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Old Feb 5, 2008, 11:03 PM   #1
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Okay, I am finally getting a chance to write my feedback on the Aiptek A-HD

First impression was good. Thanks to Fishy and others on this forum and YouTube, I knew what some of the drawbacks were. I primarily got the A-HD for pictures and video, not for sound, so sound for right now, at least, it not a huge issue. But I would like to share my experience with other issues I encountered.

Low Light vs. Night Shot


I have to say, the A-HD may not be the greatest camera for low-light, but it is a great *night shot* camera. I have noticed that as long as there is some dominant light source in a night shot, the camera shoots pretty well.

Light Sensor

One thing I have to say is that the light sensor is not in the greatest of places on the camcorder. It is towards the bottom of the handle, on the front, making it easy to block it with your two lower fingers.. I have to learn to hold the camera right under the lens (blocking the flash) to get most of my fingers wrapped around it. I tuck my pinky finger in to avoid blocking the sensor. I have to say that the advertiseing is very misleading because the phot on the packaging shows a person holding it with all four fingers at the bottom. This is impossible! It would be nice to see Aiptek redesign this.

Delay Time for White Balance Sensing (WB)


I find that there is a lag between shots for the light sensor to re-adjust the white balance for the next shot. I notice this mostly in camera mode than camcorder mode, but I do see it in both. So what I do is wait a bit between shots until I see the WB look "normal" for the scene I am shooting in the viewfinder.

8 Megapixel Images?

Okay, Fishy warned about this. The actual size of the 3, 5, and 8 Megapixels may be technically screen accurate with the dimensions they yield, however, to get the clarity that I am accustomed to seeing for these sizes seems to be based upon proper light sensoring, white balancing and available light. I notice that when I zoom in on certain 8 M pics in y photo editing/viewer software, that they can be very pixilated or grainy. However, if I zoom in on other 8M shots I have taken, they look better than some. I'll have to do more experimenting to see if I can consistently max-out the quality, but will report what I find.

Exposure Settings


I like the fact that there are exposure settings. Although not the same as on a high-end camera, it does seem to suffice.

Overall

So overall, I think I would rate the A-HD with 3.5 out of 5 stars. It loses a star because of sound and the sensor placement bumps it down another half star. Definitely worth getting, though, but I would say look out for sales as much as possible. I got my A-HD for $119 because Target had a sale last week for that price that I was able to match at Best Buy (BB had the blue version and a $25 service contract). The fact that they had a sale about a month after Christmas may mean that they have sales on this camera every 4-6 weeks. It's at least worth checking out.

Here is a composite image I did with an pic of a stump from my A-HD and a 3D model of a book. Except for a tad bit of contrast/brightness tweaking, and down-sizing (8M to 800 x 600) to fit the image on a regular computer screen, the image is as it was when it came out of the camera. I hope to have video clip links soon.

Have fun.






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Old Feb 6, 2008, 8:14 AM   #2
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3dcc wrote:
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Okay, Fishy warned about this. The actual size of the 3, 5, and 8 Megapixels may be technically screen accurate with the dimensions they yield, however, to get the
Aiptek's marketing is notorious for exaggerating the resolution of their cameras. The A-HD is no exception. It has a 5 megapixel sensor, using interpolation to get 8 megapixels. The only real advantage the 8 megapixel mode will probably give you is a larger file size, which means less compression. Otherwise, I suspect the 8 MP mode to be useless.

My IS-DV2 has a 3 MP sensor, but claims 6 MP resolution (that is 100% more resolution that it is capable of) and I haven't found any real advantage to the 6 MP mode so I just keep it in 3 MP at all times.
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Old Feb 6, 2008, 1:06 PM   #3
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3CCD great review.

Interpolation 5 meg is fine, if you're using 8 meg then the camera mus grab thepic, recalculate in a memory, and maximize it to the best possable image, compressing etc. you can basically do the same on a pc at home.

you mention a sensor below where the strap is a remote sensor, I think the Image or light sensor is the lens itself, not the remote :?

So covering that lower area willwork fine on shots.

Pic is nice lookingfoward to the video:|


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Old Feb 6, 2008, 7:07 PM   #4
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Hi Adric:

Okay, thanks for the heads up about the 5M. I will go ahead and use that as my dfault setting for now and test converting it. If it looks okay, then I will keep it at 5M because I really don't have a need for 8M; takes up a lot of space on the SD card, too. And I probably could get away with using 3M for most of my needs as well...but will have to test.

Oh, by the way, I found a good resource to a megapixel converter chart. Here it is:

Megapixel Conversion Chart for Print and Screen Resolutions
- http://www.unlikelymoose.com/more/ca...converter.html


Hi Fishy:

Okay, then I stand corrected about the light sensor . But I have a big question then...why is it that when I put my fingers over the "remote sensor" it seems that the image I am seeing through the viewfinder is being affected by it? It seems as though that if I make sure I don't cover it, the white balance seems to recover faster after I take a shot than it does when I do cover it? It just seems like there is some correlation between covering that area or not. Or could it be something else that I am doing too cause this reaction? Well, if you can share any tips for easily and quickly gaining optimum white balance after each shot, I'd sure appreciate it! :-) Thanks. Fishy.

Oh, I hope to post some Video/3D composite video clips soon. But for now, here is a clip of some feedback effect I was able to get with the A-HD:

Simple Aiptek A-HD Video Feedback Clip (DIVX Codec Used) - http://www.mediamax.com/3dgfx/Hosted/aiptek_dv_tunnel_divx_001.avi
I have to say, I do luv my lil A-HD. I'm starting to take it everywhere I go.

Take care.
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Old Feb 7, 2008, 3:21 AM   #5
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the remote sensor

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"cannot believe the light sensor is located there is it possable they can make a duel sensor? out of one?
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Old Feb 8, 2008, 10:36 PM   #6
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Hi Fishy,

Hmmm, not sure about the dual sensor. I still need to do some testing to see if covering it up really is making a diffrerence or not.

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Old Feb 8, 2008, 11:16 PM   #7
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Okay, my Review continues:

REVIEW (PART 2)

Adjusting My Scoring


After Fishy brought to my attention the sensor towards the bottom-front portion of the camera being a remote sensor instead of a light sensor, I have since adjusted my rating to add a .50 of a point to the score. So now my rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Zoom-Framing


Okay, one thing I am noticing is that the zoom lens does work for still picture-taking, howerer, what you frame with the zoom feature is not what you finally get after pressing the button. What I am noticing is that the framing is usually *more loose* than what you see initially through the viewfinder. This can be an issue at first, but once I noticed what was going on, I started to get use to it and compensated for the looser framing. I think after a few more shoots, I'll be able to second-guess the framing to automatically compensate for this anamoly, but it is something I can live with, "I think" Not sure if I should re-adjust my rating back down to a 3.5 for this, butI will evaluate this after a few more shoots to see if is really annoying or not. However, I am anticipating I may have to knock my rating down by .25 points since this would throw off beginner shooters.

"5M or not 5M, that is the Question"

Well, I have since changed my setting to shoot 5M pics. But one thing I am noticing, in general, is that my pics run the gamut of resolution *quality*. When I look at my pics on my computer, some are so grainy/pixelated that I wouldn't dare use them at the original larger size. I am already anticipating having to resize some of them to a smaller dimension. However, others seem to be so clear and crisp that using them at the larger size is just fine; also zooming in would not be a real problem, either.

So my question is; what is causing some pics to be of "higher quality" and some to be "so-so"? I notice that the difference between the really nice ones and the really so-so ones, as far as file size goes, is like 5 Meg to 500K! At first I was thinking it was lighting only, however, when I take sets of the same image, I can see a difference in quality, even though the lighting has not change. So my question is, could the A-HD need time in-between shots to "re-group" for the next image? I notice that my pics shot closer together seem to be of less quality compared to the pics that I take with longer periods of waiting in-between the shots.

So what I will try to do is keep this in mind as I take pics and see if I see a pattern.

Well, if anyone else has any suggestions that may affect the quality of the pics, I would appreciate hearing about it.:-)

Have fun.

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Old Feb 12, 2008, 1:57 AM   #8
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Okay, here comes another update:

REVIEW (PART 3)

Zoom-Framing continued

Am I getting used to this issue yet? (see previous review -- Part 2) I still don't know. I like to be pretty precise about my framing, so when I zoom in but don't see my true framing except for that split second after I have pressed the button and when the camera is actually taking the shot, it can get a wee bit unnerving. I think that if Aiptek is going to go down this path, there should be at least more of a delay time between the button-push and before the picture is actually taken, to allow the opertator a chance to examine and re-adjust their framing before the final "snap". I am thinking that updated firmware can make an adjustment for that. It would also be nice to actually see this as a menu setting.

But the zoom-framing issue leads me to my second topic:

"5M or not 5M, that is the Question" continued

After taking some more pics, I have concluded that the 5M is pretty much a true 5M. However, what caught me off-guard initally was the zooming issue. I forgot the most important thing...the Aiptek A-HD has a *digital* zoom, not an optical zoom. Because of my years of doing optical zooming, I entirely forgot that the A-HD's zoom is digitally controlled. So that answers my question about the varying "quality" between images. The ones that are zoomed into the most, have the poorest quality while the ones with less or no zooms, look pretty much as what I would expect from a 5M. So for a while there, I was trying to peel an onion to try and find an orange, which is impossible!

Infinity Focus?

One thing I have noticed, however, after taking several pics (zoom disabled) and examining them, is that even though the focus mode was set to "infinity", which is 50cm - ∞, portions of the images seemed to start "blurring out" at certain points in the picture and objects in the distance were not as crisp. It seems that objects stay in focus from 50cm to about 50 feet, but then they gradually get soft. It is not that bad, but I can definitely see the difference in a picture where the focus is crisp and where it is getting softer. So I thought this was interesting in regards to what the specs were stating about the focus in the literature.

New Strategy

So with all that said, I think I need to try a new strategy of picture taking with the A-HD.

1) Don't use the zoom at all unless I cannot physically get the perspective/framing that I need. Moving towards or away from the subject is the better method with the A-HD.

2) Keep my subject matter within 50 feet or so for clearest focus.

Well, that's all for now. Will explore some more of the A-HD and let you know. I also hope I can get some more 3D/photo and 3D/video composites done soon so I can post them.

Well, have fun shooting.
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Old Feb 12, 2008, 3:20 AM   #9
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you forgot one more scenerio takinga vid and capturin a pic from a frame not while recording
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Old Feb 17, 2008, 10:54 PM   #10
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fishycomics wrote:
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you forgot one more scenerio takinga vid and capturin a pic from a frame not while recording
Yeah, you're right, Fishy...I could try it that way as well.

What I am trying to do now is test out the macro feature. I am trying to see if it is indeed 12"-20" or if it is possibly less (that would be nice). As wiggle room goes, 8" is not that much, so it would be nice if it were a bit more.

Well, will let you know when I find out.:-)
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