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Author Topic: Panasonic 4/3" format video camera  (Read 3081 times)
BJL
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« on: April 12, 2010, 09:22:59 AM »
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Panasonic has announced a video camera in what it calls micro 4/3" format, using the Micro Four Thirds lens mount and so usable with a mix of micro 4/3, 4/3 SLR, and dedicated video lenses, for about $6,000.

Panasonic AG-AF100 4/3" video camera Press Release

The sensor resolution is apparently 1920x1080 HD video only, so with pixel spacing of about 9 microns. It could allow an interesting comparison of the video performance of two sensors in the same format using the same basic technology: one a pure video sensor of 1920x1080 pixels; the other a stills+video with far more, far smaller photosites, using conversion down to video resolution.
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feppe
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2010, 11:16:39 AM »
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That is a promising concept. A 16:9 sensor, built-in ND filters, apparently adequate audio capabilities. The large photo sites should theoretically give better noise performance? And the native 16:9 sensor should limit some of the artifacting present in 5DII since it doesn't have to drop lines?

They claim 35mm (cine) film-like DOF, I wonder if the current zoom lenses are capable of that, or whether one has to wait for more primes - MFT lens selection is is sorely lacking in primes.

Canon is apparently announcing some video products tomorrow (13th) - competition is good!
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BJL
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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2010, 12:38:58 PM »
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Quote from: feppe
... built-in ND filters ...
... And the native 16:9 sensor should limit some of the artifacting present in 5DII since it doesn't have to drop lines?
... Canon is apparently announcing some video products tomorrow (13th) - competition is good!
All good points!

In a camera with purely video viewfinder, no OVF, built-in ND filters neatly address the issue of sometimes wanting lower sensitivity and longer exposure times than the minimum ISO speed allows. And rolling shutter video has rather rigid exposure times, so this might be important far more often that with a focal plane shutter.

About artifacting, Panasonic makes a claim about "dramatically reduced video aliasing", and one big advantage is that the AA filter can be set with a frequency cut-off matched to the lower Nyquist frequency of the larger pixels of the 1920x1080 sensor.

Also, with only 2MP to read instead of 12MP to 24MP, the rolling shutter could be far faster than in DSLR video, so there is hope for far less of the Jello™ effect than with a digital still camera hacked to do video as a side job.

I would be pleasantly surprised if Canon moves into the `larger sensor dedicated video camera' market tomorrow, but here is hoping. RED might be seeing some push-back in a sector it has almost had to itself.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2010, 12:41:08 PM by BJL » Logged
LKaven
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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2010, 01:46:03 PM »
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Do we know that this is a native 1920x1080 sensor, or is the HD accomplished by either decimation or downsampling?  Decimation seems pointless.  Downsampling would be interesting.  A native 1920x1080 would mean very large photosites, and possibly great low light performance.  

Either way, this is the coming thing: variously purposed cameras along the same continuum as the video-capable still cameras.  One day fairly soon, the capture quality of the 5DII will come in a more video-purposed package I think.
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feppe
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2010, 04:15:26 PM »
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Quote from: LKaven
Do we know that this is a native 1920x1080 sensor, or is the HD accomplished by either decimation or downsampling?  Decimation seems pointless.  Downsampling would be interesting.  A native 1920x1080 would mean very large photosites, and possibly great low light performance.  

Either way, this is the coming thing: variously purposed cameras along the same continuum as the video-capable still cameras.  One day fairly soon, the capture quality of the 5DII will come in a more video-purposed package I think.

From the press release: "native 1080/24p recording"
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Driftforge
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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2010, 09:54:58 PM »
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Quote from: feppe
From the press release: "native 1080/24p recording"

Also from the release, the camera uses the 14.1MP sensor from the GH1.  Processing is different however.  I suspect the output at the end of the initial processing chain is 1080/24 'native'.

The big jumps from the GH1 are codec, I/O and form related.

So, downsampling or decimation it is, path taken not yet known.
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BJL
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2010, 09:39:59 AM »
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Quote from: Driftforge
Also from the release, the camera uses the 14.1MP sensor from the GH1.
...
So, downsampling or decimation it is, path taken not yet known.
I was mislead by the initial press release. Panasonic has clarified that this will use the 14MP GH1 sensor (more or less), but slides shown at NAB 2010 call it a 12.1MP 16:9 sensor. (Are the extra pixels above and below the 16:9 shaped portion permanently disabled?)

Panasonic is making bold claims of no aliasing. My questions are:
- Could the AA filter be changed to suit the lower resolution needs of HD output, cutting of at a lower spatial frequency than in a still camera?
- Could this help with aliasing?
It sounds like a safe "oversampling" approach, with the photosites sampling at well above the maximum frequency of the signal that reaches them through such an AA filter.
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LKaven
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2010, 11:00:15 AM »
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Since they are using the 14.1 (or 12.1 cropped) sensor, the question is are they deriving the HD video by decimation, or by downsampling a full frame capture?  If they are downsampling a full frame capture, that would be a significant development over the decimation strategy used by DSLRs, and I would expect some very good looking results.
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BobFisher
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2010, 12:49:22 PM »
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The sensor in 4/3 cameras is 12.1MP.  That's the number of pixels available for recording the image.  The sensor actually contains 14MP.  There are no 4/3 cameras with a larger than 12.1MP imaging area - at this point.  So 14MP or 12.1MP, it's the same sensor.


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