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Why is it my $600 Nikon takes better movies than my $1,200 Panny camcorder?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I have a Nikon 3100 DSLR, and the video quality is far superior than what I get from my dedicated camcorder (Panasonic HDC TM300). Is this normal? And if so, why do people buy a camcorder when a decent DSLR can take better video?
post #2 of 20
Silent/smooth zoom, continuous AF, extended battery are the 3 main things that I can think of.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkside View Post

Silent/smooth zoom, continuous AF, extended battery are the 3 main things that I can think of.

Thanks Darkside. Is it common for a mid-range DSLR like my 3100 to have better video quality than a dedicated camcorder like the TM300 (a highly respected one at that) ? Forgetting the zooming and AF issues for a moment.
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by retroeric View Post

I have a Nikon 3100 DSLR, and the video quality is far superior than what I get from my dedicated camcorder (Panasonic HDC TM300). Is this normal? And if so, why do people buy a camcorder when a decent DSLR can take better video?

My guess its because most people would consider this TM300 camcorder video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ariHwotgDVQ to be alot sharper and more detailed than this Nikon 3100 DSLR video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFQ68vcHt1A
post #5 of 20
A few more (I was in a hurry on the other post):

1) Time limit (10 min for your D3100) on the DSLR for video (some reported overheat). I just filmed a Karate promotion that lasted 1 hr 15 min. Can't do it with the D3100.
2) Ergonomics - much easier to grip and pan, especially when you have a fully articulated LCD screen. I believe your D3100 has a fixed LCD screen.
3) External mic input and audio output
4) EVF to use in sunlight. I believe your D3100's VF goes black in video mode.

I'm sure there are more, but that's all I can think of for now.
post #6 of 20
To add to the list, the D3100 has disgusting moire and aliasing. Who want's that!
I couldn't resist.

OK, their are pluses and minuses when comparing any big chip camera to a traditional camcorder and in a lot of cases, it depends on what you planning on using it. Personally I have both a Panasonic SD600 (since I really couldn't pass it up for $300) and the GH2 (since it's the closest you'll ever get to having the benefits of a camcorder without spending a lot more. I'm capable of using the benefits of both.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SD90 View Post

My guess its because most people would consider this TM300 camcorder video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ariHwotgDVQ to be alot sharper and more detailed than this Nikon 3100 DSLR video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFQ68vcHt1A

Here I just made this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8koDXwRbeHM

Look especially at :45 and then at :56. Ignoring the focus and stability issues (sorry!) the picture quality at :45 (Panasonic) is not as good as it is at :56 (Nikon). The Panny's color isn't as bright and vivid and there are more artifacts. Why is that?
post #8 of 20
Your Panasonic samples look like utter crap. Either something wrong with your settings or the camcorder is broken or it is not a Panasonic.

I shot this video with an earlier model (HDC-SD9) that has much smaller sensor and pretty bad light sensitivity, but I did not get as much grain and other defects as your video shows.
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by retroeric View Post

Thanks Darkside. Is it common for a mid-range DSLR like my 3100 to have better video quality than a dedicated camcorder like the TM300 (a highly respected one at that) ? Forgetting the zooming and AF issues for a moment.

People use DSLRs to shoot MOVIES. The House Season 6 finale was shot entirely on a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR.

I sold my Canon HV20 camcorder, because my Canon T2i (which is now $650 with a kit lens) wiped the floor with it. Slap a really good lens on it and the low light is even more amazing.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks ungermann, I'll have to look into the settings.

On an unrelated but related note, Paulo (or anyone else) do you think the new Canon 5D Mark III will have superior video quality to the Panasonic GH2?
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTyson View Post

People use DSLRs to shoot MOVIES. The House Season 6 finale was shot entirely on a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR.

I sold my Canon HV20 camcorder, because my Canon T2i (which is now $650 with a kit lens) wiped the floor with it. Slap a really good lens on it and the low light is even more amazing.

I had the same two and still have the HV30 just to play tapes my findings in good light were the opposite the hv had sharper cleaner footage,
Retroeric no
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by retroeric View Post

Thanks ungermann, I'll have to look into the settings.

On an unrelated but related note, Paulo (or anyone else) do you think the new Canon 5D Mark III will have superior video quality to the Panasonic GH2?

Here is what Andrew Reid of eoshd says after his first test shoot with the 5D Mark III:

http://www.eoshd.com/content/7528/sp...st-impressions

"Image quality in video mode was a mixed bag. Resolution is a bit of a let down. The GH2 has far more.

You notice this mainly on wide shots of landscapes, the outlines of finely detailed trees, the brickwork of an old building. For medium-close shots of actors or closer subjects in general (and macro of course) the soft resolution is less of a problem. A shallow depth of field also helps to heighten your sense of resolution.

But to be honest I'm a little disappointed. It may have a full frame sensor but the GH2 clearly beats the 5D Mark III for resolution in video mode..."


I am personally not so excited about the 'full frame look' that I'd spend 3 times what a GH2 costs to get a fuzzier image. Some people are, which is fine, but it doesn't make sense to me.

Cheers,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by retroeric View Post

do you think the new Canon 5D Mark III will have superior video quality to the Panasonic GH2?

Probably not. Alot depends on one's definition of "video quality". If one desires the ultimate in sharpness and detail resolution, plus good audio without adding accessories, all at a relatively low price, I think the Panasonic prosumer camcorders are tops. Like the $750 TM900 (and it's slightly updated model that will be called the X900)

tm900 camcorder:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBQ9HkSX2fw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKaonDUM8-I

DSLR's tend to produce a little brighter, more vivid video, but with softer sharpness and detail resolution and inferior sound (unless a high quality external mic is added).

GH2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87si8_ucikw

Canon 60D:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1857imkGKo

I personally sold my Canon 600D (T3i) after getting my TM900 camcorder because the video of the TM900 was so much sharper and more detailed, the audio was much better, the image stablization and zooming vastly better.

At times I miss the bright and more vivid video of a DSLR, so I have pre-ordered an Olympus OM-D, EM-5 ($1000) It combines reasonably sharp, detailed video, plus the fabulously rich, yet realistic Olympus colors that blow any Canon out of the ball park IMHO.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SD90 View Post

........and inferior sound (unless a high quality external mic is added).

You can't plug in a decent mic because DSLRs don't have an XLR input. I would use a portable sound recorder with a Sennheiser 416 shotgun, sync it with the video with PluralEyes.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by retroeric View Post

I have a Nikon 3100 DSLR, and the video quality is far superior than what I get from my dedicated camcorder (Panasonic HDC TM300). Is this normal? And if so, why do people buy a camcorder when a decent DSLR can take better video?

Retroeric, I don't think that you quite understand the modern world. How did you test this "video quality"?

When I record a video, and then think about rendering, my first question concerns where/how people will view the rendered image.

Audio? You say nothing and yet, there is something called 5.1 and even a Foley artist.

---

Good cameras record raw video/audio. With good software, it is possible to edit/render the raw video/audio to a file/disc that other people can watch/enjoy.

As I say, retroeric, I don't think that you quite understand the modern world.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by flintyplus View Post

I had the same two and still have the HV30 just to play tapes my findings in good light were the opposite the hv had sharper cleaner footage,
Retroeric no

Lens, F-stop, ISO settings?

Also, thing about big sensor vs tiny sensor is usually the camcorders have very deep depth of field which automatically makes footage look sharper in most shots. Still, resolution is not the end all be all by any means. The T2i appeared to have very noticeably higher dynamic range than my HV20 and performed way better in low to moderate lighting, which was a HUGE bonus and I gotta have the ability for shallow depth. I hate extremely deep depth of field except when needed. Dynamic range is the number 1 priority followed by shallow depth of field capability and by low light capability for me.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by August1991 View Post

Retroeric, I don't think that you quite understand the modern world. How did you test this "video quality"?

When I record a video, and then think about rendering, my first question concerns where/how people will view the rendered image.

Audio? You say nothing and yet, there is something called 5.1 and even a Foley artist.

---

Good cameras record raw video/audio. With good software, it is possible to edit/render the raw video/audio to a file/disc that other people can watch/enjoy.

As I say, retroeric, I don't think that you quite understand the modern world.

I guess I don't. What I do know is I uploaded both cameras footage the exact same way to iMovie and immediately exported in the highest quality possible (1080p). So tell me where I went wrong in my "rendering" and why one looks so inferior to the other.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by retroeric View Post

I guess I don't. What I do know is I uploaded both cameras footage the exact same way to iMovie and immediately exported in the highest quality possible (1080p). So tell me where I went wrong in my "rendering" and why one looks so inferior to the other.

Upload the same fragment unaltered to a file-hosting service.
post #19 of 20
And post here the exact settings that you used to record the video. Maybe we can figure out what went wrong, because something surely went wrong. Your camcorder is an older model (2009) but even so the quality is substandard.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
I will do that soon, thanks!
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