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3-CCD consumer camcorders, are they any good?


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#1 Jim Murdoch

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Posted 26 November 2005 - 12:44 AM

Excuse me if there's aready a section for this, but I don't ordinarily get into discussions about consumer cameras.

A few weeks back an acquaintance's daughter had been undergoing an intensive training program at a Sony branch, in preparation for becoming a member of the telephone support team. Looking at her course notes, as I expected, there was the usual "canned" Sony-oriented viewpoints its employees are expected to adhere to, and most of them were more entertaining than informative, but one bit really made me pause.

It was in the section on what they are supposed to say when potential customers compare Sony models with the competition's offerings.

When someone asks something like: "What about the new 3-CCD consumer camcorders like the Panasonic PVGS70? Won't they produce better images than the equivalent (single-chip) Sony models?"

She's supposed to reply to the effect that, in the case of High-end broadcast cameras, 3-CCD models will indeed give better colour rendition than an otherwise equivalent single-CCD model, but this does not apply to the small-format imagers used in consumer cameras.

But as to WHY this might be so, Sony appear to be mute!

In the past I've had a lot of experience with shoe-horning compact colour TV cameras into various devices, and in all cases, the 3-CCD models positively slaughtered the single-chip ones for colour and general image quality! It was always the same, too: you'd think the single-chip camera is producing a damned fine picture, and then you'd switch to the 3-CCD model and it would blow the other one out of the water! The places where the 3-CCDs did fall down were general bulk, price, power consumption and low-light sensitivity.

Now I also have a l Sony Digital HandyCam that's less than a year old, and while I'm more than happy with the pictures it gives for such a compact (and cheap!) package, I don't think for a second that the picture quality is anywhere near that of even a couple of eight-year-old Sony 1/4" 3-CCD I also have. I can't imagine that Sony have made that much of an improvement in CCD quality since I bought the HandyCam.

Does anybody here have any experience with 3-CCD consumer cameras? If the pictures really aren't up to par, what exactly is wrong with them? It all sounds like total B.S. to me!
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#2 Matthew Parnell

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Posted 26 November 2005 - 08:58 AM

I've got a Panasonic GS400.

It absolutely kills any single chip Canon or Sony of the same price range that i have worked with. Great, very nicely seperated colours. It does fall down in lower light situations, and sucks up the light pretty significantly, however the gain, in comparason to a sony is relatively clean.

The all the pictures on the following URL are shot with a GS400. all of them are pretty low res stills from the film. Most of them have gone through some minor grading work, Mostly pushing the contrast about 10% and saturation +/- 20% and i did some pretty extreme white balancing.http://www.geocities...rmanconceptual/

For the money i would definitly recomend a 3CCD camera. You loose out in low light situations but the colour and image quality you gain i believe is worth it.

Cheers

Matt Parnell

Edited by Matthew Parnell, 26 November 2005 - 09:00 AM.

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