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Old Nov 15, 2006, 5:36 PM   #1
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I'm looking for a camera that can take movies and photos simultaneously. I had the Casio Exilim (Z500??) which can do it, but the problem was then each time I snapped a photo, the video freezes momentarily. I need the video to be smooth and perfect, and snapshots (even low res ones) during video.

Other features I want are zoom during video. But I don't want toone where the zoom makes a lot of noise, as that wouldget captured onthe video!

Anti-shake feature (stabelizer) for video would be great too. I also would prefer a relatively compact camera (no SLRs). Oh, and an optical viewfinder would be a plus as well...

I am a synchronized skater and I'm looking for a camera that I can take with me during competitions to record video clips of each team's programs. I don't want to have to carry a separate camcorder and camera.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Nov 16, 2006, 1:16 PM   #2
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My Canon S3 uses AVI, I think. I'm told that AVI records each frame.

If you can accept a picture that is 640 by 480 maximum, software might be able to "take apart" the series of frames that make up your movie and make a copy of one frame. The bundled software will not do this however.

If you need high resolution, the S3 will freeze the movie momentarily while taking a regular photograph, like most models.

And the S3 will make some noise when you use the zoom, but it has two speeds. The slower one might not make too much noise for you. No optical viewfinder, but it does have electronic image stabilization. Unfortunately the large size might be inconvenient.

Most cameras record movies kind of like a DVD. The first frame is recorded, then the differences are recorded and the next frame is computed from that information. Using software to construct a still picture from the file might be difficult. The S3's movie file format might let you get around this problem (with additional software).

I wish I knew of a perfect solution for you. I thought motion picture digicams (digital camcorders) would give you just what you need. But from your post, it sounds like you have looked into this and their still picture features aren't very good.

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Old Nov 16, 2006, 3:14 PM   #3
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I have a Sanyo Xacti C6 (reviewed by Steve).Like your Exilim,the C6can also capture a still picture in the middle of the video, but the video will be interrupted.

I don't think there is ANY digital camera/ camcorder/ hybrid cameras that can capture stillswhile recordingsmooth video without any interruption. This is because both functions are performed by the same image sensor.

If you don't need a high quality high resolution picture, you can capture a frame from your video afterwards using software. My Sanyo C6 comes with ULead Movie Factory software. I am quite sure your Casio also comes with similar video editing software. If you open the video in (any) video editing softwares,there isa "capture" function for you to catch a frame from the video to save as a picture file.

As for digital cameras that allow optical zoom to operate during movie mode - these are the current models I know of that can do it (there may be more and probably will be more):

Sanyo Xacti C and HD series (different models zoom up to 190/380 mm, 35 mm camera equivalent)

Sony T30 (and higher) (zoom up to 114 mm)

Sony M2 (zoom up to 114 mm)

Pentax Optio W10 (and higher) (zoom up to 114 mm)

Samsung NV series (different models zoom up to 105/114/270 mm)

When you read camera site reviews or user reviews in forums, you'll find that most people notice noise of the autofocus / zoom being captured onto the video. This is probably worse for smaller pocket-size cameras. I don't think it is avoidable.

Amongst the above cameras, only Sony and Samsung NV7 have mechanical image stabilization. Sanyo and other Samsungs have electronic stabilization for the video modes (I think these are different from the electronic stabilization for still pictures when the ISO and shutter speed are increased).

Other factors to consider:

If you are mainly using the camera to take videos, the video length will be limited by the memory card size. Nowadays all digital cameras have video mode, but most of them use a video format called MJPEG, which takes up a lot of memory space (eg. 1 GB stores only 3-5 minutes of video). You may want to look for cameras that make video in MP4 or DIVX formats - the video size is much smaller eg. 1 GB stores 42 minutes of the best quality and highest resolution (640 X 480 pixels) video in my Sanyo C6, much more if you use lower quality settings. Depending on the amount of compression and video resolution, 1 GB should store > 30 minutes ofvideo in most cameras with MP4/ DIVX video modes.

The cameras I know of that use MP4 or DIVX are the Sanyo Xacti series, the Sony M2, the newest Casio Exilim (eg. Z850 or higher) and Samsung NV series.

If you are videotaping indoor ice skating, performance in low light is also crucial. My experience with the Sanyo C6 is that the video in dim indoor light is decent. The Sony camera (sensor) is also quite good in this aspect.

However, I must say, if you are more interested in shooting video with occasional still captures, you should buy a digital camcorder. For your particular need with dimmer indoor lighting, camcorders tend to do better than the video mode of digital cameras. Camcorder video quality is also naturally far superior than the video mode of digital cameras in any condition.

Digital camcorders are moving away from miniDV tape format which is cumbersome for transferring and editing - you may look at DVD camcorders and hard drive camcorders, both recording in space-saving MPEG-2 video formats. As for capturing still pictures, you should do it with software afterwards, as I described previously. The only problem is that these newer format camcorders are much more expensive than digital cameras, and they are much bigger than digital cameras.

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Old Nov 16, 2006, 3:38 PM   #4
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Duct Tape .... Naaaah.

Personally, I know of nothing (reasonably priced) DIGITAL that will do what you want. The old-style 16mm "pro" film movie cameras would work, but then you have sound problems and the expense of film and processing.

However, if your budget allows, two smallish digital cameras (one digital video, one still)attached together by a single mounting bar/handle would be my choice.

Mounted side-by-side, or above-below, pre aimed and screwed down tight, andwith a remote release/zoom controlfor each conveniently located on the handle ... I've actually done it before.

Paralax was no problem, since I was not shooting close to the action. Trigger your video, follow the action, with either viewfinder, and whenever desired fire the still camera. Not a perfect solution, but it does work.
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Old Nov 20, 2006, 12:08 PM   #5
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I was going through some old magazines, and I found this:

Samsung Duo-Cam SC-D6040. In one body, there is:

Digital movie camera: 680,000 pixels, 10x optical zoom
Digital still camera: 4.13 MP, 3x optical zoom.

A 2-inch LCD lets you see what you are recording, it stores on (a) Sony Memory Stick or Memory Stick Pro, (b) SD or MMC cards, or (c) mini-DV tapes.

This is from the September 7, 2004 issue of PC Magazine. This camera might be found used on eBay, I do not know.

I don't know if it will take pics and movies at the same time, but it might be possible.

BTW, the movie camera lens is directly above the still camera lens. Perspective shouldn't be different between the two image sources, unless you're shooting an object close-up.

Let us know if this helps.

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