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-   -   Aiptek HD-1 HSHD Model (https://forums.steves-digicams.com/hybrid-still-movie-mp3-digicams-85/aiptek-hd-1-hshd-model-146627/)

fishycomics Sep 14, 2008 8:48 AM

http://vimeo.com/1729472 video preview

Aiptek HSHD ccd 720P model. Circuitcity vamp

Aiptek HD-1 cmos 720P Model Aiptek orginal.

http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/6548/30508364aj9.png

http://img209.imageshack.us/img209/5167/75705265em7.png

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=92

Welcome to another great topic, stepping foward once again with the newest released models shown today Saturday Sept 13th 2008 Sunday sept 14th 2008.

Reviewing both sites

Aiptek circuitcity linked

The HD-1 model CMOS senser 5 megSells at 150.00 (149.99) IHD12X free car charger, and USB/AC charger. 1280x720 H264 video @30FPS (up to) a 1 gig internal memory (built in) in Quicktime.Mov format (mac), ext slot of up to 32 gig sdhc slot, 848x480 @ 60F (up to) HD video. Mp3 player. 4X dig Zoom w/ Fixed focus. HDTV component output. Up to 8 meg-pix cam Interpolated.. 2.4 screen reversable lcd. Night shot. Easy charging via AC / Usb

The HSHD Model CCDsenser 3 megsells at 150.00 (149.99) APKHSHD 720P @ 60FPS 2.4 inch screen reversable Internal memory of 2 gig ext SDHC card unknown. 4x dig Zoom. recharge via USB / ac charger. Lower level light. 3 meg pixal Auto focus. red eye flash.

Reading the Info provided it seems we have Two New models, the HD-1 and HSHD. Aiptek correctly displays the info, andalso has a PDF manual of a few pages in English, while CC very uncertain of resolution and oother info they provide to hold true or not.

Aipteks two new Models may just be the exact same one, until we, the consumer goes out, purchases one and finds that the info we research is all wrong.

They are claiming a Lower level video, which to all of us means a better nighttime shoot. While nothing is ever mentioned aboutsound. So we will all be guessing again. We once requested highly on video resolution, then thesound proformance, andnow an Ext mic input, while always improving with a firmware fix that would lead to a failure, due to minipulating not just sound but trying to sharpen the video, noise levels and more. If Aiptek stepped back taken the time to review what we had to say over and over

manual controls are needed ,where we can ajust our own sharpness levels, sound levels and vividness..

I am sure we are anchous to see some samples, and how it will hold up, while another new model is introduced and soon to air:

the Aiptek Action HD pro, and already a few sample shots are up, sound is eathier too strong or in an incorrect scene. Video is as well to hard on the reds, but rather bash it lets see if others can produce their clips to share so we can decide further.

as i continue this post lets hope this gets out there so all are informed..........

Fishy



Wayne12 Sep 15, 2008 10:43 AM

I can't find the HSHD PDF manual, would you have the link Fishy?

Thanks in advance.

fishycomics Sep 15, 2008 5:07 PM

Sorry CC like i sid may or may not be giving a correct info. Aip's first CCd sensor HMMMM

only and when only Aipte.com introduces a cam will it have all its info at Aiptek CC will not

Wayne12 wrote:
Quote:

I can't find the HSHD PDF manual, would you have the link Fishy?

Thanks in advance.

fishycomics Sep 21, 2008 6:26 AM

price is up at 150.00 sept 21 2008

Chipguy Oct 6, 2008 8:29 PM

Since nobody else seems to have taken the plunge on this one, I was in Circuit City Saturday and they had a couple of HSHDs on the rack. Store price was $149.00 but I got it for the online advertised price of $139.00

I've been waiting for a low end hybrid camera like this with an external mic jack. I'll also probably get the Z600/AVG when it comes out and try it as well.

My first out of the box experience was not very auspicious. The battery provided was not long enough to make contact with the battery contacts. I had to shim the bottom of the battery to force it up against the contacts before it would go into charge mode.

I tried some quick tests with some dynamic and condenser (battery powered) lavalier mics I have on hand. The external mic does override the internal mic, but I wasn't sure at first. The screen icon doesn't come on that the manual says is supposed to come on when an external mic is attached.

The dynamic mic output was too hot and there was a lot of clipping, distortion and popping. I'm wondering if the the external mic disables the AGC? The condenser mic output was not high enough to drive it directly, but the upshot was the output was very quiet with it plugged in and the internal mic disabled.

I'm going to run some more tests as time permits to measure the inherent noise output of the unit and see if I can get it running on the condenser lavalier mic running through a preamp. I'll post some clips and results as I create them.

I have a ticket in to Aiptek about 3 items
1. The external mic icon does not work per the manual
2. The battery / battery compartment issue
3. The lack of two menu items listed in the manual but not present in the unit for an on-screen histogram and disabling icons.

I have also asked how to check the firmware. If anybody has an idea of how to do it on this model I'd appreciate it. The controls are pretty spartan and I've tried most of the control combinations posted for other models.


http://www.celeritous.com/Public/HSHD_4.JPG

fishycomics Oct 7, 2008 4:37 AM

Chip. Welcome aboard............

SWEET glad I passed the mic was a guess due to sites missleading info.

maybe a return see if a new model will ahve a working unit. rather wait 2 months for a fix.

Wayne12 Oct 7, 2008 8:01 AM

Chipguy, have you got any clips, and idea of the datarate, or if it does a clear instant live HD picture through it's component/hdmi during filming?

Thanks.

Chipguy Oct 7, 2008 8:33 AM

I noticed Aiptek updated their site over the weekend and the What's New page now has the HDHS and HD-1 listed as separate units. Main difference seems to be the HDHS is 2Gig internal memory with external mic and the HD-1 is 1Gig internal memory with no external mic.

HDHS Link

http://www.aiptek.com/Merchant2/merc...;Store_Code=AS

HD-1

http://www.aiptek.com/Merchant2/merc...;Store_Code=AS


They also have the individual manual links at the bottom of the page


In short - HDHS Features are :
  • 1280 x 720 H.264 Video @60fps[/*]
  • 1280 x 720 H.264 Video @30fps[/*]
  • (Also 848 x 480 WVGA H.264 @ 60fps)[/*]
  • 2GB Built-in Storage[/*]
  • MOV Video Format[/*]
  • 32GB SDHC Card Slot Expansion[/*]
  • External Microphone Jack[/*]
  • MP3 Player[/*]
  • 2x Digital Zoom w/ Fixed Focus[/*]
  • HDTV Component Output[/*]
  • Up to 3 Mega Pixel Digital Camera (actually fixed at 3M)[/*]
  • 2.4" Swivel-Reversible LCD[/*]
  • Night Shot[/*]
  • Easy Charging via AC or USB[/*]
and HD-1 Features (unconfirmed)
  • 1280 x 720 H.264 Video @60fps[/*]
  • ( I assume 1280 x 720 H.264 Video @30fps as well)
    [/*]
  • 848 x 480 Video @60fps[/*]
  • 1GB Built-in Storage[/*]
  • MOV Video Format[/*]
  • 32GB SDHC Card Slot Expansion[/*]
  • NO External Microphone Jack[/*]
  • MP3 Player[/*]
  • 4x Digital Zoom w/ Fixed Focus[/*]
  • HDTV Component Output[/*]
  • Up to 8 Mega Pixel Digital Camera[/*]
  • 2.4" Swivel-Reversible LCD[/*]
  • Night Shot[/*]
  • Easy Charging via AC or USB[/*]
The still image size in the HDHS is fixed at 3 Megapixels. The "up to" bit in the specs is misleading. Don't know if the HD-1 can be changed or not.

The manuals seem to be in a state of flux. The new HDHS manual online also shows a QVGA 30fps mode that my manual does not. There is no option in my camera for this mode.



Chipguy Oct 7, 2008 9:21 AM

Wayne12 wrote:
Quote:

Chipguy, have you got any clips, and idea of the datarate, or if it does a clear instant live HD picture through it's component/hdmi during filming?

Thanks.
Wayne

I took a quick 10 second clip at each resolution and ran it through GSpot v2.70. The results it gives are as follows.

1280x720 30fps
10 second file size 5.27MB
Audio 48KHz 128Kb/s MPEG4 AAC LC
Video 4.229 Mb/s @29.971 fps

1280x720 60fps
10 second file size 8.20MB
Audio 48KHz 128Kb/s MPEG4 AAC LC
Video 6.322 Mb/s @59.923 fps

848x480 60fps
10 second file size 5.503MB
Audio 48KHz 128Kb/s MPEG4 AAC LC
Video 4.174 Mb/s @59.923 fps

I haven't tried looking at the live output yet, but will add that to the test queue.

As far as clips go, I'm compiling some qualitative test clips of my color and resolution test patterns at various light levels. I'll post them as soon as I complete them.

I'm setting up to take images at various light levels of my resolution target, gray scale card and color reference card with tungsten and daylight fluorescent lighting. I'm going to look at the resulting video output with something like OnLocation to look at the color balance and video levels under the different light levels measured with my Lux meter.

On the audio side I'm trying out various microphones and white noise generator to try and look at the audio noise floor and spectral resonse of the internal and external mics.

I can't help it..........I'm an engineer....... subjective landscape and fluffy bunny clips are entertaining but don't tell me much about how one camera stacks up against another and are highly subject to both user post production encoding and the re-encoding of many of the host sites.



Wayne12 Oct 7, 2008 9:22 AM

More cameras to check out, and we are just getting to check this one out. People are wandering what is happening, if you look at the SD line up's of hybrid companies they tend to have a lot of similar models, and now there seems to be a lot of similar HD models.

The HDHS is said to be 1.6mp. This number rang bells, and now i realise it was because there are a few cameras that I do not enjoy the performance of.

The HD-1 is likely using a higher mpixel sensor (hopefully not the one I am thinking that would be related to the other one).

Still if it doesn't have more bit rate, a better picture (better latitude, lower light, lower noise) then is it anymore worth having over the 1440/720p models.

Now I have to find out how the HD1 compares.

Wayne12 Oct 7, 2008 9:48 AM

Thanks. I would like to see the res charts.

Subjective landscape and fluffy bunny clips are still very good on these cameras, as low bit rate h264 cameras can handle test charts much more easily, but break down easily in real world complex scenes. Fur is one thing that causes macro blocking artifacts. I go for the most complex areas, and particularly the classical scratch and rub of the pets fur, that blocks up inter-frame codecs. I look for the little mistakes, because they turn out to be much more obvious on bigger screens (like the cheaper 200 inch projection displays, and others, we are moving towards eventually), or when you blink or see with peripheral vision (can detect high speed phone).

I can tell you that you will probably see block problems (blurry blobs in h264) in every 720p mode if facing a complex moving scene, or one with a wavy rippling body of water in it. The bit rates are not sufficient enough for the codec. They really need to go for 10mb+ for the 720p mode.

Most video sites are useless, about as much as you can tell is how bad the latitude in a camera is not. But download sites, and video sites like vimeo, allow you to post a native format clip as a downloadable link below the main link. I use these clips extensively for comparisons.


Thanks.

Chipguy Oct 7, 2008 10:39 AM

Wayne12 wrote:
Quote:

Subjective landscape and fluffy bunny clips are still very good on these cameras, as low bit rate h264 cameras can handle test charts much more easily, but break down easily in real world complex scenes......snip......
Thanks for the perspective on this. I'll try to include some of those as well. I'm relatively new to that aspect of these digital output cameras. My background is mainly in Lasers, electro-optics, electronic and software design.

My main beef with these cameras and the resulting end product is the audio. Our main application is for video podcasting where the lighting, scene and motion are relatively static. We are currently working on producing a series of tutorials on surface mount assembly and soldering.

We've also been asked by a number of customers to recommend low end cameras for producing vidcasts that have decent audio quality, but don't want to have to do post-production to synch up separate video and audio. To date the only low cost one we've recommended much is something like the Canon Z930.

I would be interested in suggestions for methods to simulate some of these types of scenes that generate artifacts in a consistent and reproduceable manner. We design and prototype a wide range of electronic, electro-optical and electro-mechanical devices for a living.

We could do some type of variable speed linear and/or rotational motion platform and have different patterns/textures to try.

We could take this discussion off into a new topic to discuss how to really hammer on these cameras and codecs in a controlled manner and see how they respond.


Quote:

Most video sites are useless, about as much as you can tell is how bad the latitude in a camera is not. But download sites, and video sites like vimeo, allow you to post a native format clip as a downloadable link below the main link. I use these clips extensively for comparisons
.
I've registered with Vimeo and will post clips there.

Quote:

The HDHS is said to be 1.6mp. This number rang bells, and now i realise it was because there are a few cameras that I do not enjoy the performance of.
What sensor do you think this may have? If (read when) I succumb and decide to open it up will perhaps I can confirm this.

fishycomics Oct 7, 2008 10:59 AM

LOL yep I just seen the old page and now I see the new page it must just have been done LOL



http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/6866/71233158zh3.png

Wayne12 Oct 7, 2008 1:35 PM

It is 4:26am, so my answer is a bit rough.

Chipguy wrote:
Quote:

Wayne12 wrote:
Quote:

Subjective landscape and fluffy bunny clips are still very good on these cameras, as low bit rate h264 cameras can handle test charts much more easily, but break down easily in real world complex scenes......snip......
Thanks for the perspective on this. I'll try to include some of those as well. I'm relatively new to that aspect of these digital output cameras. My background is mainly in Lasers, electro-optics, electronic and software design.
Ironic, I am actually planning on making a new laser display scanning design, but being a novice I could do with some perspective on this. I am gearing up for some virtual os development around a parallel embedded processor (intellasys.net). I used to be in the digital cinema camera development projects at dvinfo.net. I was interested in doing my own camera, but not being an electronic engineer and most people being unreliable there, I couldn't find a suitable partner. Even any camera out there it is possible to tap and record the uncompressed video stream (much better quality) only the couple of engineers there were worth talking with.

If you want to rip apart your camera, there is a couple,of threads here where they open up Aiptek and do stuff to the mic, and another where they add a custom standard lens mount. the lens portions on these things can have fine cabling.

"My main beef with these cameras and the resulting end product is the audio. Our main application is for video podcasting where the lighting, scene and motion are relatively static. We are currently working on producing a series of tutorials on surface mount assembly and soldering."

Rapid movement of the board or machinery might not be perfectly ideal, I would be interested how well ti handles it, they present a relatively complex scene. If this camerae does not work so well i can recommend better (canon has 24mb/s AVCHD cameras out, and Samsung has a cheaper HMX20c that uses a nice Sony sensor). See my comment on the sensor below.

"We've also been asked by a number of customers to recommend low end cameras for producing vidcasts that have decent audio quality, but don't want to have to do post-production to synch up separate video and audio. To date the only low cost one we've recommended much is something like the Canon Z930."

Auto focus might be a problem, so fix focus cameras might better. Aiptek, DXG 595V (remember the v, that is the better one) Sanyo HD1010, Sanyo 100 (unknown, have not done review of footage). Are the best around here. I don't know if the Sanyo HD1010 is any better than the DXG, but it has manual controls and a true full HD mode. The cheaper Samsung shares chip with sr11 and 12 have similar chip (if not the same) and better color and probably latitude, the Canon (can't remember the 24mb/s models but three of them, but the previouse models broadly on par with the Sonies). Casio has just released a new model with cmos sensor AVCHD and Mpeg2 variable (worth examining). Canon HV20 and 30 are tape based canons. These apparently leave the Sanyo for dead.

"I would be interested in suggestions for methods to simulate some of these types of scenes that generate artifacts in a consistent and reproducible manner. We design and prototype a wide range of electronic, electro-optical and electro-mechanical devices for a living."

To tired, but we do everyday street scenes and low light with panning, it shows up stuff in the detail. Our concerns are different from yours, and I think you will be better served then we are with these cameras (as the static simple scenes renders better). One important thing is latitude, that will keep bright parts of the board from blowing out (but you can adjust lighting tom do that, but some sensors can suffer too much). In the bright outside scenes you can see the shadows go very dark/black, and the bright parts go white, even the Sky and sidewalks. A good camera has a the right blue sky, most every bright thing with color and detail, and details in the shows if not color and shading. In low light, a windowed room with light coming in from outside, and shoot of outside is another contrasty thing that can also show up noise in an inadequate setup. Street lighting at night, room light at night are other examples. A dull lightbulb (15w incandescent in a medium sized room also gives an idea). once you see enough examples from people you get a feel about how well it is doing in a scene.

Optical imperfections in the lens you would already know about. The Sanyo HD1000 (and some other camera I can't remember) had blue chromatic aberrations from very bright highlights in a certain direction (red in the other). That maybe annoying filming surface mount stuff.

"We could do some type of variable speed linear and/or rotational motion platform and have different patterns/textures to try."

he, He, that is what i suggested years ago at dvinfo. Bit late to be thinking about it,. so i can't give an analysis at the moment. Waves on water is a popular one to break older codecs, complex non predictive movements, like bushes in strong rings is another. Bit, the most basic problem around here, has been rapid panning. Apparently this is a challenge on many cameras, they stutter. i don't know how much a problem with the newer higher bit rate 1440*1080 cameras.


I remember what i was suggesting was something like spinning cross-hairs with a square lien around it. Just spin the resolution chart. If the codec can;'t predict it, it has to depend on the data rate (unless it uses that inefficiently). Examining hope easily ti breaks up and blobs (hides macro blocks).

But what is best to remember is the way these sorts of compression codecs break down. Non predicted Motion and complexity (like random noise) just suck up data-rate which if not there, causes drop in quality. In complexity is shaping (which i think they now use). these sorts of things can distort what you see on the circuit board. The basic key frame intra frame method (apart from shaping and resolutions dropping) is not narrow the difference between surrounding pixels, thus shifting color and contrast, reducing detail. This makes images less striking, more murky, and reduces details which might be undesirable. Another aspect is loss of resolution and fuzziness on details, and also other artifacts like image ringing. For your use it is probably best to give a test run, adjust lighting and test run again, you should get a personable idea.

"We could take this discussion off into a new topic to discuss how to really hammer on these cameras and codecs in a controlled manner and see how they respond."

Very busy on a document, so that is something i will have to avoid for now..

Quote:

Quote:

The HDHS is said to be 1.6mp. This number rang bells, and now i realise it was because there are a few cameras that I do not enjoy the performance of.
What sensor do you think this may have? If (read when) I succumb and decide to open it up will perhaps I can confirm this.
If you can get to the firmware section it might list it. I think it was the altasens altrachrome that i am thinking of. Altasens was a top rating professional sensor at it's introduction, and we got excited about the consumer version, but the cameras did not match up to our expectations. I used to look up sensors for the digital cinema camera, and 1.6mp was pretty unusual, I think Kodak could have some. usually they are 1.3mp, or 1 mpixel. But I could be wrong. There was some interpolation issues in the cameras I remember.

Chipguy Oct 7, 2008 7:01 PM

I think the sensor in the HSHD is the Aptina (formerly Micron) MT9M002 CMOS sensor which is a part of their DevCam HD series of sensors. The specs and features align perfectly.

The flyer can be found at

http://www.aptina.com/assets/downloadDocument.do?id=168

1472 x 1096 active array
3.24mm x 2.41mm imaging area
Frame Rates 1280 x 720 60fps
1440 x 1080 30fps
Output LVDS serial or 12bit parallel
Max clock rate 49.5 MHz
Max data rate 99 Megapixels/sec
Dynamic range 70.1db
Responsivity 1.4 V/lux-sec (550 nm)

Aptina's reference design board uses an Ambarella A2 video processor

Aptina does not make it easy to download their full data sheets. I had to register, do email verification, log back in, agree to a long NDA then get told I still didn't have permission to view the document and please fill out a sales contact form.

I rarely use or buy anything from a company that paranoid about letting you see their product information. That kind of thing drives me nuts. I'm sure I'll have to come up with some creative potential use numbers and suffer convincingly through a sales call to be granted permission to view the holy document.





Private Idaho Oct 8, 2008 10:07 AM

Chipguy,

I don't understand your test.

Are you using something like this? Here:

http://www.studio1productions.com/xlr-bp_pro.htm

http://www.studio1productions.com/images/xlrbp-pro.jpg

How are you connecting your microphones to the camcorder's external microphone input jack?

It's difficult to know what you're really doing here.

I mean you write "condenser" and "dynamic" microphones are the types of microphones you've tested, but you haven't listed any specifics about these particular microphones and you haven't explained how you've connected those microphones.

Which microphone models are you using, for example?

A Shure SM57 is a dynamic microphone, but it features an XLR out and one would need a way to connect that to the input on the Aiptek camcorder.

I suppose I'm just hoping you could provide more specifics.

Wayne12 Oct 8, 2008 2:47 PM

Chipguy wrote:
Quote:

I think the sensor in the HSHD is the Aptina (formerly Micron) MT9M002 CMOS sensor which is a part of their DevCam HD series of sensors. The specs and features align perfectly.

1472 x 1096 active array
3.24mm x 2.41mm imaging area
Frame Rates 1280 x 720 60fps
1440 x 1080 30fps
Output LVDS serial or 12bit parallel
Max clock rate 49.5 MHz
Max data rate 99 Megapixels/sec
Dynamic range 70.1db
Responsivity 1.4 V/lux-sec (550 nm)
Good find, they are quoting dynamic range now.

Chipguy Oct 10, 2008 12:10 PM

I finally got a reply back from Aiptek support about the HSHD battery fit and discrepancies between the manual(s) and actual camera.

All I can say is it is seems like pulling teeth to get any useful information out of them.

Their first reply only addressed the battery fit problem and suggested I return it for a new one as this was not a "common" problem with this model. They did not address the manual discepancies or tell me how to check the firmware at all.

I replied that the battery problem was not a show stopper and had been fixed, but that as it is a new model they might want to know about the problem. (I didn't bring up the point that as a newer model, how they knew what was and wasn't a "common" problem). I asked if they could address the other issues I had inquired about and another discrepancy I noticed this week between my manual and the newer one posted online this week that lists QVGA as a video mode.

My reply this morning asserted the following

1. The HSHD does NOT have a Mic icon that comes on when an external mic is plugged in. The reason stated is that this is a "scaled down" unit with only basic features. It doesn't specify a scaled down version of what.

2. the Icon On/Off is in the Settings menu. I did finally find it

3. There is no histogram function - manual misprint (twice evidently)

4. No firmware updates available

5. QVGA is for the HD-1, not the HSHD - again, evidently a misprint

6. Absolutlely dead silent on the question about how to check firmware.

I guess its back to playing with button combinations.

Still no joy on trying to obtain information from Aptina about the MT9M002 sensor and nothing from Ambarella about the A2 chip. I haven't received any reply from Aptina after two sales requests. It sounds like in any event even if I did obtain any information I would be precluded by an NDA from sharing any of it.

Back to real work. Hopefully I'll have some time this weekend to make some audio measurements.

Private Idaho Oct 10, 2008 12:38 PM

Could you reveal which models of mics you used to do your tests?

Wayne12 Oct 10, 2008 12:38 PM

Chipguy, have you got any short clips of the 720p mode, I am eager to see them?

Thanks.

Private Idaho Oct 10, 2008 12:39 PM

Aiptek obviously needs to hire a technical writer who also understands camcorders.

Chipguy Oct 10, 2008 1:17 PM

Private Idaho wrote:
Quote:

Could you reveal which models of mics you used to do your tests?
I'd love to have one of the little camera field mixers like you show, but opted to use a mixer I have from another project for this to power and/or control the condenser mics. It is an Alesis Multimix 8USB which has both analog and digital (USB Sound card) outputs as well as 4 XLR/ quarter inch balanced inputs with Phantom power and 4 additional quater inch channels.

Right now I have 3 condenser mics to test. An Audio Technica ATR35S Lavalier mic, an Audio Technica ATR-55 Shotgun mic and an MXL 990 studio mic. All of these will run through my Alesis Multimix8 USB Mixer/Preamp and then into the camera. the ATR35S is a 3.5mm plug, ATR-55 is quarter inch and the MXL is XLR. The AT mics are pretty low end, low cost ($35-50) and the MXL is about $50-60. Our intent was to see if a fairly dramatic improvement could be made just with a reasonably priced external mic over the internal one. There are much better and much more expensive mics, but I'm not sure the incremental improvement in sound quality would be noticeable to most people.

The AT mics are both battery powered and do not require phantom power. The MXL does.

I have a couple of Logitec headsets with dynamic mics to test that have 3.5mm plugs that should be able to plug directly into the camera. I also have a low-end wireless dynamic mic that has both a headset and lavalier mic. I was going to pick up some low end handheld dynamic mics over the weekend to test. Probably an AT, Shure, Peavy or other mic in the same price range. May depend on what somebody like Guitar Center here has available. I am open to suggestions for ones to try.

I have several real time spectrum analyzer packages I can use to measure the noise floor of my setup as well as the camera output with the internal and external mics. I can produce reference tones and white noise to measure the gross response, distortion and clipping. Without a reference mic and speaker to calibrate the overall system frequency response I will only consider it a gross measurement.

Again, I am open to any and all suggestions as to setup, methodology, tests, microphones to test, etc.

Wayne12 wrote:

Quote:

Chipguy, have you got any short clips of the 720p mode, I am eager to see them.
Check back on Sunday or Monday. I live on a cotton farm here, so I'm thinking still and panning shots of a field of fluttering cotton plants will probably meet the requirements for some of your codec panning torture tests.


Private Idaho Oct 10, 2008 6:36 PM

Actually, those mic models you mention -- while fairly low-end -- really aren't too bad.

So my heart just sinks to read the results of your test.

The much-anticipated "Action-HD GVS" model might not be any better.

Dang.

It's getting to the point where a fellow must spend $700 to get a high definition home camcorder with decent sound.

CamcorderInfo.com posted a review recently about the Samsung SC-HMX20 that revealed a few shocking details... namely... that model actually has an external microphone input and the quality of the video was among the best consumer camcorder video samples!

http://www.samsung.com/us/consumer/d...=SC-HMX20C/XAA

Chipguy Oct 10, 2008 8:51 PM

Private Idaho wrote:

Quote:

So my heart just sinks to read the results of your test.
I wouldn't get depressed just yet. I don't have any real test data or conclusions yet. All I have so far is a quick (late night) session of mostly trying to figure out where the #&$*(^)( Microphone icon was when I plugged an external mic in and trying to figure out if it was actually working.


Quote:

CamcorderInfo.com posted a review recently about the Samsung SC-HMX20 that revealed a few shocking details... namely... that model actually has an external microphone input and the quality of the video was among the best consumer camcorder video samples!
I took a quick look at this model. It is still going for over $500 it seems.

I haven't seen much discussion here about the Canon FS10/FS100 which are in the $300 range and both have external microphone jacks. They aren't HD but would work for our applications as well. I considered buying one of those but didn't really see any comprehensive reviews and sample videos at the time. Even now most seem to be people playing with the zoom.

My main camera right now is a Canon Optura 50 Mini DV camera. It has both external microphone and headphone jacks. I originally bought a ZR930 but returned it because it did not have a threaded lens to mount some macro lenses we need for very close work. I bought this one used off ebay for about $300. The sound quality on it using the external mics listed above have been very good.

rgvcam Oct 10, 2008 11:03 PM

I think you have to remember that these models are really aimed at people who just want to film their kids and vacations etc. and for this the audio is adequate in my opinion. Sure it would be nice if it was better but it ain't gonna happen so if you are looking for a camera for more creative film work then yes I agree you gotta spend the bucks.

Chipguy Oct 13, 2008 12:04 AM

OK, the weather and workload didn't really cooperate this weekend, but as promised, here are a couple of real quick video clips of the HSHD, I took a break from writing software long enought to go grab a couple of clips in-between showers.

http://www.vimeo.com/user710685/videos

The clips are a couple of quick panning shots of my cotton field. It was overcast and drizzling today and breezy, about 15 MPH. Enought to create a lot of rustling of leaves and wind noise.

The camera was set up on a tripod so I could just do a relatively stable pan. The camera was in 720p 30fps mode. I had one shot in 60fps mode that didn't come out well enough to post.

The white balance was set to auto. I probably should have had it in "cloudy". It looked more like it decided to balance for fluorescents looking at the raw footage (maybe all the green?).

I did a composite clip that I color corrected and titled in Premeire Pro and exported back out to 720p H264 using Adobe Media Encoder.

While the external microphone is better, it does sound like the AGC is still active as the background noise pops up whenever I'm not speaking opposed to the internal mic where the noise is fairly constant.

The mic level still seems to be a bit hot with a lot of popping & crackling. This is a noise cancelling boom mic on a headset and the mic was only about 1" from my mouth. I am going to try it again indoors with no wind noise and try different positions to see if I can get a better result. I also purchased a low cost Sony F-V220 dynamic mic on Saturday to try. It has a mono 3.5mm plug and on/off switch.

Wayne12 Oct 13, 2008 1:52 AM

Thanks celeritous.

Intricately worked out clips are not really necessary at this stage, general clips are good, while you are working out engineered tests.

One word of warning about using video editors, they may re-encode clips into h264/other codec and loose accuracy and introduce errors.

Private Idaho Oct 13, 2008 8:43 AM

That's just way too much popping and crackling.

I'm depressed to listen to that external microphone sample.

I wonder if -- perhaps -- the camcorder is defective.

Or...

Would it work better with a different type of microphone?

fishycomics Oct 13, 2008 11:09 AM

EXT and INT at taht certain level he the person sounded overkill andit occured on both. so I am sure it is not a mic issue but the Sound issue thanks for the vid I am sure on other harsh or perfect conditions it be a better test.

Wayne12 Oct 14, 2008 12:25 AM

My eyes where a bit groovy from been up so long last night, so I did not do an in depth review. But pretty much it looked alright at a casual examination, most everything seemed in range, there seemed to be a crawl along the horizon though as panning, which might be haze or artifacts that may show up in the plants on closer examination. Color maybe good, the grass looked slightly pooped, but I don't know what shade that is in real life. Rolling shutter was good to look for, as the power poles already elan in both directions ;)

The plants only form a small portion of the frame, so are not so bandwidth absorbing, but a close up of bigger breezy bushes or cotton filling a lot of the frame can pick up more problems.


One question, was it sunny day, over cast, or smog? If it was sunny or slightly smoggy then this is a good representation of latitude.

Chipguy Oct 14, 2008 1:03 AM

The previous clips were taken on a very overcast day. It was sprinkling on me while I was out filiming and you can see an occasional rain drop on the lens. Today was no better.

I have two new clips that are primarily indoor audio tests. The camera is just staring at an EIA1956 test pattern, which, having a face fit for radio, is better than looking at me. The tests are for audio anyway.

http://www.vimeo.com/user710685/videos

The first is using the same dynamic boom mic I used in the outdoor clips but did some experimenting to find a position that reduced the signal level enough to not (continually) pop or distort on peaks. The boom was straight forward about 4-5" to the front and left of my mouth.

The second is using a condenser mic run though my mixer and back out to the camera. That was the 5th or 6th clip at least, trying to find settings that wouldn't distort on peaks. not having a VU meter on the camera is a real pain. You may have to crank up the volume for the first part of this as I had to crank the preamp, channel and master output gain almost all the way down to get clean audio. I step the master output gain up one index mark at a time and you can hear how quickly the audio starts to distort.

I know this is a clean, low noise setup. The mic is in a shock mount with a pop screen infront of it. The mixer provides phantom power for the mic directly.

I also tried the self-powered shotgun and lavalier mics. The signal level from these is too low to drive the external mic jack directly and both had similar responses as the studio mic.

Preliminary testing has shown the external mic jack to have active AGC and be very sensitive to signal levels with a very poor dynamic range. It is very easy to drive it into distortion with popping and clicking on signal peaks.

AC, fans and all background noise sources except for a couple of computer fans are off. I know from previous recordings this is a very low background noise setup with a very large dynamic range.

My preliminary conclusion, unfortunately, is that the external jack is a cosmetic afterthought and not a serious attempt to provide better audio quality.

I think it is time to seriously consider returning it and wait for the GVS or something else to try.


Wayne12 Oct 14, 2008 5:35 AM

I thought I saw lens flare, that could have been caused by a droplet. The sky was confusing me, it looked blue, but hazy, know I known why.

A shame, could you shoot some bright shots and dark inside shots before you return it?

The problem is auto-gain? Maybe they can offer a firmware update that allows you to turn it off.

I don't know how the GVS picture will be compared to the previouse action series, the 600 appears to be more blown out with more interpolation problems from what I could see from the first clips here (and red was much higher). At least they should have less rolling shutter.

Private Idaho Oct 14, 2008 8:56 AM

My feeling is that if you're going to offer an external microphone jack, then DO IT RIGHT.

If you don't do it right, you risk losing customer confidence.

As for me, I'm starting to lose interest in these Taiwanese camcorders completely.

Chipguy Oct 14, 2008 10:13 AM

The condenser mic clip hung up while uploading last night. It should be up in about in awhile.

Wayne12 wrote:

Quote:

A shame, could you shoot some bright shots and dark inside shots before you return it? The problem is auto-gain? Maybe they can offer a firmware update that allows you to turn it off.
I asked Aiptek twice if there was a firmware update. They claim there is not and steadfastly refused to even answer my question about how to check the firmware version. I suspect if I complain about this I will get the same stock answer that this is not a common problem and I should exchange it for another. Their response on the battery issue does give me ample reason for the return.

I would like to do some more video tests, but since my main interest was in the external jack, I'm not very motivated to do more video tests. I would have never bought this except for the external jack feature.

Private Idaho wrote:

Quote:

My feeling is that if you're going to offer an external microphone jack, then DO IT RIGHT. If you don't do it right, you risk losing customer confidence. As for me, I'm starting to lose interest in these Taiwanese camcorders completely.
My sentiments exactly. If this is theri response to repeated requests to add an external microphone jack then it is a very half hearted one. It seems to be just to be able to claim to offer one to quiet the vocal minority asking for one.

I suspect that the folks designing these cameras have little or no actual analog design background. They are presented with a chip set (and reference design) that seemingly does everything and they simply become chip integrators, firmware creators and packagers.

It is something I see on a daily basis in hiring newly minted engineers and engineers in training. I see them wanting to throw a DSP chip at a problem that could be solved by an RC filter. Unfortunately this is the way they are being trained.

I doubt if the camera developers understand the chip set audio inputs and just tried to slap a mic jack on the same input as the internal mic. I'm also sure the audio section of this chip set itself is given little attention. They probably have a 16 bit audio digitizer and encoder at the tail end of about an 8 bit dynamic range audio and AGC section.

Wayne12 Oct 14, 2008 10:14 AM

Hybrids are really hacker cams, as they offer performance problems for consumers (roaming focus/exposure/artifactting and microphone noise and wandering sound issues) that hackers can get around, but not the consumer. I have identified numerous problems with cameras that really make it unsuitable for proper consumer use and footage. I child might think hybrids great despite the problems, bu adults will just have to suffer the problems and manufacturers hope their family and friends still want to buy after seeing the footage. Some things are quiet right though, color (in some cameras) low light in some cameras, latitude in some cameras, interpolation in some cameras, but the auto functions are an issue, along with the data-rate (let alone no setting/locking exposure/focus/aperture and frame rate) rolling shutter and sound issues.

I think the hybrid market is here to stay, but how many Chinese manufacturers will it support, unless the cameras are good enough to be the main cameras to buy on the market.

I think it is time to start to look at deluxe models that give all the features above for an extra $50+ which would probably greatly increase their net profit.

I hope this HSHD goes a way to answering the quality issues (pity it did not have larger data rate and settable controls, or a 5+ Megapixel sensor version).

Private Idaho Oct 14, 2008 10:29 AM

CamcorderInfo.com's recent review of the Samsung SC-HMX20 reveals you can get pretty decent high definition performance -- both video and sound -- at the $600 price point.

http://tinyurl.com/4o7n7k

Below $600, the consumer must endure many sacrifices to achieve economy.

Wayne12 Oct 14, 2008 10:34 AM

Chipguy wrote:
Quote:

The condenser mic clip hung up while uploading last night. It should be up in about in awhile.

Wayne12 wrote:

Quote:

A shame, could you shoot some bright shots and dark inside shots before you return it? The problem is auto-gain? Maybe they can offer a firmware update that allows you to turn it off.
I asked Aiptek twice if there was a firmware update. They claim there is not and steadfastly refused to even answer my question about how to check the firmware version. I suspect if I complain about this I will get the same stock answer that this is not a common problem and I should exchange it for another. Their response on the battery issue does give me ample reason for the return.
People have had good correspondence with Aiptek before, but that is likely in another country. I think I have had similar experience. The problem is that the camera is only sold in the US in the English markets.

For everybody here, I think there might be more models on the Taiwanese and Chinese sites, but it is too difficult for me to operate those sites in Chinese.

Wayne12 Oct 14, 2008 10:39 AM

Private Idaho wrote:
Quote:

CamcorderInfo.com's recent review of the Samsung SC-HMX20 reveals you can get pretty decent high definition performance -- both video and sound -- at the $600 price point.

http://tinyurl.com/4o7n7k

Below $600, the consumer must endure many sacrifices to achieve economy.
You might also try the cheapest model of the latest Canon with 24mb/s mode, but you sacrifice 60fps progressive modes. Camcorder has a review of one of the latest Canon cameras. My biggest problem is that there is no cheap camera (non professional) that does a descent progressive 50fps (or 60fps) mode either by data-rate or by live HDMI/component output, it is like a conspiracy.

fishycomics Oct 15, 2008 5:05 PM

Well as we know this cam has been out not long andalready the price dropped down to 129.99 for this weekends sales

Still not on the wish list

even on the website the othe model loos like it also went down just a tad



Chipguy Oct 15, 2008 7:48 PM

I was checking on the return policies and filling out a review on the HSHD at the Circuit City web site today and happened to notice one of the other reviewers evidently had the same battery problem as I did but never figured it out and returned it. So much for Aiptek's claim that this is not a typical problem for this model. I have't seen my review show up yet so I'm wondering if they are moderated before posting.

I'm hoping the email from Aiptek support telling me to return it as defective will get me out of the restocking fee. If they will let me exchange it for something else I'm looking to see what else might be worthwhile in the same price range.

fishycomics wrote:
Quote:

Well as we know this cam has been out not long andalready the price dropped down to 129.99 for this weekends sales Still not on the wish list even on the website the othe model loos like it also went down just a tad
Was this on the Circuit City weekly ad? didn't see it in the one for my zip.


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