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Old Mar 20, 2009, 8:20 PM   #1
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Im not gonna have a chance to put up too much info tonight but I figured I'd give ya'll some info because Im not gonna have a chance to do a full review until possible next Thursday.

I run a photo lab at a large retail store, whic also entails selling cameras. The Webbie looked like a easy to use video camera to replace my Aiptek GOHD+. I was drawn to the sony name and the resolution of the video. The two issues I had with my gohd were weird noise artifacts in all videos and a hissing sound in the audio. The Webbie does not have either of those problems. I took a picture with the lense cap on and its 99% black with a spec of dust. On the aiptek I had horizontal and vertical lines all over the place.


Daylight Video Quality: 8/10
I only got a chance to use it for a couple minutes before the sun went down but the clips I did get looked very good. Very nicely saturated. The bitrate was around 6.9. It seems to have a good auto focus but it does take a little while for it to focus. I wouldnt call it slow but it doesnt rival the speeds of a $2,000 camcorder.

Im gonna need to use it more so give a real honest opinion.


Still Picture Quality 7/10
Not too bad. 5 megapixels. Quality is good enough for sharing online and printing out up to 4X6. There is no flash although the light can be used to help with lowlight pictures. It may use a seperate sensor to capture video. When you zoom in on something in video mode and hit the camera button you are instantly zoomed out to take the picture.




Formfactor/size 10/10
OMG this thing is tiny. Its smaller than my env cell phone and only twice as thick. Its the smallest camcorder Ive ever seen. It might be fun to hide it somewhere as a hidden camera.

It also seems to be built well. I do think it would survive a fall to the floor.


Low Light Video Quality: 8/10
It seems to function well under low light conditions especially with the light. Is it perfect? no. Does it work better than my cell phone yes. Digital camera? yes.



From my first impression, I dont think this would be a good camcorder for people to use on weddings and important stuff but its nice to put clips online to share with family and friends. I just love the size and I cant wait to find interesting ways of using it.

please feel free to ask questions so I can add more info. I'll try to add some clips tomorrow.
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Old Mar 20, 2009, 10:18 PM   #2
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I look forward to some video clips, expecially indoors ,and low light as well as some complex scenes. By complex scenes I mean those with a lot of detail such as a background with a lot of vegetation for instance.

A pity about the fixed internal battery. I guess they're worried about losing sales from their more expensive models. It would be good if you can give us an idea about the real world battery life which is usually a lot less than they quote. Very important given the non removable battery.
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Old Mar 20, 2009, 11:10 PM   #3
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heres a quick video from earlier:
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=146HC3H0

I kept it in auto and this is the 720p mode that was the default of the camera. Notice it gets grainy when I walk back the hallway(becuz no lights). This was taken after dark with only one light on in each room; except the kitchen. It probably should have been in low light mode.:? The camera also struggled to focus on my sisters face but that was probably becuase I zoomed too close.


There is an optional in the camera called flicker cancel, Im assuming this is their attempt to fix the rolling image? This wasnt turned on for the above video so I'll have to use it on my next clip.


EDIT: The manual says the battery will last 85minutes on continuous use but 40min for standard on/off use.
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Old Mar 21, 2009, 2:31 AM   #4
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I ordered the newer Webbie MHS-PM1, it has shipped, and it is due to be delivered next Wednesday. I will post my comments when it arrives.

My biggest fear is that it only takes short clips. I was assured by Sony that it would record continuously for several hours, if the memory card was big enough... Sony has had the chance to react to feedback from the CM1 release, so we shall see...

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Old Mar 22, 2009, 2:15 PM   #5
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Trevmar wrote:
Quote:
I ordered the newer Webbie MHS-PM1, it has shipped, and it is due to be delivered next Wednesday. I will post my comments when it arrives.

My biggest fear is that it only takes short clips. I was assured by Sony that it would record continuously for several hours, if the memory card was big enough... Sony has had the chance to react to feedback from the CM1 release, so we shall see...
Im not really sure how long they will record continuously but if the battery only lasts for 81 minutes that could cause problems. Even on the other model you'd need to stop to change the battery.


FYI if anyone wants to stock up on 2gb pro duo cards newegg has some marked down to $8 with free shipping.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820191427

with this camcorder you'd get around an hour in 720p mode.

____________________________________

heres a clip of me with no lights on in the room but a window brightly shining behind me. Notice all the pores:-)

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=JMYLM4NX

Overall I'm very satisfied with the camera. I cant wait to take it with me on vacation this summer. Id wouldn't recommend it to someone who wants to make blurays but for someone who wants to share video on the web and author the occasional dvd I'd recommend it in a heartbeat.
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Old Mar 22, 2009, 3:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Im not really sure how long they will record continuously but if the battery only lasts for 81 minutes that could cause problems. Even on the other model you'd need to stop to change the battery
When I was using the Sanyo Xactis I used to connect a battery pack to the power jack to supplement the internal battery during long shoots Four AA NiMH cells should last 3-4 hours on a webbie...

I have since been spoiled by the 180 minute BP-819 batteries on my HF100, however A much neater solution...

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Old Mar 24, 2009, 1:03 PM   #7
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OK, my MHS-PM1 arrived, and it is going straight back to Sony.

First, after 25 minutes of recording the camera stops. Even though the display screen says 4 hours of time available on the card. So we have another manufacturer trying to cripple their low-end products so that they don't compete with their high-end products. Forget it... I have my Kodak V1073 and Z1012 if I want to record video for half an hour, and my HF100 which records for 3 hours unattended...

Second, the low-light sensitivity is just not good enough for indoor use, again, my cheap Kodaks leave it for dead.

Third, it uses a proprietary power plug, forcing you to buy a Sony accessory power adaptor. Shipped with the PM1 is just a charger. You have to take the battery out of the camera to charge it, and there is no possibility of running the camera off a power supply.

I don't know why I wasted my time. I should have realized that Sony just "doesn't get it..."


ps: The EIS image stabilizer worked well enough for me, and rotating the lens to turn the power off is a neat idea...


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Old Mar 24, 2009, 5:39 PM   #8
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Im gona have to try mine to see if it freezes. Did the form factor seem weird to you?
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Old Mar 25, 2009, 12:07 AM   #9
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I have been processing Digital Video for many years now, and so my software setup is pretty sophisticated. There was no jerkyness.

I saw no problems with the video (1440x1080). It was very sharp (frame-by-frame I could read the house number on the house across the street) and sharp focus range extended from several feet to infinity. Colors were a bit drab compared to either HF100 or the Kodaks, but about the same as the DXG and other cheap cams I have played with.

I panned at both 720/30p and 1080/30p (an uninteresting view of my street) and saw no problems with the EIS or rolling shutter. Of course, I have been spoiled by OIS for some years now, and there was more movement in the image than I would like, but nothing the Virtualdub+Deshaker could not get rid of.

Data rate was 6 Mbps at 1080/30p and 4.2 Mbps at 720/30p. Compression was AVC, [email protected], CABAC, 4.2.0 progressive. Audio was 128Kbps, 16KHz, 48KHz sampling rate, stereo digital from a crummy mono mike in the PM1.

I didn't measure rolling shutter mathematically. Gunnar Thalin has published a procedure for doing that, and I have resolved to check out my CMOS cameras in future with that.

EVerything on the PM1 is locked in to Sony. I really don't want to carry around a new set of memory cards, power bricks, etc. The battery charger (as big as the camera) is only 300ma compared with the 600ma everybody else is using now. I guess Sony want you to buy some expensive Sony spare batteries... It needs a lot more light on the subject that I typically have available... But the killer for me is the 25 minutes maximum record time. I need to be able to put it on a table-tripod, turn it on and be sure that it will catch whatever I am doing. The PM1 is of no use to me while it is crippled back to 25 minutes max continuous record time.


To see what one can do in almost total blackout with the less-expensive Kodak V1073, at about the same price, take a look at some handheld footage my wife and I shot at a wedding recently. The white balance is not good, but the output from the Sony PM1 is totally black under these lighting conditions (notice the red light from the focus LEDS on other people's cameras):
http://www.vimeo.com/3786927


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Old Mar 25, 2009, 11:20 AM   #10
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Trevmar wrote:
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First, after 25 minutes of recording the camera stops.
Is this not even mentioned in the manual? If not, this is very deceptive to consumers since this device is, for all intents and purposes, a camcorder and not a digital camera that records video.

I suspect that the return rate may be artificially lower than expected since many users may not find out until much later if they only shoot short video clips initially. By then they won't be able to.

I guess Sony would feel that they could brush off customer complaints because they never included the word 'continuous' when they list the recording times.


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