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LW Video Camera
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Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
LW Video Camera on 03/04/2007 07:08:20 MST Print View

Looking for advice on a LW Digital Video Camera.

1: Good quality video sufficient for med size internet broadcast, on screen view about 6+" wide
2:Audio, w/ ext mic ability if possible or if needed
3:Hopefully also a good 5+mp still camera option
4:Lightweight
5: If it is a video/audio option as part of a mainly still camera, that may work if the clip length is not limited and the video/audio quality is high enough.
6: Wide angle lens more than 35mm equiv. would be most helpful.

It would be used for making How To user manuals and training videos for mountainlaureldesigns.com.

I have an extensive digital photo background but not much recent video or LW video gear.

I don't mind some extra weight for better qualty but do not want to get over about a pound total for the whole kit.

Any folks using anything like this? Advice from current video camera users appreciated. URL links to examples of the suggested cameras' video would be great.

I'm betting that with in a few years we will see LOTS more user backcounrty videocasts.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Some suggestions on 03/05/2007 03:01:28 MST Print View

Hi Ron
The difficult parameter in your request is the wide angle lens. Because consumers are obsessed with high power, we are up to 40x optical in a camcorder , the zoom starts at a 45/50mm equivalent with most of the camcorders. We are about to be flooded with the 07 models, 17 by Sony alone, so I have had not the time to check them out, too busy selling the 06 version.
One option of course is using the wide angle converter, you can get a decent 0.7 ( a 45mm lens would become a 31mm lens) , interested in this solution ?
Or you can get still cameras that take video ( continuous till the card runs out) at up to 1280x720 (HD) for example the new Canon TX1 (39-390mm) 7.1MP and a few Sonys, or many at 640x480 at 30 fps, more than good enough for the internet. I am testing at the moment the new Olympus SP550, 18x (!) optical zoom, 28mm to 500 something, but have not tried out the movie mode as yet.
10 min later... I have tried the movie mode but could not get the sound to work .The video considering it's nigh time here is pretty good. Like most still cameras it goes out of focus when you zoom. As a still camera the lens is a little soft ( better at the wide end than the tele) but nevertheless an amazing package.
I don't know of any still camera with mic in, in fact they are now rare on video cameras too ( apart from the "prosumer" models)
A nice little video camera was the Canon Elura 100, 40mm on 16:9 when you turn the stabilizer off. Discontinued but still available there. It does have mic in, voted camera of the year by Camcorder Info after (but possibly not because) I recommended that one to a certain tent designer, he is happy with it and we are still waiting for the video clips to appear.
BTW you will pick up the camera noise with the mic on most still cameras.
Maybe a compromise can be found in the Sanyo Xacti HD2, 720p for video and 7mp for still. I tested the HD1 last year for a Melbourne paper, ( 5mp stills) found it to be fun to use but not good for moving subjects ( heavy mpeg4 compression) and pretty much useless in low light. The stills were not brilliant but good enough for the net .The HD2 has a 7mp chip, new firmware for better low light performance but has lost the better than average OLED screen. The up side is the size and weight and the mic in .
210g, 80x119x36mm, 38-380mm 35mm equivalent.
There are several Pana and Sony coming out that use AVC HD compression and have a largish CMOS/CCD , around 1/3" , six/8mp, but this type of MPEG4 compression is difficult to edit. No commercially available software for it at the moment. You can download the data as an MPEG4 file and then with the software provided transcoded to MPEG2. MPEG 2 is also a PITA to edit. The easiest is DV Soft the standard mini DV compression.
If any of the above makes sense, let me know to see if I can narrow the choice to a specific model.
Franco

Edited by Franco on 03/05/2007 14:35:42 MST.