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Old Mar 18, 2006, 4:02 PM   #1
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I have the C5, and I like the convenience and form factor. However, the low light (or should I say indoor light) performance is unacceptable.

I have seen in reviews that the low light performance of the HD1 and the C6 are both better than the C5,

But maybe Steve (or anyone else who happens to have both of these cameras on hand) could you compare the low light performance of the C6 to the HD1 for us?

Thanks!
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Old Mar 18, 2006, 10:51 PM   #2
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Although there is no side-by-side comparison, I believe Steve said in his HD1 review that he is disappointed by HD1's low light performance, which is not as good as the C6 he tested.

Maybe this is because the C6 ues a 9-pixel mixing technology, but the HD1 use a 4-pixel mixing technology (remember both the C6 and the HD1 use 5 MP CCD). Apparently this "pixel mixing" technology combines the signal of several neighboring pixels (3X3=9 or 2X2=4) to get the best result, probably mainly in terms of brightness and image clarity (resolution).

I guess 9-pixel mix is better than 4-pixel mix - for comparison, a less-reported Xacti C40 (uses 4 MP CCD, similar to the old C4) also utilizes the 4-pixel mixing technology. There were a few posts on the Sanyo board here about the C40, but interest quickly died down because people reported that the video quality (especially low light performance) does not significantly improve over the older generations of Xacti (namely C2 and C4). I guess you can sort of draw an indirect comparsion between the 9-pixel and 4-pixel mix this way.

Also the HD1 records "High Definition" video (which really means "high resolution" compatible with HDTV). HD resolution of 1280 X 720 pixels utilizes 3 times more pixels on the CCD than standard video resolution of 640 X 480 pixels in the C6. Maybe this is the reason Sanyo is forced to cut down on the number of pixels they can "mix" (from 9 to 4) because there are fewer neighboring pixels to combine.

I also worry about the smoothness of the HD1 video when the maximum video resolution increases: I notice the video bitrate increases from 3 Mbps at 640 X 480 pixels to 9 Mbps at 1280 X 720 pixels. This is much more video data for either the video processing chip (aka. the "video card" of the camera) AND the SD memory card to handle. The memory card should be no problem but if Sanyo uses the same video chip as the older Xacti series, I worry that it may struggle to keep up with video processing. There are times when the video in my C4 and C6 (more the former) appear blocky and choppy eg. with fasting panning or quick action.

I am glad I bought a C6 when its price came down as the HD1 was introduced into the market.
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 1:31 PM   #3
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re low light performance etc.



Hi,



I have both the C5 and HD-1, sorry no C6 in my arsenal:-). I did a quick side by side test yesterday evening by setting both the hd-1 and c5 to auto iso and program mode. I don't think they go above an indicated iso 200 in this config(that may be 400 for video though..some blurb about the iso being higher for video mode in the manuals). The hd-1 produces much cleaner and brighter video under the same conditions with much better color saturation and of course detail. I at first thought part of it could be due to the s-video connection of the c5 vs the component of the hd-1 to my Sony 42" HDTV so I also uploaded to my computer and watched them side by side on a Samsung 19" LCD using VLC player.

I also resized in both directions making the hd-1 clip smaller in VLC to a similar size as the 640x480 c5 clip and vise versa upsizing the c5 clip. The hd-1 was noticably and significantly better and had much brighter shadow detailin all cases. Not a subtle difference but a big one.

I don't have hi speed access or I would upload the clips someplace. I assume the c6 would best either of these cameras for low light, but my point is the hd-1 does much better than the c5 indoors at night with normal lighting and produces decent home video quality clips. A prosumer or indie film maker would want to control lighting for something important etc(or use a better cam), but if you were to use it forcasualhome movies indoors at night with existing light, its much better than the c5.



rich



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Old Mar 20, 2006, 5:26 PM   #4
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Perhaps I should have gone into more depth initially.

I got the C5 because I wanted a nice compact camcorder, and I liked the non-tape recording aspect. I was looking at the Everio, and then saw a review of the C5. I got the C5 and am happy with the video quality if there is sufficient light in the room. However, when shooting indoors in the evening, when there are only room lights on, the video is terribly grainy.

I was excited when I heard that the C6 was coming out and that it was supposed to perform better in low light. However, before I bought the C6, I heard about the HD1 and decided to wait for that figuring it would have everything that the C6 had and then some.

I just received an HD1 from Amazon, and while the low light video quality definitely FAR exceeds the capability of the C5, I still find that the video is rather grainy in the low light, pretty much negating the benefit of the HD...it gives very sharp high-quality grains And richiedd, I have found that manually setting the ISO to 400 when taking video makes it a bit better in low light than "Auto" it seems like "Auto" won't go up to 400.

So if the C6 truly does better than the HD1, then I will save a few bucks, exchange the HD1 for a C6, get better quality indoor video, and wait for the reviews on the next generation H.264 camcorders in a few months. However, if indoor/low light performance is about the same betwen the C6 and HD1, then I'll probably just hang on to the HD1 and at least be getting higher quality video when there is decent light, plus I like the 16:9 aspect ratio.
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Old Mar 21, 2006, 12:45 AM   #5
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Re-check our HD1 samples page, I just posted a SD and HD movie taken indoors in a little lower than average room light. I think it did pretty well and would have to say that the image quality isn't bad at all. Maybe I was a little too hard on it :?

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_...1_samples.html
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Old Mar 21, 2006, 2:02 AM   #6
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Steve, would it be possible for you to do a side by side with in and the C6 in the same conditions?
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Old Mar 22, 2006, 6:52 PM   #7
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Check the C5, C6, and HD1 review from the site and get the summarize as following,

HD1:
ISO speeds: 50-400 still image, 200-1600 in movie mode

C6:
ISO speeds: 50-400 still image, 450-3600 in movie mode

C5:
ISO speeds: 50-400 still image, 200-800 in movie mode

Thus, still image are same
performance but the movie low light performance of C6 is little more than twice of HD1 or 4 times of C5. :idea:
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Old Mar 22, 2006, 8:26 PM   #8
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Thanks....wish I could find a local retailer to try them out side by side.
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Old Mar 24, 2006, 8:52 PM   #9
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C6 iso 3600 is only 1 fstop higher than HD1 iso 1800 not double the sensitivity
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Old Mar 25, 2006, 12:38 AM   #10
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Each stop actually representseither adoubling or halving of the sensitivity, amount of light or recording time.

ISO 3600 would be twice as sensitive as ISO 1800

f/4.0 allowstwicethe amount of light through as f/5.6

1/125 shutter speed records for twice as long as 1/250 shutter speed
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