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Panasonic GS250/150/400 USERS!

Posted: Wed, 5th Oct 2005, 8:01pm

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TommyB

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My camera recently broke so I decided to buy a new one. I've been looking for several days, and I haven't found a camera that meets my requirements.

True widescreen would be nice, and 3CCD, but for some reason... there isn't a single camera in the market with good low-light performance. My JVC GR DVL355 was incredible in low light conditions, and it is ESSENTIAL that I buy a camera that works well in low light conditions.

Here's an example of footage I got with my old camera.



Any ideas?
(£500)

Last edited Sun, 16th Oct 2005, 7:21pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Wed, 5th Oct 2005, 8:15pm

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Pooky

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As far as I know, I'm afraid 500 pounds is too little for what you're asking. Try looking at the Panasonic 3CCD cameras (the one you talked about in the other thread was a whatchamacallit-65, try looking at whatchamacallit 250's and 400's).
Posted: Wed, 5th Oct 2005, 8:17pm

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er-no

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Without marching yourself into the prosumer levels of camera your not going to get anything that is brilliant in low-light conditions.
I'd recommend looking at the CanonMV range though, they are fantastic cameras and with the manual settings you might be able to squeeze low-light goodness out.

?
Posted: Wed, 5th Oct 2005, 8:18pm

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sk8npirate

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I'd say to just get a camera in your range, and just work on lighting your scenes properly.
Posted: Wed, 5th Oct 2005, 8:33pm

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TommyB

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I can't really 'light' a place like the station in the picture above, and that is a key location in an upcoming project.

I was just about to buy the Pana 250/150 until I was told they aren't bad, but AWFUL in low light conditions.
Posted: Wed, 5th Oct 2005, 9:14pm

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Sollthar

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Well, 500 £ is a ridicolous amount for a camera really. I use a 2000 £ one. And if you want quality, you will have to pay money.

Or why don't you visit a shop, tell them what you want, and let them suggest the best camera for you. Then try it if it is what you're looking for.
Posted: Wed, 5th Oct 2005, 9:24pm

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TommyB

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Sollthar wrote:

Well, 500 £ is a ridicolous amount for a camera really. I use a 2000 £ one. And if you want quality, you will have to pay money.

Or why don't you visit a shop, tell them what you want, and let them suggest the best camera for you. Then try it if it is what you're looking for.
I appreciate that £500 is stupid, but I am talking about 'consumer level' cameras here. I'd love to spend a good 2K on a camera, but being a 17 year old student, it's quite tricky.
Posted: Wed, 5th Oct 2005, 9:39pm

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sk8npirate

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Well low light is a higher end feature nowadays.
Posted: Wed, 5th Oct 2005, 10:03pm

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TommyB

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But why?

Technolagy is supposed to get better ffs. My camera is about 4 years old!
Posted: Wed, 5th Oct 2005, 10:06pm

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sk8npirate

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Because its the way the market works. Technology gets better but also more expensive, and they make cuts and try to sell details like "3CCDS! WOOT" but in reality they are just masking the fact that they are cheaping out on other stuff that most consumers will overlook.

Thats the way I perceive it anway.
Posted: Wed, 5th Oct 2005, 10:09pm

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er-no

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Try the JVC Cybercam GR-DV2000 Mini DV.

Apparently pretty good in low light.
Posted: Wed, 5th Oct 2005, 11:03pm

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Hendo

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TommyB wrote:

True widescreen would be nice, and 3CCD, but for some reason... there isn't a single camera in the market with good low-light performance. My JVC GR DVL355 was incredible in low light conditions, and it is ESSENTIAL that I buy a camera that works well in low light conditions.
Where the sensor size is the same, a 3CCD will have worse low-light performance than a single CCD. E.g. a single CCD 1/6-inch will have better low-light than a 3CCD 1/6-inch.

So if low-light is one of your key requirements, then I suggest going for a one chip cam, unless you can afford a 3CCD that has a much bigger sensor size. But I doubt it, since you specified a budget of £500.

At the end of the day, photography is all about capturing light, so for any camera, the lack of light in a scene is not going to be helpful.
Posted: Wed, 5th Oct 2005, 11:57pm

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jstow222

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I've heard Sonys usual perform pretty well in low-light.
Posted: Thu, 6th Oct 2005, 12:05am

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ben3308

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A GL2 has 3 1/4in CCDs, and IMO it picks up pretty good in low light. Link!

But as filmmakers, you guys do realize that it's necessary to light a scene in addition to using natural light, right? I think this is what most people skimp out on because they either think it will take too long without making that much of a difference anyways, or that they don't have enough money for it. Both excuses are invalid. Invest 20 bucks in a worklight and a power receptacle adapter and take your light with you to film. That way you can blame yourself and not the camera when the picture doesn't look good; and while you can't take your camera apart and make it pick up better in low light, you CAN hone your lighting abilities. I know this isn't much a solution to your...um....whining about consumer cameras, but I feel it is something that is quite often overlooked and needn't be.

Last edited Thu, 6th Oct 2005, 12:08am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Thu, 6th Oct 2005, 12:06am

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er-no

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ben3308 wrote:

A GL2 has 3 1/4in CCDs, and IMO it picks up pretty good in low light.

It's fantastic in low light, and that is backed up by numerous reviews. It's one of the major advantages of the camera. As well as the lovely ND filter biggrin
Posted: Thu, 6th Oct 2005, 12:11am

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ben3308

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The gain and f-stop controls rock, too. I can't figure out how to save the settings when I turn of the camera- that's a problem because my Sony Handycam does that automatically- but it beats the meager exposure knob that my Sony has. I've gotta say, I think the GL2 is shaping up to be one of the best cameras out there. Quite possibly superceding XL1s in color pickup and skin tone matching. It's awesome. Simply awesome.

And no, I don't own the camera, but my friend and fellow filmmaker does and I use it whenever I can. wink
Posted: Thu, 6th Oct 2005, 4:41am

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rogolo

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Camcorderinfo.com has a lot of good reviews and in-depth tours of prosumer, pro, and consumer cameras, but most importantly screencaps of different lighting conditions on a special piece of paper like this:

If you haven't been to this site, here's another link.
Posted: Thu, 6th Oct 2005, 9:29am

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Bryce007

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from what i understand, you can't afford any 3 chip cameras, and you want a good lowlight 1 chip. Take alook at this one.


http://about.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=2187847/search=digital%20camcorder
Posted: Thu, 6th Oct 2005, 10:09am

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jotoki

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ok i'm confused by this post. I remember not so long ago the same images being posted, proabably by tommyB and this same discussion going on including evidence that the panasonic worked fine in low light conditions, someone that owned one posted images to show that. it also has widescreen. So whats changed coz at the time it seem that the panasonic was the way to go in the price range. One thing you have to understand tommy is that these are CONSUMER units you're talking about so they are geared towards consumer market trends. The trends are not towards low light performance anymore so they manufacturers dont waste tike and money putting in a feature no one really needs. A statement saying all consumer cams are usless just becuase they dont meet your very specific requirement is just a bit silly really. Just shoot when it's a bit brighter and darken in post production or light stuff properly. The only reason you could have not to be able to add some light is if you dont actually have proper permission to film in the location you've chosen and thats not something you should blame the camcorders for. Find the best cam you can get for you £500 then work around it's limitations, thats what most other people have to do.
Posted: Thu, 6th Oct 2005, 4:29pm

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TommyB

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Firstly, I light all my dark scenes usually with several 400W lights. However, at this location we're trying to capture the dark, grainy feel. I'm certainly not going for a crisp image. I remember someone posting a 'low light' image off the Pana GS150, and I wasn't very impressed. Even if you do have permission to film, taking a generator and a light to a station isn't really possible and it'd be a right hastle.

I'm looking between the GS150, (GS250 Maybe) and the Sony DCR-HC90
Posted: Thu, 6th Oct 2005, 4:35pm

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Zeolahn

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...this might sound REALLY REALLY stupid...but did you ever consider filming during the day time on a very over-cast day, then darken the crap out of the footage digitally? I've been able to make day look like night before. Just thinking aloud >.>
Posted: Thu, 6th Oct 2005, 5:38pm

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TommyB

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I've tried this several times before but I can never acheive the effect I'm after. It's impossible to do a day>night conversion and end up with someone like the pictures I posted in my first post.
Posted: Thu, 6th Oct 2005, 7:07pm

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Bryce007

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It really isn't that hard. You just have to crank the contrast up and turn the Brightness down. And try to have lightsources in plan sight, so as to add to the effects even more. Its quite easy. As for cams, I'd go with the Sony HC90 if it's in your price range. (then again, i AM partial to sony..)
Posted: Thu, 6th Oct 2005, 7:26pm

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TommyB

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I saw a review on cam info, and found this (due out soon)
http://www.empiredirect.co.uk/content/products/details/index.asp?modelcode=JVC-GZMC500&bhcp=1

What do you think?

It looks really impressive, and if it's worth the price tag I can dig in to some savings biggrin

3x 1/4.5 inch 1.33 Megapixel CCDs for high quality image capture
Is that good? I don't really understand this inch CCD thing tbh.

Also, it uses a flash microdrive which means instant transfer to PC.
Posted: Thu, 6th Oct 2005, 8:20pm

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Pooky

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Inch thing -> The bigger the CCD is, the more light it captures. Simple as that smile
Posted: Fri, 7th Oct 2005, 12:18am

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Hendo

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TommyB wrote:

I saw a review on cam info, and found this (due out soon)
http://www.empiredirect.co.uk/content/products/details/index.asp?modelcode=JVC-GZMC500&bhcp=1

What do you think?

It looks really impressive, and if it's worth the price tag I can dig in to some savings biggrin

3x 1/4.5 inch 1.33 Megapixel CCDs for high quality image capture
Is that good? I don't really understand this inch CCD thing tbh.
For an extra £100 you can get a Panasonic GS400 (that price is from a quick google search, there may be better prices around). The GS400 has 3x 1/4.7" CCDs; it has a 3.5" LCD instead of the JVC's 1.8" LCD; and it has an Optical Image Stabiliser (OIS) instead of the JVC's digital method.

Did you read the JVC review at Camcorderinfo? They say that the GS250 and GS400 produce better video quality, but that the JVC produces better still shots.

Apparently in order to get any decent low-light performance, the JVC kicks in an Auto Gain feature. Gain should be avoided at all costs since it adds noise to your picture. The article says, though, that the noise isn't too bad.

If you're seriously thinking of up-ing your budget, I suggest investigating the GS400 and any other 3 chip cams in your new price range.
Posted: Fri, 7th Oct 2005, 12:29am

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sk8npirate

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Apparently the gs400 produces amazing video.
Posted: Fri, 7th Oct 2005, 12:33am

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Lithium Kraft

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I have a GS250, which ironically is a newer model than the GS400. The 250 has an excellent and simple and extremely accessible joystick just above the record button when you're holding it by hand. The GS400 lacks that simplicity, but it is a great camera as well nonetheless. The reviews on Camcorderinfo.com list the lowest price on the review page for the camera you're looking at. Apparently GS250's start at 750-800 which is quite low and GS400's start at 1000 (american dollars, that is).
Posted: Fri, 7th Oct 2005, 6:59am

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NuttyBanana

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I have a GS400, I'll have to try and get a few shots in low light for you.

If you consider it, the place i found it cheapest and where i bought it from is here
Posted: Fri, 7th Oct 2005, 6:11pm

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TommyB

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Thanks for the further advice guys.

One feature that attracted me to the GS250/400 was the focus ring. Does the camera have a fairly shallow depth of field? Obviously I'm not talking about cinematic style, but can you do simple things like have a foreground objects, perhaps a few CM away from the lense, in focus, and everything else out?? (or vv)

I'd really appreciate those pics Nutty.
Posted: Tue, 11th Oct 2005, 4:46pm

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TommyB

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Hope you haven't forgotten me smile
Posted: Sun, 16th Oct 2005, 7:21pm

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TommyB

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I'd really appreciate any pictures from the Pana GS series. I have to make me mind this week.

I can either get the DCR-HC90E for £520, or the Pana GS250 for £590.
Posted: Sun, 16th Oct 2005, 7:55pm

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TommyB

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I almost fell of my chair when I found this.

http://www.videomax.ru/tests/hc90-gs250-dz7/

A direct HC90E and GS250 comparison. And although I can't read Russian, without the aid of babelfish that is, the pictures quite clearly show that the GS250 produces superior picture quality.
Posted: Sun, 16th Oct 2005, 10:20pm

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Magic_man12

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I have the GS 200 - personally i think it does a damn good job

If you want widescreen, better low light, and better overall pic quality - gs400 - i wish i had saved longer and got the 400 over the 200...


great cams for the price tho

-MAGIC
Posted: Sun, 16th Oct 2005, 11:06pm

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Lithium Kraft

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I have the GS250, and I must say I love it. I bring it everywhere with me that has the slightest possibility of filming, thanks to its excellent portability.

It's not great in low-light, but it has a function called MagicPix where you turn the viewfinder to face outward and the camera makes it broadcast a bright white that is inconspicuous but makes a good difference.

From what I've heard though, apparently GS400 is supposed to be better, but it's around $500 more expensive, so I don't know. Apparently the GS250 is a more recent model and has a convienient setup for the filming fingers.

I have never actually used a GS400, so I don't know which is truly better, yet.
Posted: Mon, 17th Oct 2005, 2:30pm

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hippa03

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I have tried my new GS 200 for a trip in Austria and Italy and it realy gave me very good results. The one thing I'm a bit ( or much) disappointed is the result in low light, it's not good at all. I have to carry a portable light in serious filming outdoors.
Posted: Mon, 17th Oct 2005, 3:40pm

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TommyB

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hippa03 wrote:

I have tried my new GS 200 for a trip in Austria and Italy and it realy gave me very good results. The one thing I'm a bit ( or much) disappointed is the result in low light, it's not good at all. I have to carry a portable light in serious filming outdoors.
All my low light scenes will be interiors lit with a 400W lamp... (which is blindingly bright) Will this be adequate?
Posted: Tue, 18th Oct 2005, 6:07pm

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TommyB

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What's the standard warranty on the GS series.

This is pathetic. It isn't quoted on Pana's site or the shop's.
Posted: Tue, 18th Oct 2005, 6:44pm

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NuttyBanana

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i bought my gs400 from ebuyer.com, when it came the first thing was register it on the panasonic website with the serial number on the box. That put the standard 1 year on it. 2 days later a small pack came in the post offering me more cover on the camera. You should be fine as long as it comes in its box wink
Posted: Tue, 18th Oct 2005, 7:08pm

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sk8npirate

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TommyB wrote:

hippa03 wrote:

I have tried my new GS 200 for a trip in Austria and Italy and it realy gave me very good results. The one thing I'm a bit ( or much) disappointed is the result in low light, it's not good at all. I have to carry a portable light in serious filming outdoors.
All my low light scenes will be interiors lit with a 400W lamp... (which is blindingly bright) Will this be adequate?
That will be definitely adequate. I use a lamp about that power with my gs150 and also with my 35mm adapter which loses light. And it works perfectly.
Posted: Tue, 18th Oct 2005, 7:12pm

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TommyB

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NuttyBanana wrote:

i bought my gs400 from ebuyer.com, when it came the first thing was register it on the panasonic website with the serial number on the box. That put the standard 1 year on it. 2 days later a small pack came in the post offering me more cover on the camera. You should be fine as long as it comes in its box wink
How much was the extra warranty?