Picture quality issue with sony HDR-CX450

Mike West

Novice Member
Hello, I'm experiencing problems with the picture quality when shooting videos. There is pixalation and a lack of sharp detail specially when it's at full zoom. I've tried filming in highest quality FX and with steady shot and conversion lens but still it's the same. I'm always filming out doors with good sunlight.

I'm comparing the quality to my older model Sony HDR-CX115E which did not have this problem and the image was crystal clear with great detail even at full zoom. Maybe it's just the limitations of the newer cheaper model and it's supposed to be like that. Does anyone know the answer? I'm I doing something wrong? Thank you in advance.
 

stearman65

Active Member
I have the Sony HDR CX405, which is about as cheap as you can go for a camcorder, I thought. We recently returned from a holiday in Holland & I used the Sony & my action camera all the time. I thought the results were fine considering the price I paid. The only downside is the lack of viewfinder, as trying to see the screen in bright sunlight was a toil. Maybe if you let us have the history of your Sony, someone will come up with something?
 

dosdan

Active Member
I suspect that the CX450 is offering higher digital zoom. What are the started max zoom ratios for both models?

The Panasonics go up to 1500x. I've never used this as it would be too pixellated and soft. Digital zoom is like resizing a small part of an JPEG imaqe up to full-size. Imagine resizing something occupying 198x108 of the sensor area -> 1980x1080. That's a 10x zoom. OK if done optically. But most camcorders reach an optical zoom max of 10x or 20x. So to go to 1500x, after 20x of optical zooming in, would require a further 75x of digital zooming/upsizing. There's no way this will look sharp. And it will probably look highly pixellated too.

Since modern camcorder sensors have more MP than is necessary for the Full HD framesize (2MP), there is usually some leeway. For example. If the sensor capture area of the original image is 8MP (3960x2160), 1x requires a 1/2x downsize to fit the captured sensor pixels within the final Full HD frame, so 2x zoom-in is actually back to the original 1:1 pixel correspondence between sensor and final image. For example, my Panasonic HCV750 & V770 camcorders have:
  • up to 20x "Optical" zoom
  • up to 50x "Intelligent" zoom
  • up to 60x "Digital" zoom
  • up to 1500x "Digital" zoom

My understanding of this is that it's possible to zoom up to 50x before the weaknesses of digital zooming come into play.

BTW, There's no free lunch. 20x of high-quality optical zoom is extremely difficult to achieve in a professional video lens costing 10s of thousands of dollars, let alone the small cheapie lenses used in a consumer camcorder. At high optical camcorder zoom ratios, the image will tend to be softer and have more geometric and chromatic aberrations than is desirable. But consumer expectations aren't that high anyway and the moving images tends to focus your attention on other things. The loss of quality will be obvious though if you capture a still from a frame holding an image taken with this level of zooming.

Dan.
 
Last edited:

Mike West

Novice Member
Thanks stearman65

Thanks Dan, this is probably the problem as you explained. I'm not as knowledeged as yourself but it makes sense. How do I find out the started max zoom ratios?
 

dosdan

Active Member
hdr-cx115e:
ZOOM RATIO (OPTICAL) 25
ZOOM RATIO (DIGITAL) 300
PRECISION DIGITAL ZOOM YES

HDR-CX450
OPTICAL ZOOM 30x
CLEAR IMAGE ZOOM 60 (When "SteadyShot" is set to "Active" or "Intelligent Active".)
DIGITAL ZOOM 350 (The factory setting is "Off". Digital zoom ratio includes optical zoom ratio)

Dan.
 

dosdan

Active Member
CX450
http://helpguide.sony.net/cam/1610/v1/en/print.pdf

Section 106:

How to Use Menu operations Camera/Mic Digital Zoom

You can select the maximum zoom level. Note that the image quality decreases when you use the digital zoom.
1. - [Camera/Mic] - [ Camera Settings] - [Digital Zoom] - desired setting.

Descriptions of menu items

Off: Digital zoom cannot be used.
350: Up to 350 zoom is performed digitally


Section 205:

Zoom magnifications HDR-CX450/CX455/CX485
  • When recording a movie with SteadyShot set to [Active] 60 times
  • When recording a movie with SteadyShot set to [Intelligent Active] 59 times
  • When recording a movie or photo with SteadyShot set to [Standard] or [Off] 30 times
  • When [Digital Zoom] is set to [350x] 350 times
 
Last edited:

Mike West

Novice Member
Yes I think I've cracked it, it seems to be SteadyShot (Active and Intelligent Active) that is causing the pixelation with the cx450. when it's set to standard or off there is much less pixelation, though the zoom is much less. Actually doesn't seem like it's zooming in enough. Anyway thank you very much for your help.
 

dosdan

Active Member
Actually doesn't seem like it's zooming in enough.
You can test this. Set the camera up on a tripod. Set it at a distance from a tape measure, of say 1m or 10m, running L->R. Have it at a distance so that the 1m or 10m just fills the frame at 1x. Then as, you zoom in, compare the captured length of the tape measure (Right minus Left cm values at the frame edges). This will give you the zoom ratio achieved.

Dan.
 
Last edited:

12harry

Well-known Member
CX450 is a Budget camcorder and that zoom range includes "digital" which should only be a last resort ( and done in EDIT !). If you restrict yr zoom to something nearer 20x ( using the tape-measure idea already posted), this should be perfectly good enough for getting the Story over.
To get a closer image, "Use your legs" is a good maxim, - except when you are on a train/ship/etc.

If you pay 10x this, then you get lots more features + a bigger Sensor and the larger glass that implies ( which is where the costs escalate).
The cost of image quality is the main reason IMHO why 4K camcorders have such a poor Zoom range.... it's as though they expect you to "waste pixels" to zoom-in . . . which rather defeats the point of a 4K sensor.... although in HD-mode and shown on a large screen it's surprising what can be achieved.

+A tripod is essential for any "Tests" so as to eliminate at least one variable... the Operator.

Cheers.
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
apparently has the highest 4k zoom at 24x optical, but I wonder if quality is lost at full zoom.
Its a Leica lens - what do you expect? The optical zoom is up to 24x but the intelligent zoom will take you to 32x or 48x without any loss of picture quality.
 

12harry

Well-known Member
Optical zoom "should" be the limit for quality image stakes... as any addition effects must lose pixels, even though the various "boosts" are retaining all those needed for HD ( hence the claims that image-quality remains ). However, fewer sensor pixs-per-pixel must introduce some additional noise ( or some downgrade)...otherwise they wouldn't use the sensor with all pixels present That's my take, FWIW.

Terfyn, that VX1 Pana looks like a further improvement for moving-making, as you will know - I like the Active Contrast and Dolly-Zoom features and whilst "more Zoom" would be nice, what it really lacks is a built-in ND filter - even a x4 would be better than having to remove the sunshade and then screw-in a filter.
- There is a Sony with this.... but it's a lot more money. . . and lacks some "Umph" -er, IMHO.
A 24x Zoom isn't too much of a downside... since it's way more than most SLRs ever had - and modern Bridge-Cameras are less convenient for movie-making; although they do offer long zooms and the Pana 2000 (DYOR) has ND filters - odd that, when in Stills-Mode you can have a short exposure.

Cheers
 

The latest video from AVForums

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Netflix in November 2020: Tom's Thumbs.
Top Bottom