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Old Jan 9, 2007, 10:48 AM   #1
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Hi,



I currently have a regular digi cam (SONY DSC-P73 Cyber-shot) and want to upgrade to something better which I can both take movies and stills with.

I am seriously considering the Xacti.

I know that the video quality won't be as good as a miniDV but am willing to compromise for versatility and size but I am expecting better video quality than what I get with my current digicam.



I have two questions:


  1. My current regular digi camera does 640x480 VX Fine w/audio at 30fps videos. Will I see a significant improvement in video quality using the Xacti (other than the fact that I will be able to zoom)?

[/*]
  1. Is the splash proof Xacti VPC-CA6OR the same as far as specifications as the "regular" VPC-C6 (it currently costs significantly less)?[/*]


Thanks!!!


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Old Jan 9, 2007, 12:24 PM   #2
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chaka wrote:
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My current regular digi camera does 640x480 VX Fine w/audio at 30fps videos. Will I see a significant improvement in video quality using the Xacti (other than the fact that I will be able to zoom)?
The Sony records MPEG-1 (VX fine) whereas the Xactis record in MPEG-4. Personally I find the Xacti SHQ video quality better than Sony'sVX Fineand file sizes are quite a bit smaller for the Xacti to boot. On a CRT TV I cannot tell the difference between MiniDV and my Xacti video, howeverI find theSony's (DSC-P200 VX Fine) looks more like "PC Webcam" video.

chaka wrote:
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Is the splash proof Xacti VPC-CA6OR the same as far as specifications as the "regular" VPC-C6 (it currently costs significantly less)?
See this thread...
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Old Jan 9, 2007, 12:49 PM   #3
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Caelum, thanks a lot for the response.

I'm still not clear on two points that are very important to me.


  1. I don't want to spend $350 for a new Xacti if I only get marginally better video quality than what I currently get with my Sony…what do I mean by significant? Detectably better resolution, better colors, faster focus, better low light ability, etc. Will I be able to easily detect a difference (when playing on a computer) between a video shot with the Sony and the C6 under the same conditions? If not than why do people buy a $400 Xacti when they could but a $150 digicam that shoots MPEG-1/4 video???
[/*]

  1. From the thread it's not clear if the basic specifications of the C6 are different from those of the CA6 (other than tripod and external differences), does anyone know? The price difference is about $100, what is the reason for this?
[/*]


Thanks for your time and knowledge!




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Old Jan 9, 2007, 3:39 PM   #4
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Download all the sample videos you can find and make up your own mind. But don't expect a night and day difference;the reason people like me will pay a little extra for the Xacti isdue to many combined factors, not just one. For example,quality vs. file size, since recording time and storageare factors. Sony's VX Fine (MPEG-1) mode does an ok job, but you can only record a max of 12 minutes w/ mono audio in 1GB. With the Xacti's SHQ (MPEG-4) you can recordover 41 minutes(350% more) ofsame resolutionvideo w/ stereo audio in the same 1GB size. I'm alsoa big fan of the one-handed pistol-grip ergonomics of the Xacti, it's great for video taking.

re: CA6 and C6 price differences,it might be all "external differences" as you put it, but I imagine that things like a higher quality LCD display (C6 = higher res. low-temperature polysilicon TFT (= clearer) that can swivel vs CA6 = lower res. amorphous TFT that can't)andall metal vs plastic cases add up.
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Old Jan 9, 2007, 4:48 PM   #5
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Thanks!!!!
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Old Jan 9, 2007, 7:17 PM   #6
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I just recently bought a Xacti C6. I´ve had an eye on these little thinhies since I first saw the C4 in Tokyo a couple of years ago. I knew this was the future but I decided to stick to the regular digicam until a better performer came out on the market and thus now I have the C6...
As Caelum pointed out, it´s the filesize but also the handyness of the format that sticks out compared to a regular digicam. And also you get a real focus if compared to other regular DC´s. I´ve used a sony dsc-t1 until now. It also films in 640... but is no way near the quality of the xacti when it comes to movies. Photographs is another story...
If you want a handy camera that does both filming and photos, this is the bomb. If used right with a steady hand, you will be amazed what this litte aparatus can do.
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Old Jan 19, 2007, 11:08 PM   #7
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I have the Xacti C40. I agree with the comments by Caelum in that the pistol grip style of holding ie more like a traditional camcorder than digital camera, makes it much nicer to use one handed.

These types of camcorders are regularly looked down upon by professional camcorder users but then they are not meant for these people. They are meant for people like myself who just want a spontaneous device for recording my son and trips etc. i particularly needed a device that would allow me to record video that I could send to relatives and friends over the net. As long as the clips are kept short I just send them unconverted and they can play them with quicktime or vlc media player. Longer clips I can just edit to shorten them as well as converting to Windows media etc of course.

Although I have a good 5MP digital camera, it was bought when 320x240/15fps video was standard. Although most new camerasnow shoot in 640x480/30fps, theyseem to still use MJPEGwhich while producing good video, eats up memory cards, so I wanted one with a good compression technology like MPEG4.

When the Xacti series were a minimum of $400 I was looking at the Casio Exhilim range (those with MPEG4) as they are the nearest match in video capabilities but I kept hearing reports of quality control problems with the lens on the model that I wanted.While probably not as bad as I was thinking, I don't like taking chances on an expensive camera if I don't have to.

Then the Xacti C40 came down nearer $200 and I took the plunge. I love the camera and couldn't be happier so far. It worked great in the UK when I took it with me and it's just much more convenient and spontaneous than a miniDV.

As has been said before, while it doesn't match a miniDV for quality (after all it has over 8 times the bitrate at 25mbps), it's good enough for general use.

It all depends on how long you want your video clips to be and/or how many you want to be able to record in a session. I found the 41 minutes per 1GB memory card to be plenty for my trip as I took 3 of them with me. Of course I downloaded the contents onto a CD whenever I got the opportunity, but that's a good 2 hours worth of video there which is equal to a miniDV cassette. Most of my video were short clips of just a few minutes. Now this is within the range of your Camera but you would need to take more cards with you unless you had the ability to download the videos straight away. Also 1GB SD memory cards are gettingso cheap now they are virtually giving them away. You can also use 2GB cards but I don't see the point as the battery doesn't last long enough and you would just be putting too many eggs in one basket so to speak anyway.

Of course the bonus, is that they also take great photos that are much better than you would get on most miniDV camcorders.


Samsung also produces some cameras that do MPEG4 now for just under $200 which are worth a look, but just as caelum said you need to compare the whole picture and not just the fact it has MPEG4 for a cheap price.

Plus at end of the day there is no doubt that it looks cool when you get it out to video. Of course I never buy things for coolness factor, they have to earn their place in my heart, but if it has cool looks as well then you can't fault me for mentioning it can you?:-)

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Old Jan 22, 2007, 5:19 PM   #8
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Thanks RGVCAM,



My central question was whether the Xacti would give me significantly better video than my current Sony Digicam that does movies using MPEG2 at 30fps, I didn't have a problem with memory because I only take short movies (although that may change) and have a 1gb memory card which was plenty.

But in any case, even if the quality is not much better than the Sony, with the Xacti I can take much longer movies, with one hand and I have a zoom too!

Anyway, I just bought the Xacti CA6 (waterproof) from Amazon for $300 and a 2gb card for $20 from Ebay. When I get it I'll do some comparisons with my Sony CyberShot and see if there is a difference.



Cheers
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Old Feb 5, 2007, 1:41 AM   #9
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rgvcam,

That's funny you mention the casio exilim and certain lens problems. I was also looking at those, wanting to buy (for me the ex-z750), and eventually I did($290). while it has hiccups every once in a long while, I have been careful with it, and it has never actually "messed up"(I have owned it for about a year). So small, fast, and great for video (not as good as the HD HD1a, though!), it's a keeper, for sure.
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Old Feb 5, 2007, 9:56 AM   #10
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patrickriday wrote:
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rgvcam,

That's funny you mention the casio exilim and certain lens problems. I was also looking at those, wanting to buy (for me the ex-z750), and eventually I did($290). while it has hiccups every once in a long while, I have been careful with it, and it has never actually "messed up"(I have owned it for about a year). So small, fast, and great for video (not as good as the HD HD1a, though!), it's a keeper, for sure.


The Casio won't match the HD1(a) because it is a High definition camcorder, so it's not a fair comparison. The regular Xacti's are the ones that are to be compared with.

I agree in that I am sure the problems do get a little exagerated. The problem that I would be concerned about, is that they may not honor the warranty and say I dropped it or something to get out of it, since 'supposedly' these kind of things only happen when you ill treat a device, right?

I am extremely careful with my electronics and generally once they have proven themselves, they last me a long time, but how do you prove you didn't abuse or drop it? I just didn't want the hassle. While 99% of of the time I may not have a problem, very minor bumps will occur and have no effect on most electronics, but if there is a part that is already 'on the edge', that may be all that is needed to cause a malfunction and you then get in a philosphical debate of whether they are at fault because the part wasn't designed for to withstand 'reasonable' everyday use, or you are at fault because it doesn't matter if it's a bad design, you are still the one who bumped it, no matter how lightly so that you probably don't even remember doing it!



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