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Old May 13, 2008, 3:54 PM   #1
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Recently I bought a Samsung D371W mini-DVC camcorder, with which I am generally well pleased, especially for uk£150 ($300). It's a relatively future-proof successor to three successive Sony Video8 camcorders,twice its size and many times its weight.

The Li-ion battery life isn't brilliant (<1h because of small size), and just as the manual says, if the battery's left attached there is a significant drain in retaining the camera settings. The Li coin cell maintains the clock but not the menu settings.

On refitting the Li-ion battery, the machine always defaults to 16:9 format. I have a good 4:3format CRT TV set witha long life ahead of it. I am principally a still photographer, and have been used to 4:3 format since my first digicam in 2002. I would never dream of throwing away pixels by setting my digicam to 3:2, because I can cropan imagehowever I like later.

If my camcorder has a 16:9 format sensor, I'll display it in widescreen and put up with black strips at top and bottom as with widescreen DVDs and digital TV, or possibly crop the edges by enlargement when viewing as I can with digital TV. This will be easy because the camcorder defaults 16:9.

If the camcorder sensor is 4:3, and its 16:9 image is achieved by cropping the edges, I may as well get a better result, with the original image matching my TV, by wading through the menus to set 4:3 format in the camera before shooting, so that the electronic viewfinder shows just what I'll see on my screen.

I note the camcorder has a so-called 'stills' mode, which is a 6-second static video clip, and this is available only on 4:3. Also various of the video 'special effects' are available only in 4:3 format. This makes me suspect that the sensor is 4:3, that the 16:9 is a trendy marketing gimmick that throws away some of the pixels at top and bottom, and that for optimal image quality I'll be better investing the time in setting 4:3 for every session (if I remember)!

Does anyone know the answer, please?What shape is the sensor on these machines?

Thanksfor any help!
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Old May 13, 2008, 4:40 PM   #2
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I went to the Samsung Web site and took a look at the PDF manual at the following link:

http://downloadcenter.samsung.com/co...SCD371_USA.pdf

The manual suggests that you can enter the camcorder's electronic menu and change the 16:9 widescreen option to be 4:3 standard aspect ratio.

The instruction is on page 54 of the PDF manual.

Hope this helps,

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Old May 13, 2008, 4:43 PM   #3
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By the way, the manual states the CCD is a 680K CCD.

Usually, the native aspect ratio for these types of consumer cameras is 4:3.

Their 16:9 option usually is the result of manipulation of the 4:3 aspect ratio image.

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Old May 13, 2008, 5:13 PM   #4
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My recent manual is a little different, but essentially the same, at..

Private Idaho wrote:
Quote:
Usually, the native aspect ratio for these types of consumer cameras is 4:3.

Their 16:9 option usually is the result of manipulation of the 4:3 aspect ratio image.
That's what I wanted to know, thanks! As the aspect ratios are different, it's not so much manipulation as truncation, which is what I suspected.

Private Idaho also wrote:

Quote:
...PDF manual...suggests that you can enter the camcorder's electronic menu and change the 16:9 widescreen option to be 4:3 standard aspect ratio.
The instruction is on page 54 of the PDF manual.
Yes, I know how to do it. I've had to do it every time I start a new session, and it's several complicated steps through the menu sytem after attaching the battery, by which time I've missed the shot. It's just rather annoying that by default it doesn't give you the whole image of which it's capable. It seems silly to lose the common camera settings when you change the battery. My old camcorders retained all their settings using a coin Li cell that lasted for years.

Thanks for the information.
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Old May 14, 2008, 1:51 PM   #5
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It's too bad Samsung didn't include the "effective pixels" for the 16:9/4:3 aspect ratio modes.

Canon does precisely that here:

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...;modelid=14727

With the newest Canon MiniDV tape-based ZR800 model, which appears to be similar to the Samsung model that you have, the 16:9 aspect ratio option actually utilizes more pixels from the sensor.

So it would seem newer models -- such as your model -- might actually have native 16:9 sensors.

It's hard to know without more detailed specifications, which -- unfortunately -- Samsung hasn't provided.

On the other hand, the fact that your model *defaults* to 16:9 hints at the possibility that your model has a native 16:9 sensor.

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Old May 14, 2008, 1:54 PM   #6
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One additional thought...

Have you compared how the video in the two modes "looks" on your target TV screen?

That's a fairly practical way of choosing the best mode.

:lol:

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