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Old Jun 4, 2010, 12:20 AM   #1
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Default Jaytech DVH24 quick review (great lowlight!)

I finally found a mini camcorder with really awesome lowlight performance. It is the Jaytech DVH24.

The light sensitivity of this quite small HD camcorder is really impressive for the tiny lens; even in normal mode in my kitchen with 15W incan bulb it can see the silver ghettoblaster at the end of the room and the wall clock above the door; my others show here a plain black area. In nightshot mode (which blurs motion only little) it turns even better with less snow. The only downside is that there is quite much snow and a strange vertical fine line pattern across dark areas of the picture, which seems to be a downscaling artifact because it disappears once digital zoom is at 50%. Also the colours are a bit pale compared with my Aipteks, and incan lightbulbs at automatic white balance and lightbulb mode look too white (select daylight mode to avoid this), but IMO this is the first solid state mini camcorder that is more than a toy because it is really useable indoors.

Not to understand me wrong; my eyes still see in the dark much better than this thing, but it is definitely a milestone compared to all the other mini camcorders I tried yet. Even when a signal is snowy, I definitely want to see it and not be fooled by embarassed camcorder makers those consider snowy pictures too "undigital" and output plain black instead. The DVH24 behaves honest and does not cheat by overzealous algorithms; you can even adjust sharpness manually. Despite well iluminated outdoor pictures may look better elsewhere, IMO the DVH24 really puts Aiptek to shame.

Video resolutions are:

[email protected] (720P)
[email protected] (D1)
[email protected] (VGA)
[email protected] (QVGA)

The DVH24 has a real HDMI port (I have no use for it) and a video lamp LED (also used as photo flash). The case is nicely compact (although still bigger than Aiptek T300LE) and it has 8x digital zoom and MP3 player. Although I don't need HD, thanks to the faster CPU it seems to blur motion less than my non-HD mini camcorders. It has a digital image stabilizer that disables the zoom lever so long you film, but you can still use the lever in between to stay zoomed in before you start filming. A motion detection mode makes it act as a monitoring camera that films only while something is moving in front of it (e.g. to film wild animals). The only small annoyance is that it can not take 50kB VGA photos (2 megapixel with >400kB is minimum), the menu is a bit awkward, automatic exposure switches through brightness in visible steps (typical for Zoran?) and it runs on the usual NP60 Li-Ion explosive charge instead of NiMH AA cells.

- hardware

Unlike Aiptek's annoyingly crippled Ambarella poop, the DVH24 is based on Zoran COACH 10P (CPU= "ZORAN ZR36482BGFC, B0 TA8AM0811K0, COACH10P"), which uses MPEG4 AVI (H.264) and is fully compatible with Windows 98SE; even the webcam mode works. The image sensor is a "Micron 5.5MP 1/2.5 inch CMOS sensor with effective 5.03 megapixel". On the CPU is a sticker "7201A8310L-A01, DOY08B041 N, DV24 0080503" and "C0080505N" which may indicate the software revision. If you want to open the case, regard that some screws are hidden under glued flimsy plastic covers at front (lamp/HDMI) and back (buttons/jacks), so you have to carefully peel them off (try a hairdryer at low heat) which is difficult without breaking the brittle acryl plastic. (When it breaks, it may look ugly but will still stick in place by the dual adhesive film on its back.) Do not attempt to tear off any of the imitation leather; there are no screws underneath. By the lack of a real photo flash (only LED) at least there is no risk of electric shock. The mainboard type is "PN:0016A8310L-D01, Rev:B3, PAL-B, E197709"; next to the lamp LED are 3 empty solder pads those look like intended for an IR remote control sensor (which exists e.g. in my Easypix DV5011).

Apparently the US version of the DVH24 is called Jazz HDV-178. A variant with same spects but case shape like Jaytech DVH22 was released as Easypix-DV-5211 HD (seen on eBay).

hint: Do not buy the non-HD predecessor Jaytech DVH22 (CPU = "Zoran COACH-8M" with sticker saying "DV23A"); despite it is technically very similar and the case a little shorter, its lowlight performance is much worse. (A close relative of the DVH22 seems to be the Easypix DV5011 (aka first version of Toshiba Camileo?, variant for AA batteries released as Medion MD85544?) which has similar menus, features and the same CPU.)
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Old Jun 4, 2010, 9:57 AM   #2
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Hi cyberyogi,

This Jaytech model is a "EU clone" of the Jazz HDV-178. Check out fishy sticky thread of the Jazz:
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/hy...er-review.html
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Old Jun 4, 2010, 11:33 AM   #3
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Either it uses a different micron sensor to the Aipteks, or it just boosts it. The plain low noise dark image has been a bit of a mistake, it is fine to have a dark image that is low noise but with detail with a 15w bulb. If you notice that the lights are too bright and burn out (including burn out the image), faint purple columns of noise across the screen, or it is boosted too much. If it is swimming in noise so there is more noise then detail, it is boosted too much (a bit too much on the noise). A Sanyo HD2000 might be better, or the newer Sony Hx5.

I was thinking about this problem with Micron sensors today. They were semi great for consumer years ago (something between it and the altasens 2/3rd sensor would have been considered great, but now we are looking at something like the alatsens was, as being great consumer). I hoped for much improvement since then, but am yet to see it. They have had a method for years to minimise the rolling shutter effect, but we seem to have cameras that don't use it, they had a method years ago that extended high dynamic range, but we seem to have cameras that have moderate range (though I can't say past the limited cameras I have seen). Over manufacturers have the low light performance, but apart from the Kodaks (which even use a heat sink (probably to keep the sensor from getting hot with thermal noise) but is it that great.

The over all picture has to improve a bit, to keep up with what the competition. I am yet to review the Hx5, but I think if you look at it you will probably see sensor performance to aim for.
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Old Jun 4, 2010, 11:35 AM   #4
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No external microphone input either... right?
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Old Jun 4, 2010, 11:37 AM   #5
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http://www.jay-tech.de/jaytech/servlet/frontend/
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Old Jun 4, 2010, 10:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Private Idaho View Post
No external microphone input either... right?
Nope, there is no microphone jack. This thing is just like a camera mobile phone minus the mobile phone. It fits into the pocket, has no moving parts (beside the mechanical macro mode switch) and was not designed for professional recording. Good lowlight is for this use much more important than for a studio broadcast camera that is intended for a perfectly illuminated environment, thus I feel hoaxed by the Aiptek stuff that can not do this, despite in a well lighted film set their colours may look better.

But in a short test IMO the DVH24 internal mic at least records my voice quite well without too much background noise or distortion.
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Old Sep 27, 2010, 6:26 AM   #7
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Hi Cyberyogi,

I just bought a used Traveler DV-5000 for 7 euros and this hybrid camera is the exact same as the Jaytech DVH24/Jazz HDV 178. It's pretty good in lowlight(for it's size) as you have described. But what I'm very unhappy about is the compression artifacts showing in video. I wish that it could use a higher bitrate. Do you know of any firmware hack of this camera like CHDK?
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 11:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adalfa View Post
Hi Cyberyogi,

I just bought a used Traveler DV-5000 for 7 euros and this hybrid camera is the exact same as the Jaytech DVH24/Jazz HDV 178. It's pretty good in lowlight(for it's size) as you have described. But what I'm very unhappy about is the compression artifacts showing in video. I wish that it could use a higher bitrate. Do you know of any firmware hack of this camera like CHDK?
I haven't examined the camera hardware/firmware further yet. Despite I got several other hybrid camcorders now, the DVH24 still has the best lowlight.

My only thing that can beat it in lowlight is a tiny silver NTSC security camera (with OmniVision sensor) connected to the AV-IN of my Aiptek DV8900. For more info see here.
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Old Sep 30, 2010, 2:45 PM   #9
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@Cyberyogi
Oh okay. I have been googling "high and low" but with no luck. I guess there aren't any hack or modded firmware for this hybridcam(yet). I hope you can look into this, if you have the time of course. It would be soo awesome to tweak the video and audio bitrate and maybe other stuff too:-)
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