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-   -   Digital Zoom on PD170 (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-vx2100-pd170-pdx10-companion/36683-digital-zoom-pd170.html)

Tom Smith December 20th, 2004 07:09 PM

Digital Zoom on PD170
I need a camcorder that has a good low lux and good zoom, around 20X. Since the "170" is 12X optical, can any of the digital be used to get it out somewhere near 20 without serious picture fallout. I've read a number of good reviews on the '170" but the digital zoom is never mentioned. Also would the 1.7X Sony telephoto be worth the purchase... or are extenders only good at maximum zoom.

Boyd Ostroff December 20th, 2004 07:26 PM

Tom, your thread was posted to the wrong forum so I used my moderator privileges to move it here.

I didn't think the PD-170 even had a digital zoom - does it? If so I wouldn't expect much because the CCD's are not high enough resolution. The PDX-10 actually has a very good digital zoom however (also 12x optical). It has megapixel CCD's which allow it to do a much better job with this though. Also, you can get Sony's high grade 2x teleconverter for the PDX-10 and due to the 37mm thread size it's reasonably priced. Gives really nice results, and if you add the digital on top of that you get 48x. I have been able photograph sunspots and moon craters this way!

Of course the PDX-10 has its own quirks, and has smaller CCD's so not as good in very low light situations. Visit our forum if you want more info on the PDX-10 http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisp...?s=&forumid=43.

I'm sure someone will chime in with more info on the PD-170 here as well.

Tom Smith December 20th, 2004 07:54 PM

Digital Zoom on PD170
Thanks Boyd for getting this tourist in the correct forum and the info on the "10", I'll check it out.

Boyd Ostroff December 20th, 2004 09:26 PM

You're welcome Tom. The PDX-10 is a great camera, but may not fit your desire for "low lux."

Please double check what forum/thread you're in before posting. You created a new, duplicate thread with your last message. I've merged them together to keep everything in the same place.

Welcome to DVinfo.net, glad to have you aboard!

Craig Seeman December 21st, 2004 08:14 AM

PD170 has digital zoom. It goes to 48x. I've played with it a few times and it looks reasonable although I'm not a fan of using digital zooms.

Jimmy McKenzie December 21st, 2004 08:35 AM

...when shopping ...
The consumer wide eyed banners and product stickers that are attached to the camera are just hype. Digital Zoom falls into the chasm of goodies that for a professional are to be avoided. If you really want sepia tones, barn door wipes or pan and scan below 720x480 you would of course do this at the NLE. If the "goodies" are part of your want list, you will find a myriad of these to swim through. Subjectively, they are hard to stack up against one another.
The default reaction is to ignore. Digital zoom is for vacationers who want an ECU on the water-skiier, or other "target-rich" areas of the beach that might benefit from a digital extension of the lens.

Boyd Ostroff December 21st, 2004 09:03 AM

Jimmy, this is true in most cases and digital zoom is no substitute for optical by any means. However I think you need to look a little more closely at the specific cameras before making a knee-jerk reaction to digital zoom. The PDX-10's CCD's have 1152x864 pixels. These are downsampled to create the 720x480 DV image. So when using the digital zoom you can actually squeeze a little more resolution out of the system. Some other new camcorders (single chippers mostly) have even higher resolution CCD's and may be able to do better.

I am not an advocate for digital zoom, but on a few occasions I've played with it on the PDX-10 and was surprised at the results. But normally I just use my 2x optical telephoto adaptor. It yields excellent results that are far better than the digital effect.

Jimmy McKenzie December 21st, 2004 09:24 AM

I am not an advocate for digital zoom, but on a few occasions I've played with it on the PDX-10 and was surprised at the results. But normally I just use my 2x optical telephoto adaptor. It yields excellent results that are far better than the digital effect.

Well summarized. If you can accomplish it at the lens, that is the best. I'm not farmiliar with the brand in question, but it would seem that the device is trying to be a still camera as well, given the larger pixel count. There must be a memory stick on this cam...

Boyd Ostroff December 21st, 2004 09:38 AM

The PDX-10 is sort of the little brother to the PD-170, it is part of Sony's pro line of camcorders that records DVCAM and offers XLR audio. It can take stills to memory stick, although I don't use that feature. The main attraction of the high res CCD's is that they offer real 16:9 performance, something that the PD-170 can't do. Visit our forum to learn more about the PDX-10 and its siblings the TRV-950 and HC-1000 which use the same optics and CCD's.

Cory Moorehead December 21st, 2004 11:13 AM

I find it really..od actually that such a pro camera like the PD170/150 have such little zoom. I mean..I see 400.00 miniDV camera with 18x or 20x Optical zoom...

Alan Christensen December 21st, 2004 01:11 PM

The 24X digital zoom is usable in some cases with the VX or PD. The clarity is nowhere near the clarity with only optical zoom, but it does allow one to zoom up on distant objects. The nice thing about the interface is that there is a line in the zoom guage in the viewfinder that shows when you pass the optical zoom limit. Therefore you can use optical zoom selectively if you pay attention to the zoom indicator. I use optical zoom to view injuries across the football field when I am trying to figure out the number of the injured player and what seems to be injured. But I typically try to stay away from digital zoom when I am filming plays.

When one doesn't need real time digital zoom, there is always the ability to do zooms in post production. I have never formally compared the quality of the post production zooms to the digital zoom on the camera. My sense is that the post production zooms are better.

Tom Hardwick December 21st, 2004 03:08 PM

Sorry to put the brakes on here, but even the smallest amout of digital zoom degrades the image quite noticeably. Thing is that you never need to use digital zoom as doing it in post gives the same results and is just as destructive, yet you've always got the original hi-res footage to fall back onto.

Go with a telephoto converter every time. Of course adding a 2x converter will reduce the 170's 12x zoom down to something like a 5x zoom, but at least it'll double the focal length (which is presumably what you've bought it for).

I'm constantly amazed at opinions such as Corey's that a 12x zoom is ''so short''. You could well have a 16x or a 20x zoom lens Cory, there's no problem with that. But if you want to cover big 1/3" chips, the 20x zoom is going to be BIG (look at the XL2) and expensive (look at the XL2) and heavy (XL2). Sony has hit a good compromise in my opinion, and it's the Panasonic with its 10x zoom on the DVX100 that starts to look short.


Cory Moorehead December 21st, 2004 03:12 PM

Sure it will cost more..but look at the GL2. 20x zoom. Sure the chips are a bit smaller..but I mean..ifsony really wanted to..they could even give a 16x or 18x zoom..sure maybe 200.00 more..but its good to haveit when you need it.

Tom Smith December 21st, 2004 06:39 PM

Digital Zoom on PD170
Thanks everyone for all the information. If I understand correctly, digital zooms are generally not used... especially on a 170 type but according to Boyd, not bad on camera's with high capacity CCD's like the PDX-10...but then there is the low light problem. I think even Canon's XL2 does not come very close to the "170" in low light according to some of the threads I've read. Would you "all" agree that the XL2 for shooting a concert or wedding where the client wants a certain effect, (candle light etc.) the XL2 comes up a little short in the low light area or if much gain is used the picture is seriously noisy.

Jimmy McKenzie December 21st, 2004 06:53 PM

The Canon xl series is certainly worth investigation. If the bulk of what you will be doing requires indoor practical lighting you will be scrambling in certain areas. Wedding are always a wild card. Gain=grain. You don't have to be in the middle of the exposure meter. Keep the gain to 0 if possible indoors and your choice outdoors of 0 or -3 db.
For event, concert and stage, you will have lighting involved.

Tom Hardwick December 22nd, 2004 02:29 AM

Yes, the GL2 has a 20x zoom but it's covering a much smaller 1/4" chip (4.12 mm diagonal vs the PD170's 5.5 mm). The image circle of the PD's zoom has to cover a 35% bigger surface area, and this increase reflects in the overall size of the lens. Don't forget hat the GL2's lens is f2.9 at max telephoto whereas the PD's is f2.5, well over half a stop faster. Same with the XL2. That lens is f3.5 at full telephoto.

It all points to the fact that the VX/PD is king in the low light stakes. It has bigger chips with less pixels (always good for sensitivity). It has the fastest lens of the big boys (DVX, GL, XL, PDX and even the new FX1).


Alan Christensen December 22nd, 2004 02:32 AM

The one thing you can never compensate for in your camera is its ability to deal with low light. You can put on wide angle or telephoto lenses, but apart from using a camera light, you can never get around a grainy picture if your camera doesn't handle low light well.

I just filmed a wedding in a very dark cathedral, followed by a reception in a dark banquet room. I was using a VX-2000, a VX-2100, and a PD-170. The video came out beautiful in spite of the low light conditions. I have never regretted my decision to go with these cams.

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