Saturday, January 09, 2010

A curse on the name of Bloggie

Out of curiosity, I trekked to the Sony Style store today to see whether they had any of the cameras that had been announced at CES. Luck was sort of with me, as they had both of the new “Bloggie” cameras out on display.

I’m particularly interested in the MHS-PM5K - the kit version of the MHS-PM5 that comes with a 360 degree lens - but there was no indication of this model in the signs next to the two they had out on display, or the three that were inside a glass display case.

I will say this; I was surprised at how thin the MHS-PM5 is; it’s 19mm thick according to the spec, 5mm thinner than the previous model. It’s not much bigger than my iPhone.

Though the video display on the back of the camera is pretty big, the actual video image is small. Much of the display shows other information about the camera operation, clip duration, etc. Of course, the camera itself isn’t that wide, so there’s not much they could do about that, but the small size display is something to consider. And while the tilt lens is kind of interesting, the lack of an optical zoom would probably annoy me.

Still, I was curious about the PM5K, so I asked someone by the glass case about it, and here is where it gets awkward, because the MHS-PM5 might be a short series of numbers and letters, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember them when the person asked me if I wanted help.

“Ahh…do you have the kit version of the …uhh…” I waved in the general direction of the display models, “the bloggie camera.” I added quickly. I might not have said that last part very loudly as there’s something about the word bloggie that - unless you have a four-year old - you don’t expect to be saying to someone. And of course, because I kind of mumbled it, the person didn’t understand. Either that or they weren’t aware of the new name.
“The what?”they said.
I took a breath and tried again.
“The Bloggie,” I said, “the new camera,” and I waved in the direction of the cameras.
“Oh yes, we’ve got those!”
“The Kit version?” I asked.
“The what?”

I explained about the Kit version having an extra lens, and the sales person clearly had no idea about it, but did a search and said “Oh yes, we have two,” and then a pause, “oh, they’re both out on display,” and she peered at the three behind the glass case as though looking to see if they were labeled. “We don’t have any then,” she finally said.
“Do you now when you’ll be getting some?”I asked.
“I don’t,” she smiled a little embarrassed. “They don’t tell us that kind of thing, but probably in ten days?” she said, hopefully. She gave me the phone number of the store and suggested I try calling.

I just don’t know if I want to call up and ask if they have a Bloggie. I mean Bloggie? Really? What was the matter with the previous name: Webbie? It wasn’t great, but Bloggie just seems worse. If the Webbie was an unpopular name, do they really think that Bloggie will be any better? And even if the previous models didn’t sell that well, I detected no great groundswell against the Webbie models on the internets.

And if Bloggie doesn’t work, what will the next series be? The FacePicker?

HF S21 First Impressions Review has a "First Impressions Review" of the Canon Vixia HF S21, the new top of the line consumer camcorder. It has the same lens and sensor as last years HF S10, but with new LCD touchscreen, new Optical Image Stabilization, an electronic viewfinder, and native 24p mode.

Just be warned, though it describes features and functionality, this isn't a full review; they didn't do any of the image/motion tests that they usually perform on their actual reviews.

More on Bloggie 360 video

Sony has posted a video on YouTube on the new "Bloggie" MHS-PM5 and there's a little bit about the 360 degree lens and video capability at the very end.

The lens is described as plastic, though it obviously must be a tiny parabolic(?) mirror.

The interesting thing is the video playback; it requires their custom software to play back the video, and it shows a 360 degree view thumbnail at the bottom, with an enlarged 4:3 section of the window above that. You can drag back and forth across the panorama thumbnail changing what region is displayed in the enlarged video above.

Now I'm just looking at video of the video, but it looks pretty pixelatedly awful! This isn't a surprise; it's saving a 360 degree panorama in a 1920 x 1080 frame, but I'm hoping you can actually have the whole 360 degree panorama play on the screen; that might be kind of fun.

Since the camera also takes higher resolution stills, perhaps the lens will be useful for taking panoramic stills too...

Reader Question: HVR-Z5U or Canon 5D Mark II?

We get letters! Okay, an email once and a while, but the latest one asked an interesting question: should the writer ditch his HVR-Z5U and get a Canon 5D Mark II? Has he not read my recent posts?! Well, I thought it was an interesting enough question to take a whack at:

What's your thoughts on me selling my Sony HVR Z5U to get a Cannon 5D Mark II? I'm a Television Production student drop out who's getting interested in still photography. I would also like to eventually shoot short films and documentary videos.

My Z5U sits in it's camera bag with it's compact flash recorder and has been used approx. 5 times. I use a Kodak Zi6 on almost a daily basis because of it's size. The Cannon Mark II appeals to me because of it's size and ability to shoot HD video and stills.

Any thoughts?

That’s a difficult question because I think the Z5U (despite the arrival of NXCAM) and the 5D Mark II are both awesome cameras, but they are very different cameras. Which one is right for you really depends on what you are shooting and how you like to shoot. [Note that for the sake of making this discussion simple, I’m excluding questions of picture quality, low-light capabilites and post-production, and just going to focus on what it’s like to use these cameras to shoot with.]

The 5D Mark II is awesome, but if you’re going to be doing a lot of shooting, you’re probably going to need to get some kind of matte box, rack focusing and a viewfinder cover to make the shooting easier. Add to that a few lenses, and the price - and size - quickly adds up; the 5D II is unlikely to be cheaper than the Z5U, and may end up costing you more.

And even with these additions, for run and gun work, I still think a “real” video camera is a lot easier to operate and will produce more consistent results. The 5D Mark II will give you spectacular results, but I think you have to work a little harder (primarily with focusing).

Another way to put it is that the 5D Mark II (and other DSLRs) are more of a “creative” tool, while the Z5U is more utilitarian.

Some argue that another advantage of the DSLR is that it can be used in places where a camera like the Z5U may attract unwanted attention, and that the people you are shooting may be more comfortable in front of an SLR than a big video camera. Those are good points, and I’d add that a camera you have with you is a lot more useful than one that’s at home in the bag.

And as much as I might prefer a Z5U for most of my shooting (primarily documentary), looking at your current situation I can’t help thinking that you already have your answer; if you’re never using the Z5U, then maybe the 5D II is the camera for you – or at least you might use the thing more!

What are you shooting with the Zi6? The 5D II is a bit smaller than the Z5U (unless you’re dragging around several extra lenses etc., with it) but it’s not as small and disposable as a Zi6, and I’d be surprised if you take it with you everywhere. You’ll probably still be using that Zi6. Perhaps you just need a better pocket video camera?

For another point of view, you might want to read the article on Honorarium, about a short film shot with an EX1 and 7D. This is a somewhat similar comparison to the one you are making. I'll save you some time; he likes them both.

One final thought; the Z5U is unlikely to appreciate, and probably will only continue to go down in value, so if you’re going to sell it, now is probably a good time.

Friday, January 08, 2010

HXR-NX5U does 4:2:2 on HDMI

Sony definitely says that the NX5U outputs 4:2:2 out both the HD-SDI port and the HDMI port; it's mentioned in a video with Juan Martinez, Senior Product, that they produced when it was announced.

Which raises the question; what are they sending out the HDR-AX2000's HDMI port?

Interestingly, I thought that when I saw this back in November, he specifically said something about the NXCAM being one of the few cameras (in this class) that outputs 4:2:2; but that doesn't seem to be in there now, so I might have just imagined it.

HONORARIUM: a hybrid 7D/EX-1 short

Steve Mims shot a twelve-and-a -half minute, short fiction film called HONORARIUM late last year using a Sony EX1 and a Canon 7D. He’s written a fairly exhaustive article about how the movie came together and was shot, including all elements of pre- and post production. It makes for a fascinating read.

Clearly he still likes the EX1 – which was used for about half the film – but he found the 7D somewhat revelatory, with it’s low-light abilities:

After having used the EX-1 the day before, the change to the Canon 7D was electrifying. It was as if, optically, we’d switched over to a 35 mm motion picture camera. The 85 mm lens delivered beautiful, glossy, shallow depth of field shots while only being a few feet away from the subject. Additionally, we bumped the ISO up to 800. As the rest of the shoot unfolded we often used no lights. [...] It was really liberating.
Most of the time he used a Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 lens (which is less than $400), as well as the kit lens for some wider shots. His biggest complaint is the lack of a real viewfinder, and that pulling focus was "tricky."

But don’t just read the article to find out more about the EX1 vs. the 7D. There’s lots of interesting little details, including how he solved sound problems encountered with a Mercedes that was too loud by shooting inside a Honda Element:

We mounted the EX-1 on a high-hat atop two apple-boxes directly behind the passenger seat in the Element. Next we put an apple-box in the very rear of the Element. One at a time, I had Reid, then Alex, sit on the apple-box and Kakii drove us out onto to the freeway. By keeping the framing tight, I was able to exclude the giveaways that we weren’t in the Mercedes and the sound was much better.

Sony HDR-AX2000 price (update)

When they announced it a couple of days ago, Sony said the HDR-AX2000 would list at $3,500. Amazon already has pre-orders up for it at $3,499.99.

But the Sony "For Business" website - at the moment - has it up with a list price of $3,199.99  (with an asterisk telling you to ask your reseller or distributor for product pricing!)

Sony HXR-NX5U pre-orders

B& H has the HXR-NX5U available for pre-order at $4,499.95. No availability date is quoted.

MHS-PM5K does 360 video

In my previous post about the Sony Bloggie cameras, I got it wrong about the 360 video. It appears that it's the MHS-PM5 that does 360 video, and it comes as part of a separate "Kit"; the MHS-PM5K, which sells for $189.99 (currently back-ordered on Sony's site. Limited information about the kit can be found at this product page, but there's no samples of the video (yet).

The "lens" looks like a little plastic cap that's placed over the top of the regular lens (see below.)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Sony HDR-AX2000 up at Amazon for February delivery

Sony said yesterday that the HDR-AX2000 would be out in March, but it's already on Amazon with a projected release date of February 8! Price is $3499.99.
No sign of the HXR-NX5, but since that will be sold through Sony's Professional Video unit, it probably won't appear at Amazon for a while.

I see that it's up on too, with approximate delivery in February and a price of TBA.

Sony NXCAM HXR-NX5E review by Nigel Cooper

A video "interview" with freelance film maker Nigel Cooper has been posted at metacafe. It runs a bit like a sales pitch of a listing of product features, alongside some video of him playing with the camera, but if you aren't at CES, then this is better than nothing!

He seems to like the Active Stabilization, and the new LCD screen.

360 Degree video? I thought 3D was the NEXT BIG THING!

Sony announced updates to their Webbie (now Bloggie) cameras.

The previous generation Webbie cameras, the MHS-PM1 and MHS-CM1 were low-cost competitors to the Flip; the PM1 featuring an odd swivel lens model, and the CM1 resembling a regular compact style camera. Both could record HD video at 1440 x 1080 (the same resolution at HDV video.)

Sony MHS-PM5

With the new "Bloggie" models, Sony has updated the MHS-PM1 as the MHS-PM5, adding true 1920 x 1080 recording, simplifying the operation - amongst other things - but keeping the basic shape the same.

For the MHS-CM5 they've gone to a pistol grip format, and - interestingly - added a 360-degree video feature [See UPDATE]:

Sony MHS-CM5

Record everything around you with the included 360 Video lens
Never heard of 360 Video? Now you have. With this latest piece of gadget that comes with [the camera], you can literally record everything that is "around" you. Simply attach this unique add-on lens to the camera and place it in the middle of the action you want to record, for example your house party in the living room, in the car on a camping trip with your friends, etc. to get a full circle 360° footage. This new style of video will surely add a whole lot more fun to your collection of snap shots.
(PMB software is required to view the results.)

I haven't been able to find anything else about this feature (or the add-on lens). Both cameras are expected in early February, listing at $170 (Sony MHS-PM5) and $200 for the MHS-CM5

[UPDATE 11:58PM - I got confused by erroneous information on the Amazon product page. It appears that it's the MHS-PM5 that supports the 360 degree video, and it's a separate "kit" that includes the camera and the special lens for $189.99. I'll post more when I know more!]

More HDR-AX2000 Information

I didn't find it last night, but there is a product information page for the HDR-AX2000 on Sony's site.

Adam Wilt, who did a preview of the HXR-NX5U, also has some information on the HDR-AX2000. He seems to think the camera will support SDHC cards as well as Memory Stick, yet that's not what Sony said in their press release, and the specifications page (above) also has no mention of it.

In addition to the differences I already noted between the HDR-AX2000 and the HXR-NX5U, he adds that the camera lacks:
  • No B&W EVF mode; macro focus; high-speed zoom; smooth-transitioning gain and white-balance; hyper gain; viewfinder markers and safety zones; numerical zoom display and focus distance display in feet; black level, black gamma, knee, and color depth adjustments; manual white balance setting; colorbars with tone; individually switchable front & rear tally lamps; shutter angle display; hour meter; TC reset via remote control.
  • Fewer tweaks for color modes, gammas, and detail settings.
Despite these differences, I think the HDR-AX2000 camera looks very attractive.

Sony SD/SDHC: the other shoe.

Following Sony's announcement of a line of SD/SDHC cards, it isn't a big surprise that they announced new consumer camcorders some of which include a hybrid memory card slot—compatible with both Sony brand Memory Stick PRO Duo cards and the more standard SD/SDHC cards.

The hybrid memory card slot explains how the HXR-NX5U, also announced yesterday, supports both Memory Stick and SD/SDHC cards (something I had been puzzling about.)

I still don't completely understand why the HDR-AX2000 didn't get the same slot as well, but maybe someone will ask Sony at CES.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Sony announces HDR-AX2000 and HXR-NX5U

As expected, Sony announced their new prosumer camera that uses the AVCHD format, the “professional” HXR-NX5U. Not quite so expected was the simultaneous announcement of the “prosumer” model, the HDR-AX2000.

Sony HDR-AX2000

The HXR-NX5U had been expected, as it had already been previewed in November. Given Sony’s proclivity for having a high-end and low-end model based on the same basic camera, the HDR-AX2000 isn’t a shock - though it is a surprise that it was announced at the same time. I was expecting it to appear in a few months, though I got it half right; it will be available two months after the NX5U!

It seems that the NXCAM name is being reserved for the professional cameras. Both cameras share the same basic case, lens and use AVCHD to record at up to 24Mbps. Where they differ is that the NX5U includes both HD-SDI and HDMI outputs as well as two-channel linear PCM audio capabilities, 720/60P recording, built in GPS, SMPTE Time Code I/O and an upgrade option for 60i/50i switchable. The add-on Flash Memory unit (the HXR-FMU128 $800), can only be used with the NX5U.

And the surprises keep coming; the NX5U can record to SDHC cards, as well as Memory Stick Pro cards (but the AX2000 is limited to Memory Stick, which is kind of odd.) I couldn’t figure out from the site how the SDHC cards are used; I’m guessing they go in the same slots as the Memory Stick pro cards?

One more surprise, both cameras have dual XLR 3-pin audio jacks for +48V phantom power to external microphones (in previous generations, the prosumer version of the camera lacks the XLR inputs, so that’s a big plus!)

Sony’s electronics site doesn’t have much up other than the announcement, but Sony’s professional unit’s site has sample video and a brochure for the NX5U!

The HXR-NX5U will be available this month, at a suggested list price of $4,950, the same list price as the existing HDV-based HVR-Z5U. The HDR-AX2000 camcorder is scheduled to be available in March for about $3,500.


George Lucas's new book: Blockbusting

George Lucas has a new book out, and it's not about Star Wars or special effects. He may not have even written most of it; he may have just had it published to get on The Daily Show.

George Lucas's Blockbusting: A Decade-by-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies Including Untold Secrets of Their Financial and Cultural Success was just released, and the write-up for the book pretty much says what the title says:

Taking us decade by decade, this book focuses on the revenues, costs, production and distribution of 300 of the most critically and financially successful movies of all time from the business′s origins through 2005.

George appeared on The Daily Show last night, and though he doesn't really talk about the book, it's a funny exchange, beginning with Jon acting like a fan questioning George about problems in the Star Wars story. His ultimate response to his critics?:

It's a work of fiction. It's a metaphor. It's not real, and therefore you can either like it, or not like it - whatever.

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Hell freezes over: Sony to sell SD/SDHC and microSD/SDHC cards

Yes, this winter has been cold, but who knew it would be this cold? Sony has announced it will be selling five new SD/SDHC memory cards for digital imaging products, and three new microSD/microSDHC memory cards for mobile phones.

I know what you're thinking, and I'm thinking that same thing: does Sony make anything that actually works with SD cards? [Yes they do, dumby! The Alpha DSLR-A550] Okay, but it's still not their preferred format. Infact, the press release goes on to say:

Memory Stick is the recommended media for Sony products, offering a range of unique benefits. For example, the high-speed “HX” Series’ capabilities are optimized when using the burst shooting mode in Sony’s α (alpha) DSLR cameras, as well as high-speed archiving of high definition movies shot with Handycam® camcorders and Cyber-shot® cameras.

So, yes, they are selling SD cards, but they sorta, kinda don't want you to use them!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New Canon consumer camcorders

At CES Canon has announced new consumer camcorders in their high-end VIXIA HF S-series, the compact VIXIA HF M-series and the entry-level VIXIA HF R-series.

New features in these models include a new Touch Panel LCD with an advanced tracking feature, enhanced image stabilization, and an all-new HD-to-SD Downconversion feature (in some models) that allows video to be easily uploaded to the web or burned onto DVDs. Some models are also compatible with Eye-fi SD Memory Cards, allowing for wireless uploading of video content.

Canon also says that their HD CMOS Image Sensor and DIGIC DV III Image Processor have been improved to reduce noise under low-light conditions and deliver more faithful reproduction of purple and blue tones.

Canon HFS 21

VIXIA HF S-series
All three new HF S-series models record 1920 x 1080 HD video and feature a 10x Lens and a Canon 1/2.6-inch, 8.59-megapixel CMOS Image Sensor. They also sport the new 3.5-inch High Resolution (922,000-dot) Touch Panel LCD screen and improved Image Stabilization.

The VIXIA HF S21 viewfinder appears to be different from the one in the S20 and S200, with Canon promising "a reliable viewing environment when shooting in bright outdoor conditions."

The new models will be available in April.

VIXIA HF S21: 64GB internal memory $1399.99
VIXIA HF S20: 32GB internal memory $1099.99
VIXIA HF S200: SD memory cards only $999.99

VIXIA HF M-series
More compact than the S-Series, and with fewer "high-end" features (like a LANC terminal and 24p recording), the three new M series models are:

HF M31: 32GB $799.99
HF M30: 8GB $699.99
HF M300: SD memory cards only $679.99

Features include: Smart Auto, Powered IS and Advanced Video Snapshot. The VIXIA HF M31 and VIXIA HF M30 models both include Canon's Relay Recording and HD-to-SD Downconversion.
Note that these models actually have a longer 15x lens, compared to the S-Series. They will be available in April.

VIXIA HF R-series
For those on a budget, the R series have a 20x HD Video Lens, Dynamic IS, Smart Auto and Advanced Video Snapshot. Both the VIXIA HF R11 and VIXIA HF R10 feature Canon's Relay Recording and HD-to-SD Downconversion. They will be available in March.

HF R11: 32GB $699.99
HF R10: 8GB $549.99
HF R100: SD memory cards only $499.99

Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II

This has been rumored for some time; Canon has updated the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II (original name!)

Canon has improved optical performance on the new EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens by redesigning the internal elements, incorporating a fluorite element and a fifth UD element. The use of the fluorite element and five UD elements helps to minimize secondary chromatic aberrations and produce better image quality with improved contrast and resolution through the entire zoom range; the end result is an optically precise lens worthy of becoming the leader of Canon's L-series lenses.

Along with its redesigned optical elements, the new lens design features improved AF speed due to a new focusing algorithm and has reduced the minimum focusing distance to 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) through the entire zoom range, allowing photographers to capture tighter portraiture shots in a small studio space. The previous lens model's minimum focusing distance was 4.6 feet (1.4 meters), whereas now photographers can stand nearly 8 inches closer to their subject and achieve sharp focus and tight crops.

Canon has also enhanced the Image Stabilization allowing it to compensate for shutter speeds up to four steps slower than 1/focal length, a one step improvement over the previous lens model.

The lens is expected in April, and no price has been announced yet.

[Note really video related, but this lens would go nicely with my Canon 7D!]

In defense of Memory Sticks

One of the things that caught my eye in yesterday's write-up by Adam Wilt on the forthcoming NXCAM is his defense of Memory Stick. For those who are so engrossed in video gear that they haven't yet encountered Memory Stick, it's Sony's own flash format that has got a lot of bad press from many sectors (and users.) Yeah, it's a drag to have multiple memory card formats, but it's not like there's only one other format. As Adam says:

I hear you: “Oh, no, not Memory Sticks! Why is Sony forcing me to buy their weird proprietary media?”


I dunno ‘bout you folks, but I’ve long since given up on being able to stock one card type exclusively. I have four still cameras, each of which uses a different type of card (CF, SD, Memory Stick, and MS Pro Duo; two of the cameras are Nikons, and there’s no prize for guessing who makes the other two).

He then goes on to point out that prices have come down now that Lexar and SanDisk are making them, (though they are still more expensive than SD cards) and asks how often anyone actually moves cards between cameras? [Even though I have cameras that share card formats, the cards pretty much stay with the camera they were bought for -Ed]

Perhaps just as interesting is his note about the price of SxS cards used in the Sony EX1R. Which got me thinking, because if you're like me and been salivating over the NXCAM, you may have also cast a glance at it's big brother, the EX1R. The EX1R is just over $6,000, and the NXCAM is thought to be about $4,000. Well, in for a penny, in for a pound; maybe it would be better to get the EX1R. But the EX1R's SxS cards will set you back abut $500 for 16GB (at todays prices.) Which means - in essence - that you have to add about $1,000 to the price of the EX1R to get it rolling, which means that the EX1R is really going to be about $3,000 more, not $2,000, than the NXCAM. An interesting thought.

Hopefully some of this will be cleared up in the next couple of days as I'm hoping Sony announces the price, model name and ship date of the NXCAM at CES....of course, Sony may be perverse and not do so, as it's a consumer show, and the NXCAM is currently being pitched as professional video, but lets hope...

Monday, January 04, 2010

NXCAM first hands-on

Adam Wilt got his hands on a prototype NXCAM "Prime" camera (NXCAM is the system name, the name of the actual model hasn't been revealed yet, so it was referred to as the "Prime"), and just posted his thoughts in a very extensive article.

The first part of the article is a thorough walk-around of the camera's controls, and the second part pretty exhaustively evaluates it's performance. He doesn't do strict comparison tests to other cameras, instead making general comments about how he feels the camera compares to cameras like the Z5U and EX1; this is a prototype, so that probably makes sense.

If you're thinking of getting one of these - or considering buying a Sony Z5U - you have to read this article, if only for the conclusion:

At NXCAM’s highest quality recording—1920x1080, 24 Mbit/sec AVCHD (MPEG-4) with uncompressed PCM audio—the Prime’s recorded clips clearly outclass the 1440x1080, 25 Mbit/sec HDV (MPEG-2) clips recorded by the HVR-Z5U.
Does this signal the end of HDV as a mainstream format? Quite possibly, even probably.

LOL! Notice at the end of the article his 16 CFR Part 255 Disclosure!!

Camcorderinfo says "meh" to Pentax K-x

The Pentax K-x has been out for a while, but has only just posted a short review. They compare it to the Nikon D5000, Panasonic GF1 and Canon T1i, and it comes up short, particularly due to the 720p support and artifacting. Their conclusion:

The Pentax K-x isn't the kind of camera you want to use for your professional video shoot. Its manual controls are lackluster, its handling is a bit finicky, and its video quality limited to a 1280 x 720 resolution. That being said, you would be hard pressed to find a cheaper video-capable DSLR than the Pentax K-x ($649.95 with its kit lens).

Interestingly, Dpreview reviewed the camera last month, and wasn't quite so hard on it (admittedly, they are a still camera site):

The K-x's video footage is not quite as detailed as the 1080p output of some of the higher-priced competitors but certainly in-line with other 720p video-DSLRs. It produces good quality HD footage with fairly smooth motion [...]
When recording video more or less all functions are automated (you can fix the aperture though) and inevitably the use of higher sensitivities in low light leads to grainy footage. However, the K-x is not noticeably worse in this respect than the competition and, due to the comparatively small size of the video output, the image noise is less intrusive.

In all honesty, I probably wouldn't recommend a 720p, all automatic DSLR for video either; too limited, and too much like hard work to use. But then I wouldn't recommend any DSLR camera (other than the Canon 5D Mark II perhaps) as a primary video camera. On the other hand, the value of being able to grab some video "off the cuff" with a DSLR - priceless.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Samsung NX10 preview at dpreview

It's the week of CES, and the new toys are starting to dribble out: has a preview of a Micro Four Thirds competitor, the Samsung NX10. It has a larger APS-C sized imager than Four Thirds cameras, promising better high-ISO performance, at the expense of requiring slightly larger lenses (and do we really need another lens mount?)

Unfortunately, for video it's limited to 720p, using the H.264 codec:

Movie Mode

Gives you access to the movie recording function. Within movie mode you can choose between Program and Aperture-Priority mode. You can also control the following parameters:

Resolution (1280x720, 640x480, 320x240
Quality (Normal, HQ)
Fader (Off, In, Out, Both)
Sound (Off, On)
Optical Image Stabilization (Mode 1, Mode 2)
The 'fader' option performs a quick fade from or to black at the beginning or end of your clip (or both).

[UPDATE: Dpreview correctly points on that the NX10 isn't a DSLR, as it lacks the mirror box of the SLR. That means that the viewfinder isn't optical; it's electronic.]