Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital Cameras (Point and Shoot) > Hybrid Still/Movie/MP3 Digicams

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jan 7, 2008, 2:04 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 6
Default

In early 2005 I went to Ethiopia and took a DV-2 (although it was a different brand it was the same as the aiptek just in a different casing). The main use was as a webcam, but slowly I kept taking more and more footage out and about and I put the device through its paces. The resulted edited video was mastered on to VCD and sent back to my family in the UK. (here's the first video I did, it gives an idea of the camera http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwnNTATR85E ).If I remember right the stills were not taken from the same camera. I got the camera for close to $70 years and a bit before I left and it still works to this day, but as you can see the image is poor, and the audio is worse. However it was perfect for what I wanted to do, and it did me proud.

I'm now 21 and my university has arranged a trip for us to go from Lincoln in the UK to New York. Last year they took us to San Francisco and it was great, so I can't wait to see what NY has to offer.

Anyway the point of this post is that I'd like a new cheap digital camcorder to record my adventures. My plan is to pick it up when I first arrive. Would prefer to get it from a big store as many of the shops in San Francisco tried to rip us 'foriegners' off by trying to make us buy more expensive products or abusing the tax system that we're not used to.

I'd like to put a max limit of $200 - and the A-HD from aiptek looks pretty spot on. circuit City seems to have them at $130 which looks a great price. However I want to sort out a few issues that I have.

First off if you have any other camera suggestions I'm all ears. I looked at the MZ-DV, the image stabilization is a big plus, but the lack of HD quality is a downer... what's the audio like on the MZ-DV? Does it do 16:9?

As for the A-HD, lots is mentioned about the audio. I don't plan to record lots of vocals on my trip and if so I plan to be pretty close to the person. However there is lots of talk about how the firmware changes the quality of the audio. Which firmware is better? What's the difference? If I pick the product up at the store which one am I most likely to get?

I've seen a few people mention that you can add an eternal mic through the camera's inputs. Is this possible? Does it 'fix' the sound if you use a new mic? Does the mic need its own amp?

What inputs does it take? the idea that you can record from the inputs on the camera is pretty interesting. How good is the camera at recording TV or the such? I quite like the idea of being able to record my video saves off Halo 3 on to the camera. It could be a useful function.

And finally if you live in the manhatten area, suggestions on where I should go to get a camera, and are there any particular sites I should visit?

I go on the 21st April. Can't wait!
Thanks for your time!

(Edit - oh and how easy would it be to get a 2nd battery for the camera, as I don't want it running out during the day and not having anything to replace it with) - thanks!

EnergyUK is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jan 7, 2008, 2:59 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
adric22's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 359
Default

Quote:
I looked at the MZ-DV, the image stabilization is a big plus, but the lack of HD quality is a downer
The image stabilizer is useless. These hybrids don't have real image stabilizers like a mini-dv camcorder would have. I've done tests with this and found that the difference is almost imperceptible. On my Sanyo CG6 the stabilizer helps "some" but it is barely noticeble. On the Aiptek MPVR and IS-DV2, I can't tell any difference at all in image stability, and for some reason makes the picture look worse with it turned on. So I always keep it off.

The best stabilizer you can find is called "a tripod." If you can't find one of those, then find a wall, post, tree, or something to lean up against or a table, car, or something like that you can rest your elbows or wrists on when taking video. These little hybrid camcorders have no weight to them compared to Mini-DV cameras or other, older camcorders. So they are far more susceptable to shaking. Shaking is bad on any camera, but it is even worse on Aiptek cameras because the image will tend to wave, compress, and stretch when shaking because of their implementation of the imager interface (which we've discussed here plenty of times)

I did watch your video from ehtiopia. I can see why you would like a working stabilizer, as your videos are quick shaky.

So anyway, don't let the stabilizer be any part of your decision making progress on any of the hybrids, even more expensive ones. If you do, you'll be disappointed.
adric22 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 7, 2008, 3:14 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 6
Default

thanks for that advice. Luckily since that video my camera work has improved a bit. I have a Unipod somewhere, so could use that.

I should also point out that I'm not overly interested in the still picture capabilities of the camera as I have a nice kodak digital camera.
EnergyUK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 7, 2008, 11:58 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 4
Default

I recently received an A-HD and I'm liking it quite well. I haven't used the still pictures much since I have a nice digicam I'm happy with, but even that may come in handy during times when I don't want to carry both devices with me. For the price I think it is quite nice. I will mention that I have returned 2 already in an attempt to get the best sensor possible. 2 of the 3 have had some dead pixels in the recorded image that are noticable when zoomed in. The one that didn't have the dead pixels had more noticable red noise in low light conditions. I decided that low-light quality is more important to me and I will mostly avoid using the digital zoom.

All 3 I've had in my hand have the 2.002 firmware on them, so I think it will certainly be hard to find earlier firmware by April.

I figure that even if the A-HD isn't as high quality as some of the more expensive HD cams, I can always crop or scale the video to a standard-def resolution and have quite nice video. I got an 8 GB SDHC card from newegg.com for around $45. I can store about 4 hours of HD video on that card. Best Buy carries spare batteries for about $30, and I've heard they can be had online for cheaper.

I was shooting video on New Year's Eve and it came out pretty nice, even in some low-light situations.

I've tried using the cam to record some old VHS video. It seems to do a pretty nice job at that. In that case it records at 720x480 with 4:3 aspect I believe. It comes with RCA jacks for input or output (left/right audio and video). It also has component video output jacks for playing HD video directly on an HDTV.

I don't think you can record video through the lens and an external mic at the same time. It's either all through the cables or all through the camera itself. There are some hacks on these forums for replacing the built-in microphone with something different. I haven't seen a need for that just yet. You could also carry a separate audio recorder for the times when you need better audio and swap it in with your video editing software.

I tried an MPVR+ and the image stabilization function was very poor. Also the video was much worse than the A-HD since it suffered from significant waviness when panning. For stabilization you might want to check out this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1aPbwcqquk
That seems about right for my needs.

rbrewer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 8, 2008, 8:05 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
adric22's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 359
Default

rbrewer wrote:
Quote:
panning. For stabilization you might want to check out this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1aPbwcqquk
That seems about right for my needs.
I've tried that very thing before, and it does work to some extent, however, it isn't as good as a real steadycam for two reasons.

1) It is much larger than a steadycam, therefor harder to actually use in practice because things get in the way, especially the floor when you try to move the camera down for a low shot.

2) It isn't quite as heavy as a steadycam, so it doesn't work as well. (well, I guess it depends on the tripod)

Oh.. and as far as I know, it isn't neccessary for the steadycam to be "balanced" in the middle. Usually you want more weight at the bottom. I think as long as you don't make sudden jerky moves, you won't need to worry about it being balanced. Of course, being that you want the video to be "steady" I don't think you would be making jerky motions while using one anyway.
adric22 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 8, 2008, 9:29 AM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 6
Default

it's interesting to see the principle at least. Could be some use, and I guess you could easily attempt to make some peice of kit that does what's required.

I saw the method of hacking the mic, that looks easily enough. Would love to see some examples of clips with hacked mics compared to the normal one. I think fc put a quick clip comparing the sound with the two firmwares.

Actually quite excited to get this camera now!
EnergyUK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 8, 2008, 1:33 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 6
Default

Anyone know whether the camera can support 8GB SDHC?

I've seen that 4GB is within its range... 8gb would just be a nice amount of space tho!
EnergyUK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 8, 2008, 1:38 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
adric22's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 359
Default

I can't imagine ever using an 8 GB card. I took 4 GB worth of space to Europe with me for a 2-week stay. I took what I believed to be a LOT of video clips. I kept fearing that I'd run out of space. When I got home I found that I had only used about 1.8 GB. Granted, that was all 640x480 video. But the point is, when I take video around home, it usually gets copied onto the computer within 24 hours minimum. I keep a 256 MB card in my Aiptek camera and I have never exceeded that.
adric22 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 8, 2008, 3:21 PM   #9
Moderator
 
fishycomics's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: NYC NY
Posts: 9,623
Default

the vid was neat. but only showed center point, oftripod hold, there is a person who made weights. i also did a film like that but comes with time to get a steady hand



32 gig sdhc acceptable on the Aiptek A-Hd and Go_HD

sdhc will not work on my IS-DV but a regular one will of a higher meg

Bigger size i would love. on a vaca. i fill my cards up. leave nothing unfilmed. never get that chance again. i went and shot nearly 1000 photos on a trip digital and film photo 50 videos came back with about a few mb left just in case

digital camera 1 set of batt's digital hybrid 1 set of batts. extras never used. 9 day cruise with a ac plug turned upside down was able to force the recharger in . lol if needed

fishycomics is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 8, 2008, 3:33 PM   #10
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 6
Default

32gb... now that would be nice! lol

I'm as bad as you fishycomics, I try and get as much as possible. I'm going with a lot of friends so I can imagine there will always be something to film and I only currently have a 2GB card for my standard camera. I can pick up a 4GB for around $24 here in the UK. Which I think is a pretty good price (for here anyway! lol).

Fc - you're from NY, where do you suggest I get the camera from? I'll be on manhatten island? thanks
EnergyUK is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 5:04 PM.