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Old May 26, 2008, 12:45 AM   #1
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I run a local news website and I have used Aipteks since the DV4500. I still even use an old DV5900 from time to time to to record community meetings. It will stay on when you close the screen so you can record for hours on a couple of double As. I have literally shot several thousand hours of video and tens of thousands of photos in a web production environment. I was a very loyal Aiptek customer. I wore out 2 MPVRs and a DV5800 was my loyal and trusted companion for well over 2 years. The combination of size and being able to capture decent quality video and photos from any angle, over a crowd with the screen swiveled or folded back so you can use it with one hand has made these inexpensive cameras great tools. I tried to upgrade to the GO-HD and It was a disaster. Hardware problems and the audio made it unusable in a production environment. Yes when all of the stars aligned just right it took great video but you couldn't trust it. When you cover news you need to know you can get at least something you can use.

The Jazz 178 is my new best friend. It is even smaller than the DV5800 and the incremental increase in quality of the finished product is very nice. For our web work we knock everything back down to 640x480 so a finished HD product is over what we need. For me the 178 is the perfect combination of size and quality. I can quickly grab decent quality output and move on.

One surprising thing about the 178 is the digital zoom. As has been mentioned in this forum before it is actually usable and provides decent if not stellar results. I like the zoom on the GO-HD but it the auto focus always seemed to be moving. An additional drawback of the GO-HD and Action-HD which probably does take marginally better video than the 178 is the size. The new larger Aipteks are just a smidgen too large to use securely one handed in a crowded environment. The MPVR's & 5800s were perfect and the 178's size is sublime.

Price is also another huge factor. With a $99 dollar camera you can actually take riskier shots because if you lose a camera you won't have to mortgage the house to buy a replacement. I have even shot coverage of an event with an Aiptek in one hand out the sunroof. I shot enough footage with it the I could frame the shot by instinct.

Many Thanks to Fishy for the great tips on firmware updates and other tricks...sorry it took me so long for the first post.

On a practical note on using the Jazz avi format in Windows Movie Maker. On a Vista Machine it seems to work fine if you just push the raw product though once and then go back and cut and splice. If you splice it first the you may lose video and just get a black output.

On and XP machine I have had similar results but I have most of the latest codecs installed. The video has also worked fine in Powerdirecter.

Our needs are different than many of you. While the absolutely best footage would be great we just need to get consistently acceptable footage. In the last few days I have been very, very impressed with the 178. We don't much footage on our site from it yet but over the next week most of our production video will start being 178 footage. We are also going to get a couple more ...

Our site if you would like see production 178 footage is http://thepinetree.net

So if you are hesitating on picking up an Aiptek or Jazz don't worry they take acceptable quality photos & video for their prices they have been amazing for us.
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Old May 26, 2008, 7:48 AM   #2
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Scoop, a welcome is not needed , but a great thank you for an outstanding post. this is perfection at its best.

Reason why I go out of my perosnal way to say hey look at hte fun I have on a economical level,.

walk for a day see the sites breath in the frsh air, and left that car home would pay for one of these in a days time todays gas prices :G

thanks again
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Old May 26, 2008, 12:58 PM   #3
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Scoop, I am in total agreement. I have been taking this little gem with me everywhere so far. Sure it's not perfect (Is there such a camera?) but for $99 it's definitely a true bargain in my book and as you say you are not afraid to take it anywhere!

Even if you intend to resize the hidef output to standard definition size, shooting in hidef has the advantage that single frames make pretty decent still images which is handy for those shots where the camera would be too slow to shoot in still mode.
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Old May 26, 2008, 2:33 PM   #4
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640x480 res and zooming in hi def is the ideal thing can just about use all its digital zoom and works out fine I wanted to add


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Old May 27, 2008, 9:50 AM   #5
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I took my 178 to the beach yesterday and was using it to record the kids in the water etc. Like I say you are not afraid to use it this way unlike a more expensive camera.

This camera seems to produce the most pleasing and fluid video when you keep it in a fixed position and let the subject move rather than pan it about, even slowly.

Added a sample beach shot here:

http://www.vimeo.com/1075738
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Old May 28, 2008, 6:15 PM   #6
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I just converted a bunch of my beach videos from the 178 to mpeg-1 files at 3000Kbps and put them on a CDRW to play in my cheap DVD player attached to my 19" LCD and they look awesome! You'd never know they were from a $99 camera.

The only fault with this camera is that if you pan it seems to 'jerk' the image every so often so this camera is best when held stationary I find. Otherwise it's ideal for beach videography. Sure you can buy a waterproof Sanyo but they are 4x the price and only Standard Definition at the moment.
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Old May 28, 2008, 7:13 PM   #7
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Did you view at vimeo with HD OFF. andsee the difference?
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Old May 29, 2008, 8:13 AM   #8
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fishycomics wrote:
Quote:
Did you view at vimeo with HD OFF. andsee the difference?
No you can see the effect even on the camcorder itself.
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