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Old Feb 2, 2007, 10:26 PM   #1
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I'm looking for some helpevaluating the specs of these hybrid video cameras. I'm in the market for a solid-state camcorder that accepts A/V-input to be used with a bullet camera for in-car video in a race car. I've narrowed the search down to a handful of the new camcorders. One of my priorities is to try to get the best video quality that I can while staying under $300. I'm looking at things like:

Lyra X2400

Aiptek MPVR+


Sanyo Xacti - no a/v input L-(

My question is that most of these cameras/recorders all publish specs of 640x480 @ 30 fps. At the same time, though, I'venoticed that the Xacti'spublishspecs of 3Mbps bitrate. The sample footage that I've seen of the Xacti's looks much better than some of the others like the Aiptek.

How does the bitrate impact the overall video quality? Is the improved quality of the Xactidue to the bitrate? Does anyone knowwhat the bitrate is of the other modelsabove? I'm trying outthe Lyra now andmy video files seem to say only 153kbps in the properties. Is this apples to apples vs. the 3MbpsXacti?

I also don't belivee the Sanyo Xacti's take A/V inputs from an external camera. Are there any models that will? If not, does anyone know of a comparable quality recorder(~2-3Mbps)?

Thanks in advance

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Old Feb 3, 2007, 12:14 AM   #2
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The Sanyo's higher bitrate does indeed mean it records higher quality video. The typical rate for Digilife cams etc. is 1.8Mbps. The lower bit rate does have the advantages of being eaiser to handle on your computer, and not filling up the memory so fast.

There aren't many hybrids that have video-in. And I know of NONE of the higher quality ones that have this feature. There is, however, an alternative.

The Samsung Minikets are higher quality hybrids, and some of them, called the "Sport" models, come with bullet cams. In fact, the new SC-X210WL has a wireless bullet cam, that will transmit up to 15 feet. This sounds ideal for your use. Just note that most of the Minikets take still shots at only a very low resolution, if that matters. I'm afraid I don't know the bitrate for the Minikets, but I'd be utterly shocked if they weren't competitive with the Sanyos.

Oh, and welcome to the forum.

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Old Feb 4, 2007, 12:09 AM   #3
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Hi Red_Z,

I notice you did consider a portable multimedia player/ recorder (the Lyra). This may be stretching your budget a little but it is a much better product than the Lyra.

The Archos 404 PMP ($279):


It has a whopping 30 GB HD. not 1 or 2 GB of flash card. It is not a big device (100 X 78 X 15 mm, 190 g).

You do need the docking module (included) to record to the device, which makes it bigger. However, you can also buy an accessory DVR travel kit which is much smaller ($69):


The Archos record DIVX video at 640 X 480 resolution at 25 or 30 fps, at a max. video bitrate of 2500 kbps. Yes this is still lower than the highest bitrate of the Sanyo Xacti C series and quality may be lower (I think most older MPEG-4 video codecs like MP4 and DIVX (NOT newer ones like H.264 or AVC) have similar quality at the same bitrate).

The Archos even has a color bullet cam accessory (see above link) which is powered by the unit, so no additional battery pack or hook up.

There is a 404 cam model, but it has a fixed lens cam (also takes 1.3 MP photos), so I won't recommend it.

If you want to look up the detailed specs (like video bitrate etc.) you can find the product manual here:


(Bitrate details are listed in section 8.2 under "Videocorder settings")

I have an old Archos AV320 (first generation PMP). I love it as a player and a recorder. Hope you would consider this brand.

I have also looked at other digital cameras which use either DIVX or MP4 codecs (NOT those with MJPEG which are not as efficient). The only brands other than Sanyo Xacti are: Casio Exilim series, Pentax (eg. Optio S7, A10 but not all), and Samsung (i6, NV3/ NV7). From various digicam reviews and sample videos, I find that the Sanyo Xacti C series still has the best video quality amongst all, and I still think the high video bitrate of 3 Mbps is a major factor (as you mentioned, other digicams may only go as high as 1.5 Mbps, or their framerate (fps) is lower).

I have also looked at the Samsung Miniket flash memory camcorder. There is no mention of the exact video bitrate (only "Superfine", "Fine" and "Normal" quality settings). I have seen some user reports mentioning subpar optics and video quality, but I haven't seen any sample video.
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Old Feb 5, 2007, 8:24 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. The archos sounds like a good unit but I'm nervous about putting a HDD based recorder in a race car. The car is subject to alot of harsh vibrations and shocks and I just don't think HDD can survive that.

If anyone else has suggestions, I'm all ears. Thanks.

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