Avoid the Canon Powershot A620 digital camera

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Racer X, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. Racer X

    Racer X Guest

    Hi all,

    I want to tell you about a serious flaw in the
    Canon Powershot A620, which required that I return
    my A620. I assumed it was just a defect in my camera alone,
    but in searching Usenet I have discovered that others
    have had the same problem.

    This camera initially seems novel because it allows
    shooting movies at 30 frames per second in 640x480
    resolution, which might make you think that you could
    buy it instead of a video camera. That would be a mistake.
    If you want to shoot a movie, buy a video camera
    and not this $400 hunk of junk.

    Because when shooting a movie, the camera records not only
    the sound of what is going on at the time, but also a
    very annoying high-pitch hiss. There is no setting to change
    to remove the hiss. It is very distracting and can seem
    quite loud.

    It could be a flaw of the camera's design, or it could
    be a defect in a certain percentage of the A620's.
    Who knows.

    If you return this camera to a store for a refund,
    beware: if the store knows about the problem, they
    will try to prevent you returning it. In my case
    it was Bestbuy. I had thought it was a trustworthy
    store but now, after being forced to run a gauntlet
    just to return the defective camera, I will never
    buy there again.

    On top of that, the test photos that I took
    with the A620 really didn't look very good.
    It seems Canon has 'dropped the ball' as far as
    quality is concerned.

    RX
    Racer X, Jan 9, 2006
    #1
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  2. Racer X

    Steve Irwin Guest

    Racer X wrote:
    >
    > I want to tell you about a serious flaw in the
    > Canon Powershot A620, which required that I return
    > my A620. I assumed it was just a defect in my camera alone,
    > but in searching Usenet I have discovered that others
    > have had the same problem.


    hmmm - i was about to recommend the a610 to someone, perhaps i
    shouldn't. unusual for canon to produce something *that* bad. keen to
    hear what others have to say.

    from your original post it seemed as though your problems were with the
    movie mode, although you commented that the quality of the photographs
    wasn't good either. could you expand on this? (i wouldn't expect
    ultrahigh quality movies, but i'm interested to hear the quality of the
    stills)
    Steve Irwin, Jan 9, 2006
    #2
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  3. In article <>, Racer X wrote:
    >Hi all,
    >
    >I want to tell you about a serious flaw in the
    >Canon Powershot A620, which required that I return
    >my A620. I assumed it was just a defect in my camera alone,
    >but in searching Usenet I have discovered that others
    >have had the same problem.
    >
    >This camera initially seems novel because it allows
    >shooting movies at 30 frames per second in 640x480
    >resolution, which might make you think that you could
    >buy it instead of a video camera. That would be a mistake.
    >If you want to shoot a movie, buy a video camera
    >and not this $400 hunk of junk.
    >
    >Because when shooting a movie, the camera records not only
    >the sound of what is going on at the time, but also a
    >very annoying high-pitch hiss. There is no setting to change
    >to remove the hiss. It is very distracting and can seem
    >quite loud.
    >
    >It could be a flaw of the camera's design, or it could
    >be a defect in a certain percentage of the A620's.
    >Who knows.
    >
    >If you return this camera to a store for a refund,
    >beware: if the store knows about the problem, they
    >will try to prevent you returning it. In my case
    >it was Bestbuy. I had thought it was a trustworthy
    >store but now, after being forced to run a gauntlet
    >just to return the defective camera, I will never
    >buy there again.
    >
    >On top of that, the test photos that I took
    >with the A620 really didn't look very good.
    >It seems Canon has 'dropped the ball' as far as
    >quality is concerned.


    I do want to tell everyone that I have a different model Canon
    "Powershot" series camera and I am happy with it.

    I do shoot movies with it. I am happy with it for that also, although
    there are limitations in sound quality.

    There are inherent limitations to sound quality when the microphone is
    built into the camera. Workarounds and options for sound touchup I would
    not expect in this price range, but maybe in the $800-plus price range.

    If you shoot movies and want to do equalization on the sound track, then
    I suggest finding software to do that. Reducing content at frequencies
    above about 4 KHz should reduce hiss. An alternative is to hack the
    camera to add a capacitor in the microphone circuit to reduce content at
    higher frequencies where most of the hiss is.

    Better sound quality typically requires a higher price range and/or a
    microphone separate from the camera.

    - Don Klipstein ()
    Don Klipstein, Jan 9, 2006
    #3
  4. Racer X

    Logan Shaw Guest

    Don Klipstein wrote:
    > If you shoot movies and want to do equalization on the sound track, then
    > I suggest finding software to do that. Reducing content at frequencies
    > above about 4 KHz should reduce hiss. An alternative is to hack the
    > camera to add a capacitor in the microphone circuit to reduce content at
    > higher frequencies where most of the hiss is.


    Assuming that the hiss is coming in at that early a stage and not through
    some crappy electronics somewhere between the microphone and the A/D
    converter.

    Also, if it is properly designed, everything before the A/D should have
    a signal-to-noise ratio approximately as good as the bit depth that
    the A/D converter achieves across the whole spectrum that the A/D can
    handle based on its sample rate. That is, if it's an 8-bit A/D, then
    the signal-to-noise ratio of the stuff before the A/D should probably
    be around 48 dB (6 dB per bit). And if the sample rate is 44.1 kHz,
    then the signal to noise ratio should be 48 dB or better from 20 Hz
    up to 22.05 kHz (at least).

    Of course, this could be a problem with some kind of super-cheap,
    horrid automatic gain control. The signal going into the A/D might
    be totally at the wrong level. Or maybe it's really just a bunch
    of wind noise. Obviously the microphone can't be all that hot if
    it's a miscellaneous feature in a $400 camera, considering that good
    microphones often cost $400 themselves. :)

    - Logan
    Logan Shaw, Jan 9, 2006
    #4
  5. Racer X

    Abe Guest

    >Hi all,
    >
    >I want to tell you about a serious flaw in the
    >Canon Powershot A620, which required that I return
    >my A620. I assumed it was just a defect in my camera alone,
    >but in searching Usenet I have discovered that others
    >have had the same problem.

    I was more bothered by the fact that Maria didn't come with the
    camera.
    Abe, Jan 9, 2006
    #5
  6. > This camera initially seems novel because it allows
    > shooting movies at 30 frames per second in 640x480
    > resolution, which might make you think that you could
    > buy it instead of a video camera. That would be a mistake.
    > If you want to shoot a movie, buy a video camera
    > and not this $400 hunk of junk.


    Anyone who buys a digital stills camera because they think it will allow
    them to shoot a movie is starting with a deluded perspective. A movie
    mode is an add on, normally provided because "it can" and "it's fun,"
    rather than because it's any good. The best digital cameras don't have
    movie mode at all.

    Just because one of the gimmicky features of the camera you've bought
    isn't up to standard, that doesn't mean the camera is a hunk of junk.
    Try using it for what it was designed for.
    Derek Fountain, Jan 9, 2006
    #6
  7. Racer X

    Rod Speed Guest

    Logan Shaw <> wrote:
    > Don Klipstein wrote:
    >> If you shoot movies and want to do equalization on the sound
    >> track, then I suggest finding software to do that. Reducing content
    >> at frequencies above about 4 KHz should reduce hiss. An alternative
    >> is to hack the camera to add a capacitor in the microphone circuit
    >> to reduce content at higher frequencies where most of the hiss is.

    >
    > Assuming that the hiss is coming in at that early a stage and not
    > through some crappy electronics somewhere between the microphone and
    > the A/D converter.
    >
    > Also, if it is properly designed, everything before the A/D should
    > have a signal-to-noise ratio approximately as good as the bit depth
    > that the A/D converter achieves across the whole spectrum that the A/D can
    > handle based on its sample rate. That is, if it's an 8-bit A/D, then
    > the signal-to-noise ratio of the stuff before the A/D should probably
    > be around 48 dB (6 dB per bit). And if the sample rate is 44.1 kHz,
    > then the signal to noise ratio should be 48 dB or better from 20 Hz
    > up to 22.05 kHz (at least).
    >
    > Of course, this could be a problem with some kind of super-cheap,
    > horrid automatic gain control. The signal going into the A/D might
    > be totally at the wrong level. Or maybe it's really just a bunch
    > of wind noise. Obviously the microphone can't be all that hot if
    > it's a miscellaneous feature in a $400 camera, considering that good
    > microphones often cost $400 themselves. :)


    There's plenty of dirt cheap mics that dont have that obvious problem.
    Rod Speed, Jan 9, 2006
    #7
  8. On Sun, 08 Jan 2006 19:38:31 -0500, Racer X wrote:

    > I want to tell you about a serious flaw in the
    > Canon Powershot A620


    d'oh! it's a still camera, for god's sake. you get what you pay for. oh, by
    the way, filtering out the noise shouldn't be a big problem.

    --
    * * * * * S U P E R ! * * * * *
    nino ej kej ej donut, Jan 9, 2006
    #8
  9. Racer X

    santosh Guest

    if anybody is interested in Digital camera and would like to have movie
    with 30 frames per second and of good quality and length, one can look
    at Kodak v550. It is 5 Mpixels, 3x optical zoom, and can shoot 14 min
    of good quality on 512 MB SD card. Its really good.
    ~Santosh
    santosh, Jan 9, 2006
    #9
  10. Racer X

    Bill Funk Guest

    On Sun, 08 Jan 2006 19:38:31 -0500, Racer X <>
    wrote:

    >Hi all,
    >
    >I want to tell you about a serious flaw in the
    >Canon Powershot A620, which required that I return
    >my A620. I assumed it was just a defect in my camera alone,
    >but in searching Usenet I have discovered that others
    >have had the same problem.


    There would be a lot less noise here if you'd post what you want to
    say, then stop posting.

    --
    Bill Funk
    Replace "g" with "a"
    funktionality.blogspot.com
    Bill Funk, Jan 9, 2006
    #10
  11. In article <g1owf.32579$>, Logan Shaw wrote:
    >Don Klipstein wrote:
    >> If you shoot movies and want to do equalization on the sound track, then
    >> I suggest finding software to do that. Reducing content at frequencies
    >> above about 4 KHz should reduce hiss. An alternative is to hack the
    >> camera to add a capacitor in the microphone circuit to reduce content at
    >> higher frequencies where most of the hiss is.

    >
    >Assuming that the hiss is coming in at that early a stage and not through
    >some crappy electronics somewhere between the microphone and the A/D
    >converter.


    A common weak point is condenser microphones and/or the first stage of
    amplification - sometimes built into the microphone package.

    >Also, if it is properly designed, everything before the A/D should have
    >a signal-to-noise ratio approximately as good as the bit depth that
    >the A/D converter achieves across the whole spectrum that the A/D can
    >handle based on its sample rate. That is, if it's an 8-bit A/D, then
    >the signal-to-noise ratio of the stuff before the A/D should probably
    >be around 48 dB (6 dB per bit). And if the sample rate is 44.1 kHz,
    >then the signal to noise ratio should be 48 dB or better from 20 Hz
    >up to 22.05 kHz (at least).


    I have heard 8-bit audio. No way my Powershot A70 has 8-bit audio,
    gotta be much better than that. 8-bit in my experience is always more
    distorted than the soundtracks from my camera. Since I always hear
    noise and it sounds like I only get s/n estimated about 40 dB, most of
    my noise would have to come from before the A/D converter. Wondering if
    it would be worse if I played back through speakers with good high
    frequency response?

    >Of course, this could be a problem with some kind of super-cheap,
    >horrid automatic gain control. The signal going into the A/D might
    >be totally at the wrong level. Or maybe it's really just a bunch
    >of wind noise. Obviously the microphone can't be all that hot if
    >it's a miscellaneous feature in a $400 camera, considering that good
    >microphones often cost $400 themselves. :)


    I think it's mainly the microphone, maybe also the first stage of
    electronics after the microphone element (possibly inside the microphone
    package). Some of the noise I hear sounds like some kind of wind noise
    but I always hear noise.

    - Don Klipstein ()
    Don Klipstein, Jan 9, 2006
    #11
  12. Racer X

    Logan Shaw Guest

    Don Klipstein wrote:
    > I have heard 8-bit audio. No way my Powershot A70 has 8-bit audio,
    > gotta be much better than that. 8-bit in my experience is always more
    > distorted than the soundtracks from my camera. Since I always hear
    > noise and it sounds like I only get s/n estimated about 40 dB, most of
    > my noise would have to come from before the A/D converter. Wondering if
    > it would be worse if I played back through speakers with good high
    > frequency response?


    Yeah, probably, unless the sample rate is low and you aren't even
    getting much high-frequency content at all.

    By the way, 8-bit audio doesn't have to sound really distorted.
    If you compress the SNOT out of a signal before converting it
    to 8 bit, it can sound fairly distortion-free. I did this one
    time when converting some audio for use in a Palm OS program
    where we needed to go with 8 bit for reasons of size. Also,
    the regular telephone network uses 8-bit samples and they sound
    relatively undistorted because they compress the signal within
    an inch of its life.

    > I think it's mainly the microphone, maybe also the first stage of
    > electronics after the microphone element (possibly inside the microphone
    > package). Some of the noise I hear sounds like some kind of wind noise
    > but I always hear noise.


    Yeah, you're probably right. I'm starting to remember hearing that
    condenser mics often have high self-noise, and then it's not surprising
    at all there would be a noisy pre-amp in there. This is an area where
    you'd totally expect a manufacturer to skimp on parts, because it's a
    little-used function and pennies count.

    - Logan
    Logan Shaw, Jan 9, 2006
    #12
  13. Racer X

    Racer X Guest


    > Try using it for what it was designed for.


    I did. It's designed for still *and* movies.
    Racer X, Jan 10, 2006
    #13
  14. Racer X

    Racer X Guest

    Rod Speed wrote:
    > Logan Shaw <> wrote:
    >
    >>Don Klipstein wrote:
    >>
    >>> If you shoot movies and want to do equalization on the sound
    >>>track, then I suggest finding software to do that. Reducing content
    >>>at frequencies above about 4 KHz should reduce hiss. An alternative
    >>>is to hack the camera to add a capacitor in the microphone circuit
    >>>to reduce content at higher frequencies where most of the hiss is.

    >>
    >>Assuming that the hiss is coming in at that early a stage and not
    >>through some crappy electronics somewhere between the microphone and
    >>the A/D converter.
    >>
    >>Also, if it is properly designed, everything before the A/D should
    >>have a signal-to-noise ratio approximately as good as the bit depth
    >>that the A/D converter achieves across the whole spectrum that the A/D can
    >>handle based on its sample rate. That is, if it's an 8-bit A/D, then
    >>the signal-to-noise ratio of the stuff before the A/D should probably
    >>be around 48 dB (6 dB per bit). And if the sample rate is 44.1 kHz,
    >>then the signal to noise ratio should be 48 dB or better from 20 Hz
    >>up to 22.05 kHz (at least).
    >>
    >>Of course, this could be a problem with some kind of super-cheap,
    >>horrid automatic gain control. The signal going into the A/D might
    >>be totally at the wrong level. Or maybe it's really just a bunch
    >>of wind noise. Obviously the microphone can't be all that hot if
    >>it's a miscellaneous feature in a $400 camera, considering that good
    >>microphones often cost $400 themselves. :)

    >
    >
    > There's plenty of dirt cheap mics that dont have that obvious problem.


    Any $5 headphones can be also used as a
    good quality microphone. I know because I've
    tried it. The signal is weak but the noise
    is typically small.
    Racer X, Jan 10, 2006
    #14
  15. Racer X

    Racer X Guest

    Don Klipstein wrote:

    > I think it's mainly the microphone, maybe also the first stage of
    > electronics after the microphone element (possibly inside the microphone
    > package).


    Just a comment, the A80 that I used to own never had
    this noise problem, nor does my friend's A70. This is
    an A620 issue.
    Racer X, Jan 10, 2006
    #15
  16. --
    Tzortzakakis Dimitrios
    major in electrical engineering,freelance electrician
    FH von Iraklion-Kreta, freiberuflicher Elektriker
    dimtzort AT otenet DOT gr
    ? "Racer X" <> ?????? ??? ??????
    news:...
    >
    > > Try using it for what it was designed for.

    >
    > I did. It's designed for still *and* movies.

    I agree with everyone saying that a still camera is *mainly* intented for
    still pictures, while a camcorder is mainly designed for movies.So none does
    both in excellence.My digital still camera (Kodak CX 7300) only takes silent
    video and worse than an 1981 camcorder, but this never bothers me as it's
    quite sympathetic even that bad video for my cousins in Canada, to see my
    sister's fiancee brother playing the piano.For *real*movies I have the 8mm
    Sony CCD-TR425E pal which is even today excellent.Of course it's no good for
    overseas relatives since VCRs in USA and Canada don't playback PAL cassetes,
    I asked'em.
    Tzortzakakis Dimitrios, Jan 12, 2006
    #16
  17. Tzortzakakis Dimitrios wrote:
    []
    > I agree with everyone saying that a still camera is *mainly* intented
    > for still pictures, while a camcorder is mainly designed for
    > movies.So none does both in excellence.My digital still camera (Kodak
    > CX 7300) only takes silent video and worse than an 1981 camcorder,
    > but this never bothers me as it's quite sympathetic even that bad
    > video for my cousins in Canada, to see my sister's fiancee brother
    > playing the piano.For *real*movies I have the 8mm Sony CCD-TR425E pal
    > which is even today excellent.Of course it's no good for overseas
    > relatives since VCRs in USA and Canada don't playback PAL cassetes, I
    > asked'em.


    ... whereas your relatives anywhere in the world /could/ most likely view
    the .MOV files produced by today's digital cameras. Cameras like the
    Nikon 8400 can produce 640 x 480 pixel movies at 30 fps, probably at least
    as good as your 1981 camcorder, with added benefit of electronic image
    stabilisation.

    David
    David J Taylor, Jan 12, 2006
    #17
  18. Racer X <> writes:

    >> Try using it for what it was designed for.


    >I did. It's designed for still *and* movies.


    It's generally agreed (if you bothered to read the photo and video
    newsgroups that you are now sending your complaints to) that most
    digital still cameras make poor movie cameras at best, and most movie
    cameras make poor still cameras at best.

    If you really insist on having a single camera for both purposes, you
    might have tried searching for discussion of that issue in these
    newsgroups. Various people recommended the Canon S2IS, among Canon
    cameras, as one whose video capabilities were pretty good. Nobody has
    recommended the A620 for its video as far as I can remember.

    I'll bet that you're spending more time now complaining about the A620
    than you ever spent researching cameras before you bought one. If so,
    doesn't that seem a bit strange?

    Dave
    Dave Martindale, Jan 12, 2006
    #18
  19. Racer X

    Rod Speed Guest

    Dave Martindale <> wrote:
    > Racer X <> writes:
    >
    >>> Try using it for what it was designed for.

    >
    >> I did. It's designed for still *and* movies.

    >
    > It's generally agreed (if you bothered to read the photo and video
    > newsgroups that you are now sending your complaints to) that most
    > digital still cameras make poor movie cameras at best, and most movie
    > cameras make poor still cameras at best.
    >
    > If you really insist on having a single camera for both purposes, you
    > might have tried searching for discussion of that issue in these
    > newsgroups. Various people recommended the Canon S2IS, among Canon
    > cameras, as one whose video capabilities were pretty good. Nobody has
    > recommended the A620 for its video as far as I can remember.
    >
    > I'll bet that you're spending more time now complaining about the A620
    > than you ever spent researching cameras before you bought one. If so,
    > doesn't that seem a bit strange?


    All completely irrelevant to the problem he actually had with the
    A620, LOUSY SOUND, WITH A HIGH BACKGROUND HISS.

    It should be routine to avoid that with any decently designed camera.
    Rod Speed, Jan 12, 2006
    #19
  20. Racer X

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Tzortzakakis Dimitrios wrote:
    > --
    > Tzortzakakis Dimitrios
    > major in electrical engineering,freelance electrician
    > FH von Iraklion-Kreta, freiberuflicher Elektriker
    > dimtzort AT otenet DOT gr
    > ? "Racer X" <> ?????? ??? ??????
    > news:...
    >>> Try using it for what it was designed for.

    >> I did. It's designed for still *and* movies.

    > I agree with everyone saying that a still camera is *mainly* intented for
    > still pictures, while a camcorder is mainly designed for movies.So none does
    > both in excellence.My digital still camera (Kodak CX 7300) only takes silent
    > video and worse than an 1981 camcorder, but this never bothers me as it's
    > quite sympathetic even that bad video for my cousins in Canada, to see my
    > sister's fiancee brother playing the piano.For *real*movies I have the 8mm
    > Sony CCD-TR425E pal which is even today excellent.Of course it's no good for
    > overseas relatives since VCRs in USA and Canada don't playback PAL cassetes,
    > I asked'em.
    >
    >

    Some of the newer digital cameras make excellent short videos. You
    might check out the Kodak C330, which does full motion VGA video an
    allows many options while shooting. Or go with the P850 which does
    great stills, and great video. If you don't want to carry both types of
    camera around, the ability to do good video and stills in one camera is
    a nice feature.
    Ron Hunter, Jan 13, 2006
    #20
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