Panasonic Z10000

Posted on 30 May 2012

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This is a small and relatively cheap 3D camera that records true full HD 3D to SD cards. I have been using it for a while now, here is a short summery of my thoughts, problems and solutions. This is not a review, as there are a few others that did review this camera already.

Scene settings

1: standaard
2: tl licht
3: color shade en contrast
4: detail in donker
5: cinema hoog contrast
6: cinema hoge dynamiek

Manual

To start with, I read the manual. Here is my summary (I’m sorry: this part is in dutch):

  • Convergentiehulp
    • voor TV schermen -> mode 1 -> wit
    • voor bioscoop -> mode 2 -> groen
  • Het beeld kan tijdens het zoomen in 3D gaan schommelen, doordat het convergentiepunt gecontroleerd wordt icm de zoom.
  • Bij switchen tussen 2D en 3D schakelt het toestel automatisch naar AI en AF, dit kan niet uit
  • FA = focus assist -> scherpstelzone wordt rood weergegeven
  • WB = presets + 2 manual settings: Ach or Bch. Kan worden fijningesteld met camera setup -> kleurtemp
  • De iris ring is ook voor gain. Je kan dus geen hoge gain icm een klein diafragma instellen
  • Line level is 0dBu / mic level is -50dBu/-60dBu.
  •  TC kan op free-run. TC in/out?
  • 3D display (3D/mix/L) kan niet worden ingesteld als 3D output op HDMI staat. R image kan worden ingesteld via de user-buttons op de camera LCD/EVF, maar de hdmi out zal op 3D (of links?) blijven.
  • p74: de videosignalen die afgespeeld kunnen worden zijn 1920x1080i50 of p24
  • p106: DRS geeft meer detail in de highlights, maar ook meer ruis in het zwart / Master PED = zwart niveau
  • p107: cinema-dyn = hoog dynamische bereik / cinema-vid = hoger contrast
  • je kan ook instellen: scherpte/v-scherpte/detail coring/kleurniveau/kleurfase/knee/matrix
  • p109: volgens zijn de 1080p opnames en monitoring werkelijk 1080PsF (zie onderstaand kopje voor meer info)
  • p112: pre-rec kan worden ingesteld
  • p113: SLTR Aut. Lang. -> automatisch kader rondom gezicht OF sluitertijd langer dan de 1/25e seconde.
  • Digital Cinema Colour = xvYCC color space / werkt niet in iA
  • p117: veiligheidszone 90% of uit = TV safe colors

A few findings:

  • Timelapse recording only works in 2D
  • Timecode free run works with TOD as preset. Unfortunately the user bit has te be set manually.
  • What does auto slow-shutter mean?

Sound recording

The windnoise cancellation and auto mic level options are only available for the Dolby surround, dolby zoom and dolby focus mic setting. In LPCM 2 channel or Dolby 2 channel setting the windnoise cancellation and auto levels are disabled: you only get manual control with or without ALC (limiter). A warning about ALC: the two channels are paired, so it’s pretty useless if you use both inputs for different mics! Needless to say that the external input will only work in 2 channel mode (either AC3 or LPCM).

Note that the hard switch for channel input is not really a hard switch. You can’t switch while recording: you have to stop recording before you switch from one channel to another.

Iris/gain

Iris and gain control are tied to the same ring on the Z10000. There are a few things to know here:

  • I like to keep my iris at F/2.7 so it’s constant for the whole zoom range. This means there is 0 dB gain and that the F/1.5 at the wide-angle can’t really be used.
  • I’ve found that it’s pretty safe to go up to 9 dB of gain, and you really should not use more then 14 dB of gain

Convergence

At the tele-end of the lens, convergence can only be set between 56 and 100. This means the zero parallax point can’t be set closer then 2.9 meter (from the sensor), the distance at which focus is set to 74.
So: C 56 = F 74 = 2.9 meter.
The problem here is that – for a nice close-up – I end up at focus distance f 65, 2.1 meter. This means that my subject is in front of the zero parallax point, this is 3.3% of negative parallax. So I will always be adjusting convergence in post.

S3D calibration and recording

I can record 3D in 2x 1080p25, which will be recorded as PsF in a 1080i50 AVCHD file (see page 109 of the manual). I can also record 3D to 1080i50 or 1080p24. If I set it to record to 1080p24, I found that the camera will reboot, I guess it will change to NTSC settings.  There is quite a bit of tweaking that can be done in 3D fine settings. As I found that there are a few (color) differences between the left and right eye, I will have to dig into this!

HDMI output

There are a few ways to view stereoscopic 3D on set, the main types right now are active (plasma, led: alternating shutters in battery powered glasses), passive (line alternating polarisation) and autostereoscopic (parallax barrier or lenticular sheet, glasses free, light direction) or head tracking. The best would be passive with two screens, but the second best in my opinion is the normal passive system. So I bought one, see my post about medium sized 3D screens here.

On page 67 it is clear that there are two 3D HDMI output settings when recording: LCD (LCD 3D/mix/2D + HDMI side-by-side) or HDMI (LCD 2D + HDMI full high definition 3D). On page 74 of the manual it says that it can only display 3D video’s with 1080i50 or 1080p24. I’ve tested this and I am found that it will output the 3D 1080p25 as either a side-by-side 1080PsF50 or a frame-packing 1080p24 HDMI signal (depending on 3D output setting). On p.83 it states that you can set the HDMI output to 1080p, 1080i or 576p, but I found that setting 1080i or 1080p only has effect when recording 2D 1080p50 material. This might be because 1080p50 video is not part of the HDMI 1.4 specs: HDMI 1.4 only defines 1080p24 and 720p50 to be supported by display devices. In all other 2D recording modes it’s just like in 3D mode: it will ignore your 1080i or 1080p setting and always output 1080i50, even when you are recording 2D 1080p25.

Somewhere on the internet, I found that “frame packed 3D over HDMI 1.4a at 1080p resolution is limited to 24 frames per second”. I wanted to test if this is true for the Z10000, or that it supports 1080i50, 1080p25 or 720p50 frame packing output, so I hooked it up to the LG DM2350D. First, I set the recording mode to either 3D 1080/25p  or 3D 1080/50i,  the HDMI output to either 1080i or 1080p and the 3D output to HDMI. In all cases, the camera will output a 1080p24 frame packed signal (although it might be half frame instead of full frame, see my article on the LG DM2350D). Second, I tested with the same 3D 1080/25p recording setting and the HDMI output to either 1080i or 1080p, but this time I set the 3D output set to LCD: now it’s a 1080i50 side-by-side 3D signal, which is automatically recognised by the LG monitor as 3D.  Third, I tested if I could get a 2D image while viewing 3D mix on the LCD: When I set the HDMI output to 576p it will only show the left image in a 576p50 signal. This could be very useful at times!

Powering from V-mount

The Z10000 comes with  a decent 7.2 V battery that will last for a full day. But as I’ve got my whole rig powered from my cinematics V-mount battery pinch, I would like to use it for my Z10000 as well, also to have it display the battery status.

First, I wanted to check the 12V/2,5A input with the black 5×3,5x10mm plug that looks like the EIAJ-04. So I bought this 5.0×3.5x12mm plug with central pin to connect the camera to the 5,5×2,5mm 12 V output of the battery pinch. I found that it didn’t fit in the Z10000, because it wasn’t angled so it didn’t really fit into the battery compartment, where the power connector is hidden. Also, the pin of this plug is bigger then the one on the camera’s power adapter, and the shaft length is 12 instead of 10 mm. I checked the polarity (shaft = -, pin = +) and pushed it in once to see if it works and it did, but it didn’t show the battery indicator.

So I will need an unregulated stepdown converter to 7,2 V, which I am already looking for for my GH2, and an empty battery-block that will fit into the Z10000. I’ve googled for an all in one solution like the one I had for the JVC HD100, but I guess this camera is either too young or too semi: I couldn’t find it. So for now, I’ll just buy another Panasonic battery.

Custom Scene settings

There are seven pre-set scene’s available under the touch-screen menu. In the camera setup a lot of options can be changed per scene setting. I’ll still have to dig into this later.

Problems

One of the main things with this camera is the high level of compression. This is a very clear example of that problem:

It looks like an 8-bit bitmap picture, you can see very ugly lines around the shapes. This was a very close object (face) moving pretty fast  through the frame (it took about 56 frames from right to left).

Conclusion

It would be really nice to get a firmware update for this camera. Here is my wish-list:

  • Real white balance values;
  • Real convergence and focus distance scales instead of meaningless numbers;
  • Constant minimum aperture and convergence for the whole zoom-range.
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Posted in: S3d