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Old Apr 26, 2008, 2:52 PM   #1
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Hi there,

Firstly, congratulations on a really thorough and passionate forum covering a subject which seems woefully underrepresented on the rest of the web.

I have some questions for you experts - hopefully you can help out!

I'm interested in buying a hybrid cam. The destination of the footage it shoots is mostely going to be web, so I'm seeing my priorities as:

1. Sound - which model offers the best (or least bad!) quality? Would you laugh at me if I asked if any have any sort of mic input?
3. Video definition (HD not vital - but a welcome bonus!)
4. Flexibility in different/indoor lighting conditions - do some models have LED flashes which can stay on (as lights)?

I know hybrids aren't really ideal for someone interested in sound quality and I do have a Canon HV20 which handles external mics and all sorts, but what I'm after here is a pocketsized, cheap alternative I can keep in my bag all the time and not have to worry about losing!

The second part of my question... What do you make of the hybrids which are all over eBay? I'm in the UK and it seems a lot of the models you talk about on the forum aren't available to buy here, so it looks like eBay is a good option for me. (Although I did notice one forum member posting VERY British footage of a back garden and some wheelie bins!)

This one for example...

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...m=270231283484

...looks almost identical to one of the Jazz models - is it likely to be (basically) the same machine?

I'm also looking at these two:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=270229998 617

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...m=280090810612

Any thoughts?

I'll summarise here as I seem to have gone all over the place with this post:

1. Given my priorities listed above, can you recommend the best bet for a hybrid?
2. Would you recommend buying one of those eBay models, or are they to be avoided?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer...
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Old Apr 26, 2008, 3:40 PM   #2
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1. Stay away from the aiptek if you want good quality sound as they are mono, and the aiptek AHD200 (qvc are knocking these out for £120 with a 2gb sd card) which is readily available in the uk has poor sound, there are many samples here to make you mind up. The HD2 and HD1000 from sanyo have mic inputs.

3. (no idea where 2 was in your post) Most normal hybrids are VGA 30fps and 720 x 480 for standard def resolutions. Obviously HD stuff ranges from the popular 720p and 1080 (mostly i instead of p) again most are 30fps. As you stated your in Blightly 30fps may be an issue for you as we use PAL which is 25fps, personally speaking it hasn't been for me.

4. For good low light then the cheap units are not very good, even the more expensive ones like the sanyo hd700 becomes noisy. Units with one or two led light(s) will not be of much help beyond 4-5 feet.

The ones you have listed on ebay all have digital zoom only, and are clones of other hybrids. In the type of price range you are looking at £100-£150 at a sanyo cg65 might be your best bet although no mic input these have stereo recording or the newer cg9 which has been recently released but might be a little out of your price range. These are standard def camcorders but give reasonable picture quality. I have a sample from my cg65 on vimeo if you want to see http://www.vimeo.com/925839 ,I can put more samples up if you want.

If money is no object then the sanyo hd1000 and the new sony TG3 seem the best for the money.
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Old Apr 26, 2008, 3:45 PM   #3
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The easypix 5311hd can be bought from shoxx.com in germany for £113.70 inc p&p to the UK

The easypix has a flash that stays on as a light
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Old Apr 26, 2008, 8:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
I'm interested in buying a hybrid cam. The destination of the footage it shoots is mostely going to be web, so I'm seeing my priorities as:

1. Sound - which model offers the best (or least bad!) quality? Would you laugh at me if I asked if any have any sort of mic input?
3. Video definition (HD not vital - but a welcome bonus!)
4. Flexibility in different/indoor lighting conditions - do some models have LED flashes which can stay on (as lights)?
I'll summarise here as I seem to have gone all over the place with this post:
The earlier Aiptek's had audio issues from what I've read (I'm pretty new to the hybrid arena). The latest ones (A-HD+ and Action HD) seem to have corrected the audio issues. I own an Aiptek Action HD and have been very happy with the video quality (even in low-light; better than my JVC Everio and Sanyo Xacti HD1A) and the audio quality. I posted samples in my review in this same forum (Review: Aiptek Action HD). These hybrids will record audio at 48kHz.

The hybrids you found look just like the Jazz 188 (which is the one getting a lot of attention here). The Jazz 188 (the one with the 3" screen) seems to beat the 178 in terms of video quality. I've lost track if it only does 22kHz audio though. You may want to look through the threads.

The HD700 and HD1000 are supposed to have better quality video than the HD1A and HD2 (their predecessors), but samples I've seen seem to have nearly the same amount of sensor noise in the output and are almost as highly saturated :-/ However rediculous it sounds, my Action HD shooting at 720p60 produces better video than what I've seen of the HD700/HD1000 (to my eye), especially in low-light situations. If you find video samples contrary to that, I'd love to see them. :-)

External microphones won't be available on these low-end hybrids from what I've found. There are hacks to make them available though; several people on here have hacked their A-HD's to add a 2.5mm MIC jack. I have plans to rig the headphone jack on my Action HD as a MIC jack (little to no case modification needed... just solder in some wires and add a micro-switch to choose internal/external MIC).

As for eBay, I only buy from people with more than 97% approval with at least 500 reviews. With that mentality, I have never been screwed over in my eBay purchases (knock on wood).

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Old Apr 26, 2008, 8:41 PM   #5
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I can verify that the Aiptek Action HD's audio is fine; no issues.

But I prefer to record many types of audio with an external microphone.

So I plan to use my very portable Sony MiniDisc recorders for that purpose.

Then I'll just synchronize the audio with the video in my editing software.

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Old Apr 27, 2008, 10:29 PM   #6
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The "Hybrid List" includes information such as whether a camera has an external microphone port or a lamp for video. If the list seems too daunting to look through, just find the symbol (x) for the feature, and then do a search on the page for "(x)".

I have a Digilife DDV-730, which is one of the few such cameras with an led to use as a video lamp. The state of the led/battery technology and sensor sensitivity limits it to portrait use so far. But there is rapid progress in this area, especially more powerful led's.
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