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Old Oct 14, 2008, 1:03 AM   #31
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The previous clips were taken on a very overcast day. It was sprinkling on me while I was out filiming and you can see an occasional rain drop on the lens. Today was no better.

I have two new clips that are primarily indoor audio tests. The camera is just staring at an EIA1956 test pattern, which, having a face fit for radio, is better than looking at me. The tests are for audio anyway.

http://www.vimeo.com/user710685/videos

The first is using the same dynamic boom mic I used in the outdoor clips but did some experimenting to find a position that reduced the signal level enough to not (continually) pop or distort on peaks. The boom was straight forward about 4-5" to the front and left of my mouth.

The second is using a condenser mic run though my mixer and back out to the camera. That was the 5th or 6th clip at least, trying to find settings that wouldn't distort on peaks. not having a VU meter on the camera is a real pain. You may have to crank up the volume for the first part of this as I had to crank the preamp, channel and master output gain almost all the way down to get clean audio. I step the master output gain up one index mark at a time and you can hear how quickly the audio starts to distort.

I know this is a clean, low noise setup. The mic is in a shock mount with a pop screen infront of it. The mixer provides phantom power for the mic directly.

I also tried the self-powered shotgun and lavalier mics. The signal level from these is too low to drive the external mic jack directly and both had similar responses as the studio mic.

Preliminary testing has shown the external mic jack to have active AGC and be very sensitive to signal levels with a very poor dynamic range. It is very easy to drive it into distortion with popping and clicking on signal peaks.

AC, fans and all background noise sources except for a couple of computer fans are off. I know from previous recordings this is a very low background noise setup with a very large dynamic range.

My preliminary conclusion, unfortunately, is that the external jack is a cosmetic afterthought and not a serious attempt to provide better audio quality.

I think it is time to seriously consider returning it and wait for the GVS or something else to try.

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Old Oct 14, 2008, 5:35 AM   #32
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I thought I saw lens flare, that could have been caused by a droplet. The sky was confusing me, it looked blue, but hazy, know I known why.

A shame, could you shoot some bright shots and dark inside shots before you return it?

The problem is auto-gain? Maybe they can offer a firmware update that allows you to turn it off.

I don't know how the GVS picture will be compared to the previouse action series, the 600 appears to be more blown out with more interpolation problems from what I could see from the first clips here (and red was much higher). At least they should have less rolling shutter.
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 8:56 AM   #33
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My feeling is that if you're going to offer an external microphone jack, then DO IT RIGHT.

If you don't do it right, you risk losing customer confidence.

As for me, I'm starting to lose interest in these Taiwanese camcorders completely.
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 10:13 AM   #34
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The condenser mic clip hung up while uploading last night. It should be up in about in awhile.

Wayne12 wrote:

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A shame, could you shoot some bright shots and dark inside shots before you return it? The problem is auto-gain? Maybe they can offer a firmware update that allows you to turn it off.
I asked Aiptek twice if there was a firmware update. They claim there is not and steadfastly refused to even answer my question about how to check the firmware version. I suspect if I complain about this I will get the same stock answer that this is not a common problem and I should exchange it for another. Their response on the battery issue does give me ample reason for the return.

I would like to do some more video tests, but since my main interest was in the external jack, I'm not very motivated to do more video tests. I would have never bought this except for the external jack feature.

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My feeling is that if you're going to offer an external microphone jack, then DO IT RIGHT. If you don't do it right, you risk losing customer confidence. As for me, I'm starting to lose interest in these Taiwanese camcorders completely.
My sentiments exactly. If this is theri response to repeated requests to add an external microphone jack then it is a very half hearted one. It seems to be just to be able to claim to offer one to quiet the vocal minority asking for one.

I suspect that the folks designing these cameras have little or no actual analog design background. They are presented with a chip set (and reference design) that seemingly does everything and they simply become chip integrators, firmware creators and packagers.

It is something I see on a daily basis in hiring newly minted engineers and engineers in training. I see them wanting to throw a DSP chip at a problem that could be solved by an RC filter. Unfortunately this is the way they are being trained.

I doubt if the camera developers understand the chip set audio inputs and just tried to slap a mic jack on the same input as the internal mic. I'm also sure the audio section of this chip set itself is given little attention. They probably have a 16 bit audio digitizer and encoder at the tail end of about an 8 bit dynamic range audio and AGC section.
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 10:14 AM   #35
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Hybrids are really hacker cams, as they offer performance problems for consumers (roaming focus/exposure/artifactting and microphone noise and wandering sound issues) that hackers can get around, but not the consumer. I have identified numerous problems with cameras that really make it unsuitable for proper consumer use and footage. I child might think hybrids great despite the problems, bu adults will just have to suffer the problems and manufacturers hope their family and friends still want to buy after seeing the footage. Some things are quiet right though, color (in some cameras) low light in some cameras, latitude in some cameras, interpolation in some cameras, but the auto functions are an issue, along with the data-rate (let alone no setting/locking exposure/focus/aperture and frame rate) rolling shutter and sound issues.

I think the hybrid market is here to stay, but how many Chinese manufacturers will it support, unless the cameras are good enough to be the main cameras to buy on the market.

I think it is time to start to look at deluxe models that give all the features above for an extra $50+ which would probably greatly increase their net profit.

I hope this HSHD goes a way to answering the quality issues (pity it did not have larger data rate and settable controls, or a 5+ Megapixel sensor version).
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 10:29 AM   #36
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CamcorderInfo.com's recent review of the Samsung SC-HMX20 reveals you can get pretty decent high definition performance -- both video and sound -- at the $600 price point.

http://tinyurl.com/4o7n7k

Below $600, the consumer must endure many sacrifices to achieve economy.
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 10:34 AM   #37
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Chipguy wrote:
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The condenser mic clip hung up while uploading last night. It should be up in about in awhile.

Wayne12 wrote:

Quote:
A shame, could you shoot some bright shots and dark inside shots before you return it? The problem is auto-gain? Maybe they can offer a firmware update that allows you to turn it off.
I asked Aiptek twice if there was a firmware update. They claim there is not and steadfastly refused to even answer my question about how to check the firmware version.* I suspect if I complain about this I will get the same stock answer that this is not a common problem and I should exchange it for another. Their response on the battery issue does give me ample reason for the return.
People have had good correspondence with Aiptek before, but that is likely in another country. I think I have had similar experience. The problem is that the camera is only sold in the US in the English markets.

For everybody here, I think there might be more models on the Taiwanese and Chinese sites, but it is too difficult for me to operate those sites in Chinese.
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 10:39 AM   #38
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Private Idaho wrote:
Quote:
CamcorderInfo.com's recent review of the Samsung SC-HMX20 reveals you can get pretty decent high definition performance -- both video and sound -- at the $600 price point.

http://tinyurl.com/4o7n7k

Below $600, the consumer must endure many sacrifices to achieve economy.
You might also try the cheapest model of the latest Canon with 24mb/s mode, but you sacrifice 60fps progressive modes. Camcorder has a review of one of the latest Canon cameras. My biggest problem is that there is no cheap camera (non professional) that does a descent progressive 50fps (or 60fps) mode either by data-rate or by live HDMI/component output, it is like a conspiracy.
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Old Oct 15, 2008, 5:05 PM   #39
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Well as we know this cam has been out not long andalready the price dropped down to 129.99 for this weekends sales

Still not on the wish list

even on the website the othe model loos like it also went down just a tad


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Old Oct 15, 2008, 7:48 PM   #40
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I was checking on the return policies and filling out a review on the HSHD at the Circuit City web site today and happened to notice one of the other reviewers evidently had the same battery problem as I did but never figured it out and returned it. So much for Aiptek's claim that this is not a typical problem for this model. I have't seen my review show up yet so I'm wondering if they are moderated before posting.

I'm hoping the email from Aiptek support telling me to return it as defective will get me out of the restocking fee. If they will let me exchange it for something else I'm looking to see what else might be worthwhile in the same price range.

fishycomics wrote:
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Well as we know this cam has been out not long andalready the price dropped down to 129.99 for this weekends sales Still not on the wish list even on the website the othe model loos like it also went down just a tad
Was this on the Circuit City weekly ad? didn't see it in the one for my zip.
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