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Old Dec 1, 2004, 8:46 PM   #1
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Hi! I'm pretty much brand new to these forums, and to digital photography, so forgive my newbieness.

I just bought a Canon PowerShot S70 - it arrived yesterday, and I opened the box, charged the battery, and started playing with it today. I've observed what appears to be a problem, and I'm wondering if there's any information out there about it.

(I've observed the following with both the 32 MB Compact Flash card that came with the camera, and the 4 GB Hitachi Microdrive (Compact Flash Type II) that I bought to actually use in the camera.)

In the video mode (not a mode I really care about, but since I've got it, I'd like it to work), in the 640 mode, the camera locks up hard after about 11 to 13 seconds of recording. It locks up hard after about 25 seconds of recording in the 320 mode. I haven't tested 160 mode much, but in the single test I did, after about 73 seconds, the camera appeared to just turn off.

In all of the above instances where the camera "locked up," none of the buttons or the sliding lens cover/power switch actually responded. I had to pull out the battery and replace it to "reboot" the camera. After the crashes, there's no video file available on the storage card, though there is some relatively small amount of data (a few megs) taking up space on the card that only goes away with a format.

I am able to record video clips normally if I manually stop the recording before the times listed above.

The only thing that would seem likely to cause this sort of problem, short of "it's just broken," is the buffer filling up faster than it can be written and crashing the camera, but I don't know if that's even possible.

The CF card is a Canon rebranded Sandisk FC-32MH card, labeled "High Speed." The Microdrive claims to have sustained data rates up to 7 MB/sec. I would imagine that either of these would be amply fast enough to support the video recording capabilities of this camera.

I haven't observed any other problems with the camera (in limited use). I've sent a support e-mail to Canon. I'm mostly wondering if this is a known bug or something specific to my camera, and if I should try to return the camera to the company I ordered from (ProFeel Video, a web retailer that was fairly highly rated on this site, IIRC) for an exchange. Any information or advice you can give is welcome.

Thanks!

Jerry
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Old Dec 2, 2004, 2:17 PM   #2
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Wow, that's got the be the least response to a message board post EVER - I'm both the first and second person to view this thread. :-)

Anyway, an update - I got a response from Canon tech support telling me that this is indeed a unique defect in my particular camera and nothing they've ever seen before, so I'm returning it to the original retailer for an exchange.

Jerry
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Old Dec 2, 2004, 5:09 PM   #3
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vapspwi wrote:
Quote:
The only thing that would seem likely to cause this sort of problem, short of "it's just broken," is the buffer filling up faster than it can be written and crashing the camera, but I don't know if that's even possible.

The CF card is a Canon rebranded Sandisk FC-32MH card, labeled "High Speed." The Microdrive claims to have sustained data rates up to 7 MB/sec. I would imagine that either of these would be amply fast enough to support the video recording capabilities of this camera.
Jerry, welcome to the forums.

From the little bit of fishing around I've done, the S70 has a maximum movie length of 30 seconds in it's highest quality mode (640x480 at 10fps). Recording lengths in lower resolution modes will be longer.

I don't know if it's trying to write to media at the same time it's recording, or if it's simply writing to an internal buffer first, then flushing later.

I haven't seen any tests on buffer flush times after a movie. But, when the buffer fills up after shooting multiple still images, it takes anywhere from about 37 to 46 seconds for it to fully flush (depending on the mode and resolution).

Note that you can continue to shoot still images after the internal buffer is full (but at a slower cycle time between photos, unless you wait for it to clear again).

Since the Lexar 80x Card is substantially faster than your Hitachi Microdrive, then I'd expect the flush time to take longer with your media if it's waiting until the buffer is full before it begins writing movies (I don't know how this model behaves in this respect).

My guess is that's it's defective if you're sure it's locking up, versus just writing to media from the buffer (I'd make sure to wait a couple of minutes after it stops recording to test this). I haven't seen any mention of movie length being related to media speed (only that it is time limited). So, chances are, you got a defective camera since it's stopping prior to 30 seconds in it's highest quality mode.

BTW, you don't get anywhere near the maximum possible speed with media in most models (you've got other bottlenecks in the camera).

Hopefully, some S70 users will see your post and respond.

If you send it back to the vendor, let us know how your exchange behaves. Good Luck with it!
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Old Dec 2, 2004, 9:30 PM   #4
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yeah... looks like a defect... I don't know anything about the S70 but you should be able to record longer with the lower resolution modes--yet you can't! There is clearly some problem...
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Old Dec 14, 2004, 7:27 PM   #5
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A followup to this story:

I returned the camera to ProFeel (had to pay shipping, but no biggie), and now, about a week and a half later, I have the replacement camera. No problems at all with the return - I called them for an RA number and put the camera in the mail. They didn't e-mail me to tell me they'd received it - I had to mail them about it, but they answered promptly. The new camera arrived quickly after they shipped it.

So, I've played around with the basics of the camera, including the video modes that I was having problems with before, and everything seems to be in working order on this one. The video records to the full advertised duration, then the camera flashes a "busy" message for a couple of seconds while it writes to disk, and everything seems happy.

So, all things considered, I'm pretty happy with the way things went.

Jerry
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