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The Official Panasonic HDC-SD/TM90 Owners Thread

post #1 of 176
Thread Starter 
I searched a few different ways for an "owners" type threads for these two sister models of camcorders but did not find one . Given the recent popularity of this camera on the forum, I thought it would make sense to make a single place for owners to congregate when talking about this camera and to exchange info with potential buyers. If there is an officlal thread for these specific models, let me know and I'll ask a moderator to nuke this post.

As a new owner myself, I know that I am particularly interested in hearing from more seasoned owners of these cameras and what they have found to work out best for various settings/techniques in different situations. There are a variety of good threads I've fund that taggle some of the topics on settings for the camera, and I will try and go through that info and congregate it into this threads, perhaps yielding an FAQ.
post #2 of 176
Thread Starter 
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post #3 of 176
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post #4 of 176
I too own the tm90. I would like to know if anyone is using iframe to record in. I have an iMac and use iMovie. Recording in 1080/60p takes a lot of work getting it into iMovie and very large files. I use this camcorder for home movies and make dvd's. I'm hoping iframe is the way to go.
post #5 of 176
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohills View Post

I too own the tm90. I would like to know if anyone is using iframe to record in. I have an iMac and use iMovie. Recording in 1080/60p takes a lot of work getting it into iMovie and very large files. I use this camcorder for home movies and make dvd's. I'm hoping iframe is the way to go.

iFrame defeats the purpose of having an HD video camera IMO. iFrame is 960x540@30p. Compare that to 1920x1080@60p and that's a substantial difference.

From Apple, who created iFrame: "The iFrame Video format is designed by Apple to speed up importing and editing by keeping the content in its native recorded format while editing. Based on industry standard technologies such as H.264 and AAC audio, iFrame produces small file sizes and simplifies the process of working with Video recorded with your camera."

IMO, the format was created to appeal to the world of iPhones and iPad's and devices with lower resolutions, not for computers and HDTV's.

I'm a believer in capturing the best quality you can, and then down converting. If you always record in iFrame, you can never gain back that lost quality. Sure, you can up convert the iFrame to 1920x1080, but that's not the same as recording it natively.

Check out this link: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1375913 and the Clipwrap application.

I've not used Clipwrap, but based on why i read and see on the forum, the guys who create it seem to provide some pretty good support and listen to user feedback. It's also a really easy program to use, so it may simply your process of converting the 1080/60p footage to something you can use easily in iMovie.

Downside to the recording in 1080/60p and transcoding to a format iMovie can use is extra disc space consumed and time elapsed during this process. I'm not sure how long transcoding takes in general for every hour of footage, but it will also depend on your processing power.
post #6 of 176
Thread Starter 
Decided to see what Clipwrap is all about. I am a Mac (MBAir) and PC users (desktop), so I use my desktop for video work due to more power and external monitor.

I had a 38 seconds 1080/60p file recorded in iA mode on my TM90. The .m2ts file was 117 MB.

ClipWrap only converts the first minute of a video in unlicensed mode, so in the case of this sample video, it covered all of it.

I told ClipWrap to transcode the file to Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC), which is recommended to use for importing into iMovie (at least from what I read in ClipWrap forum). The conversion process took 1 min 53 seconds on my MBAir, which has 2.13ghz Core 2 Duo process, 4 GB RAM, and GeForce 320M Graphics. The .MOV file created was 691 MB

The file import into iMovie just fine.

Based on those test #'s, it appears that the transcoded file will be an average of 5.5-6x larger than the original .m2ts. 1080/60p records at 28Mbps, which is 3.5MB/sec. So that's about 210MB/minute or 12.6GB/hour. That would yield a transcoded .MOV of around 1.26GB/min or 75.6GB/hour. That's a lot of space. I did not out the file from iMovie to see what the final output video size was. (would take more time than I care to commit for my experiment)

Conversion times will be heavily hardware dependent. On something more powerful, you might get to a time factor that equates to 1 1/2 minutes for every minute of source material, maybe a 1:1 ratio.

An alternative to the above is to tell ClipWrap to "re-wrap" the file, and let iMovie transcode it. The rewrap took 4 seconds and the output file was only 139MB. That's more enjoyable. However, when I did the import into iMovie, it was estimating 15-20 minutes to bring the file is, as iMovie was now doing some form of transcoding. No clue what the file size would be on iMovie's transcode, but in theory, it should be of a similar size to what ClipWrap's transcoded file size was.

So, it's certainly doable to stick with recording in 1080/60p and use something like ClipWrap to convert to an intermediate file that can be mastered in iMovie, but it will require a good amount of "scratch disk" space for longer recordings, and it will require setting aside extra time to get that initial conversion so you can use iMovie.

From reading a little further in the ClipWrap forums, one of the ClipWrap supper people from ClipWrap says Final Cut Pro X ($299 in the app store) with a fast enough computer can handle using the "rewrap" files, and not need the transcoded files. I suspect this means that your only actual re-encoding would occur on final project output (assuming your edits required re-encoding). If you just wanted to chop a big recording into smaller ones, no re-encoding should be necessary. However, this same person does not that on slower computers or if you need to do a lot of heavy effects, you would want to use a transcoded file, and not a rewrapped file. One poster says that ProRes is the transcoding output of choice if using FCPX.
post #7 of 176
Thank you for starting this thread. I also own the TM90. I look forward to reading about everyone's experiences with this camcorder.

I love the compact size of the cam, easy to keep in a pocket or large handbag. I don't get to play with it as much as I would like to, but when I do it's a pleasure to use it. I also have the SD600K, but I like the longer zoom on the TM90.
post #8 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDClown View Post

I am particularly interested in hearing from more seasoned owners of these cameras and what they have found to work out best for various settings/techniques in different situations.

Settings is my primary interest too. For example, I am wondering what settings (shutter speed, aperture, gain, etc) one should use to minimize the "smearing" one commonly sees in parts of many outdoor Youtube videos like this one?: http://i636.photobucket.com/albums/uu87/4ALC/smear.jpg
post #9 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDClown View Post

I searched a few different ways for an "owners" type threads for these two sister models of camcorders but did not find one .

This thread http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1354983 already has four pages.

P.S. I could never understand how user threads can be "official".
post #10 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDClown View Post

An alternative to the above is to tell ClipWrap to "re-wrap" the file, and let iMovie transcode it. The rewrap took 4 seconds and the output file was only 139MB. That's more enjoyable. However, when I did the import into iMovie, it was estimating 15-20 minutes to bring the file is, as iMovie was now doing some form of transcoding.

Piece of junk, I mean iMovie. Can it at least edit non-1080p60 clips natively? What if you shot an interlaced clip and re-wrapped it and fed it to iMovie, would it convert it too?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HDClown View Post

From reading a little further in the ClipWrap forums, one of the ClipWrap supper people from ClipWrap says Final Cut Pro X ($299 in the app store) with a fast enough computer can handle using the "rewrap" files, and not need the transcoded files.

See, it is only $300 and you are golden. At the same time most sub-$100 Windows editors can work with native AVCHD files.
post #11 of 176
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ungermann View Post

Piece of junk, I mean iMovie. Can it at least edit non-1080p60 clips natively? What if you shot an interlaced clip and re-wrapped it and fed it to iMovie, would it convert it too?

See, it is only $300 and you are golden. At the same time most sub-$100 Windows editors can work with native AVCHD files.

Pretty much summed it up with those first three words IMO

iMovie has extremely limited capabilities and is designed for the lowest common denominator user (nothing wrong with that), but it has has no regard for a user who wants a little more control over their world. As an example, when it comes to setting up a project, you have options for Aspect Ratio of 4:3 and 16:9, and Frame Rate of "30 fps NTSC", "25fps PAL" and "24fps Cinema". Nothing else to choose from for these settings.

It will natively handle 1080/60i without needing to transcode on import, but since there is no project settings to retain 60i footage (should you wish to do so), iMovie will not let you.

But, from what I've read, there are ways to trick iMovie into doing things it was not designed to do, and giving you more control. This guys book is supposed to be 'the bible" for using iMovie with modern HD camcorders: http://www.mindspring.com/~d-v-c/page1/page1.html. It appears that it can natively work with anything except 720/1080p50/p60, but due to limited project settings, it will force you into certain containers without workarounds.

I got a kick out of the first statement on the page from the link above... "The Ins and Outs of iMovie ā€” Edition 4 for version 11 ā€” is the perfect guide for those who want to use Apple's revolutionary iMovie". Revolutionary, snicker.
post #12 of 176
I have owned a Pana 90 for a couple of months now and I like it. I also just purchased a Canon M40 I am going to test the low light capibility between them both. I think the "street light at night" sceenes may not be the best comparison, for normal use. I will base mine on people, in various indoor lighting conditions, as I need mine for weddings and most people, shoot indoor subjects. It may take me a while, but I will report back. I shot some quick auto indoor footage last night, and it did not look better than the TM90, for real life shooting. The gain boosted the grain quiet a bit. I will try to find the perfect manual setting (for both) and retest.

But so far, in a quick compare of unit to unit, the Pana is an overall winner. As some have said, the Canon menu is CRAZY and the LCD is much dimmer. Of course the zoom range is limited. The ONLY thing that would make me to want to keep the Canon, is if the low light turns out better, for my specific use.

Randy
post #13 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYRandy View Post

I have owned a Pana 90 for a couple of months now and I like it. I also just purchased a Canon M40 I am going to test the low light capibility between them both. I think the "street light at night" sceenes may not be the best comparison, for normal use. I will base mine on people, in various indoor lighting conditions, as I need mine for weddings and most people, shoot indoor subjects. It may take me a while, but I will report back. I shot some quick auto indoor footage last night, and it did not look better than the TM90, for real life shooting. The gain boosted the grain quiet a bit. I will try to find the perfect manual setting (for both) and retest.

But so far, in a quick compare of unit to unit, the Pana is an overall winner. As some have said, the Canon menu is CRAZY and the LCD is much dimmer. Of course the zoom range is limited. The ONLY thing that would make me to want to keep the Canon, is if the low light turns out better, for my specific use.

Randy

Hi Randy, I'm looking forward to the results of your comparison as I was deciding between these two cams and ended up choosing the M41 for its low-light abilities. I also agree that indoor shooting is more of an interest vs. shooting dark streets at night. As I live overseas it will be a few weeks before the M41 will be in my hands, so in the meantime I can only get my "fix" from reading reviews from fellow owners like yourself. Actually that is not entirely true, as I've borrowed an HF-10 from a friend to tide me over (it's a nice cam, but low-light perf isn't good enough for my needs).
post #14 of 176
Thread Starter 
I took a few real world clips last night, indoors, low light (in my living room), full auto. i uploaded one of the short clips to Vimeo as-is (1080/60p) but it doesn't seem to want to play back. I thought Vimeo can take 1080/60p natively? Do I need to convert it to something else? If someone can give me a little info, I will get a file up so you can see.
post #15 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDClown View Post

i uploaded one of the short clips to Vimeo as-is (1080/60p) but it doesn't seem to want to play back. I thought Vimeo can take 1080/60p natively? Do I need to convert it to something else? If someone can give me a little info, I will get a file up so you can see.

I had the same problem, but intermittently. Tech support gave their usual canned response: "be sure you are using the latest edition of Firefox". Anyway if the straight 1080/60p mts file fails to play, you can try uploading again using a different web browser. Or convert the 1080/60p to a mp4 file using vimeos recommended settings: http://vimeo.com/help/compression
post #16 of 176
I have not uploaded a native clip in a while but for the last ones I did, about 1 or 2 of those clips just did not want to work when the others did. I would try uploading again and another option would be to use HD Writer which can be used to put the files on a computer which is still loss-less and another option would be to use something like Clip Wrap which would also be loss-less.
post #17 of 176
post #18 of 176
Still seem pretty pricey for non-OEM batteries.
post #19 of 176
Hey guys, I'm strongly considering buying a TM90 but there's just one question I have that I can't find an answer to anywhere. Does anyone know if you can record video while simultaneously outputting to a TV via the HDMI port (or at the very least via the normal A/V outputs)? Specifically, I want to use this camera for a pinball tournament where I will be both recording the game footage and outputting the video to a large monitor for spectators to watch. I've heard that it "should" be able to do this, but never any absolute confirmation and I'd really love to be sure before I pick one up. I have heard that some camcorders will actually shut off the HDMI output when recording is started, so I'm a little nervous.

Would any of you be willing to test this out and let me know? It would be hugely appreciated. Thanks!
post #20 of 176
Thread Starter 
Here is that real world low light TM90 video I was talking about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSuBZi5QCnk&hd=1

This was shot in iA mode. That room is about 14' across from couch to TV and about 18' wide. The only lights on are two 60w equivalent end-table lights, plus the light from the TV. It was night time outside.

iA pushed the gain up to 18dB. I played around a few times with manual and putting it down to 12dB but it was pretty dark that low, although it did look a lot less noisy. I will have to do some more tests, as this kind of indoor environment is very common in my house. I don't like turning on all the lights because it makes rooms hot :/
post #21 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayman86 View Post

has anyone else noticed these?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/150711535989
http://www.ebay.com/itm/150711050156
http://www.ebay.com/itm/220906751684

im tempted to try them out.

HUM! If those are real 360 hi capacity decoded batteries, then that is a good deal. That would also be the first generic decoded that i have seen for this camera. The other current generics are not decoded are require a cable to be plugged into the camcera charger port, or require to be mounted behind the orginal battery (piggy backed). The pana is $90+.

I think I may try one of these. Good find!

Randy
post #22 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDClown View Post

Here is that real world low light TM90 video I was talking about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSuBZi5QCnk&hd=1

This was shot in iA mode. That room is about 14' across from couch to TV and about 18' wide. The only lights on are two 60w equivalent end-table lights, plus the light from the TV. It was night time outside.

iA pushed the gain up to 18dB. I played around a few times with manual and putting it down to 12dB but it was pretty dark that low, although it did look a lot less noisy. I will have to do some more tests, as this kind of indoor environment is very common in my house. I don't like turning on all the lights because it makes rooms hot :/

I have both the TM90 and Canon M40, and am currently running low light compare test. So, far i have experienced what you say. On iA, the TM90 is not bad, and going to manual and decreasing gain, helps reduce grain, but darkens the output. M40 seems to be better on IA mode. But still experimenting with both.

It all boils down to each specific situation that you are filming in, and will vary with each use. I don't think it is an exact answer, but requires a custom approach for each use, as to say which is best. I think just learning how each unit works and knowing how/when to make changes, will give the best outcome.

The TM90 is a MUCH better overall camera, and I perfer it. But the M40 looks to be better (lower grain) at the low light threashold, of the TM90. But if the majority of your shooting is above that low light threashold, or the TM90 low light threashold is acceptable, then i would recomend the TM90 over the M40, every time. The TM90 low light performance is not bad, and should not be expressed as that, its only not quite as good as the M40. For most consumer use, the TM90 features will be more usefull than the M40 low light.

Randy
post #23 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayman86 View Post

has anyone else noticed these?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/150711535989
http://www.ebay.com/itm/150711050156
http://www.ebay.com/itm/220906751684

im tempted to try them out.

Looks legit to me. Seems to be the first real generic decoded battery. its the high cap VBK-360 also.

I just ordered the single battery. it's coming from China, so it will take 2-3 weeks. I will let you know.

Randy
post #24 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDClown View Post

Here is that real world low light TM90 video I was talking about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSuBZi5QCnk&hd=1

:/

You got a Corgi! I do as well. btw, cute video.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyconover View Post

Hey guys, I'm strongly considering buying a TM90 but there's just one question I have that I can't find an answer to anywhere. Does anyone know if you can record video while simultaneously outputting to a TV via the HDMI port (or at the very least via the normal A/V outputs)? Specifically, I want to use this camera for a pinball tournament where I will be both recording the game footage and outputting the video to a large monitor for spectators to watch. I've heard that it "should" be able to do this, but never any absolute confirmation and I'd really love to be sure before I pick one up. I have heard that some camcorders will actually shut off the HDMI output when recording is started, so I'm a little nervous.

Would any of you be willing to test this out and let me know? It would be hugely appreciated. Thanks!

It should. I have a TM900 and the HDMI port is active while recording. I'd be shocked if the TM90's wasn't. I'm sure someone will chime in here and confirm it.
post #25 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYRandy View Post

I have both the TM90 and Canon M40, and am currently running low light compare test. So, far i have experienced what you say. On iA, the TM90 is not bad, and going to manual and decreasing gain, helps reduce grain, but darkens the output. M40 seems to be better on IA mode. But still experimenting with both.

It all boils down to each specific situation that you are filming in, and will vary with each use. I don't think it is an exact answer, but requires a custom approach for each use, as to say which is best. I think just learning how each unit works and knowing how/when to make changes, will give the best outcome.

The TM90 is a MUCH better overall camera, and I perfer it. But the M40 looks to be better (lower grain) at the low light threashold, of the TM90. But if the majority of your shooting is above that low light threashold, or the TM90 low light threashold is acceptable, then i would recomend the TM90 over the M40, every time. The TM90 low light performance is not bad, and should not be expressed as that, its only not quite as good as the M40. For most consumer use, the TM90 features will be more usefull than the M40 low light.

Randy

do you mind doing a side by side video of both cameras in low light? i just wanna see the difference, if you may

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyconover View Post

Hey guys, I'm strongly considering buying a TM90 but there's just one question I have that I can't find an answer to anywhere. Does anyone know if you can record video while simultaneously outputting to a TV via the HDMI port (or at the very least via the normal A/V outputs)? Specifically, I want to use this camera for a pinball tournament where I will be both recording the game footage and outputting the video to a large monitor for spectators to watch. I've heard that it "should" be able to do this, but never any absolute confirmation and I'd really love to be sure before I pick one up. I have heard that some camcorders will actually shut off the HDMI output when recording is started, so I'm a little nervous.

Would any of you be willing to test this out and let me know? It would be hugely appreciated. Thanks!


just got mines today and it worked thru hdmi. though i didnt hear much audio while recording.
post #26 of 176
Question for the TM90/SD90 owners...

Is there a way to determine if a shot is overexposed?

I know the SD800/TM900 both have a histogram and zebra stripes (shows overexposed areas in the image) that the TM90 doesn't have. Just wondering if there is some way on the TM90.

Can you lock the exposure?
Does the Intelligent Exposure keep changing the image where it may look darker, then get lighter or is it always even?

I'm wondering if these little TM90's can be used in a brightly lit environment (lights) while being able to to keep the exposure balanced, even with camera movement...
post #27 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by xfws View Post

Question for the TM90/SD90 owners...

Is there a way to determine if a shot is overexposed?

No! Other than look at highlighted areas in the image. Blue sky, clouds, walls behind lamps.

I know the SD800/TM900 both have a histogram and zebra stripes (shows overexposed areas in the image) that the TM90 doesn't have. Just wondering if there is some way on the TM90.

Can you lock the exposure?

Yes, Exit IA mode and set shutter speed which locks it then set iris manually if you don't want the image brightness to vary at all.

Does the Intelligent Exposure keep changing the image where it may look darker, then get lighter or is it always even?

It will shift as the peak lighting shifts.

I'm wondering if these little TM90's can be used in a brightly lit environment (lights) while being able to to keep the exposure balanced, even with camera movement...

I get good results turning off IA mode and using Spotlight mode and turning on Intelligent contrast(not IA mode). The image doesn't over saturate and the average lighting is balanced as well as it can be for most situations. If the contrast range between the brightest and darkest is too great then you should probably allow for some over saturation or you could post process using gamma adjustments. You would have to experiment for the best option. At least this little camera has the manual settings to get you close.
post #28 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronomy View Post

I get good results turning off IA mode and using Spotlight mode and turning on Intelligent contrast(not IA mode). The image doesn't over saturate and the average lighting is balanced as well as it can be for most situations. If the contrast range between the brightest and darkest is too great then you should probably allow for some over saturation or you could post process using gamma adjustments. You would have to experiment for the best option. At least this little camera has the manual settings to get you close.

thanks, Ronomy...

I've used cameras where you move it and there is a visible change with exposure correction.

I know the SD800 would suit my needs as far as having the zebra stripes, but if I could get proper exposure from the TM90, I am interested in the smaller size and the fact that it's going for $165 cheaper than the SD800 this week.
post #29 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by xfws View Post

thanks, Ronomy...

I've used cameras where you move it and there is a visible change with exposure correction.

I know the SD800 would suit my needs as far as having the zebra stripes, but if I could get proper exposure from the TM90, I am interested in the smaller size and the fact that it's going for $165 cheaper than the SD800 this week.

I came from a Sony DVCAM with zebra and once I came up with the combo settings I mentioned for the TM90 I have been very happy. The 28mm lens built in is great and the hybrid OIS is really something. Indoors you might use IA but you can do better in manual mode and adjusting your self. Even turning off IA and using standard auto exposure can yield very good results.

Intelligent contrast works well at keeping average brightness level in most scenes.

Ron
post #30 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronomy View Post

Intelligent contrast works well at keeping average brightness level in most scenes.

Ron

Ronomy, Do you mean in direct sunlight scenes like at the beach the Intelligent Contrast keeps the average brightness level(non clipping). Or do you use IC in overcast lighted scenes as well? In overcast or cloudy days the whites don't seem to become blown out.
How do you put the camera in standard auto exposure mode? Do you mean press manual button and shoot from there?
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