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Old Nov 4, 2009, 6:38 AM   #1
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Hi, I'm new to camcorders. I care only about one thing, best Video image quality while being handheld and under $250.00. It does not matter if it does stills at all.

Quality to me, is accurate color reproduction and at least a decent attempt at auto white balance. High dynamic range, details in shadow, great in low light without being too noisy. Sharpness is a given, I want it tack sharp. Image stabilizer would be great, if it didn't turn the video soft.
I would pick great video over great audio.

There are just so many to choose from today, I don't even know where to begin to look. You guys will know...

Thanks
Joe
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Old Nov 4, 2009, 7:37 AM   #2
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The Kodak Zi8 is probably your best bet, as I think it meets all of your objectives. Just be sure to load the latest firmware from Kodak on it (version 1.06 as of this writing) when you get it.

For an excellent standard definition camcorder with real optical zoom and autofocus, look for the Canon FS200 on sale in the $250 range. It easily outperforms competitors from Panasonic, JVC, and Sony, and for standard definition, the video image is surprisingly crisp, even in low light. It has a stereo external microphone jack, too, unlike any of its price-class rivals except the aforementioned Kodak Zi8.
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Old Nov 4, 2009, 8:02 AM   #3
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Thanks, I think 720p/1080p would be fine. I've been looking at the Kodak, Vado, Dgx and Aiptek.

I will be using it for moving subjects. Dogs working cattle and sheep. Dog agility, Frisbee shows etc. Some of the footage will be indoors and I would like to do as little is post processing as possible.

I am a professional still photographer by trade. I have color calibrated 1920x1200 LCD monitors and color accuracy is important. Video is something I know nothing about.
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Old Nov 4, 2009, 8:58 AM   #4
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from what i saw, and for my first day with a xacti cg10, i would tell you that if u are a professional photographer, u wouldnt be that happy with a cam like the zi8.
ok u can get a sharp picture, but its seems so automatic to me, that u'll find urself useless
im not a professional photographer myself, but an amateur for like 25 years now, and i've been to photography school for 2 years.
i think u'll have more control of what u want with a cam like a xacti or maybe aiptek.
and forget about image stabilization with a 250$ model, it just wont do it, its all about the way u handle the cam, or u need to get a steadicam or build one.

all those cams miss a DOF adapter, u dont really have control of focus or anything.

i really dont regret my choice with the xacti, its a wonderful cam for the price, and i wont trade it with a kodak or vado or whatever even if some have 60fps.

but i know i have a bit more controls, and so i can learn more and experiment more.

now i would also think about something like the canon fs200 vwestlife is talking about, because honestly if u will use it for sports/action, low light,... its probably ur best choice.
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Old Nov 4, 2009, 9:54 AM   #5
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Which Aiptek should I look at?

That's part of my problem, there are just so many and some seem incremental upgrades at best.

I'm also oprn to a lumix or something similar.

At what price point do I need to go for IS to actually be a benefit? Model?

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Old Nov 4, 2009, 10:30 AM   #6
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Aiptek action HD GVS, .

Kodak Zi8 or aiptek.

Pistol or cell. a few extras, that the other does not have
I lean to the ZI8
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Old Nov 4, 2009, 10:49 AM   #7
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Ok Fishy, you're the man around here, you and Wayne. (I have been reading your posts.)

I looks to me like most everything <$250 is "about" the same and the next step is $500 or higher before you see any major quality difference at all. There is a law of deminshing returns here to also consider.
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Old Nov 4, 2009, 10:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jlacy76 View Post
Hi, I'm new to camcorders. I care only about one thing, best Video image quality while being handheld and under $250.00. It does not matter if it does stills at all.

Quality to me, is accurate color reproduction and at least a decent attempt at auto white balance. High dynamic range, details in shadow, great in low light without being too noisy. Sharpness is a given, I want it tack sharp. Image stabilizer would be great, if it didn't turn the video soft.
I would pick great video over great audio.

There are just so many to choose from today, I don't even know where to begin to look. You guys will know...

Thanks
Joe
While raw files would be better, you can at least get an idea if a model is worth pursuing further by looking at some samples on vimeo.com and youtube.com. Just type in the model number and have a look at what other people have shot with them.

To be honest, since you are a professional photographer and going by that list, I have a feeling you will not be happy with offerings in that price range, you are just going to have to go higher in price. Especially if you want Optical Image Stabilization.

I have both the Aiptek GVS and Sanyo HD1010. In good lighting there is actually not a lot to separate their image quality except the Sanyo has more saturated colors.

The Sanyo is definitely better in low light although the Aiptek is actually acceptable to me at times too.

Have a look at some samples from the Aiptek GVS on vimeo.com. If it doesn't do it for you, then as I say you will need to look higher. Also check out the DXG 595V thread.
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Old Nov 4, 2009, 11:11 AM   #9
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Thanks RV. I read that thread for the DXG 595V or maybe it was the 596 and I believe it was Wayne who said the DXG data rate was too low. I could be mistaken, I have read many things on here today that have me scratching my head. I don't need to understand, I just would like a small decent video camera for non-professional use.

I spend 2000.00 for still camera lenses, but I make money with them too. This is not the plan for this little device and I don't expect that kind of quality. Having said that, I want the best image quality I can get for the price.

The Zi8 might work, I like the smaller form factor and as this is a point and shoot situation, that one might make the most sense.

I don't know, this is really day one looking at all these. I didn't know what to look for, but I did find this place which would help me.
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Old Nov 4, 2009, 11:45 AM   #10
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maybe u can spend some times at a shop that have those cams in their showroom and let u play a bit with them.

and yea look on vimeo for samples of all those cams, mostly test footages.
aiptek always sounded cheap to me, but i never had one in hand so i cant really say, and all those zi8, vado, picso,... look more like webcams to me. But its also great to play with those, as its really point and shoot toys.
but yea i saw really great footages with all those cams, in the end it all depend on the guy behind it and the subject.
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