background and on occasion still get some of those, but alas the years are catching up. My DV 500 is way to heavy to be running around in in 90 degree, 90 percent humidity and my 5 year old XL1 is making me nervous. I know that it's going to pack it in one day during a ceremony. I pride myself for being prepared for anything...extra batteries, tapes, lamps, mics, etc. And now would like to have a spare camera to toat along. I simply can't afford to blow a gig on an island with a down camera. No second chances. The PDX 10 looks like somthing that I could keep along with in case the need comes up, but the PD 150 looks like it might have better picture in extreme low light. The lowest I'll need is sunset situations which I've been able to handle with the XL1 or church situations, but there, I am usually using the DV 500 on sticks. The small size of the 10 and the native make for a good case...and the larger flip out screen...eyes are going too! LOL!
But would hate to be so close in price an choose poorly. Has ther been any feedback from pro news users ie. CNN etc...on their preferences? Thanks again for your feedback...Craig Hollenback
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