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video formats and sensor size

Discussion in 'Filmmaking' started by osmyth, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. osmyth

    osmyth Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    May 31, 2011
    York, UK
    Please could someone give, or point me at, a brief guide on the above.

    I'm looking for a camera replacement for a mini dv camcorder, so it needs to produce half decent video.

    In terms of quality, is it as simple as AVCHD, MPEG4, motion JPEG, in that order (and/or does 720 v 1080 have a bigger impact)
    AND
    APS-C, m4/3, CMOS, CCD in that order

    Is CMOS rolling shutter less of an issue than the CCD smearing, or is it just different?
    Do APS-C or m4/3 have similar or other issues?

    Thanks very much.
     
  2. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    What kind of video do you want to shoot? Are you going to be primarily shooting hand-held or use a tripod? Static or moving subjects?
     
  3. osmyth

    osmyth Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    May 31, 2011
    York, UK
    Almost all hand-held.
    My son, holidays and family gatherings and the like. Nothing too taxing.
    His sport things when he grows up a bit.
    Thanks.
     
  4. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    In which case I would suggest that you don't use a m4/3 camera for that. Yes they may have continous AF but because of the larger sensor, you are aware of it much more as it "hunts" back and forth. You can use MF but children tend to be quite "erratic" in their movements.

    This is a situation when a smaller sensor comes into its own. There's much more depth of field, the autofocus won't be so obvious, and indeed in many cases won't be obvious at all.

    I used to shoot weddings, with both stills and video. For static fixed positions I used m4/3 cameras on tripods, but whenever I was doing any hand held work I switched to a small sensor camcorder. There are some remarkably good small compacts that do the same job, both with HD and very good built in stabilisation.

    There is however an alternative which could give you the best of both worlds, unfortunately its not m4/3. Its the Sony fixed mirror series. A55 etc.
    I used an A55 and it has really remarkable built in stabilisation. The following are two test videos I shot, both hand held.

    <iframe width="560" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HwNl7FwyQns" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    <iframe width="560" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-NrKrFTMYkY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    You still have the problem of the AF "hunting" and you can see it in the park video when I'm following the duck, which is about the closest I have to following a small child!! The A55 has a flip up screen and you actually have to hold it lower to see it properly. I used to hold it against my stomach which resulted in even more stability.

    You can also see in the same video shots involving some fast panning of cyclists and I was impressed by this in terms of how it was relatively free of the motion problems you mention.

    There is a problem however in that the A55 overheats with this stabilisation on and turns itself off. Tested: Sony A33 and A55 Video Overheating Issue | Popular Photography I don't know whether this has fixed in the firmware yet. However there's a new model, the A35 coming out soon, and I would imagine they have fixed the overheating problem.sonyalpharumors | Blog | (SR5) The full official A35 specs

    The other advantage of the Sony system is that it uses the new 16MP Exmor sensor which is very good at high ISO's, so you'll get very good low light performance.

    I loved the A55 and thought it was easily the best video enabled stills camera I'd ever used for hand holding. Unfortunately the overheating was a real problem and I sold it. The videos were shot in the cold part of last winter so it wasn't so much of a problem, but shooting indoors for longer than a couple of minutes with the stabilisation on was impossible as the camera would just turn off until it cooled down.

    If they have fixed that and/or the new model doesn't have it then I would recommend it for your uses. The m4/3 cameras and particularly the Panasonics shoot great video but I don't think they are that suitable for what you want.

    Hope that helps.
     
  5. osmyth

    osmyth Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    May 31, 2011
    York, UK
    soundimageplus, thanks.
    The a55 is too big and heavy for what I want.
    I currently have a Pentax K-m, Panasonic FX500 and Sony HC96 mini dv camcorder.
    I'm wanting to either sell all 3 and get one small/light-ish gadget, which does all. Or at least sell the camcorder and Pana, keep the K-m and get a decent video compact camera.

    Sounds like, from your evidence, the latter would be the way to go?

    In which case, do I really need 1080/AVCHD/etc.
    What gives the best quality.

    Thanks.
     
  6. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Debi
    Here's a link to a not-very-exciting video of my son running around that I shot on iA using my GH2. I think it demonstrates both the capabilities and limitations in a pretty challenging situation.

    http://flickr.com/gp/debit72/4K313C
     
  7. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    I don't think that M43 is quite up to the tasks you require...yet. Give it a year though. AF is the final hurdle and as sprinke's video shows, the GH2 is tantalizingly close...
     
  8. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    The K-m is 122.5 x 91.5 x 67.5mm and 525g
    The A55 is 124 x 92 x 85 mm and 500g

    So its basically slightly lighter and around the same size as your K-m and gives you everything in one package.

    If thats really too big a Panasonic LX5 is small, shoots good pictures and has 720p HD video.

    However the Olympus XZ-1 has 720p HD video plus a fast f/1.8 lens.

    Under the circumstances I think you and the camera have done very well.
     
  9. osmyth

    osmyth Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    May 31, 2011
    York, UK
    soundimageplus,
    if I was to sell the K-m (and the others) then the purchase would need to be m43 size or smaller (as it will be the only family camera).
    So, if the m43 isn't quite up to the video job yet, then I think i'll probably keep the K-m and get a compact with at least a 8x zoom like the Sony HX7/9V or similar, so that would rule out the LX5/XZ-1, but thanks for those suggestions.
     
  10. osmyth

    osmyth Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    May 31, 2011
    York, UK
    The AF part got me thinking....
    Using the E-PL1 and E-PL2 as examples, it seemed the AF improved quite a lot on the E-PL2 because of the MK2 kit lens?
    So, how much of the AF processing is done in the lens and how much in the camera. When you say 'give it a year' are you referring to the bodies and/or the lenses.
    An option would be to get an m43 now and then add a 40+ zoom lens in a year or more if a better model comes out?

    Thanks.
     
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, lens design is key to speed of Auto Focus. For instance, macro lenses never focus as fast as non-macro lenses. In terms of the E-PL2, the body does have significantly improved AF, but coupled with the faster focusing lens makes a big, noticeable difference.