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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently become an owner of VX870 and I am beginning to fall in love with this wonderful camcorder. I just wanted to create this thread so that the owners of Panasonic VX870 &WX970 could share tips and ask questions regarding settings, functions, etc.

Please share your tips, questions, and suggestions freely about these camcorders.

Cheers,
 

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I have recently become an owner of VX870 and I am beginning to fall in love with this wonderful camcorder. I just wanted to create this thread so that the owners of Panasonic VX870 &WX970 could share tips and ask questions regarding settings, functions, etc.

Please share your tips, questions, and suggestions freely about these camcorders.

Cheers,
I am comparing this camcorder with the Sony AX33.How do you regard the image stabilization on the Panasonic and can you record stills when recording 4K videos?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I am comparing this camcorder with the Sony AX33.How do you regard the image stabilization on the Panasonic and can you record stills when recording 4K videos?
I use a monopod in most of my shooting and so the image stabilization is less of a problem for me. But I believe the image stabilization on both Sony and Panasonic would be good enough for everyday casual shootings.

You can take pictures while recording 4k videos. In fact, there is a designated mode for that which is called 4K photo mode.

There will be a detailed comparison between VX870 and AX33 shortly on Youtube (not by me). I will let you know once it is up.
 

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Please share your tips, questions, and suggestions freely about these camcorders.
I purchased a VX870 a few weeks ago. Unfortunately our weather took a turn for the worst after it arrived so I haven't had many opportunities to experiment with it.

The VBT190 batteries are hard to find and very expensive compared to most camcorder batteries. B&H has the best price I have found so far.

The image stabilization seems better than my old TM700, but like you, I use a monopod to minimize the shakes. I also stabilize in post.

I have noticed a few focusing issues with the VX870. However, I was surprised to find my old TM700 has the same issues in the same situations. So, it's probably not something that will be a problem in real world filming.
 

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I use a monopod in most of my shooting and so the image stabilization is less of a problem for me. But I believe the image stabilization on both Sony and Panasonic would be good enough for everyday casual shootings.

You can take pictures while recording 4k videos. In fact, there is a designated mode for that which is called 4K photo mode.

There will be a detailed comparison between VX870 and AX33 shortly on Youtube (not by me). I will let you know once it is up.
Thank you for your reply.Would certainly be interested to know when the comparison video is on You Tube
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Video shot with the VX870 seems a bit "flat" or washed out to me. I have had the best results so far by shooting in IA+ with the white balance set manually to daylight. Then I can adjust white balance and boost the color a bit in my editor.
Thanks for the great tip! This is the kind of information many users would love to know. In fact, VX870 is my first proper camcorder in my life- so much to learn!
 

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Thanks for the great tip! This is the kind of information many users would love to know.
I have owned several Panasonic cameras, DMC-TS3 waterproof digicam, LX7 digicam, TM700 camcorder, and now the VX-870. I also tried the FZ1000 for a short time. Everyone of these cameras seem to have a bluish green tint to the video. From what I've read online this is common with Panasonic cameras.

Until recently I have just relied on automatic white balance then tried to correct in post if needed. Unfortunately, I discovered several situations where the white balance would change as I was panning across a scene (panning from incandescent to fluorescent lighting for instance). There was no way to correct this in my editor.

So, I started filming with the "cloudy" white balance setting on my TM700. It can sometimes look a bit off color when looking at the raw footage, but it's easier to correct in post than a changing white balance.

In my initial tests, the "daylight" WB seemed to give me better results on the VX870. However, I still need to make a comparison between the "daylight" and "cloudy" WB settings and see which works best for correcting later.

I am still not 100% sold on the VX870, but only have five days left to return it. The only other 4K camcorder close to my price range is the Sony AX33, and it has issues of it's own. I wish I could have tried both cameras to see which I like best, but that wasn't an option for me. So, I will probably keep the VX870 and try to get the most out of it. When the scene is in focus and the colors adjusted, the quality of the VX870 is amazing.

As I mentioned, I tried the FZ1000 which was a bit cheaper and had great image quality. But, the camera form factor, poor zoom controls, large size, etc. made it less than ideal for shooting video.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have owned several Panasonic cameras, DMC-TS3 waterproof digicam, LX7 digicam, TM700 camcorder, and now the VX-870. I also tried the FZ1000 for a short time. Everyone of these cameras seem to have a bluish green tint to the video. From what I've read online this is common with Panasonic cameras.

Until recently I have just relied on automatic white balance then tried to correct in post if needed. Unfortunately, I discovered several situations where the white balance would change as I was panning across a scene (panning from incandescent to fluorescent lighting for instance). There was no way to correct this in my editor.

So, I started filming with the "cloudy" white balance setting on my TM700. It can sometimes look a bit off color when looking at the raw footage, but it's easier to correct in post than a changing white balance.

In my initial tests, the "daylight" WB seemed to give me better results on the VX870. However, I still need to make a comparison between the "daylight" and "cloudy" WB settings and see which works best for correcting later.

I am still not 100% sold on the VX870, but only have five days left to return it. The only other 4K camcorder close to my price range is the Sony AX33, and it has issues of it's own. I wish I could have tried both cameras to see which I like best, but that wasn't an option for me. So, I will probably keep the VX870 and try to get the most out of it. When the scene is in focus and the colors adjusted, the quality of the VX870 is amazing.

As I mentioned, I tried the FZ1000 which was a bit cheaper and had great image quality. But, the camera form factor, poor zoom controls, large size, etc. made it less than ideal for shooting video.
I would love to know which setting works better for VX870, daylight or cloudy!! Could you also tell me which editing software you use?

The only reason I went with VX870 instead of AX33 was the price difference ($167). Please share your tips with this community so that we can all learn and benefit from you!!

Thank you!!
 

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I would love to know which setting works better for VX870, daylight or cloudy!
For speed and convenience the automatic white balance works fine. Selecting a manual white balance will drastically increase the post processing time, but I am willing to trade quality for slower speed.

Could you also tell me which editing software you use?
I currently use PowerDirector 13 for editing and color correction.

However, I usually do a lot of pre-processing before I start editing. I use TMPEGEnc 4.0 to combine the raw clips and convert them to a lossless Lagarith encoded AVI file. Then I load that file into VirtualDub to stabilize the video with Deshaker 3 and save back to a lossless AVI. Finally I convert to MPEG2 as my final format for editing.

I find Deshaker provides the best image stabilization, and using a lossless encoder ensures I don't lose any video quality with each processing step. This work flow also lets me start the processing and walk away to do something else. So it can run during the day or overnight as needed. The final MPEG2 format edits very quick and easy in PowerDirector 13.

VX870 is my first proper camcorder in my life. The only reason I went with VX870 instead of AX33 was the price difference ($167).
You picked a great camcorder as a "starter". :) I opted for the VX870 because of price, the increased zoom range, and because I am already familiar with Panasonic cameras. Although, the cost of extra batteries for the VX870 will probably negate the price difference between it and the AX33.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
AWB minor tips..

I find VX870's AWB quite reliable under the bright sun but it becomes problematic when you are inside with different kinds of light bulbs everywhere. What I usually do is that I immediately change setting to manual mode and set white balance by shooting the brightest light in the room. It works absolutely fine for me so far and you don't have to carry around grey card with you. I don't know if it is the tip that everyone already knows but that's how I manage to get WB right under the artificial light.

Any better tips?

PS. From what Iris value do you begin to see noise? (6dB or larger?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Video shot with the VX870 seems a bit "flat" or washed out to me. I have had the best results so far by shooting in IA+ with the white balance set manually to daylight. Then I can adjust white balance and boost the color a bit in my editor.
Since the footage of VX870 seems a bit flat in term of color, wouldn't it give us more saturated color if we increase the level of color in 'picture adjustment'? I have seen somebody increases the level of color to max in his X920. Can you try and see if you like it? I would also try it but I don't have a good monitor to really check it at this moment.

Below is the testimony of someone who altered and was satisfied with the result.

"Well, after much angst I may have solved the problem. It would appear that Panasonic have miss calibrated the X920 so that in its normal unadjusted state either in Auto or Manual mode the subject appears far brighter than it actually is. In frustration I decided to try altering the PICTURE adjust settings in the menu. So now having lit the room I now knock the exposure back by -3, this then matches what the actual lighting in the room is, add +3 to the sharpness and +3 to the colour and hey presto! the camcorder is now behaving like one would expect from £900 worth of kit. It is unbelievable the difference these adjustments have made. Normally I would never alter these settings. My theory is that in order to please those obsessed with low light performance, Panasonic have actually calibrated their exposure so as "normal" ie zero is always +2 or +3 and colour is always -2 and detail is -2. Now the picture is superb and surpasses with ease the SD 900, it has a "filmic" quality whilst retaining sharpness which unlike the Sd900 is neither harsh or unflattering. It is still very sensitive to light changes and now I must keep my finger ever ready to press the backlight option at the first sight of a window in the background. Outside filming at midday in bright sunshine with the new settings was, dare I say it, "Awesome", God help me, I'm going all American, with delight! I will report with further findings as I complete more shoots."

Thanks
 

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I find VX870's AWB quite reliable under the bright sun but it becomes problematic when you are inside with different kinds of light bulbs everywhere. What I usually do is that I immediately change setting to manual mode and set white balance by shooting the brightest light in the room. It works absolutely fine for me so far and you don't have to carry around grey card with you.
I have noticed issues with auto white balance indoors when panning from areas with incandescent light, to fluorescent light, to sunlight shining through a window. The camera usually adjusts to each lighting condition OK, but it's the transition areas that cause problems. With a fixed white balance I can cut the clip and adjust WB as needed for each scene. When the WB is changing, it limits where I can cut the clip and make adjustments in post.

I have also had issues outdoors in forested areas. All that green throws off the automatic white balance.

AWB can also be a problem with things like sunsets where the color and lighting change over time.

I find it much easier to choose a fixed white balance in the camera ("daylight" for the VX870), then adjust the clips as needed in post. That way I don't need to worry about the camera settings when I'm out filming. Just point and shoot. I don't bother with a grey card as there's usually something grey or white in a clip I can reference off of. If not, I can adjust the white balance manually and get fairly close.

The VX870 has a color setting in the IA+ mode, but this appears to be more of a tint control than a fixed white balance. If I pan from indoors to outdoors, I can still see the color changing according to the auto white balance. So, I still have to select the white balance manually.
 

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Since the footage of VX870 seems a bit flat in term of color, wouldn't it give us more saturated color if we increase the level of color in 'picture adjustment'? I have seen somebody increases the level of color to max in his X920. Can you try and see if you like it? I would also try it but I don't have a good monitor to really check it at this moment.
The IA+ mode on the VX870 lets you adjust the exposure directly (top icon). I do have mine set to -3 which greatly improves the standard washed out look.

My "picture adjustment" settings are all zero, except for the -3 exposure that was set in the IA+ setting.

I wish the IA+ color setting was a real white balance control and not just a tint adjustment for the auto white balance. If I switch recording modes then back to IA+, I have to select manual white balance again afterwards. The VX870 does not retain my manual settings.
 

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There is a bigger difference in 4k mode and less so in Full HD mode. But I don't understand how VX870 produces a more shaky footage when OIS is turned on at 4K mode.
When OIS is off, the two shake and shift in different directions. That tells me this is not filmed with a common mounting. It was most likely filmed in two separate recordings (one for VX870, another for the AX33). In other words, there can be a lot of variability in the users stride, shakiness, etc.

Any difference in stabilization between the two seems to be minimal. My VX870 does quite well, which is improved with the use of a monopod. I also stabilize in post which gives me very steady footage. Filming while walking is the only thing I have trouble with, but that is something I rarely ever need to do.

I do wish there was a way to make the OIS "lock" permanent on the VX870. I can tell a difference over the standard OIS, but holding the button while filming isn't very convenient.
 

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Here it is as promised. There is a bigger difference in 4k mode and less so in Full HD mode. But I don't understand how VX870 produces a more shaky footage when OIS is turned on at 4K mode.
Is there any way to put them both in a rig (same base or chassis) for a more controlled test?

Also, on the 10x zoom stabilization test, testing them on non-moving objects is ideal to eliminate the variable caused by the leaves moving around.

At the outset, the BOSS system is significantly more effective but I will reserve my conclusion after a more controlled test.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
One of the great benefits of Panasonic camcorders is that one can use external power source while shooting even without the battery installed. Having 16000 mAh power source attached, I never worry about charging the battery.
 
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