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Old Apr 7, 2004, 12:10 AM   #1
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Default Best movie mode?

I've got a three-year old Canon S300 (the larger of the original digital elphs) and it's been great, but I want something bigger than 2 mpl. I've fallen in love with the movie mode, and do lots of iMovie projects with the clips I shoot (320x240 at 20 fps).

I'd really like to shoot clips that look better on TV. I see that the new Canon A75 does 640x480 clips, but they're only at 15 fps, and the samples I've seen here and elsewhere look a little too choppy. (And unfortunately, the cool new S500 elph only shoots 10 fps, which looks even worse.)

Anyway, the best movie mode out there seems to be the new Canon S1 IS, which looks amazing, but is also a little beyond my budget. Plus, it's relatively large. I kno the Fuji f700 also shoots nice clips at 30 fps (and you can find them cheap these days), but I'm more inclined to buy Canon, Nikon, or Olympus.

Does anyone know of camera that does decent 640 clips that's better than the A75, or smaller/more affordable than the S1 IS?

Thanks! (first post, longtime reader)
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Old Apr 7, 2004, 9:29 AM   #2
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The ones you have already found are about all I know of that will take 640 X 480 movies at 30 FPS that I could live with. I think the Sony T1 does also, but it has no viewfinder other than the LCD and the flash is so absurdly weak it is basically useless.

Image stabilization is amazing. You can shoot indoors at wider angles with no flash handheld, and use the long zoom lens in a lot more situations without a tripod. After using it on another camera I have decided I will never own a large camera without it. You might wait for the S1 to come down in price a little.
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Old Apr 7, 2004, 9:59 AM   #3
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Before you make a decision on a digital camera based upon its movie mode consider a few things:

1) As I'm sure you already know - this is not what a digital camera's CCD and other electronics where designed for - its an add-on that they design in.
2) To go to 640X480 30fps burned to CF, SD or other media is going to chew up a lot of memory - much more that you were losing with 320X240 at 20fps.
3) MiniDV Digital Camcorder have gotten MUCH SMALLER for the same money over the years. So small, in fact, you can fit a Digital Camera AND a Digital Camcorder in the same bag in many cases.

So, for the price of a couple of CF/SD cards (which you will need more of if you are taking clips with your camera)- you can buy a small Digital Camcorder that will do the job right (720X640 DV stream with Stereo sound) and due to their size being smaller - it is not as much as a hassle to carry two devices as when you bought your Cannon three years ago.
Just something to consider before making a decision.
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Old Apr 8, 2004, 6:03 PM   #4
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That's a great point, about the dropping prices (and sizes) of DV cameras, relative to the investment I'd need to make in decent sized storage cards. I love the convenience of everything in one package (I'm more content with a camera that takes negligable video than the other way around), but I'll give the DVs a look. I'm hearing good things about the Canon ZR60 (in terms of good and affordable) -- maybe I'll start there.

Re, the comment about stabilization -- sounds awesome. Thanks for the feedback.
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Old Apr 9, 2004, 1:53 PM   #5
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I agree with what the last poster said about considering a mini DV, however, if you still find yourself wanting a good digi cam that does mini-movies as well, you should check out the Nikon Coolpix 3700. It does 5 different movie modes, the best of which is 640 @30 fps. I have a 256 card and can shoot up to about 3.5 minutes - it will shoot until the card is full , if you have a card rated at 10 mb/sec(go with panasonic - $75 on Amazon.) A great feature is that you can edit the movies in camera to save memory. It is very small, and is a really nice camera. The only drawback is that it has mimimal manual controls. I think that we are only a couple years away befere there is a small camera that does both stills and vids very well. I needed something now, so bought an analog camcorder for cheap, and the 3700. The 3700 is primarily for stills, but I use the movie mode often, and if it is going to be a short clip, will choose it over the camcorder, even when in the house! For more on the 3700, check out steves review and this link:
Good luck
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Old Apr 9, 2004, 4:55 PM   #6
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Right now, miniDV is SO vastly superior to any digicam videos. In terms of video quality, it is noticeably superior to analog camcorder.
Another pluss for the miniDV is the software. You generally get a halfway decent video editor with your camcorder purchase too. (pinnacle studio). The ZR series are very good for the money--and their small. Sony's DVs are better indoors, but all will be lightyears ahead of any digital still cam. If you do your research and get a cam with minimal or no still-pic capability, you can get into a dv cam pretty darn cheap. This was not the case 3 years ago when I got mine. Even so, the videos are simply amazing. The ergonomics are MUCH better for taking vids as well. it is much easier to hold a camcorder steady than a still cam. Plus, all DV cams will have image stabilization--usually this will be digital, but still far better than none at all.
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