Tuesday, March 30, 2010

SD1300 - final thoughts

So, I have had the Canon SD1200IS and SD1300IS for a while, and I must say that I think both are really similar. The 4x zoom lens starting at 28mm is making the long end about the same as the SD1200 "only" has a 3x zoom. The 28mm is nice to have, for me indoors is where you see the difference, but it is slight. And the lack of the "LP" (long play) lower bit rate 640x480 video and the digital macro are both features I used on the SD1200, although one can certainly be without them. You can find the SD1200 on sale sometimes for a really good deal, making the SD1300 about $50 to $75 more expensive.

All in all, I would recommend both, but if you do not think you care much about the 28mm lens, save the money. The SD1200 is a good performer, and I like the slightly longer lens (at f/2.8) when I take "portrait" style snapshots of the kids. Either way, it is a good _basic_ point and shoot camera. Here are some SD1300 photos.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sony HX5V - video wobble/rolling shutter

As some of you might know, the new Sony HX5V use a CMOS sensor to capture the still and the videos. If you google a little about CMOS vs CCD in terms of video properties you will soon come upon a thing that is called a rolling shutter or wobble effect. It happens because on a CMOS sensor the frame is normally read out from top to bottom and in video that means that the scene changes in a video frame. If you have a "normal" scene you really will not see much at all. Take all the example videos I have posted here, I bet there's nothing to be seen of the effect there. Today I made an experiment by taking a video of the end of a vertical wall and then very quickly panning from left to right and back. The unmodified videos are here for your enjoyment...

(boring) Panning video in MP4 format
(boring) Panning video in AVCHD format

Now, if you do look at them, you will realize how ridiculous the test is. But there are probably some "real" cases where you could see it (and I will try to get one of these), like a truck driving by on a highway when the camera is still or so.

I personally have not much experience on this effect, but I really think it is not showing much in a normal case, and I would not want to take a video that pans as fast as I did in the example anyway.... YMMW.... :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Perfect real estate camera?

I remembered when I got my Kodak V570 I was impressed with the 23mm fixed wide lens and also with the in-camera panorama stitching. This camera, after it was discontinued continued to go up in price, much like the newer Panasonic LX3 that also has a wide lens. Why? Well one reason is that they both made great cameras for the many Realtors out there. When you need to present a house on a web-site, you want to capture the full feeling of being right there, in the room or house. The problem with that is that it is hard to capture it all in one shot.

Well, I think the Sony DSC-HX5V is going to give them a run for the money. Sure going full on DSLR with bounced flash and so, will still be the best, but that is a $1500+ investment that you need to do. Take the Sony, it has many things going for it. The "iSweep" panorama function is really good. You hold the camera, either normal or upright/portrait, and the press the shutter and sweep the camera. A few seconds later and you have a finished panorama. Even though the lens is quite wide at 25mm, this is neat to have. Take this photo (mind you, this is at night, low light) of my living room:
That's 25mm and not too bad (for night time shot). But if you really want to be there, this is a quick iSweep panorama from the same place.
Now, the LGB train track would probably not really be there if the house was staged for a sale :) But you get the point, right? The 25mm lens with the panorama makes for a really wide capture without need for Photo Shop or some other expensive post processing program. And no need to lug around an expensive SLR.

And the 10x zoom and full 1920x1080 HD video is not that bad to have at your kids soccer game...

Check out the specs of the camera here:
Sony DSC-HX5V 10.2MP CMOS Digital Camera with 10x Wide Angle Zoom with Optical Steady Shot Image Stabilization and 3.0 inch LCD

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Few more HX5V "RAW" videos

I took a drive to the quite well known bridge close by, the Golden Gate bridge to be specific as there are many other bridges around. But none other painted red... Here are some "raw" videos you can download and check out on your new HDTV taken with the new HX5V. Some of each format (AVCHD vs MP4) but this time only at the highest resolution.
I am pretty impressed with the video this camera takes. The image stabilization is very good, in fact probably the best I have seen on a digital camera. In the video mode at least. But how they could have placed the two microphones where they did, puzzles me. The one to the left is right where one holds the fingers when holding the camera with both hands. I guess one will get use to not doing it, but anyway.

Here is a sweep panorama from the same place:
And a normal photo:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Just a few shots - HX5V

Nothing special, but a few more shots from Sony HX5V.

Pretty impressed with the lack of chromatic abbreviations on this one:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sony HX5 first photos and videos

So it is "finally" here, the new Sony DSC-HX5V. I shot an email to Amazon about the lower price and got a partial refund. That's nice of them, I think. Anyway, I will not post many opinions on this camera yet. The initial impression is quite good. Size is as expected a little larger than my SD1200 that I bring everywhere. If it is too large to bring everywhere, is yet to be determined. Built quality feels good, with the exception of the battery lid, which is too thin in my opinion. Feels like one will eventually make a mistake and bend it.

In this post I will post some snapshots from today, and provide a link to the raw, direct out of camera, JPEGs and videos.

Why not start with the videos? This camera takes a bunch of formats and size. Here are some examples, of roughly the same length (~20 seconds) and same scenery. Zoom was used, starting from all the way zoomed in, to wide. Be sure to have a new, fast, computer to watch the 1080 ones...

I guess I think they all look nice, but for computer viewing, the 1080 ones are just too much for me, 720p is just fine. Here are three more in highest resolution of a small airplane. Be prepared for the wind noise... I have not seen any audio wind filter function:

Here are some photos. Each photo has a link to the original JPEG from camera after the photo.

Plain photo:
In camera "HDR":
Mid zoom:

Through window:
In camera panorama sweep (just moving the camera, camera does all the "stitching")
Air plane:
Air plane detail:

That's it for this time. Quite nice. The samples I saw before getting it, seemed to show much more noise, but I guess the light was good out here today in California :) Very fun with the embedded GPS also. Picasa shows the map when browsing around. 

If you are going to try this camera and plan on buying it on Amazon, please go through this link and you will support me and my hobby :) Thanks!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rant - price reduction on HX5V

I cannot believe it. My Sony DSC-HX5V from Amazon shipped on Friday, and today they have lowered the price by some ~$35... I have asked them to price match their own price, but who knows what they will do. Anyway, at ~$316 shipped, it seems like you get a lot for your money. But we'll see after I test it out.... New price is only visible after adding it to the cart, here.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

HX5V - in stock at Amazon

The new Sony DSC-HX5V is now in stock and shipping at Amazon. Check out this video demonstrating stability at 250mm and then zooming back to 25mm while taking video. Or check out this sound test below.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Vizio SV422XVT

For the longest time (like 9 years or so) our main TV was a Sony 43" Rear Projection TV. It was capable of HDTV, but with a 4:3 format, not suited for it. Never-the-less, it was really good and coupled with our Tivo Series 1 (does it surprise you I am an very early Tivo adapter :) it was a good TV setup for us.

While we re-arranged in the living room we wanted to get rid of the extremely bulky rear-projection TV. I tried to sell it, but ended up donating it as there were no buyers. For a time now I have been looking at what new TV to get, and last weekend I got our new VIZIO SV422XVT LCD HDTV. Why this one? Well, first of all, 42" seemed to fit our living room nicely and....

  • 1080p, of course
  • 240Hz (not really a selling point for me, personally)
  • Wifi built in
  • VIA - Vizio Internet Apps - Netflix, Flickr, Facebook, and more
  • Nice price (sub $1000)
It is a little bit ironic that we still have and use the Tivo (series 1) daily and still just LOVE it. I was prepared that the 42" HDTV would maybe not make the SD (standard definition) signal look ok, but it turns out I was wrong. The SD signal on this TV is totally acceptable, in my opinion. But sooner or later, I will be "forced" to look for a new setup like a TiVo Premiere, just about to be released.

Here is a little video demonstration of the VIA function.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Sony HX5V coming soon, very soon...

Well, it seems like the Sony DSC-HX5V is about to come. It has been spotted, or sold, in France, and now the user digitalbear at Flickr has posted a bunch of photos. So, my guess is that it is right around the corner. Why be excited about that? Well I think the feature set seems right on. GPS tagging, compact, 10x zoom, 25mm wide, SD card, true HD (1080p) video with both AF and zoom working while taking video, super steady shot.... list goes on.

Check this video at YouTube demonstrating the zoom in HD video.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Some SD1300IS shots

Some shots taken with the new Canon SD1300 on a walk the other day.



Pretty happy with it in general, but I have also noticed that they have removed two features from the SD1300 compared to the SD1200. They have removed the "digital macro" mode, and they have removed the "LP" (long play) option from 640x480 video capture. Not a big deal, really.