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Old Aug 28, 2004, 9:10 AM   #1
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Ok, I give up on the Coolpix 3700 audio lag problem. I can't get rid of it with ANY of these SD cards:
- Sandisk standard (16MB and 256MB)
- Sandisk Ultra II (9MB/s? write, 256MB)
- Panasonic Super High Speed (10MB/s write, 256MB)

My findings are (evaluated on camera and PC downloads):
- ALL cards exhibit a constant audio lag at 640/30fps.
- ALL cards exhibit a constant audio lag at 320/15fps.
- The lag seems to be about the same for ALL cards/modes.
- The lag is noticeable, for me unacceptable.
- The lag has been variously quantified by others as about 9 frames and 266 milliseconds.
- The lag occurs with even short 3 second clips.
- The lag occurs without using pause during recording.
- The lag occurs with version 1.2 firmware.

I suspect the whole 10MB/s card thing is a furphy. The 3700 manual mentions it not in relation to audio lag, rather drop out (buffer overrun?), page 43:

"To prevent TV movie 640* from ending unexpectedly, use card rated for 10MB/s or more".

Incidently, I recorded an entire 256MB standard Sandisk card at "TV movie 640*" without drop out.

Disappointingly, I have received no useful information or support from Nikon's Australian agent or camera retailers when enquiring about this problem.

All the same, I recently had a great family night out at an amusement park and the 3700 was a dream for snapping and shooting the lights and fun, tucked conveniently in a belt pouch.

Whether or not it's a deal breaker depends - you can resync in an editor, or just live with it. Pity too, it's a decent camera despite this; a sweet little unit. For me the TV video mode is a major selling point and justification for it being one of the most expensive 3 megapixel/3x optical auto-only ultracompacts on the market.

Mark

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Old Aug 29, 2004, 1:24 AM   #2
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I would agree. Personally I think it is something that can be fixed by Nikon through firmware, the problem is they refuse to accept there is a problem or are at least blaming something else for it. I doubt they even tested it.

Funny that you mention the amusement park. Thats the very thing I thought about before, that would be perfect for a camera this size.

I currently have the Canon S1 after returning my Nikon 3700. But am still debating if I prefer the Nikon. It has just as good video quality as the Canon does... although the Canon I think has a little better sound/microphone.


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Old Aug 29, 2004, 10:05 AM   #3
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The Canon S1has the feature setI'd like- but pocket portability overrules.

Reresyncing the 3700 audio, someone somewhere has posted:

"Beware that the video move has an audio/video out of sync[/b] issue. However,
this can be solved in virtualdub by shifting the sound 267 ms forward. The
quality is near perfect!"


I tried running VirtualDub on a 3700 .mov quicktime file, but it did not recognise qt files. Then I found myself in the murky waters of mov/avi conversion, and decided it was bedtime.

Some interesting reviews of the 3700 and a Sony alternative (AU$750 P100 vs. AU$500 CP3700):

Coolpix 3700:

"This is inaccurate color representation and shows that the Coolpix 3700 was not made with imaging as a priority."

"When tested with the Imatest software, the Nikon Coolpix 3700 disappointed. Nikon has experience and credibility in both the digital and film photography, and so we expected the sleek, compact 3700 to produce quality images. Unfortunately, like many consumers we were somewhat misled by the brand name. There is no question that Nikon has proven over and over again that they have built hundreds of excellent cameras that produce good images. However, the Coolpix 3700 is unfortunately not one of them. While not a horrible camera in terms of quality, the actual resolution we were able to get out of the Coolpix 3700 was only about 1.4 megapixels. This is only 44% of the intended or stated megapixel capability. Although most cameras do stray a bit from their marked specs, most good imagers are above 80-85% of their claim. While this may appear to be an error, unfortunately it is not. We also thought that our testing may have been wrong based on the low quality images the Coolpix 3700 was producing, but the results remained after repeated testing. Even so, the Nikon Coolpix 3700 is easy to carry around and still does produce decent images for a portable, point-and-shoot camera. It is just a bit disappointing this camera was not the pocket-friendly solution for traveling photographers who have quality in mind."

http://www.digitalcamerainfo.com/content/Nikon-Coolpix-3700-Digiital-Camera-Review.htm

Sony DSC-P100:

"We test color of every digital camera using Imatest imaging software and a GreytagMacbeth color chart ... The P100 provides accurate color rendition and imaging that can rival upper level consumer cameras, making this truly a jewel that can be stowed in your pocket."

"The P100 performed very well in this department, producing images with 4.17 megapixels, 83% of the boxed description."

http://www.digitalcamerainfo.com/content/Sony-DSC-P100-Digital-Camera-Review.htm


"We found the images taken with the P100 properly exposed, but the camera has a limited dynamic range, especially in the highlight end of the blue channel. Thus, you get blown-out highlights and attempts to compensate, which result in overly saturated colors. And despite the pedigree of the lens, images weren't as sharp as they should have been. Combined with excessive postprocessing on very detailed areas, such as grass..."

"The P100 is a generally disappointing point-and-shoot with a few good qualities...6.2 out of 10"

http://reviews-zdnet.com.com/Sony_Cyber_Shot_DSC_P100/4505-6501_16-30725575-2.html?tag=glance



The truth is out there ... somewhere.

Mark


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Old Aug 29, 2004, 4:11 PM   #4
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That article written about the Coolpix 3700, which I haven't seen till now... is a bunch of BS.

All the other reputable review sites gave the 3700 camera very good to excellent picture quality... unlike the review linked to here. Plus even my own testing it has excellent sharpness and acurate color... just it is sometimes noisey on dark areas.

The guy who wrote it doesn't even know what he is talking about. One part of the review he makes a big deal about how it has "only a 2x optical zoom".... when the fact is the camera has a 3x optical.

I definitely would not trust reviews from that site. I also see there are MANY different people writing reviews for that site, which makes it even less reputable, because most sites just have one person which allows him to compare the camera to others he tested.
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Old Aug 29, 2004, 4:21 PM   #5
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Here are some better review sites:

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/ni...ew/index.shtml

"Great photo quality in most situations"

http://www.megapixel.net/cgi-bin/fs_...00-review.html

"Good image quality" (they gave it 9 out of 10)

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...nikon3700.html

"I was pleased with the CoolPix 3700's outdoor results. Images were in sharp focus, well exposed, and richly saturated"
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Old Aug 29, 2004, 10:38 PM   #6
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Yes, I bought the 3700 on the basis of the good reviewsfrom the sites you cite, and others (although not all reviews of the 3700 are glowing by any stretch). I was nonetheless surprised to find the very negative review I've quoted.

True, the review contains some basic factual errors (e.g. 2x zoom), and yes, the reviews are non-normalised due to different reviewers. However.........they do appear to be using specialised test software which gives some objective, quantifiable analysis of image characteristics. This is a welcome change from the usual subjective "sharp" and "richly saturated" etc etc (valid though they may be). It seems to me that digtal camera imaging performance is ripe for and eminently suited to more rigorous rating methods like this.

To accept this dissenting review is to infer that the Nikon name and the sexiness of the 3700 has seduced other normally reliable reviewers. All the same, the results the camera is producing for me are very good, but I have not used any other digital camera enough to make a meaningful comparison (must do that, just for the excercise).

I'd hazard a guess that the majority is probably right in this case (maybe a faulty 3700 was reviewed?), but I'm not willing to dismiss this detailed negative report out-of-hand, depsite it's shortcomings.

Mark
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