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|Jul 26, 2006, 12:32 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jul 2005
Comparison of a Hybrid and a Digital Still Camera - Digilife DDV-920 vs Samsung Digimax i6
Many of us hybrid fans have been wondering how similarly-priced dsc's with mpeg4 movie modes would compare to the hybrids. I've seen the output from a few. One badly overexposed all footage taken in a bright snowy landscape. One had very crisp footage, but was jerky due to a low framerate. It also had bloated files, like most dsc's in video mode.
Rather than just post an amateur review of the Samsung i6, which should go into the Samsung forum, I thought I'd review the i6 in terms of how it stacks up against the Digilife DDV-920.
To begin with the cost, my Digilife 920 came from eBay's queenofglitter, for about $148usd. My i6 came from an on-line store for $245usd. So the i6 certainly should be better, although I paid more for my DDV-720 than for the i6. But, there are some surprises in store for anyone, who like me, assumes the fancy Samsung will easily outperform the 920.
The i6 is about half the size of the 920, and has an aluminum case rather than plastic. Since it weighs about the same, it seems very solid. Combined with the metal case and general detailing it seems like a piece of fine jewelry compared to the 920. Detracting from the overall impression of the i6 are a few loose buttons, and many exposed screws. The 920 suffers from a wobbly screen, but otherwise is not bad. Since the 920 is painted, over the long run the paint will wear off the corners etc, and look shabbier than the i6.
What appears to be a pocket clip on the i6 is just a strap loop. It does form a shape that makes the camera easier to hold onto, which it needs because it's so small. There's no problem hanging onto the 920, other than habitually having a finger in front of the flash.
I took test clips with the two cameas, of a large orange ball dropping through the frame. Comparing them:
- The avi files from the i6 were a little smaller than the files from the 920, suggesting greater compression.
- The i6's image was less contrasty than the 920, which means more detail was visible in both bright and dim areas. This seemed odd given that the 920 had the edge in dim lighting.
- The i6 seems to have better digital image stabilization. While walking with the i6 with IS turned on, it was so smooth you could not tell the photographer was walking. On the other hand, walking with the 920 while shooting video was never comletely smooth.
- Both shots have about the same field of view.
- Doing stop-motion on the playback reveals that the ball was less blurred on the 920's clip than the i6. In fact, the 920's "ball" was almost sharp, the best of the cameras I've done this test on. This suggests it should have sharper images when panning, also. Well done, Digilife!
- the i6 does not suffer from the vertical banding from highlights, so evident and so annoying on the 920's video clips. But the i6 will do this on direct sun reflections.
- In dim light indoors, video taken with the 920 looked shaper, brighter and less grainy than the i6's output. The 920 was distinctly better.
- The i6's outdoor shots are more likely to be colored correctly, and both the optical zoom and macro modes offer wider video possibilities.
The i6 has a 2-zone control for AE metering, which the 920 lacks.
The 920 suffers from recording a loud "click" at the end of every video clip, something I haven't encountered on any other hybrid.
Although the i6 has a 6Mp CCD sensor, I took test shots at 5Mp with it so they could be compared directly to the 920's 5Mp CCD sensor.
I zoomed into both shots, and found that the detailing was about the same. The i6 could be manually set to a scene mode for landscape. The i6 allows you, if you can find it, to set red, green and blue colors individually, like a graphic equalizer for color. This allows you to "fix" any problems like yellow shift.
Another problem I've had with the hybrids is that under certain and common conditions, the center area of the shot is exposed more than the rest. This most obviously shows up as a bright roundish area in the sky, centered in the shot, that looks totally washed out. Or the corners are underexposed. I was hoping the i6 would not suffer from this.
Another early landscape shot, taken toward the sun, shows the usual overexposed sky in the center of the 920's shot. Other than that, the image is pretty good, with vivid colors, and a small cloud highlighted in the sky. The i6's shot shows a bit less contrast. There is no oval-overexposed sky except in shots taken if fog. With the i6 set up properly, stills looks very nice. Very nice indeed.
Looking at the file information, the 920's was 3856x2892 and 2.16Mb, while the i6's equivalent shot was 2592x1944 and 2.55Mb. No doubt the 920's larger file was due to the interpolation.
I took identical shots with the i6 in 5Mp and 6Mp modes, and opened them for comparison without knowing which was which. After blowing them up and examining them, I made my choice which must be the 6Mp shot. This was difficult, as they were very similar. Turned out I chose the wrong one. So don't get too carried away with having a 6Mp mode in addition to or instead of a 5Mp. Maybe I should have used a tripod to do this test properly.
The i6's optical zoom obtained wonderfully detailed and crisp images of distant subject matter.
The i6's macro and super macro, combined with the autofocus, can get you amazing shots of all sorts of miniscule things. This is a whole new world unavailable to the Digilife cameras.
Both the 920 and i6 have a multisnap mode. The i6 keeps taking photos as long as you hold the shutter.
Both cameras can do a 2-in-1 composite, but the i6 can also do 3- and 4-in-1.
Video - In Mode
Simple here, the 920 has this, and the i6 does not.
Startup Time, Time to Switch Modes
The i6 is ready for use less than 2 seconds after you press the power button. The 920 conveniently powers up when you open the screen, but takes at least 6 seconds to be ready for use. When there's something happening you suddenly want to film, these delays are excruciating and result in a lot of missed shots. Just opening the screen is more fiddly and takes more time than starting up the i6.
The i6 seems to take longer to process and store stills than the 920, but this may increase as you add "modes" to the i6. The i6 can change basic modes, such as going from stills to videos to mp3 by pressing a button, rather than going back to a menu system. Of course, the 920 has instant changing between stills and video.
Both cameras have 2.5" screens, exactly the same size. Both have nice colors, and are sharp. The i6 may be just a bit crisper. The i6's icons are much more comprehensive, and can be turned off, or only a few of them can be displayed. The i6's icons have a professional appearance, and are various colors.
In bright sunlight, both screens seem equally washed out, and both seem viewable from about the same range of angles. The i6's screen has a dim and a bright mode, but the bright mode isn't any more readable in bright light than the 920.
Neither seems to suffer noticably from lag while panning, until you turn image stabilization on. Then they both have some lag.
Both cameras have a remaining memory/ recording time display.
Obviously the 920's screen pivots and rotates, while the i6's is fixed. This is a big plus for the 920, allowing you to monitor the screen when holding the camera in all sorts of postures, plus protecting the screen when it's closed. I'm quite worried about the ruggedness of the i6's large and exposed screen. Indeed, the screen is so large relative to the camera that it's impossible to keep your fingers off the screen.
First thing to mention is that the i6 has an integrated and "intelligent" lens cover that opens and closes depending on whether the camera is powered on, or what mode it's in. For instance, go into mp3 mode, and it closes. Nice.
The i6 has a 3x optical zoom, but the lens does not extend out of the camera body. This is nice to have since jammed telephoto lenses is a leading cause of dsc deaths. As we know, the 920 has no optical zoom. Or lens cover. Both cameras have (fortunately) limited digital zooms.
I was expecting the i6 to have a larger lens, with all the good things that go along with larger lenses. The 920 has a tiny lens, which I believe is the cause of the extra exposure of the center of shots. If you operate the i6's optical zoom while looking into the lens, you can see the elements moving, and the lens ends up looking several times larger than the 920's. But you can't tell, because of the optics.
The i6 has autofocus. This is so nice to have, it's not funny. Taking portrait and closeup shots with the 920 and its predecessors was a guessing game that usually resulted in blurry shots. Even worse, the 920's exposed and freely-rotating focus adjustment meant that I spoiled many, many important shots because the darn camera went into the wrong setting as I took it out of its case. This is something I really dislike about the 920, and I'm going to have to put a piece of tape on it, or remember to check the focus before every shot.
Unfortunately the i6 also defaults to macro mode in some settings if you have been shooting macros. I still haven't figured out when it will and will not do this.
The i6 is my first camera with autofocus, and now I can see how easily people whose cameras have this feature get all those neat sharp closeups. A no-brainer with autofocus. Autofocus means there's no need for a focus setting indicator, as the 920 has for closeups, but not distant or portrait mode. The i6 sports a bar graph to depict both optical and digital zoom.
The i6 has a macro mode that goes down to about 1cm, while the 920 bottoms out at about 20cm. Combined with the i6's optical zoom, this is more macro mode than I expect to use.
The i6's optical zoom is pretty rapid, and there's no way to adjust how fast it goes. In video mode, it cuts out the microphone while zooming, but will optical zoom while filming. The speed of the zoom means you don't want to do this anyway. You can go beyond the optical into the 5x digital zoom for stills only. As mentioned above, there is a bar graph that displays the amount of zoom.
While the 920 has no control over the AE metering the i6 has a spot zone and a mode that averages the whole sensor.
Screen Icon Shutoff
Both cameras allow you to turn off the screen icons during playback or filming. The i6 can be set for some, or all the icons, but this setting is clumsy to access.
To start I should say the i6 has so many controls and settings I can't possibly list them all here. I'll tend to mention the ones that compare to the 920, and that matter to me.
The i6's power button starts the camera immediately on being pressed, and is recessed so it doesn't get turned on accidentally.
The i6 has very tiny buttons. Much too small, but I understand this is a prestige aspect in the Orient.
I find the i6 far less intuitive to operate than the 920. Part of it is that there are 10 times more things you can adjust and set on it, but partly it's just less apparent how to do simple things. Like start the mp3 or take a video clip. You can set the default mode to stills or video, while the 920 has both available all the time. It seems that anything you can do with the i6's buttons, you can also do using the menus. I'm not sure if this reduces or increases the confusion. Expect to carry the i6's manual with you for a while.
Both have auto-shutoff with selectable intervals.
When video clips complete, both go back to the start of the videos. I prefer they stop at the end, which allows a smoother transition if you're looking at a series of clips.
Both have fast forward/reverse during video playback, but the i6 does it more smoothly and is easier to control.
The i6 pretty well forces you to operate it with your right hand, although it is very well laid out for one-hand usage. The 920 is better in this regard as it works equally well in the left hand.
The i6 has about a dozen preset scene modes for various situations, such as "fireworks", "landscape" and "children". Perhaps the latter makes them keep quiet for a while.
Annoyingly, the i6 automatically activates the anti-redeye whenever you switch to stills in one of the modes.
Neither camera has a histogram, which isn't surprising on the 920, but is a surprising omission on the i6.
Most of the flash features are the same. Same limited range, no mode for videos. But the i6 has a redeye correction system that even has a mode to correct stills automatically as they are stored. The 920 has no redeye system at all.
The i6 also has a mode to enhance colors and detail in stills taken in dim light, so the flash needs to be used only in the darkest settings. The i6 also adjusts flash intensity to the requirements of individual shots.
Both have the same date/time functions, which can be recorded on images, or not.
Battery / Life
Both cameras charge their batteries inside the camera. While the 920 uses a very common NP-60, the i6 uses a much less common SLB-0837. While the 920 uses a common-size USB port for charging, the i6 has one very unusual port, used for both battery charging and connecting to the computer.
I have to note that the aftermarket battery I bought for the i6 from eBay is a different size from the oem battery, and barely fits in the camera.
Intitial impression is that the i6 has twice the battery life of the 920 for image modes. More impressively, the i6's mp3 player is good for 4hr on a charge. This contrasts with the best the 920 can do, which is about 90 minutes. This makes a big difference when you want to listen to some music, but can't afford to waste battery power. Probably it means the i6 is using only minimal portions of the cpu in mp3 mode, while the 920 is running full blast. The 920 heats up noticably more than the i6 during continuous use, and that heat comes from draining the battery.
While the 920's battery is free to fall out when you open the battery door, the i6 has a retainer tab for the battery. This also means the i6 can be opened without shutting it off. However, the i6's manual warns against changing the memory card while powered on.
An advantage the 920 has is that when connected to a computer's usb port, it gets power from the computer. The i6, on the other hand, is running on its battery when connected.
Secure Digial Memory / Memory Use
While the i6 has 45Mb of available internal memory, the 920 has only 8. Gotta save money somewhere. Both cameras are specified for 1Gb sd cards, while 2Gb cards may or may not work.
Both take videos in mpeg4 avi. I was pleased to see the i6 played video clips taken in the 920 without doing anything. No need to rename the files, or the folders, or convert them.
I was even more impressed to find that when I popped the memory card from the i6 into the 920, the 920 played the i6's video clips with no problem. Not only that, but it mixed the stills and videos, since the i6 puts them in the same folder, and is something the 920 can't do with its own stills and videos, which go into separate folders. I would guess, however, that in this mode, the 920 displays the stills in 640x480.
The i6's manual warns that you will get an error condition if you use a memory card that has been used in another camera and not formatted. I've only occasionally had a problem with the i6 hanging while loading videos from the 920.
The i6 has an impressive mp3 function. Like the 920, it lacks tone controls, but the i6 has most everything else. It displays artist and track names, song duration, elapsed time, and even has a bar graph for elapsed time. "Wait, that's not all." It also displays the type of track, and the bitrate. The track can be selected from a playlist in PMP or mp3 modes.
The sound with either the earphones or the speaker is better than the 920, and the earphones can be cranked up louder than I was willing to test. The bass is impressive. I can't tell how good the higher notes are, because I can't hear them. The i6 also has a random playback function, missing from the 920. After a few seconds playing, the i6's screen shuts off, which is partly a shame because it's fun to watch the graphics.
As I mentioned before, the i6 can play music during slide show replay of stills. You can take stills while the mp3 player is running, and it has a resume feature so that you can come back to your place in the music list where you left off. Even after powering the camera on and off. The 920 has none of these things. Neither camera allows skip ahead or back within songs, as the Aiptek DDV4500 does.
The 920's screen can be shut off during mp3 use by closing it, but it still has two very bright led's. This would waste power compared to the i6's single slowly blinking led. Those who like the glitzy lights on the DDV-810/V1, will be sorely disappointed by the i6's complete lack of a light show.
You can delete individual songs or all the mp3's from the i6, which is something I really dislike about the 920, on which you can't delete mp3's without formatting the card or using a computer.
The i6's earphones came with durable and comfy foam pads. Both use the standard mini-din plug for the earphones, which is stronger than the micro-din used by some of these cameras.
The i6's earphones plug into what becomes the top of camera when it's in a case, and so is a better arrangement than the plug sticking out the side of the 920. In the case, the i6's volume control is much easier to access, being right beside the jack.
When using the speakers, you can pretty well silence the i6 by covering the speaker, while the 920 seems to emit sound from all over.
Some reviews of the i6 suggest mp3 tracks have to be put through the Digimax Converter software before they can be replayed in the i6. This is simply untrue. "Run what 'ya brung"
Voice Memo / Audio Recording / Speaker / Microphone
The microphones are about equally sensitive. The i6 captures higher frequencies better, while the 920 seems to prefer lower frequencies. With the microphone on the front, rather than the top, hopefully the i6 will suffer less from wind noise.
Recording loud drum music indoors revealed that the i6's microphone overloaded and sounded tinny and badly distorted. The 920, on the other hand, coped with the noise level very well and recorded the sound properly.
The 920 has one, the i6 does not. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, it seems like such a great feature, but on the other hand I almost never used it.
While the 920 has a (plastic) tripod socket, the much smaller i6 does not. It did, however, come with a plastic "clamp" that holds the camera and has a tripod socket on it.
While the materials that come with the 920 seem almost ashamed to mention who made the camera, of course Samsung is not shy about making the i6. This is what you expect from a first-tier manufacturer, and something the second-tier makers have to get on the ball about.
Both come with the usual photo and video management and editing software. Except with the i6, these are handled in one application.
For some reason, the i6 comes with text recognition software. This allows you to put the camera into text mode, take photos of text, and the software will convert it into, presumably, something like ascii/WordPad format. Does anyone actually do this, I wonder?
The i6 also comes with a conversion program that is supposed to make any file that will play in Windows Media Viewer, play on the i6. The MPVR comes with something like this, but the 920 does not, and getting external pmp stuff to play on it is hoplessly painful.
Processing an avi file through Digimax Converter takes about twice as long as the running time for the movie, at least on my pc. Lo and behold, stored as per the instructions, it replays on the i6. This is only the second time in over two years, with six different cameras, I've been able to do this. And the other time, the final conversion took 14 hours. Better yet, although the output file seems to have the same quality as the avi source file, it is less than one fifth the size.
It remains to be seen what else can be done with the conversion software. So far I was unable to get the output file to play on the 920. I gather it's in a format the 920 doesn't recognize.
One thing I ran into was that after installing the i6's software, when I playback older videos in Windows Media Player, there are boxes of corrupt pixels popping up around the display. My only theory is that it replaced the XviD codec with DivX. Or something like that.
This is one of the most notable differences. While the Digilife et al cameras promised full PMP functionality, the reality fell far short. I wasted a good part of my life trying to get movies made of clips taken on the cameras, and processed with software bundled with the cameras, to replay in the cameras. This was basically a failure, although eventually I determined a method that worked, it was too cumbersome to use. My solution was to burn the movies to DVD in the computer, and play these on tv with a dvd player.
Along comes the i6. As long as you run anything through the Digimax Comverter software, it will replay in the i6.
The i6 will playback stills and videos in the order they were shot, while the 920 separates the two and requires going back to the menus to switch between stills and videos. I much prefer the i6 approach. The i6 also has a slide show playback function. The i6's slide show function is adjustable for duration of each slide, and you can play music during the slide show. The i6 also allows you to resume playback where you left off, which is great to be able to do. To take a picture with the 920 while listening to music, and go back to the track you were listening to, is a laborious process.
More i6 Features
At the start I mentioned the i6 has tons of features not present on the 920. It's like the feature wonks ran amok. Here's most, but not all of them:
Pause/resume during video recording or microphone mode (but causes a "click" on the soundtrack
Can trim off the beginnings and/or ends of video clips, in camera
Mute during video
Voice memo on stills
If I read the manual correctly, the self-timer can be used to start a video clip, as opposed to just a still shot as on the 920.
Optional manual shutter speed and aperture control
Can use multi metering
Can capture 640x480 still images from a video clip during playback
Can power on the camera in different modes by using buttons other than the on/off button. This may be a liability due to increased probability the camera will be powered on by accident.
Can select a portion of a still image and save it as a new file
Can do red-eye correction on stills while viewing the images
Still images can be resized to lower resolution
Still images can be flipped or rotated for display
Slide show has 6 selectable transition styles
Can copy files from the camera's internal memory to an inserted memory card. It will even renumber them to avoid clobbering existing files if needed.
Amazingly, you can set the camera so that the sequential naming of files continues despite replacing or formatting the memory card. So you can combine sets of images without running into duplicate file names. This has been a nuisance for me with all my hybrids.
There's a bunch of PictBridge and DPOF stuff.
Can save a resume point in a pmp playback, plus it has a frame search function
My first hybrid was an Aiptek DDV4500. It had quite a few features I still can't get on Digilife/Aiptek type hybrids. I keep hoping the next one I buy has them, and have been disappointed every time. Well, the i6 has practically everything I've wanted, plus plenty of stuff I'll never use.
I think the i6 is better value than the 920, despite giving up the movable screen, video-in, and the remote control. The i6 is a classy and very versatile gadget. Samsung went to the trouble of identifying what you'd want to do with a camera like this, and made it work. It must have a very powerful cpu compared to the 920. The 920 seems like it came from more of a "good enough" approach.
Here's what I wrote about the Digilife DDV-810:
"The large number of dumb aspects of the V1/810 makes you wonder what's up with the people who design these cameras. Don't they actually use them? Still, the V1 comes out better overall than the 720. A camera that does so many things, as well as it does, for what I paid, is excellent value."
Well, it looks like Samsung's engineers actually use these cameras. What I don't get is why they don't put the i6's features into a Miniket model. It is more capable overall than the Minikets, yet costs less. I guess they figure more people will buy it as a dsc than a video camera.
I was happy to see the 920 and i6 are so comfortable with each other's output. This is impressive given their very different origins, and given that some hybrids from the same manufacturer are less compatible with each other. It's important to me because I expect to be using both for a while.
I'm surprised the 920 is clearly superior for indoor video and recording loud sound.
Looking to the future. You still can't buy a Digilife with optical zoom. The DDV-520, delayed for months and posted as being out in May, still is not for sale. It will be a monster compared to the i6, and will be similarly priced. Meanwhile, Aiptek is coming out with models with optical zoom, and led lights for videos. For their part, Samsung has announced three pmp cameras that supercede the i6. They have superior lens systems, and one has stereo speakers.
I don't know who is going to buy these cameras. North Americans are pretty uptight about photography, and will not buy cameras that include mp3 players, no matter how good the cameras are. The kids who might even like having the mp3 player probably won't be spending this much on a camera.
|Jul 26, 2006, 12:47 PM||#2|
Join Date: Jul 2006
Good review there. The LED lights on the first readily available Aiptek model have so far proven next to useless though.
I think the problem with 'Jack of all trades' devices is that many people will assume, and probably quite rightly, that these extra features will often be at the expense of something else. ie instead of a camera having great image quality it will merely be mediocre to good since they allocated some of the resources to the mp3 function etc. or in the case of the lower tier manufacturers like Aiptek, you will get the mp3 player but it will have minimum functionality to get by. Of course it could be argued that this may be all most users need anyway.
At the end of the day, they have a certain budget allocated to them, so you can't expect a camera that is as good as one without all the extra features.
Of course to a large part, the additional functionality is mainly in the firmware since most cameras (although not the cheapest ones) already have most of the hardware required for a multifunction device anyway ie a screen, a microphone and a speaker. You just need a stereo headphone jack and that's your mp3 player with appropriate software of course.
|Jul 27, 2006, 12:27 AM||#3|
Join Date: Jul 2005
That certainly sheds some light on this issue. So the mp3 function has to add the software to run mp3, plus stereo capability for the earphones. Since the mp3 function is either embedded in the cameraonachip, or just a presumably tiny and inexpensive chip, then we're talking about minimal cost. Maybe a dollar? Most of the "cost" would be in memory to support mp3, which we users provide in the form of memory cards.
(I wonder how much of the cost of these cameras goes to royalties, such as for the operating system, DivX, etc.)
This means the cost to provide mp3 on a camera with video playback capability is insignificant. The camera is as capable as one costing a dollar less, without the mp3. Someone tell me if they can tell the difference in images from two cameras that cost a dollar different from each other. Or ten dollars.
At the same time, it starts to look really funny that many people who steer clear of digital cameras with mp3 modes, will then buy and carry an mp3 player. With all the attendant storage, battery, paraphernalia issues. Not to mention the cost. Mp3 players cost more than a dollar!
Maybe they're under the impression an mp3 player is a big deal to integrate into a camera. Like, perhaps 1/4 of the hardware and cost is for the mp3 function. Well, that's a pretty fundamental misapphrehension for people who supposedly are camera experts.
And even if the mp3 function really did require compromise in the other features, so what? So the camera is equivalent to another one costing a little less. I don't care, I wanted an integrated mp3 player.
Every camera is a balance of capabilities and cost. You want an optical zoom, it costs battery life and compromises elsewhere. You want a great lens, something else has to give. I want an mp3 player, I either expect to pay more for the camera to get the same performance, or give up a little else. Same with the movie mode, which people accept, but don't use.
Even more remarkably, the same people do not apply this reasoning to cell phones, or pda's (or their cars), where they boast of as many features as possible, including mp3! There is a word for their behaviour: irrational.
This is why I think it goes back to camera snobbery. Who wants to be seen with a serious camera that isn't silver or black, even though one colored like a child's toy could do just as good a job. The quality of the images is all that matters, isn't it? Isn't it? Oh, I wouldn't want to be seen with a bright green and yellow camera, even if it cost $3000. Which leads to the question: "How much of photography is a public performance, a display of status and smarts, rather than for recording images?"
So I'm doubly pleased to see from the popularity of this forum on its first anniversary, how much enjoyment hybrid owners are getting from our disdainful, cheap and childish cameras.
Ahh, that was a good rant.
|Aug 28, 2006, 3:20 PM||#4|
Join Date: Jul 2005
Over the last three weeks I took about 700 stills and video clips while travelling with the i6. This extended use proved it to be a very satisfactory camera. In fact, I've owned about 12 cameras, including 5 hybrids, and this is the one I like the most. The capabilities to take super detailed macros and time exposures up to 16 seconds were impressive. I even took a shot of the stars.
It was very easy to get the camera out of the case, prepare it, use it, and put it away with just one hand. The lack of a folding screen has the advantage of not needing two hands to open it, plus the delay. However, some shots were very awkward to take because there is no folding screen. The fast startup time was very nice, as was the small size. I ruined a few stills due to the camera remaining in macro mode after repowering it, but absolutely nothing like the volumes of shots I wasted with Digilife and Aiptek cameras left on the wrong focus setting.
The image stabilization does a better job than the IS on the Digilife cameras, but similarly sometimes interferes with deliberate panning.
The complex and non-intuitive menu/control systems continued to be an issue, with times I'd shut it off and turn it on again just to get back to the default configuration. Many of the more "pro" controls are useless on a longer trip with no way to recharge the battery, since you just can't afford the battery time to configure all sorts of detailed settings while the battery life is ticking down in the meantime.
I took the Digilife DDV-920 along as a backup, used it when I exhausted the i6's batteries, and also took advantage of its better dim-light video performance and remote control to video a live indoor presentation.
|Aug 28, 2006, 8:23 PM||#5|
Join Date: Nov 2005
>Another problem I've had with the hybrids is that under certain and common conditions, the center area of the shot is exposed more than the rest. This most obviously shows up as a bright roundish area in the sky, centered in the shot, that looks totally washed out. Or the corners are underexposed. I was hoping the i6 would not suffer from this.
That is because short focal length lenses have light fall off near the edges. These are really short focal length lenses, the real focal lengths are something like 5mm. This is just a matter of geometry, if you draw a picture of a lens and some "film" the edges of the "film" /sensor are farther from the lens. In mainstream digital cameras, a correction mask is usually applied to the raw data from the sensor to adjust the edge brightness on wide angle shots; the camera does this automatically and the user does not know that it is happening. The 920 must not do this or does a bad job of it.
|Aug 29, 2006, 12:49 AM||#6|
Join Date: Jul 2005
That makes complete sense and thanks for explaining it. All the hybrids I've owned have had this problem. It tends to show up only in shots with lots of sky in them, but actually is present in all of them.
I think it's because they're using lens/sensor combinations developed for spycams, where it doesn't matter.
The i6 has just a bit of this, and is only really noticable in sunset shots.
|Aug 29, 2006, 3:12 PM||#7|
Join Date: Nov 2005
In the "old days" of film cameras wide angle lenses (like 28mm and shorter) always showed some light fall off at the edges, and they sold radial filters to compensate for this; if anyone cared. The situation is worse with the typical 5mm lens used in tiny digital cameras. They are supposed to compensate in still cameras for this, most "spy cameras" or real time video cameras don't have time to compensate digitally. It is usually not a problem at the zoom end of the lens.
|Sep 1, 2006, 1:39 AM||#8|
Join Date: Jul 2005
I've updated the review on a number of details including:
- emphasizing the amazing capabilities of the i6's macro and super macro modes
- stating that the 920 takes much better video in dim conditions, and records loud sounds far better
- mentioning that the i6 can be readied for use faster because the screen doesn't have to be opened.
I removed the comments about the initial lousy shots from the i6 resulting from it being configured improperly.
|Sep 2, 2006, 9:11 PM||#9|
Join Date: Jul 2006
Great stuff, the i6 review...
I was thinking of buying it but finally gave up when somestore employee explained that i6 doesn't have the video-stream function that the i5 I thinkhad (that allows youto use it as a webcam)...
I'm not 100% sure he was right about that(even thoughI did sawthat the i6 user'smanual doesn't mention the webcam function at all), were you able to make the i6 behave as a regular webcam when connected to a PC? Doesn't even has to as a default factory envisioned feature, but maybe using some sly trick?!? Somehow, anyhow?! :?
|Sep 3, 2006, 2:07 AM||#10|
Join Date: Jul 2005
Out of interest, I tried to use the i6 as a webcam. The first roadblock is that after connecting the port to a usb port one the computer, and powering up the camera, the lense cover does not open. After the computer recognized the camera, it only did so as a directory. Windows Messenger did not find it, as I've done with an older hybrid. Lastly, even if all this worked out, the i6 uses its battery for power while connected to a computer, so you'd use a lot of battery power.
I never used the webcam feature with any of my hybrids, but I can always use the DDV-920 if I need to do this.
Another "feature" I stumbled across yesterday, is that, oddly, the i6's video mode image stabilization won't work unless you have a memory card inserted. The IS won't work while using the internal memory. Strange. No reason for that to be so.
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