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High-quality video in versatile camera?

 
 
Mike Stucka
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-19-2006
Kind folks,
We're looking to get a better digital camera, one that's highly
versatile. I was very impressed with a few minutes' hands-on time with a
Fuji S6000, which offers a great zoom and some wonderful close-up
opportunities. I didn't get to test it in low-light, though, or test the
video.
Is there a digital camera out there that offers acceptable video?
Our first baby's been ordered, so that's becoming a concern. I don't
know if any versatile digital cameras out there that offer video at
least in the same neighborhood as a cheap video camera?


Mike
 
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irwell
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-19-2006
On Wed, 18 Oct 2006 21:25:49 -0400, Mike Stucka
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>Kind folks,
> We're looking to get a better digital camera, one that's highly
>versatile. I was very impressed with a few minutes' hands-on time with a
>Fuji S6000, which offers a great zoom and some wonderful close-up
>opportunities. I didn't get to test it in low-light, though, or test the
>video.
> Is there a digital camera out there that offers acceptable video?
>Our first baby's been ordered, so that's becoming a concern. I don't
>know if any versatile digital cameras out there that offer video at
>least in the same neighborhood as a cheap video camera?
>
>
>Mike


 
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PTravel
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-19-2006

"Mike Stucka" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> Kind folks,
> We're looking to get a better digital camera, one that's highly
> versatile. I was very impressed with a few minutes' hands-on time with a
> Fuji S6000, which offers a great zoom and some wonderful close-up
> opportunities. I didn't get to test it in low-light, though, or test the
> video.
> Is there a digital camera out there that offers acceptable video?


Short answer: no. However, it depends on how you define "acceptable." The
video quality of any still camera will be far below that of even a medicore
miniDV camcorder, just as the still quality of any camcorder will be far
below that of even a mediocre still camera.


> Our first baby's been ordered, so that's becoming a concern. I don't know
> if any versatile digital cameras out there that offer video at least in
> the same neighborhood as a cheap video camera?
>
>
> Mike



 
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MarkČ
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-19-2006
PTravel wrote:
> "Mike Stucka" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>> Kind folks,
>> We're looking to get a better digital camera, one that's highly
>> versatile. I was very impressed with a few minutes' hands-on time
>> with a Fuji S6000, which offers a great zoom and some wonderful
>> close-up opportunities. I didn't get to test it in low-light,
>> though, or test the video.
>> Is there a digital camera out there that offers acceptable video?

>
> Short answer: no. However, it depends on how you define
> "acceptable." The video quality of any still camera will be far
> below that of even a medicore miniDV camcorder, just as the still
> quality of any camcorder will be far below that of even a mediocre
> still camera.


That's only partially correct.
While it's true that video camera still image capture is always going to be
comparative crap...there are many still- cameras which now offer VERY
comparable VIDEO quality...even up to 60 fps(!)--which is much higher than
standard video capability. A couple years ago, this was not the case...but
there are now many still cameras which are excellent...shooting at full VGA
resolution.

The down-side is that file-sizes are H-U-G-E at the highest quality levels,
meaning storage and capacity for long video recordings become very limited.

Even my dinky little Canon SD700 IS shoots VERY decent video at 30fps and
full VGA.
I shot video right next to a friend of mine who was using a standard digital
video camcorder...
....and my recording was actually BETTER. The image was actually
uperior! -The downside was...she could record the entire show, while I was
limited to the 2GB card I had in my camera...which fills quickly.

-MarkČ
--
Images (Plus Snaps & Grabs) by MarkČ at:
www.pbase.com/markuson


 
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Paul Rubin
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-19-2006
"MarkČ" <mjmorgan(lowest even number here)@cox..net> writes:
> Even my dinky little Canon SD700 IS shoots VERY decent video at 30fps and
> full VGA.
> I shot video right next to a friend of mine who was using a standard digital
> video camcorder...
> ...and my recording was actually BETTER. The image was actually
> uperior! -The downside was...she could record the entire show, while I was
> limited to the 2GB card I had in my camera...which fills quickly.


I think the SD700 won't shoot more than 1GB of video nonstop, even if
you have a larger card. You have a good chance of a 4GB card working
ok in it though.

Somewhat worse, the SD700 if it's like my A530 has no provision for an
external microphone, and the internal mic is mono and not very good.
Sound is actually more important than video in many situations. If
the sound is good, people will overlook lousy video. The reverse is
much less true.
 
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MarkČ
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-19-2006
Paul Rubin wrote:
> "MarkČ" <mjmorgan(lowest even number here)@cox..net> writes:
>> Even my dinky little Canon SD700 IS shoots VERY decent video at
>> 30fps and full VGA.
>> I shot video right next to a friend of mine who was using a standard
>> digital video camcorder...
>> ...and my recording was actually BETTER. The image was actually
>> uperior! -The downside was...she could record the entire show,
>> while I was limited to the 2GB card I had in my camera...which fills
>> quickly.

>
> I think the SD700 won't shoot more than 1GB of video nonstop, even if
> you have a larger card. You have a good chance of a 4GB card working
> ok in it though.


I believe it will continue until the card is full...but I'll check that.
I have a 4GB card in it now...so maybe I'll just do a little test to see.
Regardless...the quality is very high.
The only problem remains one of file size. These files are just HUGE.
On the other hand...it's amazing how useful it was to have that little
camera with me while in Ukraine recently...for those times when my huge
5D/Grip/580EX was not a practical choice.
I elected to leave the dedicated video camera at home this time, and did NOT
miss it due to the very decent quality of the video taken by the tiny 700IS.

>
> Somewhat worse, the SD700 if it's like my A530 has no provision for an
> external microphone, and the internal mic is mono and not very good.
> Sound is actually more important than video in many situations.


I agree with that, except that the "stereo" speakers on most camcorders are
usually so close together--even on externals--that it's not all that
different from mono anyway.

>If
> the sound is good, people will overlook lousy video. The reverse is
> much less true.


I agree with that.
Digital video sound quality is excellent--even if not widely separated,
left-to-right. I've actually used my video camera for sound-only
recordings, and saved only the sound file because it's that good.

--
Images (Plus Snaps & Grabs) by MarkČ at:
www.pbase.com/markuson


 
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snapper@mailinator.com
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-19-2006
On Wed, 18 Oct 2006 21:25:49 -0400, Mike Stucka <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Kind folks,
> We're looking to get a better digital camera, one that's highly
> versatile. I was very impressed with a few minutes' hands-on time with a
> Fuji S6000, which offers a great zoom and some wonderful close-up
> opportunities. I didn't get to test it in low-light, though, or test the
> video.
> Is there a digital camera out there that offers acceptable video?
> Our first baby's been ordered, so that's becoming a concern. I don't
> know if any versatile digital cameras out there that offer video at
> least in the same neighborhood as a cheap video camera?


Check out the Canon S2 IS. The video performance is excellent.


 
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Paul Rubin
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-19-2006
"MarkČ" <mjmorgan(lowest even number here)@cox..net> writes:
> The only problem remains one of file size. These files are just HUGE.


Huh? I thought they were pretty small. Remember that standard DV
video uses about 3 megabytes per second. Does the SD700 burn space
faster than that?

> > Somewhat worse, the SD700 if it's like my A530 has no provision for an
> > external microphone, and the internal mic is mono and not very good.
> > Sound is actually more important than video in many situations.

>
> I agree with that, except that the "stereo" speakers on most camcorders are
> usually so close together--even on externals--that it's not all that
> different from mono anyway.


This is about microphones, not speakers. Single-point stereo
microphones work very well. The trick is that there is a pair of
directional microphones at the same location, not both pointed in the
same direction.

> Digital video sound quality is excellent--even if not widely separated,


It should approximate what you actually hear when you're making the
recording.

See also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereo#...ereo_recording
 
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MarkČ
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-19-2006
Paul Rubin wrote:
> "MarkČ" <mjmorgan(lowest even number here)@cox..net> writes:
>> The only problem remains one of file size. These files are just
>> HUGE.

>
> Huh? I thought they were pretty small. Remember that standard DV
> video uses about 3 megabytes per second. Does the SD700 burn space
> faster than that?
>
>>> Somewhat worse, the SD700 if it's like my A530 has no provision for
>>> an external microphone, and the internal mic is mono and not very
>>> good. Sound is actually more important than video in many
>>> situations.

>>
>> I agree with that, except that the "stereo" speakers on most
>> camcorders are usually so close together--even on externals--that
>> it's not all that different from mono anyway.

>
> This is about microphones, not speakers.


That was a typo... -Meant microphones, of course.

>Single-point stereo
> microphones work very well. The trick is that there is a pair of
> directional microphones at the same location, not both pointed in the
> same direction.


It's better than mono, but they are not typically directional microphones.
If they were, then they wouldn't pick up sounds in front of the camera very
well.



--
Images (Plus Snaps & Grabs) by MarkČ at:
www.pbase.com/markuson


 
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PTravel
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-19-2006

"MarkČ" <mjmorgan(lowest even number here)@cox..net> wrote in message
news:atDZg.48572$nm1.45116@fed1read04...
> PTravel wrote:
>> "Mike Stucka" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>>> Kind folks,
>>> We're looking to get a better digital camera, one that's highly
>>> versatile. I was very impressed with a few minutes' hands-on time
>>> with a Fuji S6000, which offers a great zoom and some wonderful
>>> close-up opportunities. I didn't get to test it in low-light,
>>> though, or test the video.
>>> Is there a digital camera out there that offers acceptable video?

>>
>> Short answer: no. However, it depends on how you define
>> "acceptable." The video quality of any still camera will be far
>> below that of even a medicore miniDV camcorder, just as the still
>> quality of any camcorder will be far below that of even a mediocre
>> still camera.

>
> That's only partially correct.
> While it's true that video camera still image capture is always going to
> be comparative crap...there are many still- cameras which now offer VERY
> comparable VIDEO quality...even up to 60 fps(!)--which is much higher than
> standard video capability. A couple years ago, this was not the
> case...but there are now many still cameras which are excellent...shooting
> at full VGA resolution.


Sorry, but the measure of video quality is the frames per second. Still
cameras must use very high compression rates to store video on an SD or CF
card. All of the ones that I've seen use either mpeg1 or mpeg2. Mpeg1 is
incapable of anything beyond sub-VHS resolution. Mpeg2 is a lossy
compression format that uses temporal compression, meaning subsequent and
prior frames determine the compression of the current frame. Good quality
mpeg compression requires two things: an analysis pass before transcoding
and a high bit rate. No realtime consumer camera is capable of doing
multi-pass transcoding -- all must do so on the fly, so the transcoding is
less efficient. DVD-compliant mpeg2 (which, to my knowledge, none of the
still cameras can do) has a maximum bit rate of approximately 10 mbs (less
to conform to older set-top players). MiniDV camcorders, on the other hand,
use the DV-25 video standard which, while lossy, is not
temporally-compressed. Accordingly, there is no efficiency penalty for
single pass, on-the-fly encoding. The DV-25 standard has a bit rate of 25
mbs, more than 2.5 times the data rate of DVD-compliant mpeg2. The result
is that far less data is lost, far more detail is passed, and the DV-25
video image is vastly superior to anything that can be produced by a
single-pass, temporally-compressed, low-bit rate codec such as is employed
in still cameras. Finally, note that "VGA resolution" is 640 x 280 pixels
per frame. The standard for digital video, including DV-25, is 720 x 480
(NTSC), resulting in a VGA image that has only 88% of the video information
of miniDV. And, finally, note that the NTSC video standard is 30 fps, each
frame consisting of two interlaced alternating fields. The effective video
rate is 60 _fields_ per second, not 60 frames per second. Non-interlaced
video is called "progressive scan," and will result in motion artifacts when
displayed on a standard television (as opposed to a computer monitor).

You are wrong -- no still camera can produce video remotely approaching the
quality of that of a reasonably decent miniDV camcorder.

>
> The down-side is that file-sizes are H-U-G-E at the highest quality
> levels, meaning storage and capacity for long video recordings become very
> limited.


The standard for DV-25 is 13.7 gigabytes per hour. This is not huge by the
standard of today's hard drives, which is why it is easy to edit DV-25 video
on even an entry level computer. Temporally-compressed formats, such as
mpeg2, mpeg4 and DivX, consume substantially less space (there is no hard
standard because the most efficient transcoding format is variable bit
rate). However, unless all you intend to do is simple cuts-only editing,
and don't want to add interesting titles, transitions and effects, or do
compositing or correction, you will find it virtually impossible to do so
without buying expensive software and a state-of-the-art high-powered
computer.

>
> Even my dinky little Canon SD700 IS shoots VERY decent video at 30fps and
> full VGA.


I suspect your definition of "very decent video" differs dramatically from
mine. See what I wrote above about the differences between VGA and digital
video, as well as temporally-compressed codecs versus the miniDV DV-25
standard.

> I shot video right next to a friend of mine who was using a standard
> digital video camcorder...
> ...and my recording was actually BETTER.


Which only goes to prove that there are crappy camcorders out there. I have
two miniDV camcorders, a Sony TRV-20 and a Sony VX2000. The VX2000 is a
prosumer machine that does better-than-broadcast quality. The TRV-20,
however, is a mid- to high-end older consumer machine and I guarantee that
your Canon couldn't begin to approach what I can produce with the TRV-20.
Your Canon, under the best of conditions, will produce VHS-grade video. My
TRV-20, under the worst of conditions, will produce DVD-grade video.

> The image was actually uperior! -The downside was...she could record the
> entire show, while I was limited to the 2GB card I had in my
> camera...which fills quickly.
>
> -MarkČ
> --
> Images (Plus Snaps & Grabs) by MarkČ at:
> www.pbase.com/markuson
>
>



 
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