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Old Aug 10, 2006, 10:43 AM   #1
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My 10 year old daughter has had a digital (Aiptek) camera for 1-1/2 years now.
Has recently gotten into creating short videos and using software to create longer "movies."

The other day the camera broke . . . so we are in the market for a new one.

Most important features: Takes photos as well as records video WITH sound; High enough resolution so that the videos will be clearly seen on computer monitor; Expandable memory; Reasonably priced; anything else you deem important.

She has used both Windows Movie Maker and Power Director. Is there another software program that would be best?

I really know nothing about cameras, so any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old Aug 10, 2006, 6:56 PM   #2
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Looks like you need a digital hybrid camera (with decent still picture and camcorder performance), so the Aiptek line of hybrid cameras probably offers you the best value. They all take video with sound and good resolution (640 X 480 pixels), use flash memory card (SD card), and cost between $90-200.

http://www.aiptek.com

lists most current models and MRSP (look at "Digital camcorders"). You can use this for reference before going shopping in the electronic stores, if you don't want to buy online. They have a new DV6 model with optical zoom, which is much better than all the other model's digital zoom (that basically "blows up" the image electronically), but it is not listed in the Aiptek website for some reason. MRSP $199.99.

There is also a hybrid camera forum here at Steve's, in which the Aiptek cameras are one of the most popular brandname discussed. You may want to pay them a visit. Click this:

Hybrid Still/Movie/MP3 Digicams
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Old Aug 10, 2006, 11:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for the information.

I guess I am a little hesitant to go with the Aiptek brand, as that is thetype ofcamera my daughter had been using for just over 1-1/2 years when it broke. Though, there is a good chance that the camera was just used too much and maybe a bit too roughly. The part that is broken is the button that is pushed in order to either take the photo or begin recording the video. When you push the button it stays pushed in and won't pop back out unless you pry it out. When I shake the camera slightly I can hear what appears to be some small piece of metal rattling around inside. My thinking is that the part necessary for the button to work has broken off. Regardless, you would recommend the Aiptek brand then?

Thanks again.
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Old Aug 11, 2006, 2:10 AM   #4
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I personally have only seen Aiptek cameras in stores and I have not used it for any period of time, therefore I cannot give you my personal experience. I am only suggesting this on the basis of value (especially as a "first camera" for a "young person" (I hate calling them "children" because they grow up so quickly nowadays!!))

Currently there are only a few good hybrid cameras that take decent still pictures AND digital videos. All digital cameras now have "video mode", but most of them use a format called MJPEG, which takes up a lot of memory for a small video of poor to decent quality (eg. slow framerate, low resolution). Aiptek and many non-mainstream brands like Mustek, DXG, and lesser camera brandnames like Sanyo, pioneer into newer MPEG4 formats (eg. QuickTime MOV, MP4, Windows ASF) which make decent ot good video with small filesizes (ie. higher data compression). I think Kodak is also following suit into MPEG4 video.

Unfortunately, all the "mainstream" brand cameras easily cost $200+ - my favorite is the Sanyo Xacti series: VPC-C5, C6 and C40, which now sells for as low as about $300, maybe less if you venture into ebay and foreign sellers (but no warranty and any form of guarantee!). Sanyo is not a popular brand in North America, so most likely you can't find them in major retail stores and have to buy it online.

The Sanyo Xactis are _small_ , have good optical zoom lens (C40 having the highest zoom power), good still picture quality (C40 = 4 megapixel (MP), C5 = 5 MP, C6 = 6 MP; C6 has the best picture quality), decent to good video quality (and most likely superior to Aiptek and other non-mainstream brands because of better optical lens; C6 makes the best video in dim lighting). The build quality is also better than the non-mainstream cameras. Another advantage with the Sanyo is that the zoom lens can be operated during video filming, unlike most other digital cameras using video mode. Read Steve's review on some of the Sanyo Xacti models:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/c5.html
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_reviews/c6.html

I don't know how careful your daughter treats her camera, but you know kids are always forgetting and losing things, or banging them around. Maybe your daughter is a very mature and responsible 10 year old who deserves a better and more expensive camera for her tender age.

In any case, the new Aiptek DV6 has 3X optical zoom lens and costs $199.99. With an optical zoom lens, maybe it can now compete with the mainstream hybrid cameras. However, there is no user review yet.

Another hybrid camera I can think of is the Sony DSC-M1 and M2 - but these are VERY EXPENSIVE cameras ($500+) and the video quality is not good.
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