Benchmarks: Sony TD10 and Panasonic TM900
I took the camera out on a first expedition to get used to it and practice for the big parade this week-end. These are my first impressions. I shot at 108060i 3D, as that is what I will use for the parade, which will have plenty of motion (that is the point of a parade).
Just great to have buttons for controls (that you in part select), so one does not have to go into menus on the lcd for quick changes of settings.
Also, great: a separate ring for exposure. I do not trust automatic exposure and am constantly adjusting exposure to get the right look, and need anyway to lock down the shutter. But see below.
The color is fantastic (accurate), the dynamic range seems better than the TD10, and the range for 3D seems better also.
The viewfinder is sharp and clear and enables one to judge well WB, focus and exposure. Makes using the camera in bright light a delight. In bright light I did not use the LCD at all, except to review shots in 3D.
The guide for minimum and maximum window for effective 3D is very useful.
The not so good, but not really bad:
Someone asked me within two minutes of taking out the camera if I worked for a newspaper. I never get that question with the TD10. Don't need that.
The camera with big battery weighs a lot. I cannot hold it with one hand like the TD10 and just walk around with it in one hand. I added a shoulder strap, but my arm is sore from holding up the camera while walking around and shooting (the latter with two hands). I originally though the handle was a waste and made the camera too big, but it is almost necessary. It is also useful for low-perspective shots, which are very effective, especially in 3D. And the big battery really lasts - 2.5 hours of video are possible, which seemsconsistent with my little expereince with it and the rundown so far.
One really needs ND filters. This is the big one: first shot on a bright day had zebras (90%) showing on the main subject. I closed the iris all the way down (to f11, the minimum), and the zebras were still there! I would have had to change the shutter speed (from 1/60th). This is a major issue: does anyone have a relatively cheap solution for adding an ND filter?
The OIS is not sufficient to give a steady shot handheld at full telephoto. This was not true with the TD10 or TM900. I though the heavier camera might result in less shake, but there is more. On the other hand the 10X telephoto 3D is quite nice; no cardboard effects yet.
The quality of the videos in standard scene mode are good. I hope to try modes that max the dynamic range.
Here is the outdoors test video, created as 1/2-frame sbs in Vegas Pro. You can see the good and the not so good in the video. There are a few deliberate pop-out shots, some telephoto shots and medium shots for depth assessment. Also some really diffcult 3D shots with very near and far objects.
Again, double click to select the 3D mode of your choice and 1080p.