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Old Aug 9, 2005, 11:57 PM   #1
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Can someone please give me some advice on getting a digital camera that can take excellent MPEG4 video clips. I like the idea of carry a camera that can take pictures and video on my honeymoon next month. The C770 is a nice 10x zoom with mpeg4 but I am affraid the video quality wont cut it for me. Thank you in advance.
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Old Aug 10, 2005, 8:56 AM   #2
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How advanced of the camera do you want though? I'd suggest Kodak v550 for that. Excellent movie mode, MPEG-4 encoded, anti-shake DSP in movie mode, ability to optically zoom (which creates a weird sound, but what do you expect out of small camera like that, besides that doesn't bother me personally). It takes awesome pictures as well, but lacks manual controls, with the exception of few.
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Old Aug 10, 2005, 9:23 AM   #3
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Compared to the Kodak, the C770 has more features, a better 10X zoom, both a viewfinder as well as the LCD, excellent video, and both auto and manual controls.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/c770uz.html

That said, ifyou are so concerned about the movie output, you should go ahead and get a movie camera, and carry both a movie and a digital camera on your honeymoon.

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Old Aug 10, 2005, 1:51 PM   #4
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Well, I don't know which size of the camera he was looking for. There are so many digicams with good movie mode now, the factor of the camera probably needs to be determined first before making suggestions.
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Old Aug 10, 2005, 9:26 PM   #5
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Thank you for your help. Size is not a concern for me - it can be compact or about the same size of canon s2, panasonic fz5, etc.... I am more interested in quality of the pictures and video. Though I kind of like the zoom feature (though it's not necessary) - something like the Olympus C770 that can zoom and do video - though the mpeg4 video quality of c770 leave much to be desired. Thanks again for the suggestion.

Oh, my budget is around $500.
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Old Aug 10, 2005, 10:05 PM   #6
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The Canon S2 probably has the best movie mode of any camera, but unfortunately Canon won't pay for MPEG4 so the movies take a lot of space. If you just want to take short clips it might be worth considering.

Steve and others have complained about the movies on the Kodak V550 being grainy. It takes the same space on the card as on the Casio Z750, which takes beautiful movies. Not sure what Kodak did with the compression to cause the movies not being that great. The V550 has an optical viewfinder in addition to a beautiful large LCD.

I would recommend the Z750 wholeheartedly if it weren't for the lens errors some people are getting. It wouldn't do to have problems with your camera on a honeymoon. I've had mine 2 months with no problems, but I put the mode dial on audio record before putting it in my pocket or its pouch. You won't have problems if you do that, but it is a little bit of a hassle to have to return the mode dial to snapshot when you use it.

320 X 240 movies are nearly useless IMO. I have several other cameras that take good movies that size and don't bother using movie mode on them. One of those cameras is stabilized and has a 12X lens, but I still don't bother with the movies. The Z750 is the first digital I've owned that the movies are worth taking.

You might consider dropping your MPEG4 requirement and getting a larger memory card. You don't tend to take long movies with a digital camera – at least I don't. There are more cameras out there with good movies but not MPEG4.

The Pentax 750Z takes only one Mb/sec compared to 2Mb/sec on most cameras without MPEG4. The 640 X 480 movies at 30fps are reported to be good. It has a 5X optical lens and an articulated LCD. The only thing I don't like about the camera is that the full autofocus shutter lag isn't great.


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Old Aug 10, 2005, 11:03 PM   #7
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Just out of curiosity, where's the source of the fact that Z750 takes better quality movies with same encoding than V550? I mean they are both MPEG-4, one records QuickTime movies, one records an AVI movies. Is that a difference in codecs - the way it records the file? I'm extremely happy with V550 movies, and have compared them to Z750 while shopping for cam for months. I definately haven't seen much difference at all, in fact Z750 has that rippling effect problem that Kodak v550 doesn't.
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Old Aug 11, 2005, 8:19 AM   #8
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Thank you Slide for your thorough inputs. I will check out the Casio Z-750 and will probably buy it before I go on the trip (provide that no better camera come out between now and August 25th :-))).
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Old Aug 11, 2005, 4:31 PM   #9
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c0mrade wrote:
Quote:
Just out of curiosity, where's the source of the fact that Z750 takes better quality movies with same encoding than V550? I mean they are both MPEG-4, one records QuickTime movies, one records an AVI movies. Is that a difference in codecs - the way it records the file? I'm extremely happy with V550 movies, and have compared them to Z750 while shopping for cam for months. I definately haven't seen much difference at all, in fact Z750 has that rippling effect problem that Kodak v550 doesn't.
If the V550 is able to anti-alias to that degree it might be why the complaints about the movies. At 640 X 480 you are going to get moiré interference and aliasing (AKA the jaggies) with the right subjects. I haven't gotten any in the movies I've taken, but with the right subject it is inevitable unless the camera has extreme anti-aliasing.

From the conclusion in Steve's review of the V550:
" The V550's movie mode suffers from aggressive compression. At 640x480 and 30fps, the V550's movies consume about 500-kilobytes per second, efficient from a memory perspective, but the resulting moving images have a very noticeable graininess caused by compression artifacts."

From the Z750 review:
" Overall our movie samples were sharp and showed an average amount of compression artifacts."

Download Steve's sample movies and compare them. Maybe he got a bad V550 – it wouldn't be the first time he got a bad camera.

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Old Aug 11, 2005, 11:08 PM   #10
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I can say the Casio EX-S500 is worth it. I've had it for about a week. I really like mine. I had a Z750 and lens error problems. I returned that and bought this.

Superb little camera. I put together some sample images and wrote up a little review.

http://www.redhouseon7th.com/reviews/s500/

I am just a snapshot shooter. This is the perfect camera for me. The size, the images, everything is just right.

Give it a read and see what you think.

-Mike
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