First time out with HDC-SD5

posted by Jeff | Sunday, October 28, 2007, 7:34 PM | comments: 0

I took the new video camera out this weekend to Cedar Point to mess around with it a little. My first intention is to use it as a tool to record volleyball, but it obviously works well as a vacation camera since it's so small.

While I did pull it out a little yesterday, I didn't use it much given the crappy weather, and certainly didn't bring it into the park. So today was really the first time I used it.

My initial impression wasn't good because, as I could see while shooting, and like most consumer cameras, it cranks up the shutter speed by default. That makes everything basically not have a blur and you see a series of nearly still frames which isn't natural. I think I figured out how to deal with it, but manual stuff seems like an all-or-nothing proposition. I'll have to play more to find out for sure. Given that H.264, the recording codec, records changes in the picture, a series of sharp images won't compress well and cause artifacts.

The color saturation is quite good though, as I'd expect for a 3-chip camera, even if they are tiny chips. The resolution looks a little soft because they achieve the full 1920x1080 by using the all three chips, a trick that my HVX200 uses as well.

That's one thing I need to get used to though, because the HVX costs eight times as much and naturally makes better pictures! I find myself having similar feelings as I did when I first bought a DV camera, where I was used to pro gear and expecting more out of the consumer stuff. Once I adjust my expectations, I'll be more than satisfied with what I get out of that camera.

Overall I think it will be a handy replacement for my aging DV camera, and the portability factor alone makes it a great choice for lugging to volleyball tournaments and on vacation. Being tapeless is also very handy, as the 16 gig SD card can record 170 minutes or more.


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