Which one is better APS or CIPS

1 chip vs. 3 chips

liquid wrote on 9/23/2003, 8:27 AM
I was wondering if someone can help me understand what the difference is between a 1 chip camera, and a three chip....obviously, I can infer that the 3 chip one has more advanced features, costs a lot more, and is probably all around a better machine. But I'm wondering if it's really worth the money difference? Is the end effect going to be very noticable...Or would my money be better spent on other equipment?

Also, doesn anyone know what camera was used to film bowling for columbine...? Was that DV? Or film...because it sure looks great.
17 Answers Go to solution



There are lots of articles in vdieo magazines and websites that describe the difference in greater detail, but here is my shot at it.

CCD - Charge Coupled Device
A one CCD camera captures all video information with the one CCD so has to make some compromises. A three CCD camera captures colors (red, green, blue) one color for each chip. This should give you better color fidelity (less bleed, richer color) and better apparent resolution (the key here is apparent). DV captures at 720x480 regardless of the number of chips. Professionals will always go for the 3 CCD camera because of the higher quality. 3 CCD cameras also tend to have more features as you noted. The tradeoff is in the price you pay.

The 1 CCD cameras are getting better all the time and are more than adequate for all but the most demanding applications. I recently used my one CCD Canon Elura to videotape my son's performance and another father used a 3 CCD Panasonic. We both used tripods. The only difference other than the cameras was that I was a little closer. I took both tapes and edited them with Vega and switched between the two tapes via cuts and simple dissolves. I could not see any differnce in quality between the two.

Bottom line? If you can afford it and plan to do a lot of video (shooting and editing), go for the best camera you can afford. In the long run, you will be glad you did. If you are only going to take occasional videos of family events and edit them for VHS tape, save the money and go for the 1 CCD camera.

Regardless of which you buy, be sure to get a good tripod. That will make more difference in the quality of your videos.

Hope this helps. If I got any of the above wrong (I am talking from memory), others on this forum will set things straight.

Jsnkc wrote on 9/23/2003, 9:41 AM
And the basic answer, Yes you will notice a BIG diffrence in picture quality. IF you can afford a 3 CCD camera then you should get that. I've done a lot of shoots where I use my Panasonic 1 CCD camera, and we also use anotehr company that shoots with a Canon GL2, the colors look so much richer, the picture looks so much clearer, and not grainy.

If you want I can put up a couple video stills from both the cameras so you can see what I am talking about. They were shot with a 1 CCD camera and a 2CCD camera from the same angle in the same night.
josaver wrote on 9/23/2003, 9:45 AM
1 CCD of 1000000 pixels is a little better to 3 CCD of 300000. The resolution of the two images is aprox the same 300000 pixels.

The 3CCD camera uses every CCD for 1 color of the image. The 1 CCD camera can divide every pixel in 3 color, by a mask, it reduces the resolution.

There are CCD of 2/3 inch or 1/3 inch, what is better, obviously the 2/3 inch, it can fit more pixels.

But the final result is ever the same 720x576 on PAL and 720x480 on NTSC

The optics on the camera makes a difference too.

josaver wrote on 9/23/2003, 9:59 AM
Good images.

How many pixels have both cameras?

But I think there are not the same brand cameras.

Possibly a Panasonic and a Sony?

Jsnkc wrote on 9/23/2003, 10:11 AM
The 1 CCd was taken with a Panasonic PVDV-401, and the 3 CCD was taken with a Canon GL2
josaver wrote on 9/23/2003, 10:16 AM
I've asked this because the lens flare and smear on the 1 CCd still is Panasonic tipical.

With 3 CCD the smear is reduced a bit.

As you might guess, it depends on which single chip camera you compare with which 3 chip camera.

Things that make a difference are chip size, lenses, and electronics.

Pros like the higher end 3 chip cameras because they use larged CCDs, have fairly good glass (considering it's just video) and because you can use a paint box on them. This is an external controller that allows you to set pedestal and knee and gamma and al sorts of other technical sounding stuff.

Consider that the video signal isn't DV25 until after it's encoded. Prior to that you can do a lot more tweaking to a 3 chip camera's picture than you could to the single chip camera.

Chip size isn't really a matter of more pixels. It's an optics issue. The image from larger ccds should be sharper and should have less depth of field.

Depth of field is usually something you struggle to reduce in video because there's so much of it. It's hard to make foregrounds and backgrounds go into soft focus. What people usually do is iris wide open to reduce the depth. This doesn't make great use of a lens though. The film people usually consider a 5.6 as the best use of the glass. The part of the lens you're using is sharper than it would be using all of the glass at a f1.4 or so.

Rob Mack
Color (both accuracy and saturation) and contrast should be better with 3 chips than one.

Check out the article at DV.COM. You will need to register to read the article (you might also want to sign up for this magazine -- I find it quite helpful).

DV CCD Sensor Article
wcoxe1 wrote on 9/23/2003, 8:37 PM
One thing that is a DISadvantage of a 3-chipper over a 1-chip camcorder, other than the higher price, is the sensitivity to light.

With a given amount of light coming off a subject, with roughly identical up front lenses, there is less total light getting to the 3 chips because of the splitting and reflecting done inside the prizm that aims light to each of the 3 chips. This light loss results in grain, noise, and color loss on the 3-chippers before some good 1-chippers as light gets dimmer and dimmer.

On the other hand, if you have a wonderfully lit bright day, you can't beat the 3-chipper..
>One thing that is a DISadvantage of a 3-chipper over a 1-chip camcorder, other than the higher price, is the sensitivity to light.<

I think that USED to be true. The fact is that as technology has marched forward this is no longer a consideration.

In fact, most 3-chip prosumer camcorders will easily outperform their single-chip counterparts in low light.

The Sony VX2000, a three chip camera, has absolutely amazing low-light sensitivity.
wcoxe1 wrote on 9/24/2003, 12:03 PM
Ahh! May be true. I don't have the VX-2000, only the VX-1000 and a TRS-20. The 20 gives MUCH better color at very low light. Course there are quite a few years between the two.
>May be true. I don't have the VX-2000, only the VX-1000<

The VX-2000 outperforms the VX-1000 by a large margin, most noticably in low light. It has already been out for several years now.

RexA wrote on 9/24/2003, 1:04 PM
>In fact, most 3-chip prosumer camcorders will easily outperform their single-chip counterparts in low light.

That seems to not be true of the low-end Panasonic 3-CCD cameras (GS70, DV953). From what I have read they are not good in low light.

I've been reading about various cameras lately -- I want to buy a 2nd, smaller camera -- have another thread about that here. Right now I am leaning toward an older PV-DV852 single-chip because it has better low-light capability than the low-end 3-ccd versions. What I read says this camera has good image quality for a 1-ccd. I already have a great 3-ccd camera fo my main work.

Seems the newer 1-ccd cams are tending to small ccd's which makes the low light performance not as good as it used to be. I read a complaint that the lower-priced (but good) cameras are not concentrating on video quality, but small size and "bells and whistles" like still pictures. I'd prefer more camera choices with quality video.

If anyone has direct experience with the DV852, I'd be interested to hear your comments.
For a very instructive look at the light sensitivity, check out this page. Note not only the brightness, but also the noise, sharpness, and apparent color accuracy (tough to judge without a reference).

GL2, TRV950, TRV900, and VX2000 Comparison

Other useful information in this review:

Sony PC-1, TRV-9, TRV-900, VX-1000; Panasonic AG-EZ30U; and Canon GL-1 and XL-1

Finally, if you really want to get into what 3 chips will do, not only with low light, but in other respects, go to this page and click on all the links. This guy has done a marvelous job investigating many different cameras:

Beale Corner

If you don't get to all the links on this page (the best ones are in the Reviews section) at least click on this one:

Low Light Comparison

It dramatically shows how fabulous the VX2000 is in low light.
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