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Old Aug 29, 2005, 5:36 PM   #1
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What camera has the best movie mode regardless of encoding? All I need is to take short clips and put them on a nearby PC. I could use MiniDV, but I'm wondering if I can get by without tapes.

On another thread the Cannon S2 was called out as having the best overall movie mode. Is this the consensus?

Is there a simpler camera that records movie clips as well?

Thanks, Dave



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Old Aug 30, 2005, 12:04 AM   #2
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Dave,

perhaps a look at this thread might help:

Last edited by musicarvind; Jun 6, 2011 at 1:08 AM.
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Old Aug 30, 2005, 9:26 AM   #3
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Are you talking about Canon S2 IS?

You have to consider the encoding when talking about solid-state memory for the video.

I used Canon Ixus30 & 50 before. They are M-JPEG. The quality is roughly the same as my Kodak v550 mpeg-4. But v550 files are at 1/4 only of Canon. It can hold 30min of movies in a 1GB SD card. For Canon, 1GB can only hold about 8min.

Plus mpeg-4 sometimes attempts to "stand-out" moving objects, making them sharper and more pleasing to the eyes (although a bit exaggerated, somebodies may feel).

And v550 can zoom during video. Not sure if Canon S2 can do that as well or not (a salesman in a shop told me not).

But if you care more about still-picture quality and functions (manual controls), S2 may be better. But I think too bulky / odd shape to be carried around.
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Old Aug 30, 2005, 1:54 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback. I went to frys to pick one out and ended up bying the CASIO EX-S500 on an impulse. It looks nice. We'll see about the quality. This model has an HQ 640x480 MPEG-4 mode that is 4Mb/s so with a 2G SD card it can record a little over an hour which is probably all the battery lasts anyway.
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Old Sep 1, 2005, 12:06 AM   #5
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Canon does not employ the degree of compression that other companies have adopted, and file size is limited to 1 gig per clip (about 8 minutes at max resolution and frame rate). Then again, I think the video quality of the Canon is better, as there are tradeoffs when compression is increased. Also, with the advent of multi gigabyte SD cards, you only lose a few seconds between the time one clip is finalized, and another is started.

The image stabilizer on the S2 only corrects vertical motion in movie mode, so as not to interfere with video panning. The effect is incredible. Handheld movies taken with the S2 look like they were made with commercial "steadycam" equipment. The jittery frames of the super 8 era are gone for good. Auto focus, white balance, and auto exposure on the S2 are also superb, and fast acting. The DIGIC II chip works it's magic well in those departments. The stereo sound in movie mode is also fantastic. At max bitrate, it's quality is astounding. It is fully adjustable for sensitivity, and has a high quality software based windscreen that does what it's name implies without hurting the quality of the recording. Keep in mind that if you choose to record video at less than full screen TV size, and at 15, rather than 30 frames per second, you can pack nearly an hour on a 1 gig SD card before reaching the barrier.

I prefer to film movies at the highest quality for 8 minutes at a time, and edit my clips into a finished product on my PC. Snapping full 5mp still shots while shooting a movie is also a bonus that I find addictive in practise. There are other digicams out there that do great video, and I don't mean to slight them at all. I just want to make sure that you know what my favorite digicam can do right out of the box.

One last (and important) point. When shooting movies with the S2, you not only have the amazing Canon IS system working for you, but you have full use of the 12x optical zoom at your fingertips. The camera shop employee who suggested that zoom was locked out in movie mode on the S2 should get a job flipping burgers, as he is trying to council people on what camera to buy when he has no clue himself. In movie mode, the zoom rate slows down from the fast still photo zoom rate to a reasonable rate for moving pictures. The result is very pleasing when viewing the finished product. Also, the ultrasonic drive motor of the zoom mechanism does not add a trace of noise to the sensitive stereo mics built into the camera body. The S2 does movies in a spectacular manner....

Voyager
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Old Sep 1, 2005, 12:45 AM   #6
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Dave,

Just curious, but what turned you to the Casio after searching for a great movie taking digicam? Casio makes some great products, and that model is a nice pocket cam, but it uses ultra high compression video recording, mono sound recording (as I recall), no image stabilizer at all in movie mode, pseudo IS in still mode, and only has a 3x zoom with awfull specs (f5.2 at 3x). To make bad seem worse, use of the limited 3x zoom is locked out in movie mode, and it still costs as much on the street as three or four other cameras that are capable of recording spectacular movies. It also costs about $100 more than at least one great movie taking digicam still on the market as well.

Again, I'm just curious. What combination of features clinched the deal with the Casio EX-S500?

Voyager
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Old Sep 1, 2005, 2:12 AM   #7
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It was a simple mars vs. venus tradeoff. I thought my wife would like the way the camera looked. I checked out the movie clips and they were good enough to give camera a try. In the worst case, I would have a nice little happy snap camera. My wife does love the camera, so that's nice. I still don't know about the movie quality.

Also, I think the movie feature is on a rapid innovation cycle. It's likely that no matter what I bought I'd want another one in 24 months or maybe next Feb when the new cameras are announced.
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Old Sep 1, 2005, 4:39 AM   #8
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Voyager,

I appreciated your efforts.

the Hun

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Old Sep 12, 2005, 12:16 AM   #9
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I thought I'd give a breif experience report. My wife took some video on a trip to visit her folks. Every shot was hand held and under poor lighting conditions. The results were not great, but they were good. Initially, when I played the video back on my notebook, it was very jerky. This turned out to be a problem with the payback on the notebook. On a desktop it was fine. I used Ulead to burn a DVD of the video using "best 2 pass" and it looks quite nice. Not pro, by any standards, but there definitely is a niche for this style of camera. As I said before, my wife loves it.
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Old Sep 12, 2005, 1:28 AM   #10
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i think the video mode on the sony dscw5 is reallly good. It has 640 mode at 30fps so its nice and smooth but kills the mem. I have a 512mb pro ms and it onlhy holds arnd 6min at the fast frame rate. At the slower rate i think its around 20mins

The catch it that you need to have a pro card in order to get 30fps, so any sony card 256 upwards
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