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Old Jul 17, 2005, 12:23 PM   #1
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I want to take stills and videos of music situations, using a compact camera. It's hard to find mention of audio quality in camera reviews. I find that my Canon S400 has excellent (clear and not a lot of hiss) audio, but I also long for a larger LCD because of poor vision. Can anyone suggest a 2" or bigger LCD camera with nice audio quality that has a speaker, can act as a voice reocrder or takes long voice memos, and doesn't exhibit too much extraneous noise? * *The other thing I hate is dealing with red eye. Again, the S400 is fantastic.So far, I have been considering the Fuji F10, Canon SD400 or 500 (is there a difference, really?), Sony DSC-W1, 5, or 7, Sony DSC-P200, Kodak V-550 (based on a suggestion from someone on this forum), and Casio EX-Z57 or Z750.* I have a Mac Mini and have read that the Casio movies don't do well with Macs.* *None of this is for professional purposes--I just like clear sound and the optics of a camera aren't as important to me as they are for some people.
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Old Jul 17, 2005, 12:36 PM   #2
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Well . . .. I'm surprised you're not considering the Canon Powershot s2 is.

The Canon Powershot S2 IShas very high quality stereo (44Hz) recording in movies and a seperate audio recording function of up to 2 hours. As well as this, I think the S2 is the only digicam to have a wind filter. The red-eye on the S2 is reported to be better than average

But. . . .

The S2's LCD is only 1.8 inches and although it can be flipped and twisted it may not be big enough for you.
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Old Jul 17, 2005, 12:38 PM   #3
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It's too early to tell how good the audio is (not tested yet) but the new Samsung DigiMax Pro815 looks pretty good (with a 3.5 inch LCD screen to boot)!

http://www.steves-digicams.com/pr/sa...pro815_pr.html
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Old Jul 17, 2005, 1:15 PM   #4
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The S2 does look terrific, thanks for the suggestion. It would definitely satisfy my audio quality desires. But it's 14+ ounces and I don't think I'd be so likely to want to cart it around. I will try to find one and heft it.
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Old Jul 17, 2005, 3:25 PM   #5
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You are looking for "excellent" audio in a pocket camera. If you feel the audio on your S400 is excellent there are probably others that are suitable. I don't know of anything as small as you are looking for that has stereo though.

The only small camera with a 2 inch or larger LCD I know of that fulfills your low red-eye requirement is the Sony P200. They managed to get the flash far enough from the lens that it isn't problem as much as other small cameras.

MPEG4 is a good deal if you plan to take a lot of movies at 640 X 480 and 30fps. It takes about a quarter of the space of the same sized movies that are other formats. The P200 movies are about halfway in between – not sure what they are using.

Everyone with a Mac seems to have sorted out the problems with MPEG4. There is a codec you can add or there are a couple of freeware programs that convert the movies to a format that a Mac can use. This is one that was recommended: http://homepage.mac.com/major4/

They recently released a firmware update that has taken the LCD whine out of the Casio Z750 movies. The audio sounds pretty good to me for a small mono mic. Some people complain of booming with too much bass at parties with some digital cameras. It doesn't seem to be a big problem with the Casio. Most people are buying 1Gb and larger cards for it because the battery lasts so long. I haven't tried it but they are claiming it will record audio for over 24 hours. Audio record is pretty painless, there is an audio setting on the mode dial and you just push the shutter release to start it. Playback isn't bad for a tiny speaker but not loud enough to play for a large group. I've been quite pleased with the movie quality even in normal indoor lighting at night. I'm not sure they are any better than most of the others you mentioned though.

You don't seem to need manual controls or even a viewfinder looking at your list. So the only thing I can think of that the Z750 would do for you the others won't is the past movie mode. You hold the camera aimed at your subject until something you want to film happens. You can then push the record and it captures the previous 5 seconds and continues recording until you stop it. So you don't have to grind away waiting for something to happen. But it does produce red-eye like everything else on your list but the P200.

Not sure why the Casio Z57 is on your list. It takes 320 X 240 movies at 15fps. That is about as bad as it gets. The others take good movies, but count on about 2Mb/second for high quality movies if the camera doesn't have MPEG4. That means about 4 minutes total high quality movies on a 512Mb card compared to about 17 minutes with MPEG4 at the same quality.

Another small camera you might also look at is the Kodak V550. It has MPEG4 and a 2.5 inch screen plus an optical finder. It looks like a nifty little camera.

I don't know how you can actually compare movie audio though. Even in a store you would be dependent on the tiny speaker to give you an idea how it is doing unless they let you hook it up to a computer with decent speakers. I would rely on someone like Steve, who has actually compared them, if he were to chime in with an opinion. But other than camera reviewers I don't think anyone knows how the cameras you listed actually compare in audio. I think all of the small cameras get wind noise to some degree. The Z750 is pretty noisy in a good wind.

Some of the larger cameras like the S2 mentioned with stereo sound would likely be better than anything you listed if you can tolerate the extra bulk.

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Old Jul 18, 2005, 2:02 AM   #6
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Now I have to check out the Casio Ex-S500! Seems like if iI can just wait a couple of weeks, my dream camera will come down the pike...there are so many great new cameras coming out.* *By the way, is the Canon SD300 better than the Canon SD400? That's the impression I got from some reviews.* ** *Jill (Yidl)
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