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Old Feb 20, 2006, 12:48 PM   #1
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Am I expecting too much for a $200 camera. Video recording is listed as a feature but it only records in quicktime (out of all the video formats they picked the worst?) and you pretty much can't make out what was recorded, its just a dark shadow. Are they all like this or do any other brands record better?

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Old Feb 20, 2006, 1:06 PM   #2
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Quicktime isn't really a problem. You can convert a quicktime movie without recompression into an ordinary AVI using SmartVid. It's an old 16 bit program, though. My Coolpix 8400, a quite expensive camera, has also an [email protected] fps movie, but with massive compression artifacts. It is unusable. There are many unusable [email protected] fps out there. My Canon Powershot S1 has a very good [email protected] fps movie mode. The movie mode of the Lumix FZ30 is even better. Also the very cheap Casio Z120 has a fine movie mode.
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Old Feb 20, 2006, 1:13 PM   #3
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I'm basing quicktime being part of the problem because I have never ever seen a decent quality quicktime video. I was hoping that maybe that it was finally improved but it appears to not be. Looks like mplayer does conversions, I'll try converting to something else and see if it gets any better.
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Old Feb 20, 2006, 3:46 PM   #4
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Quicktime (from Apple) is only a container format like Avi. It is true that the Quicktime mpeg4 codec is one of the worst mpeg4 codecs, but that has no impact on quality of movies made with digicams. Obviously Apple charges lower license fees for Quicktime than Microsoft for Avi. That seems to be the only reason, why some manufacturers use Quicktime.
Do not use mplayer, because it will recompress the video. That means lower quality and it takes longer. Search for SmartVid in Google. Unfortunately Smartvid is so old, such that it stays active and keeps the CPU busy after finishing the conversion. Thus you have to shoot down SmartVid with the task manager. I have converted many Quicktime videos to Avi with SmartVid and it always worked.
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Old Feb 20, 2006, 3:55 PM   #5
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Smartvid apears to be windows only thats why I was looking at mplayer (linux).
So are all digicams this poor quality, it looks like cannon has some models with similar specs so I'm wondering if they may have better video quality. Thats one of the things hard to test in the store, I can compare specs but can't tell what the files will look like until we get it home to try. We just bought the Nikon Sunday so exchanging it for another brand should be possible, but if the video is poor quality on all of them then maybe I should just buy a digital video recorder.
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Old Feb 20, 2006, 4:28 PM   #6
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I test the video mode by downloading test clips. Each of Steve's camera test (except DSLRs, of course) contains one such clip. Also the reviews from Dpreviews offer a test clip. After (perhaps) conversion to Avi, I inspect the videos frame by frame by loading them into VirtualDub. This is the best possible examination. You really can't evaluate video quality simply by playing the video. The FZ30 videos are the best, I have ever seen. Probably the videos of the upcoming FZ7 will be almost as good. Panasonic uses the Quciktime container. Also the Canon, Casio and Sanyo cameras have always a good movie mode.
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Old Feb 20, 2006, 4:37 PM   #7
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Because Linux has neither Avisynth nor VirtualDub, it simply can't compete with windows, when it comes to video processing. I would love to use Linux for that purpose, but currently it simply doesn't make sense.
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