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Panasonic or Pioneer?

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by SilverCandy, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. SilverCandy

    SilverCandy
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    Hi all, this is my first post and apologies to all if this has been discussed before.....

    I am looking to buy a plasma screen and am having real trouble choosing between the Panasonic TH42PW5B (or 6B now that I have read some of the threads on this forum) & the Pioneer PDP433HDE... it seems that the Panasonic has a smaller pixel resolution but a better contrast ratio..(anyone know what the hell that means??).

    Just to make things more confusing there is a real hot deal on the Panasonic at various retailers now, but they are also selling a PW6B Panasonic model that isn't even on the Panasonic website? Huh?

    I am obviously looking for the screen which will give the best picture and last the longest, as I do not want to shell out another few grand in a few yrs time!!

    I would appreciate any advice from anyone...please!!

    Thanks

    CK9
     
  2. Easy2BCheesy

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    The basic rule of thumb seems to be that the Pioneer has noticeably superior detail, the Panasonic has noticeably better colour range (contrast being essentially, the difference between black and white).

    In terms of what is the "best" picture, rather than take our word for it, you should go to a good dealer and see the screens for yourself because at the end of the day, what is "best" is a subjective judgment each individual has to make for themselves. You'll find just as many pro-Panny people here as you will pro-Pioneer.
     
  3. SilverCandy

    SilverCandy
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    Thanks for the advice...I have been to 7oaks & the advice was to buy a Pioneer, but not to hang it on the wall above my fireplace because of its' cooling system??

    Anyone know where to get good advice from in the Colchester (Essex) area?

    I am never to sure about all of the large outlet stores, as some of the pictures on the Plasma's look really bad & some look really good....is it because of the feeds into the screens etc..what should I be looking for here?

    Are all you guys who have Panasonics or Pioneers happy with them?...any idea's about life expectancy fro each?

    Cheers
    CK9
     
  4. /\/\j17

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    You often find the larger retailers will have their plasmas either hocked up to the same crappy TV aerial as every other screen in the shop (with the resultant poor signal) or hooked into a DVD player by the cheapest composit lead they have sitting around.

    Neither of these makes for an impressive display of a CRT's abilities let alone a plasmas (which are inherently a bit more fussy about source quality than CRT's).

    I'm currently in the same boat and even living in London I've not yet found anywhere that has both the Pioneer and the Panny sat side by side, let alone connected up via similar quality leads!

    The best I've done is found them on opposite sides of a wall, with one at the top of a flight of stairs... but not connected to the same video sources and one on coponent the other on composite (so hardly a fair test!)

    /\/\j17
     
  5. Urotsukidoji

    Urotsukidoji
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    AV-Sales demo room isn't THAT far away from london...
     
  6. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    I'm surprised. Living up in the North East, I arranged a demo at The Media Factory near Edinburgh and they had a Pioneer and Panny side by side fed by a component switcher (which could display the picture on one or the other, or both simultaneously if I wanted). They also had an iscan ultra so I could see the difference that made.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  7. Heady

    Heady
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    After a long, long, long....long discussion with myself about which Plasma it will be, my decision fell today on the Pioneer 433HDE. That because the direct comparison between the Pioneer and the Panasonic Models (also with the new Panny 6 included) which I could see at one of Switzerland's (I'm Swiss) best Plasma retailers (barely all brands and models for showing, just impressive, possibility to plug in your own dvd players, discs, etc.).

    1. The non-H-Versions of the Panasonic Panels have a smaller resolution than both of the recent Pioneer Panels: Well, if you look near at the Pannys you will see, that the resolution just doesn't fit to a panel with a size like the Pannys have. Actually, you won't recognize this if you sit in a "viewable" distance - I mean, when you buy a big size Plasma, you won't sit just 30cm away from it). 1:0 for Pioneer (for me).

    2. The flickering of the Panny 5 was TOO obvious in direct comparison with the Pioneer and also with the Panny 6er. It just hurts your eyes, perhaps you won't recognize the flickering of the Panny 5 if it stands alone in a show room, but with all the others in competition it's damn obvious. All the hopes have become true and the Panny 6 flickers practically not, but also here in direct comparison with the Pioneer I must say, that the Pioneer Models have just a more stable picture, really no flickering or something like this is recognizable. Well also here, 2:0 for Pioneer (IMHO!).

    3. To judge about the color of the two contenders was really hard. But, I had a slight feeling that the Panasonic (6) does the color better...it's really hard to explain why, but in the end it's just a matter of your impressions. Both don't take too much from eachother, so I would give both one point. 3:1 for Pioneer.

    4. The mediabox or tuner is also a thing, that interested me. My retailer sold the Pioneers with the Tuner included, for the Pannys the Tuner was exclusive and also costed about 500 Euro. I can't really say, what the Panny (6) really can do with his Tuner, so I won't evaluate this theme.

    5. Future compatibilities: Well, if i can trust my retailer, the Pioneer will be HDTV compatible, and the Panny won't. We will see. As for progressive scan, both models should feature the progressive mode, but unfortunately it is the media box or the tuner, which doesn't allow it by Pioneer...for Panasonic I'm not sure, because actually Progressive isn't for me that BIG thing, that everyone should have without exception (the retailer showed me some examples with progressive scan on all the Plasma TVs, didn't really hit my expectations, also my Sony DAV-S880 just allow NTSC-Progressive, that's the other reason for not buying something that features PAL-Progressive). Also Progressive isn't that obvious on Plasma TVs, but on the other hand progressive is really required when you want your homecinema over a beamer. Can't evaluate.

    In the end I have to say that I'm very pleased with my new Pioneer433HDE, although before I was really hooked on to the Panasonic Panels. But one thing is for sure: Don't just order a Plasma without testing it at a retailer, especially some direct comparison between your favorites can really help.
    If you take a Panasonice panel, just be sure you'll grab one of the new 6th evolution level. For Pioneer: Free way, except you can also take a look on the 433MXE, which features PAL-Progressive (understandable, has to do with the different Video cards - or something like this - which you plug into the Panel).

    Greetz

    Heady
     
  8. SilverCandy

    SilverCandy
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    Thanks Heady, that really helped.....now to find a decent retailer.

    CK9
     
  9. steve36

    steve36
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    Heady,
    1. Re resolution, I may be one of the few but with standard UK PAL pictures (Non DVD), I find that the Panasonic-6 looks good.
    The pioneer sometimes appears to display some pixellation in comparison. Yes it does look very slightly sharper, but the pixellation I keep seeing in demos in a little distracting.
    2. Flicker - I can not see any flicker in the Panasonic-6 or Pioneer.
    (Saying that many people don't notice it in the Panasonic series 5).
    3. Colour - Panasonic wins, the Pioneer looks a little faded in comparison. Conversely the brighter the colour the quicker the possible screen burn !
    4. The Panasonic tuner was IMO pretty bad with picture break ups etc. The Pioneer tuner stops the use of HD-TV later as the connection on the Pioneer with tuner is purely to a tuner. Also some people have said that the pioneer with tuner has a slightly different screen.
    5. The Panasonic-6 can handle HD-TV through a DVI card.
    I believe the Pioneer-HDE with tuner can not due to the connectivity. The Pioneer without tuner will be able to when interface cards are launched later this year.

    The other thing is to try to find a direct comparison before purchase, many people love the Pioneer and the increased resolution/futureproofing this brings. Some like me don't quite like it as much as the panasonic.
    The other thing to bear in mind is if we ever get HD-DVD/TV in europe the panasonic will loose 15 - 20 % of the picture due to resolution. Mind you many people have said that even with the resolution difference the picture is still very good with HD-TV.
    Good luck,

    Steve.
     
  10. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Just a couple of points to add:-

    The Panasonic 6 Series does have excellent colour capability when compared to the Pioneer 433 HDE due to its better Video processing, which is of a higher bit rate like the Pioneer 433MXE. This gives it a much larger range of colours that it can display. A more realistic comparison would have been the Panasoic 5 series and the Pioneer HDE (im not sure if you did this).

    When we get HD in Europe (bearing in mind if you choose to you can subscribe to the first HD Channel broadcasts from 1st January 2004), the likely hood is you will loose more than 15-20%. You already loose 16.7% of standard definition PAL broadcasts. HD broadcasts, by their nature, will be at higher resolutions. An example is in the U.S where 720p HD broadcasts are common formats, that implies a loss of 34% of picture with a lower resolution panel - regardless of manufacturer.

    There are a couple of points regarding HDTV. When its available, as in the States, increasingly the only way to view is via a DVI input which is copy protected by HDCP.The Pioneer HDE, as stated, is limited by its Tuners inputs. The Tuner does not support a HDCP DVI input. Hence it will not be HDTV comptible with those sources. Exactly the same is true of any of the Panasonic Panels prior to the 6th Series, though the 6 Series do offer optional DVI-HDCP input.
     
  11. Heady

    Heady
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    So everything hits in the end the Tuner or media box? Well, do you know if Pioneer will release an Up-to-date Version of a Tuner for their Plasma TVs? So there's the possibility that we can expect a tuner for the 433HDE with explicit HDTV Support and PAL-Progressive Mode for next year? Would be nice...I mean, about such things Pioneer should think, because as far as I know, not everyone will buy every single Plasma TV Generation to be compatible if there isn't an other way like over the tuner...

    Greetz

    Heady
     
  12. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Heady,

    In principle I quite agree.

    Unfortunatly, in reality it is not down to the manufacturers to outline where their products fall short in comparison to others and vice versa. Selling on product negatives never contributed to Bill Gates success, if you know what I mean.

    Quality dealers really should make you aware of all the factors, especially when they carry as in your case multiple brands. Alas, here as well I am sure dealers will have varying reasons for favouring one brand against another, IMHO profit margins dicate this.

    Its a tricky situation, Welcome to being an AV Enthusiast.:smashin:
     
  13. Heady

    Heady
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    Yeah...you'r right with the thing about the retailer's ambition to make pressure on some brands. It was a relly odd situation, as I have to remark, when I was between all this Plasma TVs in the retailer's shop. Because in a first way every single Plasma TV has it owns strengths and also his own negatives, but they all don't become recognizable if you aren't a Hifi-specialist for yourself.

    So, the retailer spoke a bit from this and that, showed me the different models, but always with a slight dislike to the Panasonic Panels: In his opion the Panny 6 is just a "re-throw" on the market from the old Panny 5, with some upgrades which were already possible to integrate at the time of the Panny 5. Okay, just a minute later we were standing before the Pioneer Models, and the retailer began to talk about all it's advantages against the other brands - and at that point I had this feeling that there is some special agreement between the shop and Pioneer...better margins as you said, and all that stuff.
    I mean, I came in the shop with PRO-Panasonic intentions but if the retailer show you really these things that pushes the pioneer models so it's easy to think that the Panasonic has nothing really good at it.

    At the end the retailer popped a DVD with Test signals in: A big A in the center with many horizontal stripes over it - as a test for flickering issues. Well, he also said that such a Disc will make all negatives or positives of some models recognizable, and it really did: While the Panasonic panels have all some problems with the flickering ( the Panny 5 it was really a mess...couldn't believe that the panel does flicker this hard) , the Sony and Pioneer panels were just fine, really nothing flickered, the picture was sooo stable. Well, that was for me the "final hit" in this little competition, and my pro-panasonic intentions were stamped into the ground. Because if you watch the other "normal" pictures of movies on all the panels again, you always have in mind that the Panasonic flickers...everyone knows this feeling, I mean.

    So, the retailer came with his last saying: "We sold as far more than 150 Pioneer PDP-433HDE Panels in the last months, that's more than every other model that you see here." Yeah, after that I couldn't do anything else than buying the Pioneer.

    Of course I don't regret it, but I also don't say that the Pioneer is the one and only panel you should buy, because I have seen that also the Panasonic has his strengts, whether the retailers has mentioned it or not - but it was really hard to believe that the Panasonic were in direct comparisons so weak (except the color) after reading all this very good impressions of the Pannys (I mean that I didn't just walk in the shop without pre-clarify about all the Pannys and Pio specifications).

    Well, now it's over and I'm really content with the Pioneer, I mean it's a PLASMA TV, nobody in my neighbourhood (evntually also in my little hometown) has something like this. When HDTV really swapps to good ol' Europe, I'll see how my Pioneer will do, It would be a pitty if it won't work, but you can't do much then (except there comes a new tuner with new features and so).

    Greetz

    Heady
     
  14. sticker

    sticker
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    Silvercandy,
    If you are serious about looking at the Pio, then ensure it is the MXE if picture quality and a certain amount of future proofing is paramount to you. You will lose certain functionality such as tuner, PIP etc but the other plus's more than make up for it.

    If you want a comparison between the Pio and Panny then someone such as Joe Fernand at TMF is ideally placed to provide a qualified opinion.

    I also live in Essex and trying to see plasma's side by side is a joke, I beleive someone like Nexnix have them in the south, although it is a bit if a trek.

    Regards
    John
     
  15. steve36

    steve36
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    sticker
    I drove 280 mile round trip last week to AV-SALES in Kent to actually view the series-6 panasonic alongside the Pioneer.
    Some people said this was strange, but I think it was worth it.

    Only one problem I am now a little confused re HD-TV coming during the next 2 - 5 years. I am wondering if it is worth checking out the HD Panasonic-6 as I liked the standard definition screen so much.
    If so there goes another day off and a long trip on the M25.

    Steve.
     
  16. sticker

    sticker
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    Steve,
    That is keen, but if you are going to spend £3K to £5K on a product you have to be certain its worth it and what you want. So you are absolutely in the right. As an analogy you wouldn't buy a car for that type of money without test driving it.

    I only wish in the south we had the kind of dealers and service that Scotland and the north provide.....its seems!!!


    Re HDTV, I would have thought someone like Joe F, Stoomonster or Dutch would know the answer.

    Re the drive, see if you can make it a day, Kent has some fantastic little villages and attractions......much better than Essex :devil: :devil:


    Cheers
    John
     
  17. SilverCandy

    SilverCandy
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    Guys, thanks for all the response...and Sticker...Essex has some cool little villages & pubs and even a coast!

    I guess it does come down to personal choice in the end, but I have just been investigating the Pioneer and found this article regarding new products..

    http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/Pioneer/CDA/CompanyOverview/PressDetails/0,1479,93036,00.html

    it does sat that they will be released in States in Autumn, who knows when they will be released here?

    Cheers
    SilverCandy
     
  18. sticker

    sticker
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    Southend :laugh: and not in the southwest it doesn't :laugh:
     
  19. Dutch

    Dutch
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    Hi Heady,

    You are in luck as the release of the 434HDE is imminent - it could be as soon as next month. The new media box will be able to handle PAL PS and HDTV through DVI-HDCP or HDMI inputs. :smashin:

    Steve
     
  20. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Hi Steve,

    I think the issue was that Heady has already made his purchase. of the 433HDE and to date seems unlikely that the new Tuner box will be backwards compatible :eek: :eek:

    Cheers


    Tony
     
  21. Heady

    Heady
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    Ah...anyway, my Sony DAV-S880 doesn't feature Progressive-Pal, so I can wait till HDTV hits Europe (Switzerland for me ;) ) or till i buy a new DVD Player with PAL-Progressive (I'v asked Sony about unlocking PAL-Progressive für the DAV -> no way, damnit).

    But really thanks for the info, I really look forward to it in the near future.

    Ah a question BTW...what is this "Pure Cinema" which the Pioneer Panels feature? Today I watched Star Wars - Episode 2 and I jumped up as I have seen a little picture problem...it's hard to describe, if anyone has the movie, watch the scene where Obi-Wan walks in the Jedi Academie with the young children padawans...in a big entrance hall (mainly blue colored) there are stairs in the background. As the picture moved there was something like a "flickering" effect around the stairs, like you would play a PC-Game without Anti-Aliasing. Okay, so I looked through all these AV-Selection things and made my own user setting for the picture. There in the "advanced" settings is an option called "Pure Cinema", which I turned on...well...the "stairs effect" was gone.

    Could it be that this "Pure Cinema" activates the De-Interlacer of the 433HDE?

    Thanks and Greetz

    Heady
     
  22. Dutch

    Dutch
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    Hi Heady,

    Sorry, I missed that you'd bought the 433HDE already. Regarding "PureCinema", it is just Pioneer's term for Progressive Scan and 2:3 pulldown. That's why you saw the stairs effect disappear.

    Steve
     
  23. Heady

    Heady
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    And what's better in the end (well, optically with PureCinema)? I mean the DVD Signal isn't Progressive (PAL DVD, Player features just NTSC Progressive), but I'v read elsewhere that actually every Plasma TV plays pictures in the progressive format.

    But why did Pioneer put in this option...I mean...they could have activate it by default, is there a reason why let PureCinema deactivated?

    Well, for the backwards compatibility...are there any new Pioneer Plasmas coming, or why the MediaBox won't be backwards compatible? I mean...Pioneer could greatly announce the new MediaBox for it's new Pioneer Plasma (if there is anything like this planned) and say that it is by the way compatible to the old Plasma TVs. In my eyes it would be just a smash in the costumers face, when Pioneer doesn't allow them to use ALL of the capabilities of the 433HDE. Technically the HDEs and the MXEs are the same, just the goddamn MediaBox makes the difference (well, and one is silver, the other black - but also there are MXEs in silver, just from Pioneer itself ;) ), and with it there is no PAL-Progressive - I mean, I had my PC over a DVI cable directly at the HDE connected and so it would be no problem to play a DVD in Pal-Progressive if you have the right Software-DVD-Player - unfortunately my soundcard doesn't bring the power of a DAV. ;)

    Perhaps some of us 433HDE (well, most of us here have the MXE) users should write a mail to Pioneer to make them clear that we won't buy another 4k Plasma just for a new Tuner.

    Greetz

    Heady
     
  24. SilverCandy

    SilverCandy
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    Sticker / Guys...stupid question coming up...

    What is the main differneces between the MXE & the HDE, what would I plug my Sky, DVD & Satellite scarts & my amp into?...straight into the back of the screen?

    Cheers
    SilverCandy
     
  25. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Hi Silver Candy,


    From a connectivity point of view, all connections to the HDE will be via the Media box. The MXE is connected to by inputs directly on the back of the screen.

    Rather than going over all inputs available on each ive included this link;

    http://www.tmfsolutions.co.uk/homecinema_plasma_pioneer.htm

    There are other differences, but Im not sure if you wanted a run down on those.

    Cheers


    Tony
     
  26. SilverCandy

    SilverCandy
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    thanks tbrar,

    looks good...real good, I see you have one...you happy with yours?

    Cheers
    SilverCandy
     
  27. sticker

    sticker
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    SilverCandy,

    I beleive that other than the connection differences the main ones are (MXE, HDE)

    10 bit processing vs 8 bit
    576 million colours vs 16 million
    Higher grey scale on MXE

    There are others but I can;t think off the top of my head, again someone like Joe F will tell what those differences translate into visually/upgradability.

    Cheers
    John
     
  28. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Silver Candy,

    In all honesty, its a fantastic display, very happy with it, certainly made the right choice. I definatley spent enough time deciding !

    IMHO there is nothing else available that I would choose above it.

    If you havn't already, Go get one !! :smashin:


    Tony
     
  29. jason t

    jason t
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    got to admit today i went to nex nix to have a look at the pioneer
    and occasionally i noticed the lack of black but the amout of detail compared to the 5 series pannie and the new fuji was amazing !!!


    jason
     
  30. sticker

    sticker
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    I would agree with that from my viewings
     

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