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Old Sep 12, 2006, 9:11 PM   #1
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http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/e...-shoot-out.htm
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Old Sep 12, 2006, 11:13 PM   #2
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"Consider either of the digital cameras that stood out in our tests or, for more money, consider a camcorder among those in our Ratings (available to subscribers)."

Anybody subscribe to find out the camcorders that got rated?

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Old Sep 13, 2006, 1:09 AM   #3
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I haven't checked their specs yet, but I'm willing to bet the two cameras Olympus Stylus 720SW, $360, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1, $320 that did satisfactory video, fill up their memory cards like crazy. This limits how much video you can take in any given session, and bogs down all transfer/post processing steps. These two cameras also cost twice as much as our typical hybrids.

I wonder if their tests included any hybrids?
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Old Sep 13, 2006, 10:40 AM   #4
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I'd like to find a camera with really good video too; even if it is not a hybird. sgspirit is correct about the video on the Panasonic LZ1 (Also the FX-01): it is amazing at 840x480, but since it is MJPEG it really eats up space on your card. But wow does it look good. Part of the problem with the hybrids is that they (all?) use MPEG4, which is generally lower quality than MPEG2, so they are limited that way. They use MPEG4 to keep the size low.

MPEG4- lower quality higher compression, hard to edit plus audio sync problems
MPEG2- (can be) better quality, good compression, hard to edit
MJPEG- good quality, poor compression, easy to edit, but huge.




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Old Sep 13, 2006, 11:31 AM   #5
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I don't think the audio sync problems are to do with the MPEG4 format but more to do with Aipteks firmware.


Now that 2GB flash memory cards are finally getting real cheap, there is no reason they can't use MPEG2 now and of course Panasonic already does on their memory card camcorders. A miniDVD is about 1.4GB per disc and the camcorders offer three quality modes of 20, 30 and 60 minutes. So even if we only used 28 minutes as it has approximately 40% more capacity. A 4GB card would give you about 56 minutes which would be enough for most purposes. If you used the 'Normal' quality mode, which would be good enough for mostpeople and which is the mode most seem to use as it's the default, you would then get 42 minutes per 2GB or 84 minutes for 4GB which would be plenty for my purposes. A couple more cards and you'd be covered for a vacation trip. After all, the idea is to enjoy the trip with some carefully selected shots and not make a documentary out of it LOL

The minor disadvantage of using MPEG2 is that you now need to use highspeed cards. but that's not such a big problem these days.

Like MPEG4, MPEG2 is hard to edit. but at least it doesn't require conversion to create a DVD. So you can at least dump your clips onto a DVD disc unedited. In these days of easy digital editing, we have to remember that most consumers didn't do much in the way of editing anyway back in the VHS/8mm days. The purpose of the recording was simply to create a memory like we did with photos before the video age.

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Old Sep 13, 2006, 5:46 PM   #6
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This is the best portable camcorder in the market, can squeeze fit to your pocket

http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTE...efinitionVideo

http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTE...pecs&var2=
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Old Sep 13, 2006, 7:10 PM   #7
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as we try t okeep to the hybids here camcorders are most welcomed

I think if I was serious with my choice that was the pick for me it was the JVC or SOny at the time I was deciding to purchase one

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"If you can capture a vid and it is in excellent playback to me its priceless.
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Old Sep 13, 2006, 9:44 PM   #8
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At just under $1,500, it isn't even in the same league as the hybrids. For $100-$150 I can cope with my hybrids shortcomings but for $1,500 it had better be near perfect...
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Old Sep 13, 2006, 10:23 PM   #9
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I've never had trouble with audio synch on the hybrids I've had, so it's not a function of MPEG4.

Though I chafe at the barely acceptable quality of MPEG4 video, I'm also aware that the technology is what allows me to get the material I want. And the immediacy of that material, a direct result of the cheap little MPEG 4 cameras, diverts attention away from the technical quality, and to the action or subject matter.

When I look at the technical quality of what I used to get from my Aiptek DV4500, and before I started enhancing clips in post-production editing, I find it distinctly visually worse than I get with edited clips from my newer cameras. Yet when I ask people about it who've watched the clips, they say they don't notice any difference. They said they were looking at what was going on.

A key question is whether MPEG4's compression is scalable. Can it be "turned up and down"? Seems to me some of the cameras I've had, have compressed more than others. Or do we have to wait for a better and scalable compression codec?

I've also not had trouble editing MPEG4 videos, but I'm not sure what aspect of editing them brachiopod is referring to. One thing for sure is that the smaller file sizes demand less computer horsepower and processing time. If the files were more than twice the size, I'd have to get a more powerful machine to do what I'm doing.

As for volume of material, I find that for vacations, about 5-6 minutes of video and stills per day of the trip, works out to providing content that moves fast enough to avoid being boring. I probably shoot 50% more than that. The volume of material allowed by MPEG4 compression allows me to pick and choose the most compelling sequences.

It must be said that while archiving memories for those involved may have been sufficient in camcorder days, edited digital movies using similar content are far more interesting to a wider audience.

By the way, presumably you people are buying hybrids to take advantage of the video mode. What are you doing with the videos you take?

A friend with a collection of camcorder footage is going to borrow my DDV-920 so he can use the video-in port to digitize his tapes. I've encouraged him to go a step farther and edit the digitized camcorder footage into entertaining and viewable movies.

People almost never dig out old camcorder footage to view, like they seldom go to the trouble of setting up a projector and screen to look at slides. Or get the family together to look at digital stills on their computer. But they do leaf through albums of printed photos. I expect that as more people take digital video, popping a DVD into the player and watching a mini documentary of a trip will take the place of the photo album.

Since I don't expect many people will go to the trouble of learning how to edit their clips into movies, photo service outlets may have an opportunity to replace their lost film developing business by offering movie editing. I think I'm at the point where I could do this for other people. Not nearly as professional as a real video editing studio, but at a fraction of the cost.

This may be what's keeping people from using the movie mode that comes on virtually every digital still camera these days. There are obstacles between taking footage and sharing it. The obstacle of technical quality has been solved well enough. The cameras are small and cheap enough. They record sound. The obstacle of sufficient volume storage of clips has been solved. Output can be displayed on lcd projectors, tv screens or computer monitors.

But then there's the obstacles of editing and presenting the material. People watch tv but won't watch a bunch of raw amateur clips. They have only gotten as far as displaying odd clips as curiosities. Editing video is outside most people's paradigm of photography and realm of experience. So we need a whole business that will turn people's raw clips and stills into entertaining "documentaries". Not as polished as professional documentaries, but affordable and starring themselves and featuring their own experiences.

You send your clips, choice of music and effects, and text for titles or voiceover to an editor, and you get back your personal movie in your choice of medium. I'd guess this could be done for $100-200 per 30-minute movie. Want it cheaper? Do it yourself.

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