OT: tiny violins please, camera recommendation?


LReavis wrote on 4/13/2010, 8:48 PM
my TM700 arrived a few hours ago. Here are my initial impressions:

1. It's really small - difficult to see that it is larger than the tiny Sanyo HF1 even when placed next to each other (it is, by a tad); fits my pants pocket OK.

2. LCD works really well in direct sunlight - once you angle it so that fingerprints don't reflect the sunlight (a stylus is supplied in case you want to avoid fingerprints).

3. The LCD doesn't have enough pixels to be sure of focus. However, the manual focus on the ring works really well, and MANUAL FOCUS ASSIST puts a blue outline around objects that are in focus; really handy. Auto focus is speedy and seems to work well in dim light.

4. It appears that the 60p really is 60 frames per second, not 59.94. I don't get it - what's the payoff? I notice that several cameras of other brands also are going to, say, 30 fps instead of the SEMPTE drop-frame standard. Why? It makes it much more difficult to combine clips from other cameras on the same time line. I still use my HC-1, which is 29.97i; and my Sanyo cams are 59.94p. In order to simplify my future editing, I may sell my other cams and buy another TM700 (most of my work is 2-camera studio work).

5. No LANC on the TM700. I'll miss it when shooting surfers etc. (which I rarely do - with my Sony HC-1), but being able to zoom in with the ring is good enough - especially with the excellent optical image stabilization (OIS).

6. I can't imagine why anyone would want a better OIS. Even shooting while walking gives pretty steady images. I've read that the new Sony CX550 is better - but not earth-shakingly THAT much better. No longer will I have to de-shake in Vegas, as I always had to do with the hand-held shots from the Sanyo cams.

7. The built-in 32GB memory is good for 2 hours and 40 min. when shooting 60p, and you can add SD, SDHC, or SDXC cards.

8. Buttons on the body of the cam switch to optical image stabilization, 60p, full auto or manual, etc. - minimizing the need to use the touch screen (thank goodness!).

9. Even while shooting 60p, the component connection to my 24" 1920x1200 computer monitor sends a 60i signal so that I can adjust focus in real time using my 24" monitor - really useful for a studio cam. Also, the remote gives the option of showing all the settings and controls on the external monitor - helpful for manual control of aperture, shutter speed, etc. by means of the remote control.

10. The zebra stripes and on-screen histogram work well to manually adjust exposure.

11. Manual shutter speed only goes down to 1/60th second, but AUTO SLOW SHUTTER goes down to 1/30th.

12. Low-light performance doesn't seem to be as good as the Sanyo cams (which received rave reviews for their low-light performance). In order to get the histogram pretty close to the right, I had to open iris full and still add 3.2db gain with a well-lit green screen.

I loaded a native .MTS clip into Vegas; preview was jerky, but I had another instance of Vegas rendering a huge project - it's been rendering for a day, and is only 25% done. Even with no other Vegas activity, I'm expecting preview to be pretty jerky; no matter, I always immediately render all my 60p clips to Cineform anyway. They play smoothly.

I did check greenscreen, and I got the cleanest key that I've ever been able to achieve with the NewBlue chromakey. As many others have noted, the quality of the camera is an important variable when doing chromakey.

I don't know if there is a pause at the end of a 4-gig clip as it rolls over to a new file. I hope to do some more testing soon.

Incidentally, as noted on another thread, I paid only $750 (and free shipping) - directly from Panasonic USA.
Jeff_Smith wrote on 4/13/2010, 10:25 PM
The battery came with 3/4 of a charge (hm??) right out of the box I turned on the cam, pushed the 1080/60p button and recorded a clip. I assume it was in an auto mode and if so it seems to have some auto gain. This was not a well lit room and looks like it is in sun light. I uploaded an unrendered unedited AVCHD file directly to youtube. This is my first non tape camera, need to RTFM

LReavis wrote on 4/13/2010, 10:44 PM
Correction: I loaded a clip into Vegas and in properties it is shown as "59.54 fps." Even though the manual consistently says 60p, I hope that Vegas got it right - it would make it a lot easier to put the clips on the same timeline with clips from my other cams - all of which use SEMPTE drop frame (29.97 or 59.54). Unfortunately, neither Video Inspector nor GSpot can report info on these .MTS clips, so I can't confirm that Vegas is right.

The TM700 also has a "digital cinema 24p" mode. I'm guessing it, too, is drop-frame, not true 24 fps.

Regarding low-light performance, CamcorderInfo says the TM700 does well, especially with color accuracy and low noise in low light.

LReavis wrote on 4/14/2010, 2:57 PM
here's a review that of the TM700 compared to the Sony CX550 (they conclude that the TM700 is a bit better):

Byron K wrote on 8/7/2010, 12:35 PM
Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1A has focus drift problem.

For those considering this camera or own this cam, I've just experienced the dreaded focus drift phenomena with the Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1A. I'm not sure if this is prevalent with the HD-2000A but It ruined a jazz jam session recording, though I was able to salvage the first tune of the set.

I wasn't aware of this issue until it happened and after searching the web it seems to be quite prevalent.

Here's a link to a time lapse of the ruined gig.

I usually use the focus lock and I have come to find, people have encountered the focus drifting when the camera is in manual focus or focus lock is enabled. The only workaround is to reset the cam to defaults and reassign the focus lock hot-keys to the joystick (which is a royal PITA) or keep the camera in auto focus mode.

I have submitted a problem report to Sanyo a week ago but have NOT received any word on a fix.

If I would have known about this issue I probably would not have purchased it.

On a positive note, here's what was salvaged from the gig. (:

I'll post any updates from Sanyo re: this issue, but I'm not holding my breath.
Randy Brown wrote on 8/7/2010, 1:34 PM
Sorry about your focus drift ....but that guitar player has the fastest thumb I've ever seen!
sodbuster-ca wrote on 8/9/2010, 8:30 PM
"Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1A has focus drift problem.

I've had my Xacti VPC-FH1 (non-A model) for about a year now but I wasn't aware of this problem. That's because I use mine exclusively with auto-focus and at the time I was researching it I didn't see any complaints about the problem.

I did read one complaint about the auto-focus being a little slow but that hasn't been a real problem for me. I would have liked to have had a variable zoom speed and a Mic input but those features are not usually found on $400 camcorders.

All-in-all, I like my little camcorder. I use it to record my nephew's High School football games. My only real complaint is that tiny LCD view-screen...but that's a problem with all consumer level camcorders.

I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for Sanyo to fix the problem. Do consumer electronics companies ever fix problems for last year's models? They could easily do it with a firmware update but its not likely to happen. The fix will likely show up in next year's model.

On a more positive note, I like your quartet. You guys really swing! Its nice to see you people playing Jazz. Do you guys have a web site or a music site link?

Anyway, good luck on your music.
LReavis wrote on 8/10/2010, 10:55 PM
thanks for the heads up on the focus drift. I sold my FH1, but still have the 2000 - now I know to keep an eye open for that problem.
Byron K wrote on 8/11/2010, 3:03 AM
Posted by: sodbuster-ca, Date: 8/9/2010 5:30:58 PM
On a more positive note, I like your quartet. You guys really swing! Its nice to see you people playing Jazz. Do you guys have a web site or a music site link?

I'm glad you enjoyed the music! Actually that was my good friend's (the guitar player's) quartet. He used to be a full time musician long ago, but he doesn't gig very much due to his regular job, so to see his band play is a rare treat. (:

If I was actually doing MY "job" and paying attention to the camera, I probably could have caught the camera going out of focus and salvaged the video before the focus went too far out.

Another lesson learned: Pay attention to the cameras once in a while! (:

I'm going to try to do another video if / when they play again.
Byron K wrote on 8/19/2010, 9:48 PM
Good thing I didn't hold my breath hoping Sanyo would fix this! (;

So just FYI to be aware of this bug if considering this cam.

Official response thread:

Question Reference #100802-000000
We apologize for the delay in replying to your inquiry.

There is not firmware update available for the VPC-FH1A cameras.
The reset settings function you mentioned is the only reset we have for these cameras.

Customer (BYRON KAWANE) 08/03/2010 11:10 PM
Just a little more background information leading up to the focus drift.

-Focus lock is preset to the joystick hot key.
-Recorded 4-5 20-50 minute sessions before the focus drift occurred.

The following may be temporary workaround until this issue can be verified:

Reset the camera to defaults setting from the menu

The only problem is that I have to re-program all the hot keys on the joystick and and other settings.

Still need to confirm if the reset is consistent to keep the focus from drifting.

Customer (BYRON KAWANE) 08/02/2010 01:48 AM
I've posted a time lapse demo of this. The video is 40 minutes condensed to 1 minute.

Customer (BYRON KAWANE) 08/02/2010 01:09 AM
I have two FH1A camcorders and have been very happy with these cameras but noticed that both cameras goes out of focus after approx 10 minutes after focus lock is enabled. I need focus lock because the venues I record have a lot of traffic moving across the cam.

Is there a firmware upgrade to fix this?

Pls let me know asap as I've lost an hours musical gig with both cameras.