Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Comer 1800 LED Light vs. Sony HVL-LBP LED Light

I have been a long time user of the Sony HVL-LBP led light. I have been very satisfied with it but had a few minor complaints about it. The biggest thing being that it only takes Sony batteries.

Well recently I ran across and purchased what I thought was a knockoff of the Sony HVL light for a cheaper price, the Comer 1800.

Well after comparing the two lights, I have come to the conclusion that I think that Comer manufactures the HVL lights for Sony and decided to release their own version of the light under their name.

As an owner and long time user of the Sony HVL-LBP lights, let me just say that the light output form the Comer 1800 puts the Sony HVL light to shame.
It's no contest.

These lights are identical to Sony in almost every and at $399, it's $200 less than the current Sony HVL lights.

But there are many other reasons that this is a much better deal for this light than just a cheaper price.

First off the Comer 1800 takes Sony and after market Sony batteries. This is huge, as there are great batteries, like that from LENMAR, that are much more powerful and cheaper in price than the Sony's.

The Sony HVL light comes in at 1200 lux, while the Comer light comes in at 1800 lux. So when comparing the two side by side, there was no compassion. The Comer kicked the Sony HVL's butt in intensity.
Sony HVL lights LED's are set to 5500k (daylight), while the Comer 1800 is set to 4500K. I really like the 4500K source as it transfers very well to being used indoors without the need of a 3200k gel. At 400k the Comer 1800 produces a very pleasing image indoors or outdoors.

But wait there's more to this.

The Comer comes with the same diffusion and spot focus filters that the Sony HVL light has. Except, that the Comer 1800 is already gelled for 3200k on the diffusion filter. This makes getting Tungesten lighting a snap if needed with just flipping down the diffusion filter. Now while some would say that this cuts down on light you are right. But because the light is so much more powerful it still produces much more light than the Sony HVL.

If you flip down both the 3200k diffusion filter and the spot focus filter, you get a very strong 3200k flood light. It's so strong that the intensity is identical to the light without any filers applied. Plus you also get a real nice strong spread too boot.

Overall , the build quality is identical to the Sony light except for a few things such as power switch and such. But it's very solid and I can't wait to give it a whirl at next weekends wedding shoot.

It seems like I will be selling off my Sony HVL lights for some more Comers. As a matter of fact I just ordered 2 more from LA.Color Shop before this post. BTW, the L.A. Color Shop owner Taky is a real stand up guy. He's helped me out with a few problems that I had with my old Sony HVL light. How's that for customer service.

Friday, January 2, 2009

REVIEW of VIZIO VA22LF (22" 1080P) TV

In the last year I have migrated to shooting and editing HDV video using Sony FX1's, Canon HV20, and Sony Vegas 8, as well as Apple FCP.
Since I have a very small workspace I needed a small solution in which to work with.

One of my biggest goals was to find a solution that would avoid any rescaling or artifacting.

I wanted something that had a TRUE 1920x 1080 native resolution. And the smallest possible solution, until recently was the 32" Samsung, which was still too large to setup in my workspace.

That is until this past week, when I noticed that VIZIO had developed, which currently, might be the smallest true 1080P LCD tv, in the form of the

I was so excited when I read the specs on it. That I ran out right away to Target, and picked up the 22" VA22LF to give it a whirl.

BTW, here are just some of the specs (I'm not going to post all of the intensive details here, as they can be seen on the link above):

Native Panel Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Supported PC Resolutions: 1920 x 1080, 1366 x 768, 1024 x 768, 800 x 600

Display Compatibility: FHDTV (1080p)
Signal Compatibility: 480i (SDTV), 480P (EDTV), 720P (HDTV), 1080i (HDTV), 1080p(FHDTV)
Response Time: 5 ms
Colors: 16.7 Million

RF (F Connector for internal tuner): 1
HDMI with HDCP: 2
Analog Stereo Audio for HDMI Inputs: 1
Component YPbPr plus Stereo Audio: 1
Composite Video: 1
S-Video plus Stereo Audio: 1
Computer RGB plus Stereo Audio: 1
Service Port: 1

Analog Audio out (RCA): 0
5.1 SPDIF Digital Optical Audio: 1
Headphone (Stereo Mini-Jack): 1

"Enough about the specs on this baby, how did it perform?"

Before we get to how it performed, let me just share my current editing workflow.

My current setup, I edit on a Quad Core MAC PRO with a Intensity Pro HDMI/PCI card installed, and use a 24" DELL display for my main monitor. I also have a JVC SD monitor that I use for color correcting my footage via the Black Magic Intensity Pro PCI card.

My JVC monitor can be used for HD footage, via the Intensity card, which will down convert HD footage to SD, and send it via component cables. But as I said, I have been looking for a small HD monitor/TV that I could setup and use to obtain fairly accurate HD color correction with.

"Ok, now can we get to the performance of the Vizio?"

The picture quality is very good, especially for the $300 price tag.

Manual picture controls are adaquate, as you have control over Brightness (black value), Contrast (white value), Tint, Color saturation, and even indpendant color temperature (RGB) if desired. You can turn off DCR (Dynamic Contrast Ratio) which is great, as the reason why I never purchased the Sharp sets is that you can't easily turn off DNC without having to go into the service menu to do it (no thanks). There are also other features which are nice to turn on and off, depending on what you are doing. As some of these controls are great for normal viewing, but not desired for critical work.

The LCD screen is glossy so you get a nice looking blacks without being overly crushed (after calibration). Speaking of calibration, I wish that Vizo had a Blue Gun setting in the menu like the Samsung has. This would make color calibration a snap, without the need for blue gel.

As for color work out of Vegas 8 or FCP6 via HMDI, it worked flawlessly. The picture did seem to be sharper in Vegas though rather than FCP. This is most likely due to the fact that Vegas lets you preview "Best" true display quality from the timeline, where FCP (even at best settings) still seems a bit soft. Color reproduction seemed consistent between the two programs, and seemed pretty accurate overall. Although, the blacks seemed a bit grainier than they looked on my computer screen. I'm still checking to see if the footage was truly grainy of this is LCD artifacting. I think that I had some scaling going on from FCP.

As for straight camera or HD set top box to the LCD, it looked great. I hooked my Comcast HD box as well as AF connection (viewed open air HD of local stations), and the pictures seemed identical and crisp, with no artifacting.

As for running my HV20 (in good lighting of course) into the LCD, the picture looked nothing short of GREAT. Unfortunately, my FX1's only give you Composite connections from the camera, which did look very good as well, but not as good as HDMI did.

I might have a Gefen Composite to HDMI box floating around that I can try out.

Onboard audio is alright, nothing special from the small built in speakers. Boosting the Bass did help some, but I'm not relying on the built in speakers for more than monitoring or quick preview of picture to audio sync. Speaking of sync, the Vizio has a neat setting called lip sync, which can help you adjust the drift between picture and audio that you sometimes get from cable viewing.

All in all while not the best LCD on the market, I think that this little LCD is more than adequate for most of my (as an event shooter) needs.

This would be a GREAT set to take with you to bridal shows, or even on a live shoot though to use as a reference monitor, as it only weighs 11 lbs., and only 2.5" thick.

This set is currently hard to find, as only Target currently is selling them online.
The funny thing about this is that online it said delivery in 2-6 weeks. I checked local store inventory on the Target website and it only gave me one local store with it in stock. When I went to the store, they had no Vizio sets on the floor, and the salesman said that he had never seen a Vizio set in the store. When he checked the inventory in his computer, it showed that he had them in stock. Guess they JUST CAME IN. Well of course I got one, and guess what, so did the salesman.

Can I get commission on that.

Just a quick note...
When he brought it out and rung it up it came out to be less than advertised online $311 or something like that, it's online for $329.

Gotta like that as well.