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Grainy images from Panasonic AG-AC 160. Is this normal?

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Paul Novy
Grainy images from Panasonic AG-AC 160. Is this normal?
on Aug 6, 2013 at 3:12:32 am

Hello guys,
I have a question regarding a grainy image my new Panny AG-AC160 produces. There is no dedicated section for this camera, but it records AVCHD, so I am hoping there might be someone here who owns this camera and who could give me a feedback.

To me, images my camera produces are pretty grainy, but the problem is that I don't have the second camera to compare it with, so I don't know if such grain (noise) is "normal" for this camera or if it is a malfunctioning, perhaps something wrong with the sensor?

So I was wondering if you guys could possibly look at this test clip and tell me if the grain is normal for this camera or if it is due malfunctioning. Recording setup: 1080 30p, gain 0dB, master pedestal -2

http://icebergfilms.com/wp-content/uploads/videogallery/testing2.mov

Thank you so much for any feedback,
Paul


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Joe Barta IV
Re: Grainy images from Panasonic AG-AC 160. Is this normal?
on Aug 6, 2013 at 1:04:16 pm

Try a different lens. I've found that some lenses on my Panasonic AF-100 will cause more grain than others. I don't know why this would be, but it happens.

Bars & Tone
SALUTE!


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Paul Novy
Re: Grainy images from Panasonic AG-AC 160. Is this normal?
on Aug 6, 2013 at 3:15:15 pm

Thank you Joe for your response.
This camera, unfortunately doesn't even have interchangeable lenses. It only has one permanent 22x zoom lens.


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Zach Hunter
Re: Grainy images from Panasonic AG-AC 160. Is this normal?
on Aug 26, 2013 at 10:39:52 pm

What is your gamma and color matrix settings? These can have a big influence on the way you image looks in terms of graininess.


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Paul Novy
Re: Grainy images from Panasonic AG-AC 160. Is this normal?
on Sep 3, 2013 at 3:08:38 am

Hello Zach,

thank you for your response.
If I recall properly, Gamma and Matrix were set at default.

I didn't experiment with these, only settings I was experimenting with were H+V details (from 0 to -4) and Master pedestal (0 to -3) which I believe also affects grain. I also uploaded CLEAN SCENE SETTINGS from Panasonic website, which they advertise as "noiseless" setting. But I didn't see any difference. There is still a grain.

How Matrix and Gamma affect the noise? What would be your recommendation?

Thank you again for your help.

Paul


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Zach Hunter
Re: Grainy images from Panasonic AG-AC 160. Is this normal?
on Nov 17, 2013 at 7:51:32 pm

Although I don't have the AC160, I do own the HMC150 which is pretty similar to the 160 in terms of scene file settings.


In my experience, B-Press would be the cleanest gamma to use, but it produces a very contrasty look, and it crushes the blacks which helps to mask noise, but it does cost you some dynamic range.

Cinelike D, without a doubt, is the noisiest gamma. Reason being is because it has the most latitude and shadow detail. However I prefer the the look of this gamma setting because it has a very cinematic feel to it, unmatched by the other settings. I guess it's a matter of taste.

The noisiest color matrix would be Cine-like because it is more heavily saturated than the other matrices. More Chroma = More chroma noise. The cleanest matrix would be Norm 1, it's fairly neutral, but it still looks good.

Here are the particular scene file settings I use:

For a cinematic look, I use this:

SCENE NAME :CINE D
00005000: 8 ; DETAIL LEVEL: 0
00005001: 8 ; V DETAIL LEVEL: 0
00005002: 8 ; DETAIL CORING : 0
00005003: 10 ; CHROMA LEVEL: 0
00005004: 8 ; CHROMA PHASE: 0
00005005: 8 ; COLOR TEMP: 0
00005006: 15 ; MASTER PED: -6
00005007: 5 ; A.IRIS LEVEL: -3
00005009: 5 ; GAMMA : CINELIKE D
0000500A: 0 ; KNEE: AUTO
0000500B: 3 ; MATRIX: CINE-LIKE
0000500C: 1 ; SKIN TONE DTL : OFF
0000500E: 1 ; OPERATION TYPE: FILM CAM
0000500F: 14 ; FRAME RATE: 24 FRAME
00005010: BE026801 ; SYNCRO SCAN :

And for a normal TV look, I use this:


SCENE NAME :
00005000: 8 ; DETAIL LEVEL: 0
00005001: 8 ; V DETAIL LEVEL: 0
00005002: 8 ; DETAIL CORING : 0
00005003: 8 ; CHROMA LEVEL: +1
00005004: 8 ; CHROMA PHASE: 0
00005005: 8 ; COLOR TEMP: 0
00005006: 16 ; MASTER PED: 0
00005007: 8 ; A.IRIS LEVEL: 0
00005009: 0 ; GAMMA : HD NORM
0000500A: 0 ; KNEE: AUTO
0000500B: 0 ; MATRIX: NORM
0000500C: 1 ; SKIN TONE DTL : OFF
0000500D: 0 ; V DETAIL FREQ : THIN
0000500E: 0 ; OPERATION TYPE: VIDEO CAM
0000500F: 0 ; FRAME RATE: DEFAULT

If you're looking for a punchy, sharp, and VERY clean setting that is pleasing to the eyes, switch your scene file dial to the default F3 setting called "Spark". I think you will be pleasantly surprised. It uses the B. Press gamma as mentioned above, which has the least noise associated with it.

If anything, any of these settings should actually look cleaner on your AC-160 considering it uses CMOS sensors rather than the CCDs found in the HMC. CCDs generally have a higher noise floor than CMOS.


Hope this helps.

Feel free to follow up if you have any more questions!

-Zach


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Paul Novy
Re: Grainy images from Panasonic AG-AC 160. Is this normal?
on Dec 11, 2013 at 7:47:27 pm

Hello Zach,
Thank you so much for your response and for all those settings suggestions. I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR HELP.

THANK YOU,
Paul


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