Point & Shoot vs. Camcorder for HD Video? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I was wondering if I could get some insight into the differences between HD video on camcorders vs some of the better point and shoots. The only camera we have currently is a 7 year old Canon point and shoot. The pictures are satisfactory but the video is terrible. We're finding that, increasingly, we're taking more video than pictures on trips, etc. but having both in one unit is a definite plus.

So...I guess my biggest question is, how much difference is there in HD video quality between a camcorder and a point and shoot in the $300-$450 price range?

HD camcorders have me intrigued, but am a little worried about battery life--esp the Panny hc-v700. We tend to take A LOT of pics/videos and I loved having the security and convenience of AA batteries in a bind. We'd be using it for simple family functions and trips, so probably won't need the latest bells and whistles. I guess my only requirement would be good low-light sensitivity since we do a lot night and outside shooting.

I've read these are good, but I'd sure welcome other suggestions:

Camcorder

Panasonic HC-v700
Sony Handycam HDR-CX260V
Canon VIXIA 500m

OR something like,

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX200V
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V
Canon PowerShot SX260


Thanks for any advice you could throw my way!
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post #2 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by videodunce View Post

]how much difference is there in HD video quality between a camcorder and a point and shoot in the $300-$450 price range
Go to Youtube.com and vimeo.com and use "Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX200V test" or "Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX200V sample" as your search words. Then repeat with other point and shoot still and camcorder models. Only you can make the judgement about what "video quality" looks good to you. Ditto in regard to still image quality.
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post #3 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 02:25 PM
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I have a Panasonic camcorder similar to the Panasonic HC-v700 and a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V (now replaced by the Sony HX20V).

Both cameras take great video. If I mix their files on a media player hooked to a large TV, I often have to look at the file name to remember what camera they came from. The better video camera is the in fact the one intended to be a video camera. The P&S is not equal in many ways. But, I like to travel light and the smaller point-n-shoot is frequently my choice.

One unusual difference is that there are places that don't allow "video taping" and will have you put away a video camera. "Snapshot" cameras may be OK.

Bill
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post #4 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 03:01 PM
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Do NOT try to decide on cameras by watching Youtube or Vimeo examples, which can be posted by people who do not know what they are doing or by pros who can make any camera look good (because in part they know the limitations).

You can listen to experienced people here who own both types of cameras and can convery what they have learned. You can also go to camcorderinfo.com and digitalcamerainfo.com to read reviews on specific models, which give you reliaible and comparable test results. There are also dedicated threads on some of teh cameras you have names (e.g., the Hx9v).

Generally, camcorders provide somewhat higher quality video than P&S camera video, but the trade-offs have become small.
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post #5 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Sounds good--thanks for that.

Since we'll have to upgrade the camera anyway, I'm probably leaning towards a good P&S rather than a cheap camcorder, but I've got a lot of reading yet.

thnx
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post #6 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videodunce View Post

Sounds good--thanks for that.
Since we'll have to upgrade the camera anyway, I'm probably leaning towards a good P&S rather than a cheap camcorder, but I've got a lot of reading yet.
thnx

If you go the point and shoot route, consider the Panasonic LX7. Great video; 60p with manual controls for video, focus ring.

It will probably go on sale (again) sometime this month.
http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-DMC-LX7K-Digital-Intelligent-3-0-inch/dp/B008MB719C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355096771&sr=8-1&keywords=Panasonic+LX7.
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Originally Posted by xfws View Post

If you go the point and shoot route, consider the Panasonic LX7. Great video; 60p with manual controls for video, focus ring.
It will probably go on sale (again) sometime this month.
http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-DMC-LX7K-Digital-Intelligent-3-0-inch/dp/B008MB719C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355096771&sr=8-1&keywords=Panasonic+LX7.

Whoa...that's nice.

How does that compare in your opinion to these? Ie. are there particular brands that, for one reason or another, I should steer clear of?

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX200V
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V
Canon PowerShot SX260

thnx
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post #8 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 04:20 PM
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The LX7 is well worth considering, and it recently sold for $299. Its main limitation is a short zoom length. The Sony Hx30v is the successor to the Sony Hx9v, and has a somewhat higher quality video than the Hx9v. It is compact and has a long zoom. But less manual controls in video than the LX7, a smaller-aperture lens (so less good in dim light). The SonyHx200 is a big camera, with a longer zoom and viewfinder; similar quality to the the Hx30.

An important difference between the LX7 and the Sony models is a touch screen. This is important because of the 'touch focus' feature - you just point on the screen what you want the camera to focus on and it does - you can do that while shooting and shift focus. This mimics prefectly pro focus pulls. It also makes it easier to guide the camera to focus on what you want. This works in auto mode, it helps inform the autofocus, which usually has the bad haboit of focusing on what is easiest to focus on, which is not necessaily what you want. The Lx7 does not have a touch screen.
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post #9 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

The LX7 is well worth considering, and it recently sold for $299. Its main limitation is a short zoom length. The Sony Hx30v is the successor to the Sony Hx9v, and has a somewhat higher quality video than the Hx9v. It is compact and has a long zoom. But less manual controls in video than the LX7, a smaller-aperture lens (so less good in dim light). The SonyHx200 is a big camera, with a longer zoom and viewfinder; similar quality to the the Hx30.
An important difference between the LX7 and the Sony models is a touch screen. This is important because of the 'touch focus' feature - you just point on the screen what you want the camera to focus on and it does - you can do that while shooting and shift focus. This mimics prefectly pro focus pulls. It also makes it easier to guide the camera to focus on what you want. This works in auto mode, it helps inform the autofocus, which usually has the bad haboit of focusing on what is easiest to focus on, which is not necessaily what you want. The Lx7 does not have a touch screen.

Gotcha. I like the fact that the lx7 is so much more portable too. Not sure that sony is worth another 100 or more dollars. thnx.
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post #10 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 05:54 PM
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heh.. just found this on a deal site: if you click through Panasonic's Facebook page, you can get the LX7 for $299:

https://www.facebook.com/Panasonic

(If you go to Panasonic site directly, the 'add to cart' button won't be there.)

Also B&H $322:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/889796-REG/Panasonic_Lumix_DMC_LX7_Digital_Camera.html
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post #11 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 06:29 PM
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Reviewing sample footage on Youtube and Vimeo gives you an idea of how good the video quality can be and how it can also turn out bad or mediocre
in some circumstances. Also shows you the difference between camcorder video and still camera video.

Example: Panasonic LX7 Sample:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phkhgBgzOmQ
Good brightness, sharpness and accurate color (white balance):

Another Panasonic LX7 Sample:
Bright and sharp but the colors are too warm (white balance is off).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zXjgPyOjMk
So that's a hint the camera may have a tendency to make colors too warm and so you might need to color correct your
video footage in a movie editing program. Or do alot of experimenting with in-camera white balance adjustments / compensation.

Here is typical camcorder footage: Panasonic HC-v700
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgLI69ms3Gg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wqjm3Va39M
Note how it is not quite as bright and is kinda dull overall as compared to still camera footage. And the blue sky colors are
kinda washed out or weird looking. Some people (me) hate that. Others don't seem to notice it or mind it.
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post #12 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by xfws View Post

heh.. just found this on a deal site: if you click through Panasonic's Facebook page, you can get the LX7 for $299:
https://www.facebook.com/Panasonic
(If you go to Panasonic site directly, the 'add to cart' button won't be there.)
Also B&H $322:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/889796-REG/Panasonic_Lumix_DMC_LX7_Digital_Camera.html

Nice! Thanks.

One more question: What's the deal with 'battery packs' these days? I guess I'm old school but for some reason I miss the convenience of AAs and being able to get them anywhere. Are most cameras requiring us to buy multiple $$$ backup 'battery packs'? Also, with a new model camera being released practically everyday, will I eventually not be able to find a replacement once it goes dead? Or is that the point--can't get a new battery so they make you buy a whole new camera down the road...?

thnx again
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post #13 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 06:40 PM
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SD90: Here we go again: No, no, no. Just because you find bad videos or good videos says little about any camera. You are generalizing from a selected sample of videos. It is ridiculous to generalize the capabilities or faults of a camera from sampling of videos on the web.

Some guy gets the wb wrong, and you claim that is a general fault of a camera? c'mon. This is complete nonsense.

If you know, from testing, about a camera shorctcoming, you can take a video to show it. But it is not possible to separate photographer competence from equipment prowess from a video without direct experience and testing of equipment. Good photographers can make a bad camera look great, and people who do not know what they are doing, can take awful videos from a great cameras.

And people who do not kwow what they don't know will post ludicrous claims and make false inferences from videos they see, evidently.

And you still insist that "bright' is a camera characteristic? Brightness is a function of exposure. Or do you mean color saturation? or contrast? Do you know what you mean?
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post #14 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videodunce View Post

Nice! Thanks.
One more question: What's the deal with 'battery packs' these days? I guess I'm old school but for some reason I miss the convenience of AAs and being able to get them anywhere. Are most cameras requiring us to buy multiple $$$ backup 'battery packs'? Also, with a new model camera being released practically everyday, will I eventually not be able to find a replacement once it goes dead? Or is that the point--can't get a new battery so they make you buy a whole new camera down the road...?
thnx again

With any camera, you're going to need extra batteries on hand. What comes with the camera kit is meant as a starter battery. One advantage of most camcorders is the ability to buy large extended battery packs that fit onto the outside of the camera (versus a fixed space inside a point and shoot) and shoot for hours. But that only means for point and shoots having to take one out and put another one in, not a big deal.

Most cameras, or camera series, will have a specific battery type. A couple of the Canon Powershot point and shoot do take AA batteries and shoot HD. Some of them may be on the lower-range. The quality may suit you...that is entirely up to you. And if you do get a camera that takes AA, it is a worthy investment to buy rechargeable AA's - otherwise disposable batteries on a camera are a huge money drain.
https://www.google.com/search?q=anon%20Powershot%20point%20and%20shoot%20do%20take%20AA%20batteries&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=tbF&tbo=d&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&sclient=psy-ab&q=Canon+Powershot+point+and+shoot+that+takes+AA+batteries&oq=Canon+Powershot+point+and+shoot+that+takes+AA+batteries&gs_l=serp.12...9783.11600.1.12495.5.5.0.0.0.0.89.347.5.5.0.les%3B..0.0...1c.1.oQYVoqoFS7E&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=e4732e036cc9a29f&bpcl=39650382&biw=960&bih=455

Your new camera won't outlive the ability to purchase additional batteries for it. They will be available for quite some time - especially on ebay. Speaking of; generic batteries on ebay for point and shoot cameras are generally safe and less expensive. I would be more wary of third party camcorder batteries. Buying generic is up to you.

The LX7 battery by Panasonic is $40, the Pearstone @ B&H is $20 and ebay has varying prices...although I would ask around and see what brand people have had success and/or bad experiences with.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=panasonic+lx7+battery&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=panasonic+lx7+battery&_sacat=0&_odkw=lx7+battery&_osacat=0
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post #15 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfws View Post

With any camera, you're going to need extra batteries on hand. What comes with the camera kit is meant as a starter battery. One advantage of most camcorders is the ability to buy large extended battery packs that fit onto the outside of the camera (versus a fixed space inside a point and shoot) and shoot for hours. But that only means for point and shoots having to take one out and put another one in, not a big deal.
Most cameras, or camera series, will have a specific battery type. A couple of the Canon Powershot point and shoot do take AA batteries and shoot HD. Some of them may be on the lower-range. The quality may suit you...that is entirely up to you. And if you do get a camera that takes AA, it is a worthy investment to buy rechargeable AA's - otherwise disposable batteries on a camera are a huge money drain.
https://www.google.com/search?q=anon%20Powershot%20point%20and%20shoot%20do%20take%20AA%20batteries&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=tbF&tbo=d&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&sclient=psy-ab&q=Canon+Powershot+point+and+shoot+that+takes+AA+batteries&oq=Canon+Powershot+point+and+shoot+that+takes+AA+batteries&gs_l=serp.12...9783.11600.1.12495.5.5.0.0.0.0.89.347.5.5.0.les%3B..0.0...1c.1.oQYVoqoFS7E&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=e4732e036cc9a29f&bpcl=39650382&biw=960&bih=455
Your new camera won't outlive the ability to purchase additional batteries for it. They will be available for quite some time - especially on ebay. Speaking of; generic batteries on ebay for point and shoot cameras are generally safe and less expensive. I would be more wary of third party camcorder batteries. Buying generic is up to you.
The LX7 battery by Panasonic is $40, the Pearstone @ B&H is $20 and ebay has varying prices...although I would ask around and see what brand people have had success and/or bad experiences with.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=panasonic+lx7+battery&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=panasonic+lx7+battery&_sacat=0&_odkw=lx7+battery&_osacat=0

Ok that makes sense. If I'm not mistaken, I believe the battery life estimates are between 300-400 shots. How much video does that equate to?
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post #16 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 07:31 PM
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Ok that makes sense. If I'm not mistaken, I believe the battery life estimates are between 300-400 shots. How much video does that equate to?
The instruction manuals are on line. Google the brand+model+manual and you will generally get there. If not, find the main website for the manufacturer and drill down to "support" for the camera. There will be charts or tables with battery life for various settings.

Bill
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post #17 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Looks like around an hour for video--pretty good.

But now I'm beginning to question this whole idea altogether LOL. Since we won't really *need* a replacement camera for many months to come, perhaps I should wait for price and technology to become more advantageous...? For an item like the LX7, am I better off waiting for new rollouts and a possible price drop, or would I have to wait an eternity to beat that $299 deal?
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post #18 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
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Looks like around an hour for video--pretty good.
But now I'm beginning to question this whole idea altogether LOL. Since we won't really *need* a replacement camera for many months to come, perhaps I should wait for price and technology to become more advantageous...? For an item like the LX7, am I better off waiting for new rollouts and a possible price drop, or would I have to wait an eternity to beat that $299 deal?

If you don't need it right away...the LX7 will eventually have a better on-sale price. As far as the permanent price; I don't know - the previous model LX5 is presently close to $400.

You can set a price point/budget and there will always be a decent camera to get.
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Some guy gets the wb wrong, and you claim that is a general fault of a camera? c'mon. This is complete nonsense.
I actually said: "that's a HINT the camera MAY have a tendency to make colors too warm." Example: Olympus cameras tend to produce warmer colors than Panasonic cameras, hence an Olympus owner has to color correct that warmth if it doesn't appeal to them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

If you know, from testing, about a camera shorctcoming, you can take a video to show it. But it is not possible to separate photographer competence from equipment prowess from a video without direct experience and testing of equipment.
Sample videos posted to Youtube MAY tell a buyer IN ADVANCE if a camera has chronic image deficiencies - like the famous "Biondi-blue sky" color problem of the Panasonic TM700 & TM900 camcorders.
Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

And you still insist that "bright' is a camera characteristic? Brightness is a function of exposure. Or do you mean color saturation? or contrast? Do you know what you mean?
Different cameras can sometimes produce brighter images than others in a way that exposure compensation cannot fully compensate for without causing the image to appear overexposed. Example: Both the still images and video footage of my Olympus E-PL1 Pen camera are slightly brighter overall (hence slightly more appealing) than my Olympus OM-D, E-M5.
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Thanks everyone for all your help--much appreciated!
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post #21 of 26 Old 12-09-2012, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
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And you still insist that "bright' is a camera characteristic? Brightness is a function of exposure. Or do you mean color saturation? or contrast? Do you know what you mean?

To my eyes the video footage of many still cameras such as the Panasonic LX7 (only $299.00):

https://vimeo.com/49416801
https://vimeo.com/49332038
https://vimeo.com/50389633

is distinctly brighter, clearer, and vividly yet accurately colorful than the footage of much more expensive camcorders like the:

Panasonic X900 (909) X800, TM900, V700 etc.:
https://vimeo.com/47190177
http://vimeo.com/41644852

I am unaware of any camera settings that can be applied to the X900, TM900, V700, etc. that can make them
deliver the same bright, clear, real life color footage of the LX7.
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post #22 of 26 Old 12-10-2012, 11:59 AM
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This is sometimes called vivid or dynamic picture. To achieve that, you can increase the color/saturation and contrast. If you want artificial sharpening, you can always increase the sharpness all the way. You can also increase the exposure a bit if you love blown out highlights.
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post #23 of 26 Old 12-10-2012, 05:56 PM
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Here is a frame grab from a TM900 video that shows the below statement to be not generaiizable to anyone besides the person who posted it.

The TM900, according to the poster who made the claim below, produces "dull and lifeless" video. Does this look vivid and clear enough (standard settings):



[click to enlarge]

The statement:

"To my eyes the video footage of many still cameras such as the Panasonic LX7 (only $299.00) is distinctly brighter, clearer, and vividly yet accurately colorful than the footage of much more expensive camcorders like the TM900

I am unaware of any camera settings that can be applied to the X900, TM900, V700, etc. that can make them
deliver the same bright, clear, real life color footage of the LX7."
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post #24 of 26 Old 12-11-2012, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

Here is a frame grab from a TM900 video that shows the below statement to be not generaiizable to anyone besides the person who posted it.
The TM900, according to the poster who made the claim below, produces "dull and lifeless" video. Does this look vivid and clear enough (standard settings):

[click to enlarge]

Again, you havn't shown a LANDSCAPE sample of TM900 footage that's vivid and clear like the LX7's landscape footage is. Reason: The TM900, like all other Panasonic prosumer camcorders, is incapable of matching still camera landcape footage (including Panasonics own LX7) even with the exposure, saturation, contrast and sharpness cranked up. I know because I spent months trying to do so myself when I had a TM900. The LX7 footage, by contrast looks vivid and clear even in when played at 360p standard definition on Youtube.
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post #25 of 26 Old 12-11-2012, 12:35 PM
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This is silly (see below). The LX7 has substantially lower resolution than mid-level camcorders, and there is no reason LANDSCAPE videos should have different properties than non-LANDSCAPE videos. The frame grab I have supplied, from a real TM900 video, shows that when the scene is bright (bright sun) the TM900 captures it perfectly. The set of flowers is no different from a LANDSCAPE. Once again you have no idea what you are talking about. I am sorry about your bad experience, but that is no excuse for your misleading and incorrect posts.

"Again, you havn't [sic] shown a LANDSCAPE sample of TM900 footage that's vivid and clear like the LX7's landscape footage is."
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post #26 of 26 Old 12-20-2012, 02:39 PM
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Sorry for resurrecting this thread but I had to comment on it. A month ago I came here and started the same topic and my choices came down between the S100, HX30V, or the LX7. I just bought the LX7 2 days ago directly from Panasonic with a promo code all for $275. Unfortunately it expired within one day, but thankfully I was one of the few people who snagged the deal. These wonderful people here influenced my choice, thanks again!
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