Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital Cameras (Point and Shoot) > Sanyo

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Oct 14, 2006, 6:36 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,084
Default

Yes the C4 seems to have similar specs but there was no mention of focusing problems in his review which is why I was interested in the C40 since 4MP is plenty for still images if they come out in focus of course!. I wonder if the autofocus is a hardware problem or firmware? I guess if it was firmware they might have fixed that by now...

I am really making a meal of my research. My first two cameras were easy, but I am having a hard time finding a device without a serious flaw. I guess this being a function of complexity now. Panasonic has noise problems. Canon, soft images. Casio, lens hardware seems suspect and this Sanyo seemed good until I found out about the autofocus. Hmm...
rgvcam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 14, 2006, 7:09 PM   #12
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 15
Default

In fairness to the camera, I think when things blur there's a good chance you didn't wait quite long enough to let the focus lock in. When it's bright it's a little hard to see the screen detail and I have sometimes missed that and shot too soon. The focus mechanism is not the fastest out there. I think overall that it's workable. I am also finding in sunlight that keeping it on ISO 100 will let you get good shots when you move into shadow and need more light, when AutoISO tends to set the ISO lower and the speed slow. That's not too hard to work around.

I'm not sure I wanted to imply there is really something wrong with the focusing, rather I think that you have to learn to work with it.


jmcdonald99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 14, 2006, 7:41 PM   #13
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 15
Default

I would say I am pretty consistently getting sharp pictures now by setting ISO, using spot focus mode, waiting until focus is locked in, and watching that the shutter speed hasn't fallen too low. That doesn't seem unreasonable to me for an inexpensive camera that doesn't have a wide aperture range -- about what you'd expect. I think the auto mode is just not up to getting it right in all situations, also what you'd expect. There is a little icon that shows up on the screen when it thinks the speed/aperture combo is too slow, and at that point you do have to make adjustments, but that's true of any camera. I think it's part of the price/feature compromise.

A few other things: transferring to the pc is fast and easy. I've been using an old slow SD card and have not had any problems, so I don't think you need to spend a lot on a fast card.

Sorry this ended up in so many disjointed posts, but I've just had it a day and have been testing the camera while I write. Hope it was helpful.


jmcdonald99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 14, 2006, 9:56 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,084
Default

Thanks Jim!

On the contrary ,your posts have been very helpful. From what you are saying, it seems that the autofocus is not faulty as such, it's just a bit slow which accounts for the blurred photos. I guess that would make sense as I haven't seen much in the way of complaints about the video, they seem to be more about the still images. If the autofocus works well enough for video and I just need to do a bit more work for the still images, I think I can handle that. I just wanted to make sure it really wasn't a real fault with the autofocus mechanism as I don't really like the hassle of buying a camera and returning it, if I can find out the obvious faults beforehand! Also I am going on a trip to the UK in December and quite like to have a little video camera with me, so don't want to be wasting time trying too many cameras out.

I quite like to take a small video camera, which is more fun than just taking a series of still images. These devices to me, are the modern equivalent of a Super 8 Cine camera which I once had. I don't mean they can compete with Super 8 in quality, but that they are just fun to use, because you are more likely to take them with you to shoot quick movies. Of course they do shoot much more than 3 minutes though, which is another plus.


I am assuming that this won't be able to take the newer 4GB SDHC cards like the other models? That's not a concern as 2GB will hold plenty of video anyway.


rgvcam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 14, 2006, 11:59 PM   #15
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 15
Default

I think once you get used to it and learn its limitations, it's a good camera for the money. I have decided to keep it and think it will work well with obvious limits. I'm sure these limits would be unacceptable for some people, but they're okay for me. I'm saving the rest of my money to buy an F30.

In case you get the camera, here are some early notes:

Some things to make low light videos better: In Menu 2 - image stabilization on (sorry if I'm being obvious). I think results are usually better, but I'll test this more - may work better in some situations than others. (Video view and Photo view, the two stabilization menu options, are different ways of displaying the reduced image you get in videos when stabilization is on. I use photo view since I shoot stills most often. I thought at first this was an unadvertised stabilization for stills, but no.)

Focus - if the subject is a roughly fixed distance away, you can set camera to manual focus before you shoot, but I'm not a good judge of distance so I do this: Before you start shooting, aim at the subject and let the camera have a few seconds to focus in on it. Then push the set button up to lock the focus. Then start the video. This keeps the camera from seeking for focus, which makes it waver in and out of focus. You can push "set" up again if the subject moves toward or away from you and then auto focus will take over.

Set ASA to 400, set white balance as appropriate (auto isn't great).

In Options menu, set image adjustment to soft (reduces noise somewhat- a tip from a C6 user.) Noise reduction in the options menu only affects stills.

Overall, I have gotten better low light results with these. Enough to get some memorable footage of my son playing DDR.

Another important thing to notice is that the "set" button has multiple functions in both play and record. Knowing them all is very useful, so play around with it. It's in the manual but in widely different sections. (The manual is unusually good, but long - worth reading through sometime.) Briefly:

In record, down=toggles through focus modes. Up=toggles through locked focus and autofocus. Right=exposure compensation (to turn off, set to 0 or go into a setup screen or switch to play). Left = toggle through flash modes. Pushing "set" button down lets you view the last recorded image or movie and then scroll through others if you want.

In play, up= erase image. Down seems to clear text from the screen. Right and left navigate through images (obvious). Holding the MENU button down a few seconds turns picture info on (pretty minimal).

To view mp4s on PCs, using Quicktime or the VLC viewer works very well as others have noted. http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ (Windows Media Player does not play mp4s but they can be converted with a little work.) If you want to edit them in Premiere or view them in Windows media player, get mp4cam2avi -- Usual settings to use: Action - batch convert (many to many), Audio format - PCM (uncompressed), set path to file you want. This makes it into an AVI file. I think you also need DivX installed (I already had the reader and the codex so didn't test this). If you want to give it to someone to play on media player without DivX (or XVid), I think you then have to take it through something like Windows Movie Maker and convert it to one of the AVI format changing the compression and some degradation begins.

I am not an expert on this, so someone please correct me if I have some of this wrong.

As for your question about cards, I doubt very much if the larger cards work, but don't know. Steve said in one of the forums that the Sandisk 2 gb Ultra II works in both C4 and C6, so I'll probably get that one if I need a big one.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
jmcdonald99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 15, 2006, 12:28 AM   #16
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 584
Default

There is an excellent software package which allows the playback of the Xacti MP4 video files in Windows Media Player, without any need for conversion between MP4 and AVI. A version is also available for the Mac, but I haven't tested that yet.

Download free from http://www.3ivx.com/download/index.html and if you like it, register it there for about $7... there are no timeouts, or any other 'trojan' gotchas like DivX had in its free installer


(if you are really technically inclined, there is an evaluation of the 3ivx codec at http://www.doom9.org/index.html?/codecs-104-1.htm )

Trevmar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 15, 2006, 12:32 AM   #17
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,084
Default

Thanks for the info! Out of interest, the Fuji F30 was also high on my list but it uses those proprietry XD cards. I know you should think camera first, media second, but it means extra expense as I am already invested in SD cards for all my other devices plus I hear it is not so hot in normal daylight, again another tradeoff for it's low light ability I guess. Hmmm. Maybe I should forget about the ideal camera and just take out a second mortgage and buy them all :-)
rgvcam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 15, 2006, 1:46 AM   #18
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 15
Default

I love low light photography so the F30 won out by a huge margin. Compare Steve's shots from the Sony W100 and the F30. Fuji's 1600 ISO blows away Sony's 1250, and Fuji has a 3200 too. There's nothing to compare with it in ultracompacts. The xD issue just doesn't matter to me compared to that.

I posted a few shorts in low light from the C4 to www.janmcdonald.com. You can see the noise, but they are acceptable for catching something you'd miss completely otherwise. When I get the F30 I'll probably use it for low light video.

By the way, it's obvious to me that the Sanyo series is way better than the ultracompacts if you like to shoot a lot of video - In one day I would have used up about 5 gigs if it wasn't mp4.

Thanks to the person who posted the info about Media Player. I will try that -- sounds much easier.
jmcdonald99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 15, 2006, 10:21 AM   #19
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,084
Default

haha Some fun clips there on your site. Sorry for calling you Jim by the way. I guess The name McDonald always conjures up the name Jim in my head especially with the Initial J! This camera is looking more interesting now by the minute. I'd be very interested if you could post or send me a clip or two taken outside in normal light so I could compare the output with the other models in the Xacti Series. It looks like this may well be what I am looking for.
rgvcam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 15, 2006, 9:25 PM   #20
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 15
Default

Spent the day at a cloudy street fair trying out outdoor shots and movies. I am getting consistently sharp pictures so I think blurring photos is mostly a matter of learning and adjusting settings as needed but I'd repeat to not count on auto settings all the time. Disclaimer: I do most of my people photography as reference for artwork, so I don't have the same needs as everyone. I'll accept a noisy or pixelated photo if the info is there for me to draw from for example.

I was very pleased with the color - pretty saturated I would say but this was a street fair with lots of fabrics.

I do most of my work on close to full zoom (trying to unobtrusively get people shots) and found it great to have the 5.8X zoom (I want more!!!) I was able to get good info from quite a ways away. Exposure was mostly good including some shots in deep shade but I had to put the ISO up. It's hard to verify (I don't think picture info reports on ISO settings) but the camera on auto seems to favor keeping the ISO low - 50 to 100 I think. I don't think it ever went to 200 ISO on its own but it's hard to tell for sure. It also favors fast shutter speeds versus slowing down the shutter speed and closing the aperture (I hope my terms are right - it will do F3.7/ 1/400 versus F5 at 1/125 - my math is not right but you get the idea) . The camera almost never goes to F8. I had to shoot straight at a white paper plate to finally see the 8. This seems strange to me and I haven't figured out any way to force it to greater depth of field. Any hints out there? That said, for people photos, the defaults work pretty well.

My short people videos were fine for my standards - good focus and color for the most part. It tracked moving people pretty well.

Battery life was as advertised (actually better I think). I got 114 shots at highest quality and 14 short (5-15 sec) videos at highest quality. I ran out of battery while my 512 card still had room so I think getting a second battery is a way better purchase than a big card.

I find I love the concept of the Xactis - for people shots, having the swivel screen and shooting at waist level keeps peoples' eyes off you. I sometimes find it hard to find my subject because of the tilted forward angle you use - a question of getting used to it I guess. The screen is very weak in full sunlight especially since it's usually tilted up. Turning brightness up makes it worse. The C5 and 6 talk about turning backlight off in full sunlight - anybody know if the C40 does this? ( I know - read the manual.) Screen performance in sunlight is a weak point.

I find myself in a quandary. I like the feel and performance of the camera enough that it might be worth springing for the C6 instead and getting the higher res and better low light. I was thinking of this as an interim solution but maybe the C6 is worth it for longer term. Anybody out there know how to do the math to figure out:
If you mainly shoot at full zoom, will you get more of the subject with 5.8X and 4 megapixels or 5X and 6 megapixels?

Overall I think this is a good little camera for the money, assuming it holds up well.
jmcdonald99 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 1:25 PM.