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Old Dec 19, 2007, 7:45 PM   #1
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I recently updated the firmware version of my A-HD from 1.4 to 2.002. The issue with distorted audio seems better now, but now the base video noise level is higher. In low-light there is more noise (color noise and faint vertical line noise unevenly distributed across the image) than was evident before I updated the firmware. Whereas the video noise level before the firmware update was rather remarkable (absence of severe noise in low-light, incredible for a sub-$200 cam), after the firmware update the picture quality is now what I would expect from such an inexpensive camcorder.

Has anyone else with this camcorder made the same observation, in low-light, after updating the firmware to v. 2.002? Or has anyone experienced any other sort of degradation or even improvement in video quality after doing the update? My observations are from video shot in HD mode.
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Old Dec 19, 2007, 8:59 PM   #2
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recommend you do a sample vid and place uo in here.

Where did you get the firmware, and what date is on the firmware sept 14th, there may be a defective batch of one firmware being passed, or offered and not advising the artifacts of it?:idea:
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Old Dec 19, 2007, 11:05 PM   #3
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Firmware update 2.002 was obtained via e-mail support from Aiptek. I checked the firmware version on the camera display (MODE + REVERSE) and the date says Oct. 22, 2007. Attached is a Quicktime movie clipping (moderately low-lit hallway) which will give you a good idea of what I'm talking about. The inability to rollback the firmware version makes it impossible to provide a "before" picture for comparison. All I can say is that I never witnessed my camera having noise of this magnitude before the update. If you look closely you'll notice that the left side of the image is noisier than the right side - this has been evident since the firmware update; its especially apparent in scenes like this with broad areas of dark-to-mid tones. Putting the lens cap on will reveal that this noise is always there.

So has anybody else seen noise this severe? Is this the norm?

Fishy, you mentioned in your Vimeo review of the firmware 2.002 that picture sharpness was tweaked. I'm guessing that maybe increasing the sharpness has in turn increased the
noise level of the camera. What do you think?
Attached Files
File Type: zip A-HD Clipping 1 - noisy image.zip (1.9 KB, 386 views)
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 5:50 AM   #4
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Oct.22 is a newer firmwareI again gget to Aiptek demand a new camcorder for pushing again a gunepig tested firmware toy you.sept 14th was the earlist and fix ,they probably did more to the oct, and I cannot comment o what you have.

the 1.4-to-2.002 may be not capatable like my 1.2-to-2.002

the vid are files and not a clickable view sorry
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 2:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input. If somebody from Aiptek is reading this, do everyone a favor and design your cameras with the ability to rollback firmware versions. Posting the updates with issue descriptions on your website would be nice too.

I'm not too sure if exchanging for a different camera would make much difference; it seems that I'll have to live with either bad sound or a weaker picture. Oh well, 'tis the price we guinea pigs pay. Hopefully the next iteration of this camera will get both things right, right out of the box. Firmware updates are just a euphemism for a company's failure to fully test and tweak a product before sending it out to the market. I can understand updates to a camera's menus or feature set, but updates to improve (hopefully) the audio and picture? Those should be dialed in right out of the factory.

Well, hopefully everyone else out there has a better result with their updates. Feel free to comment on your experience, positive or negative. Your feedback will give everybody a better idea of this product's quality consistency.


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Old Dec 20, 2007, 3:54 PM   #6
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I can understand Aiptek not wanting to post the firmware updates. For every 1 of us who would have no problems installing an update there would be 10 idiots who would get impatient and completely mess up the install and render the camera useless. Support is the part of the sales equation that you want to keep at a minimum. Mainly you keep anything that can get messed up out of the equation.

The camera is too inexpensive to spend the time, money and space on a more robust firmware update system though I wouldn't be surprised if that is on Aiptek's list of requests to Ambarella (who essentially is the developer of the camera). Of course number one is fixing the sound problem.

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Old Dec 20, 2007, 4:48 PM   #7
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Firmware updates can be a double-edged sword. But as long as tech manufacturers are content to let customers act as their quality control department, then the process for updating firmware should be made easily accessible and headache-free. To Aiptek's credit, I found the procedure for updating the A-HD to be pretty simple, just follow the diagrammed directions step-by-step. Too bad for me that the update seems to have fixed one thing only to cause another issue.

Of course, all this firmware madness could be avoided if they just build the thing right from the very beginning. Firmware is a band-aid in some cases until the next "new and improved" version comes out. But in the case of the A-HD, releasing it with its inherent audio problems was really inexcusable, with or without the potential of a firmware fix. And now it seems that the firmware updates may come with a few unintended pitfalls of their own.

Its really simple: build it right before you sell it. Make everybody happy.

Sorry for the rant..I hope I've kept it constructive.
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 5:11 PM   #8
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You're lucky, I remember my infamous PVR. It was obvious there was something wrong with this camera with respect to video quality but they never did come up with a firmware to fix it. They just removed that model from bestbuy one day. Luckily I managed to convince Aiptek to swap it for a regular MPVR.

The annoying thing with Aiptek is that they *almost* get it right but seem to stop just short! I guess they need to stick to a particular pricepoint and don't want to run the risk of going overboard and pricing it in no mans land where it's too expensive for the impulse buyers yet isn't good enough to attract catch those who would go aftar Sanyo, Sony or Panasonic etc.
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 5:40 PM   #9
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Firmware: for dummies is just that only way one can mess up is to incorrectly placefiles with the sd card. I have proven that if you take out the sd card after the first intiation the camera will fail causing you to remove all power. and trying again and will correct. notto render dead, unless otherwise done wrong

As for the Firmware holding back the info and finding the extras not wanting may lead you to decide if it is for you? for example.

Updating your phone the person tells you in order for the phoneto work software 1, needs to be software 2 today 1 is out dated. it will not change anything come back in 30 min's be finished off you go. you pick up walk out . phone rings instead of ringer A you here ringer D you're upset b/c you were told only the phone needed updating and nothing else was changed..........

If Aiptek can detail the firmware. and tell you exactly every single fix, then we would decide what is best to do, they're not they know one step more then we do.

This used to be their proceedures but wonder if they release these records any more

just sample page for now




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Old Dec 20, 2007, 6:53 PM   #10
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So Aiptek suffers from a corporate-sized case of fear of succeeding? That's kinda funny! Imagine all their top decision-makers sitting at their boardroom table, looking over their latest product when someone blurts out, "Hmm, this is good...maybe too good. Send it back for a tweakdown!" Honestly, I had that impression after I performed the update on my camera. The audio was better, but now the picture quality was degraded. Is compromise built into its design? I think they can figure out a way to meet their pricepoint and deliver a problem-free product without having to jack up the price to a disagreeable level. As rgvcam stated, Aiptek may be one of those companies that pathologically gets it "almost" right but stops short. Maybe a bit more willingness to go the extra mile might help Aiptek get it right on its future products. As for the comment about Aiptek targeting the A-HD to the impulse buyer: that may be true, but Aiptek should realize that the A-HD holds potential for being more than an impulse purchase. There are many customers like myself (no-budget, performance-minded buyers, i.e. film students + video hobbyists) who would be a more worthwhile segment for them to cater to. In exchange, we'll keep buying their products and help them become bigger than Sony someday - but they gotta give us at least a minimal level of satisfactory performance every time. How irked would Aiptek be if some other company came out with its own low-cost flash media HD cam that had clean sound and picture out-of-the-box, taking away all of Aiptek's former exclusive glory and many of its customers? Repeat business is the name of the game. They can get that if they pay attention and take care of the details. Aiptek is ahead of the game to some respect with the A-HD. Now they just have to run the ball to the goal (excuse the lame sports analogy).

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