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Old Mar 14, 2007, 1:12 PM   #1
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I've been looking for a nice hybrid camera that will serve as the "travel" cam. I have a dSLR, so when I want to take "real" pictures I will use that, but for going on trips, or making small videos to put online, I'd like to find an all-in-one unit that can take decent pics and decent movies.

That lead me to the Xacti line. Quite nice looking on the whole, and I read through the excellent reviews of the C6 and HD1a on here. I can definitely see some quality differences in the stills (mainly with noise and some fringing) compared to my good camera, but the pics are still quite good for the price. The video quality seems alright as well, and compares favorably with my ancient DV camcorder.

What I can't really figure out is whether the step up to the HD versions is worth it. The HD's are noticeably bigger in physical size. They do cost quite a bit more. The video quality looks pretty good, but then again some samples I've seen in lower light were very grainy. But with the HD you get a bigger zoom, and with essentially twice the video data to play with you have more options for the end-product.

If you were looking to take one camera on a vacation and wanted to take pics and videos that you would ultimately edit (in After Effetcs, or Final Cut) and probably put online or on DVD for home watching, or wanted to take some videos of some extreme sports to put onto a website, which would you go for?


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Old Mar 14, 2007, 5:26 PM   #2
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I would go now on a Sanyo HD2 for sure. By setting some options on the Xacti series, the gain of quality become impressive (i'm talking about the HD1). I've been filming skydiving sport with my C5 it was almost great (exept in the lack of a wide angle lens, but Sanyo released one for the HD1/1a/2 series). I'm gonna use my HD1 this week-end in my jumps, i will see what it dones, but i already know it will be incredibely great.
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Old Mar 14, 2007, 9:41 PM   #3
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When I bought my C6 the HD1 was just coming out, so I wondered the same thing. Ultimately I considered thatwas notgoing to makefilms, I was looking to capture as many of life's moments in the best videofor the smallest possible file sizes;the C6 had slightly better low light (in video only) capabilities and a lower price.Plus my TV and monitorswere mostly 4:3 not 16:9... yet. I took my C6 ona trip for over a month and I wasreally pleased with it because it's tiny, literally pocketable, the stillsand videoare good (great outdoors), I really like the pistol grip, and ultimately I was able to capture hours of video and photos at the highest quality on just a few SD cards. I knew of myself that I generally don't make DVDs, or print my photos, I load them up on the PC and Notebook/Media Center or share them on the web, so my entire collection is there as virtual albums. This is why I keep my file sizes under check, so I don't need terabyte drives... yet.

However, if you are planning to make films (those are high end editors you have), plusyou or your family and friends are adopting widescreenTVs or HDTVs and monitors, then youprobably want to strongly consider the HD2.It certainly seems like everything is going widescreen lately. Keeping in mindthat it can also record in SD as well as HD.
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Old Mar 15, 2007, 10:34 AM   #4
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thanks for the comments gentlemen. I'm really torn on this one. On the one hand, I do have an HD setup (projector) at my home so that would be very cool to be able to shoot in. On the other hand, I really love tiny gadgets, the smaller the better.

I most likely will want to do some decent editing with whatever I end up shooting, as I run a couple websites where it would be nice to be able to provide bigger/better videos or possibly a DVD. These would be instructional-type stuff for biking, so it doesn't really need HD, but it would be nice to have the flexibility.

I guess I'm starting to lean towards the HD. But I worry about how pocketable this will be, as it's primary use will be to have in my pocket all the time when I'm on a trip, and I don't want a big clunky thing slowing me down in the jungle.

Hmm....

:G
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Old Mar 15, 2007, 3:43 PM   #5
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Have you followed at all the info on the new Canon TX1? I currently own the C6 and like it but have pre-ordered the TX1 to replace it. The TX1 has a list price of $499 as compared to $699 for the H2.

Primary reason for the change is because I recently upgraded to HDTV.
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Old Mar 15, 2007, 9:11 PM   #6
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centme37, don't you have any issues at all about being able to record just a dozen minutes per 4GB SD with the TX1? Let's say you go on a trip, to recordjust 3 hours of video you would need to buy and bring along 15 4GB SD cards, and change them every dozen minutes, you wouldn't be able to capture a continuousmoment for more than that. It would also belots of data to store and edit.With the Xacti HD2 you'd only need 3 SD cardsas they would eachhold a fullhour at the highest quality.
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Old Mar 15, 2007, 10:30 PM   #7
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yeah, that was my problem with the TX1. I'm a Canon guy and love their stuff, but the TX1 is just severly limited on it's video capability. Sure, it's nice to have less compression and all that, but just a few minutes on a big card is a major hassle. Not to mention those AVIs it creates are a bit harder to work with.

The form factor on the TX1 looks sweet, lightyears ahead of the xacti in my opinion (love the protected lens when closed) and the price is good, but to take that on a long trip that you might want to record a couple hours of video would be hugely annoying. And expensive if you didn't want to lug along your laptop (which might be hard in the middle of nowhere).

It would appear that you are giving up some quality with the Xacti, but gaining a lot of versatility.

I don't really want to spend $700 for an H2, but have found some good deals on the HD1a, which would probably be pretty decent for most of my shooting (90% of which would be outside).
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Old Mar 16, 2007, 8:19 AM   #8
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The Xacti HD series has moved slowly, it will be interesting to see the TX2. With 50mb/s, or 35/mb/s with h264, or that Ogg Vorbis based technology, it should pull ahead. Maybe Panasonic is planning an pocket camera using it's H264 Intra codec. Maybe JVC is planning an pocket camera using it's 30mb/s Mpeg2 codec.

There are other HD cameras coming, one should be an pocket H264 camera. There are better sensor technologies about for video. Foveon X3 will do 720p, there is an cheap alternative to X3, there are a couple of others good sensor technologies too.

I think the biggest problem with Xacti HD, is much motion happens with an pocket cam, which means that Canon should have the upper hand most of the time, except for the noise in the TX1. But unless you are in good lighting, the HD2 should have significant noise, meaning that the TX1 might be ahead again.

Plenty of cheap manufacturers can make an $200 720p cameras, so it will be interesting to see how the dust settles.
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Old Mar 16, 2007, 1:46 PM   #9
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I've never taken a clip longer than 3 minutes. I already have an SDHC 8GB card; the addition of another would give me 52 minutes of record time at the highest res.

I've noted a number of people have commented on the ease of editing AVI video. You can then process it any way you like. Most people viewing video on a DVD don't really care what format was used to record as long as the picture is good quality. I think people are making too much of the record time on the TX1 because it's an easy argument to seize on.
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Old Mar 16, 2007, 2:00 PM   #10
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centme37 wrote:
Quote:
I've never taken a clip longer than 3 minutes. I already have an SDHC 8GB card; the addition of another would give me 52 minutes of record time at the highest res.

I've noted a number of people have commented on the ease of editing AVI video. You can then process it any way you like. Most people viewing video on a DVD don't really care what format was used to record as long as the picture is good quality. I think people are making too much of the record time on the TX1 because it's an easy argument to seize on.

I think the problem for some people is that to produce a watchable end-product that doesn't bore your audience to death, you need a LOT more footage than you show in the end. As an example, I created about 50 short clips for a website. Each one was 15 seconds long or so. However, to get that footage I filled about 5 DV tapes full. So 5 hours ended up being about 12 edited minutes.

Even the best directors on earth shoot 10x the footage they'll use. You need that extra footage for effective editing flexibililty. So even for a hobbyist, the TX1 eats up memory a bit fast.

If the TX1 recorded it's video in H264 or some other codec that made better use of storage, I'd buy it in a second. The sanyo would be a very distant second choice. Right now though, the TX1 is a bit compromised for me.
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