I just did a personal comparison between the new Panasonic 24p camera and the Canon XL1s

Discussion in 'Fan Films, Fan Audio & SciFi 3D' started by PixelMagic, Oct 10, 2002.

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  1. PixelMagic Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2001
    star 5
    Hey guys. If you remember, I told you that in our film class, we were debating on getting the new Panasonic AG-DVX100 or the Canon GL2s. Well, we didn't have a Canon GL2, but we did have an XL1s. So a professional videographer and I went out with the Panasonic 24p and the Canon XL1s. We shot the Canon XL1s in it's normal mode, and of course we shot the same scenes with the Panasonic 24p on both 60i, 30p, and 24p. Let me tell you, the Panasonic BLOWS the XL1s out of the water. The image is twice as sharp in my opinion. There is NO comparasion about which is the better camera. The Panasonic was also set to Cine-Gamma and Cine-Matrix, which made the dynamic range and color MUCH more professional looking. The camera in 24p mode is indistinguishable from a real film camera in my opinion. It most certainly doesn't look like camcoder footage. It looks like the real deal big budget film stuff. I HIGHLY recommend this camera. We are getting two of them, and we be shooting the remaining scenes of The Soft Drink Menace in 24p mode on this camera. This will be the camera to put all other DV cameras to rest. It also has many manual features such as focus, iris, netural density filters that give it unsurpassed image and color quality. No, I do not work for Panasonic...ha ha.
  2. The Jedi Apprentice Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 1999
    star 4
    Cool, I haven't seen many personal reviews on this cam. Thanks for the info, Pixel. If only I could blow that much money.
  3. pahket Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2001
    star 4
    I think this is fantastic that there's finally a pro-sumer 24p camera out now - this is avery exciting time to be in the industry indeed!

    BUT!

    I have yet to see a full-size, 720x480 frame from either camera! I haven't even bought the XL1s yet and know it backwards and forwards, but still haven't seen an uncompressed video frame! And now that the DVX-100 has topped the XL1s on my wish list, I want to see what this camera can do! So please, if you post some screengrabs, not only will you be the only one on the planet who has, but you will be elevated to deity status in my book. So, please. Do me this one favor.

    Oh! And does the DVX-100 have anamorphic 16:9 capabilty? Can you interchange/screw on other lenses?

    Thanks in advance!
  4. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Pixel, is it true the rumor that to conform with DV standardization, the 24p progressive has a 3:2 pulldown performed on it in-camera so that the footage actually comes out 29.97 interlaced?

    If yes, is the image still high-quality if a proper 3:2 removal is applied?

    M. Scott
  5. PixelMagic Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2001
    star 5
    Well, gentleman, I would love to answer all your questions, however, I only had the camera for a couple of hours before the Panasonic rep, packed it back up and when about his business. For the best information on this camera, head over to Panasonic.com. You can download a brochere on the camera, and the instruction manual on the camera in PDF format. But we set the Canon XL1s, and the Panasonic 24p camera up side by side. And to make it fair, both cameras were put in 60i mode (60 fields, interlace scan) and STILL the Panasonic beat the XL1s by fair. Both cameras were white balances properly (the Panasonic has a manual white balance by the way. I pointed it at my white T-shirt, and BAM instant perfect white balance). You see, also, if you are talking about progressive frame modes, you need to consider this. The Canon XL1 uses what's known as pixel shift technology. To spare you the techincal reasons on how it works, it basically throws out information and subsitutes it with info from the green channel of the image. This rids the image of interlace artifacts, however, it gives you a working vertical resolution of about only 360 pixels. The Panasonic model, however, has TRUE progressive scan (like Uncle George uses). This means that all 480 lines of vertical resolution. And you don't need to be a math whiz to figure out that 480 lines of rez, beats the Canon's 360. But that is not that only difference. The Panasonic uses state-of-the-art CCD imaging chips. The Canon's imaging chips are some what dated, but not too bad. However, the color reproduction of the Panasonic by FAR is more accurate than the XL1s. No, not just a little better, MUCH MUCH MUCH better. What you see with you eye as far as color, is very close to what you see on the screen. This would come in very handy with bluescreen shots. Also, the camera has a Cine-Gamma feature. I will give you a real world example. If you shot someone with a regular camera, the shadows under their arms might register PITCH black on the camera. However, with Cine-Gamma, you get a higher dynamic range, which means better contrast. So now that shadow won't appear pitch black, but you will now see the detail in the shadows. Also, one last thing, is that the Panasonic had less visable video noise than the XL1s. So to those of you who are thinking about buying the XL1s, DON'T. The Panasonic camera is better and cheaper. You won't be disappointed.
  6. pahket Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2001
    star 4
    Thanks, Pixel, for saving me! Some very fascinating information. I've seen the FilmGamma at work on their Mutli-Frame Rate HDCAM, and man, you'd have to have quite an eye to distinguish it form film. If the DVX100 has what you say it does, this could be a very valuable addition to the od equipment roster. And here I was this close to buying the XL1s!
  7. andakin Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2000
    star 4
    How much does the Panasonic you're talking about cost?

    And, that was a very good review you did. Candid and useful. *applause*
  8. PixelMagic Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2001
    star 5
    Trust me, you'll definately want the Panasonic. It's better than the XL1s in every way I can think of. The only thing that the XL1s can do that the Panasonic can't, is the interchangable lenes. But most of us don't need to change the lenses anyway. But just know that the Panasonic has the best features, picture quality, functionality, etc. than any other camera in it's price range. So definately get this one over the XL1s, you won't be disappointed.
  9. Macho Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2001
    star 4
    this camera costs almost $4,000

    here is the site
    http://www.panasonic.com/PBDS/subcat/Products/cams_ccorders/f_ag-dvx100.html
  10. pahket Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2001
    star 4
    And I also noticed the factory-shipped lens only goes in as far as 38mm (35mm terms). Nice, but still could be wider. Certainly there is a capability for other lenses to be screwed on, no? Perhaps you're the wrong person to ask, Pixel, but I simply will not buy this camera without being sure that I can slap an anamorphic lens onto it. :D
  11. PixelMagic Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2001
    star 5
    Well, if you want to change lenses, then I am not sure this is the camera for you. However, the matte box is removable, which will allow things like filters and stuff to be added to it. As for the anamorphic lens, I don't know about that one. I'm guessing you'll have to get the XL1s for that. Anyone else here know?
  12. ExFilms Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2001
    star 4


    Macho - You can get it for $3500 at B & H.

    Pahket - The Panasonic brochure claims 32.5mm at its widest, but even 38mm would be fine for me. The standard lens on the XL1s only goes to 39mm.

    And the Leica Dicomar lens on the Panasonic is just as high quality as the one on the XL1s.

    It even has the same 72mm filter diameter as the XL1s, so I'm sure that Century Optics will be coming out with wide angle and anamorphic lens adapters for the Panasonic real soon. Or maybe the same adapters made for the XL1 will work on the Panasonic.


    It seems like this camera has bested all of the best features of all of our favorite cameras combined. I can't wait to get one. Anyone interested in a slightly used Sony VX2000? :p


  13. MasterZap Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2002
    star 4
  14. John_FC Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2000
    star 3
    Does anyone know how this camera would capture via firewire? I.E. Can DV cope with a 24 frame per second frame rate? Will this work with Final Cut Pro? I'd assume so, but maybe one would need the Cinema Tools addon..?

    Any ideas?

    thanks,

    john
  15. MasterZap Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2002
    star 4
    The stupid thing does a 3:2 pulldown for those in NTSC land, to conform to spec.

    HOWEVER, it has a "special mode" to do it in such a way that you more easily can extract the frames, so instead of a 3-2-3-2 sequence it does a 3-3-2-2 sequence. By doing this, only 1 frame out of 5 has combined fields in it, which you can more easily get rid of.

    In a normal 3-2-3-2 pulldown sequence only 2 of 5 contains a proper (full) image, the other are a mix of two fields from various frames.


    Why they didn't just to to PAL is beyond me, get 25P, conform to the DV spec, and get higher resolution to boot. *baffled*

    /Z

  16. Lukesfilm Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 17, 2002
    star 1
    Hardly seems a fair comparison when you used the XL-1s in the "normal" mode.

    What is the "Normal" mode anyway?
  17. Jedi2016 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2000
    star 4
    I'm still a little shaky on it's 24p mode. The brochure mentions the use of 3:2 pulldown and it's "24p Advanced Mode" to convert it to 60i for recording onto tape. But how does it work right out of the camera? If I capture the footage from this camera, can I take it right into Premiere or After Effects and work with it in true 24p?

    What about it's DV compression? The Broken Allegiance BTS videos mention a problem with DV that I've noticed in quite a few clips I've worked on, in the pixelated edges that can make color keying quite a chore.. how well does this camera do that?

    Would it be possible, PixelMagic, to post a short clip in DV format for both cameras? So we can really see the image quality between the two?
  18. andakin Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2000
    star 4
    ExFilms:

    How much for that Sony VX2000?
  19. pahket Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2001
    star 4
    Whoa, whoa, whoa! Before we start freaking people out by mentioning 2:3 pulldown, take a good look at page 5 of the Brochure to see how this thing actually records 24p in a 60i environment.

    For example, in a sequence of 8 24p frames -

    A B C D E F G H

    It record them thusly:

    A A B B B C C D D D E E F F F G G H H H

    They're not interlaced, they're just put on the tape 2 or three times in a row for redundancy. I learned about this looking at their multi-frame rate HDCAM (sweet little thing, too). So. No lost or interlaced frames, no loss of quality, no reason to worry. It's all there in the brochure!
  20. MasterZap Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2002
    star 4
    I'm still a little shaky on it's 24p mode. The brochure mentions the use of 3:2 pulldown and it's "24p Advanced Mode" to convert it to 60i for recording onto tape. But how does it work right out of the camera? If I capture the footage from this camera, can I take it right into Premiere or After Effects and work with it in true 24p?


    Out of the camera it's 60i. I.e a 60i "representation" of 24p. You have either to un-pulldown it, or rather use the "advanced" mode which only pollutes 1 frame out of 5 with junk, so you can just cut out 1 of 5 and get 24P

    Why they didn't just go for 25P and used the PAL data format I dont get.

    What about it's DV compression? The Broken Allegiance BTS videos mention a problem with DV that I've noticed in quite a few clips I've worked on, in the pixelated edges that can make color keying quite a chore.. how well does this camera do that?


    NTSC DV by definition is 4:1:1 color sampling. Thats one color sample per 4 HORIZONTAL luma samples. I.e. every 4:th pixel horizontally actually has ANY color info. That's a part of DV, so you aint getting around that with ANY camera, ever. (Unless you build one who does 3 parallel DV streams one for R, one for G, one for B)

    PAL DV is 4:2:0, this means that it's still only one color sample out of 4 pixels, but the arrangement are in 2x2 pixel blocks, instead of 4x1 horizontal blocks. Thats WAY better for keying than the NTSC way.

    And of course, PAL is 720x576 instead of 720x480

    So again, why they didn't make the progressive mode a 25P in "PAL MODE" is completely and utterly and totally baffling to me. Or at least gave you that OPTION!!?!?!?!

    At this description, my Canon Optura Pi (PAL version, called MV30i actually) actually outperforms this camera !!!!!! (at least on the P front ;) )

    /Z
  21. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    So again, why they didn't make the progressive mode a 25P in "PAL MODE" is completely and utterly and totally baffling to me.

    Because you would be unable to display it on any NTSC equipment, ruling out almost everything in the US except web distribution.

    M. Scott
  22. Mister-X Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 30, 2001
    star 2
    "...in a sequence of 8 24p frames -

    A B C D E F G H

    It record them thusly:

    A A B B B C C D D D E E F F F G G H H H"

    Yes. That's what "3:2 pulldown" means. Slice those up into video frames, and you'll find that your 24P frame "C" doesn't appear in a video frame by itself, it shares one with frame B and one with frame D. For uncompressed video, this wouldn't be an issue, but because of the way that DV compression works, it makes a difference to the integrity of the image. You can actually perform some experiments along these lines for yourself if you have a mind to:

    Take three unrelated still images and use them to construct a repeating 24fps sequence - ABCABCABC. It doesn't matter exactly what the images are, but to see the effects most clearly, they should be as different as possible from one another, and each should also be as busy and colourful as possible in order to stress the DV codecs.

    Convert this sequence to NTSC DV, and you'll get
    AA AB BC CC AA BB BC CA... (WSSWW)
    in your video frames. Now import this DV clip back into a 24fps composition and remove the 3:2 pulldown, and compare the first "B" frame in the sequence with the second one. You'll notice a difference. Depending on exactly what equipment/codec you used (because there's a fair amount of leeway in exactly how a DV codec constructs a legal DV datastream) and depending on the exact nature of the images themselves (because some images compress more successfully than others) you may even notice a distinctly higher quality in the second "B" frame (which was in a single video frame) over the first (which was split across two video frames).

    However, with this camera's "Advanced" (2:3:3:2) mode, you get:

    AA BB BC CC DD EE FF FG GG HH...

    in other words, you can just throw away the third and eighth video frames out of every ten to get your original 24P sequence back. It might look a bit jerky to actually watch, but I don't think you're supposed to watch it, you're just supposed to use it as a means of getting a 24P sequence through the DV pipeline with the best possible quality.

    Still, as a fellow European, I agree with Zap. Give us a PAL version... ;)
  23. Mushiman Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2002
    star 3
    Who cares! :p

    If your lucky enough to own either one of these camcorders then you're erm..... lucky.

    I'd love either & i bet many others would.
    They blow away my JVC GR-DVL355e :(

    This topic makes a good conversation though ;)
  24. MasterZap Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2002
    star 4
    Because you would be unable to display it on any NTSC equipment, ruling out almost everything in the US except web distribution.


    Well who cares about that little one backwater country known as "the US"? (* sarcasm, damnit ;) *)

    SERIOUSLY, though:

    Wasnt't the point of "24P" to have "high quality, film like, progressive data"? A PAL mode would give you that, and more. (an extra frame per second ;) and 100 more lines of res.)

    The camera could easily have had a 4:th mode: "PAL". It would have given you WAY better source material to get to film later (or for web work) and way easier. You could have worked in DV format in the nice high resolution (with a sensible near-square-pixel aspect ratio to boot!) that us PAL folks do. And 5 less frames per sec to to roto lightsabres in too ;) ;)


    Sorry I just keep laughing at all this ridiculous "pulldown" stuff the NTSC world has to endure. It's just very amusing to me. Especially when later you have to try to build equipment to re-synthesize a progressive frame out of jumbled data. Isn't it a glorious mess!? ;) Dont you just hate it? I'm so glad I dont have to care.

    /Z
  25. PixelMagic Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2001
    star 5
    MasterZap, you sure do get fired up about topics like this...ha ha. I gave technical info about both cameras. I didn't JUST say it looks better. Although it does. We DID shoot against a resolution chart, and the Panasonic still beat the XL1s. Give it up man, this is the best NTSC Mini-DV camera for under $4000. SO THERE FOO'!!!.

    As for greenscreening/bluescreenning, Zap is right, DV compresses the same on any camera. However, there are a few workarounds to get a clean matte from DV footage. Infact, I will be writting a tutorial on it very soon. Also, the Ultimatte Coperation just released a plug-in that is like DVMatte, but MUCH MUCH better. It restores the color info back to 4:4:4 using mathamatical algorithims. It's called AdvantEdge. Check it out at www.ulitmatte.com
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