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Old Apr 1, 2011, 4:17 PM   #11
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Unfortunately, we don't have Fry's in the Northeast. I wish we did... they have such an awesome selection of stuff. I any case, I want it to be small enough that my wife won't yell at me for having to lug a camera bag. Once the baby is born, I am sure they'll be plenty of other things to carry. Btw.... how are the stills on these cameras? Are they comparable to a sub-$200 nikon or canon point and shoot??? It would be great if I could use this instead of a separate camera on the go. I am always suspicious of claims that an inexpensive HD camcorder is really shooting 14 megapixel images---you don't even see that on high end cameras (my canon shoots 3 megapixal stills). I am betting there's interpolation used to get those numbers.
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Old Apr 1, 2011, 4:33 PM   #12
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Compared to most here I am a novice when it comes to video -
however FWIW I have been an audio enthusiast for years and do a lot of still photography.

I personally think the Kodak Playsport Zx3 actually can record pretty reasonable/good sound - it is only Mono - but more than adequate/acceptable, and it is not as poor as some would make out.

During my photo gigs at live music, when I have time I do shoot mostly single song length.

While at a very dark jazz club I shot this clip (trumpeter on wah-wah - Miles Davis style) - I only have slow broadband internet connection so I apologize for the very short duration (22sec), and I also reduced it to 360p (with proportional reduction in bitrate) - but really this is more about the sound quality - original was 720p/30fps - conversion on audio was from AAC 128k 48khz to 128k MP3 44.1khz - so hopefully no loss in audio quality -
I am actually quite impressed that the Zx3 manage to capture this video at all - I have to shoot at ISO5000 at this venue and often light level in parts are actually below both the Auto Focus and metering limit of my dSLR.

anyway without further comments:
That's not half-bad... definitely usable audio and video. The gain on the sound seems pretty good--even if the sound quality is a bit on the tinny side. I am sure it sounded even better before compression. I have owned a slew of camcorders over the years. I spent over $1,100 on my canon. Even with the canon, I wouldn't say that the internal mic is anything to write home about. It's fine and does the job--but no one is going to confuse my videos with a Hollywood soundtrack. I do use an external from time to time, but that really adds bulk. For a pocket cam, I am not looking for a miracle when it comes to audio (or video for that matter). Of all the sub-$200 cameras out there, I just want to buy the best one out there.
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Old Apr 1, 2011, 5:12 PM   #13
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There are no bests. so rather searching to Earths End you'll byte that bullet soon.


Digital still cams for example cam be grabbed with 14 meg, 10x optical, and many features, vs some companies cam that is INTERPOLATED to 5 mb and 4x digital zoom with HD1080P.

oh did I mention HD1080I 60 fps on the above.

and compact.
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Light on the Object video made. No light No Video
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Old Apr 1, 2011, 5:52 PM   #14
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That's not half-bad... definitely usable audio and video. The gain on the sound seems pretty good--even if the sound quality is a bit on the tinny side. I am sure it sounded even better before compression.
Thanks for the encouragement.

Yes, PhotoBucket compressed the audio to 64k (just noted it's vbr) - half the bitrate of my converted video (128k cbr), and the sampling was to 22.5khz - which again is half that of my saved video - it is obviously not Hi-Fi -

Still that should not have resulted in "tinny" sound -
(and remember the trumpet tone has that brassy edge through the wah-wah)
that is so dependent on the characteristics of the listening speakers -
I have pretty good PC speakers since I spend a lot of time on my PC processing photos while listening to music -
I have also burnt the videos to DVD to watch on my TV and listen via my main audio system - and did not detect tininess -
if it is tinny (and therefore my hearing is suspect) - then it is more likely the characteristic of the microphone - rather than the compression.

I've extracted the audio from that 22sec clip to vbr MP3 - Download or listen via SoundClick

Anyway to give context to the video's lighting level -

ISO5000, f/3.5, 1/25 @ 18mm
this is a little under 1 foot-candle - approx night street lighting level -
however - if one looks at those top left windows - that is actually night street lighting......
so it was dark.

Last edited by UnknownVT; Apr 1, 2011 at 6:39 PM.
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Old Apr 1, 2011, 6:36 PM   #15
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Thanks for the encouragement.

Yes, PhotoBucket compressed the audio to 64k - half the bitrate of my converted video, and the sampling was to 22.5khz - which again is half that of my saved video - it is obviously not Hi-Fi -

Still that should not have resulted in "tinny" sound -
(and remember the trumpet tone has that brassy edge through the wah-wah)
that is so dependent on the characteristics of the listening speakers -
I have pretty good PC speakers since I spend a lot of time on my PC processing photos while listening to music -
I have also burnt the videos to DVD to watch on my TV and listen via my main audio system - and did not detect tininess -
if it is tinny (and therefore my hearing is suspect) - then it is more likely the characteristic of the microphone - rather than the compression.
I am listening on a cheap altec lansing soundbar attached to my office desktop--which isn't really that bad, but could account for the tininess as well. When I do a/v editing at home, I prefer to use my Sony MDR-V6 cans as a reference, which allows me to consistently tweak the audio without having to worry about the room acoustics etc. When I really had the time to mess around with this stuff, I had (still have) a Roland portable two track recorder that did a great job and would work great for you. It wasn't that expensive either... maybe $400??? You can get a better one today, for less (the Roland R-05 comes to mind). If you really want some great sounding audio track or want to make a demo, etc, you might want to look into one of these babies. If I really wanted to get fancy I figured out how to split the tracks and mix a 5.1 DD track with hd video. I played it on a first gen BD player on my main system and it sounded fantastic. Unfortunately, it took so much time to mix the audio, I really only used it once or twice. Times have really changed.... I traveled through europe for 2.5 weeks this summer and shot 45 hours of video. I haven't even given serious thought to editing it yet... lol.... god, I have gotten lazy. I will be happy to sit down sometime soon and spend a weekend cut out the crap and running a standard roxio macro on top of it.
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Old Apr 1, 2011, 6:50 PM   #16
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When I do a/v editing at home, I prefer to use my Sony MDR-V6 cans as a reference,
Snap! I have a pair of those near legendary headphones that I use as a benchmark -
alas the earpads have more or less disintegrated -
I now need to get those Beyerdynamics velour replacement earpads......

Since you seem pretty serious about audio characteristics -
I take it you understood the nuances I was trying to convey.

Anyway we know it ain't Hi-Fi -
but it is pretty presentable
and adequate for recording music clips.

For better sound one really needs to use external mics -
the Kodak Zi8 is a good example -
then the sound quality is really dependent on the mics used -
there is the oft recommended Sony ECM-DS70P -
which is OK -
but too many end up buying them for $5 off eBay - obviously fakes -
and those will probably give a tinny sound........

Last edited by UnknownVT; Apr 1, 2011 at 7:08 PM.
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Old Apr 1, 2011, 7:32 PM   #17
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Snap! I have a pair of those near legendary headphones that I use as a benchmark -
alas the earpads have more or less disintegrated -
I now need to get those Beyerdynamics velour replacement earpads......

Since you seem pretty serious about audio characteristics -
I take it you understood the nuances I was trying to convey.

Anyway we know it ain't Hi-Fi -
but it is pretty presentable
and adequate for recording music clips.

For better sound one really needs to use external mics -
the Kodak Zi8 is a good example -
then the sound quality is really dependent on the mics used -
there is the oft recommended Sony ECM-DS70P -
which is OK -
but too many end up buying them for $5 off eBay - obviously fakes -
and those will probably give a tinny sound........
I like the BD velour pads way more than the stock ones on the Sony. I have burned through probably a dozen of those pads! I am actually on my second set of V6's.... got the first set in 1992... they were stolen in 1995... and I have had the second pair of V6's since 1995!!!! I actually heard rumors that Sony was going to discontinue the V6's a couple of years ago, so I bought a third pair.. which is still in an unopened box (ya know, just in case). Anyway, I am pretty passionate about my Sony's....

My uncle has a Zi8 and has had it for a while, but I haven't played with it yet. He got an iPhone 4 and that was pretty much the end of the Zi8--since the iPhone 4's video is pretty darn good. I think I am leaning towards the sanyo because the professional reviews really like the CG's line's still and video quality. At least that saves me from having to carry two cameras. The test footage on the CG102 and GH2 sounded decent on youtube... definitely camcorderish---but not offensive---voices were clear (not necessarily crip)--but "good enough"--which is all I am shooting for. I thought the sound quality on some of these cameras was absolutely awful--particularly the samsung the playsport zx3 (the 5 was marginally better) (i know that's a popular one, but it really sounded lousy to me).
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Old Apr 2, 2011, 3:12 AM   #18
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I thought the sound quality on some of these cameras was absolutely awful--particularly the samsung the playsport zx3 (the 5 was marginally better) (i know that's a popular one, but it really sounded lousy to me).
Hmmm... what can I say?
My single sample of the Kodak Playsport Zx3 seems to record more than acceptable/adequate sound, as evidenced by that very short music clip.

I fully realize it is not hi-fi
(however I wonder which, if any, camcorder can actually record with its built-in mics to any hi-fi standard?)
We are after all only talking about a $100 pocket camcorder -
but even so, don't think at any time have I thought it was awful.

I wonder if the firmware version makes any difference?
I have v.1.12 (the latest)
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Old Apr 4, 2011, 4:34 PM   #19
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FWIW - the Kodak Zi8 is once again back at a real bargain price brand new shipped at Office Max OnLine only price of $70......

http://www.officemax.com/catalog/sku...Id=prod2940305

I have a Kodak Zi8 and again use it mainly for recording music clips -
here's a very short (20 sec) clip which I had to reduce to 640x360 because I only have slow broadband -
but hopefully it is enough to show that the sound quality is more than acceptable -
it is using the built-in Mono mic - it is not hi-fi - but more than adequate (to me)

The Kodak Zi8 actually has a stereo mic input jack so the sound can be as good as the external mics used.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v7...oSwing360p.mp4


Last edited by UnknownVT; Apr 4, 2011 at 5:03 PM.
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