"Full HD" Camcorder for £70? How bad can it be?

carl.waring

Active Member
This one's at Lidl on Thursday.

I'm no expert, but it looks okay. How bad can it be? I don't want to make award-winning films with it. Just the video equivalent of "happy snaps".

Any thoughts? Anything better for a similar price?

Thanks.
 

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bsuttie

Novice Member
Carl, I would be rather wary of an unbranded product like this. You could get a branded one for a similar price - something like a Panasonic HD-TA2 which I would think would be considerably better and likely to last longer.

Also consider the lack of information - records AVI but what type of AVI - what codec, what bit rate, how long does it record for? What sort of memory card does it use? Will you be able to do anything useful with the material?

It also doesn't mention frame rate. A lot of these cameras only record 30fps (the Panasonic model I mentioned included). May not be a problem depending on what you want to do with the footage but may be an issue if you want for example to stick something on a DVD to give to relatives.

regards

Brian
 

carl.waring

Active Member
I would be rather wary of an unbranded product like this.
Normally I would too, but it's tech. and I think you're pretty safe with that.

You could get a branded one for a similar price - something like a Panasonic HD-TA2 which I would think would be considerably better and likely to last longer.
A fair point, which is why I asked ;)

Also consider the lack of information - records AVI but what type of AVI - what codec, what bit rate, how long does it record for? What sort of memory card does it use? Will you be able to do anything useful with the material?
Here's some footage recorded on one from around a year ago. Doesn't look to bad to me. Assuming they're not lying or the company don't put their name on a higher-priced version ;)


It also doesn't mention frame rate. A lot of these cameras only record 30fps (the Panasonic model I mentioned included). May not be a problem depending on what you want to do with the footage but may be an issue if you want for example to stick something on a DVD to give to relatives.
Why would they record at 30fps when US TV uses 24 and UK TV uses 25? Seems a bit silly? :confused:

What would that do the footage? It would slow it down a bit, wouldn't it? (And the sound too I imagine?)

Looks like that Panny's no good then either ;)
 

bsuttie

Novice Member
Why would they record at 30fps when US TV uses 24 and UK TV uses 25? Seems a bit silly?

US TV uses 30 (well actually 29.97) frames per second.
It's absolutely fine if you just want to shoot and view material on a screen that shows at that rate. It won't speed up or slow anything down. For uploading to YouTube etc or playing on a PC again no issue.

The problem comes if you want to make for example a PAL DVD - then you have to do some sort of standards conversion which may well affect smoothness of motion. It's also an issue if you want to edit material mixing it with 25 fps material you may already have.

regards

Brian
 

carl.waring

Active Member
US TV uses 30 (well actually 29.97) frames per second.
Really? Okay. My mistake :blush:

It's absolutely fine if you just want to shoot and view material on a screen that shows at that rate. It won't speed up or slow anything down. For uploading to YouTube etc or playing on a PC again no issue.
That's mainly it.

The problem comes if you want to make for example a PAL DVD - then you have to do some sort of standards conversion which may well affect smoothness of motion. It's also an issue if you want to edit material mixing it with 25 fps material you may already have.

Well there's no "current material" issues, but I'd still prefer one at the right FPS to start with :)
 

grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
You are confusing NTSC (29.97fps) with Blu-ray which is 1080p24 (A world wide standard). Many HD TV's wont work at 24fps so the players use drop frame to increase the frame rate to 60fps.

Most of the cheap HD mini-camcorders record 30fps. If you wanted to burn content to DVD you would have to use 720 x 480 29.97fps rather than 720 x 576 25fps. Pretty well all DVD players will play back 720 x 480 29.97fps.
 

SoundBox

Novice Member
You are confusing NTSC (29.97fps) with Blu-ray which is 1080p24 (A world wide standard). Many HD TV's wont work at 24fps so the players use drop frame to increase the frame rate to 60fps.

Most of the cheap HD mini-camcorders record 30fps. If you wanted to burn content to DVD you would have to use 720 x 480 29.97fps rather than 720 x 576 25fps. Pretty well all DVD players will play back 720 x 480 29.97fps.

Graham, why not 25fps for DVD? I copy VHS directly to DVD and that is 25fps and has no problems or jerkiness.
 

MarkE19

Moderator
Because frame rate conversion from a 30fps source to a 25fps DVD would cause motion judder. It is always best to keep to the same frame rate to avoid this, so just going for an NTSC preset would almost certainly give the best results.
Your VHS conversions to DVD are almost certainly PAL to start with so no frame rate conversion is required to create a 720x576 25fps DVD.

Mark.
 

grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
Graham, why not 25fps for DVD? I copy VHS directly to DVD and that is 25fps and has no problems or jerkiness.

As MARK says, you are capturing from PAL VHS at 720 x 576 at 25 fps. If you were using a ntsc vcr it would be 720 x 480 at 29.97fps.

Try multiplying 720 x 576 x 25 to get the PAL data rate = 10368000

and 720 x 480 x 30 = 1036800 an identical data rate.

PAL has a slower frame rate and a higher resolution, NTSC the reverse.
 

MarkE19

Moderator
Then you really don't want to be trying to work out bit rates etc - is that mbps or MB/s etc :suicide:

To be fair most DVD authoring programs will detect the source media and set themselves accordingly, so most people don't have to worry about the figures too much.

Mark.
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
If that is your Budget, it could be a good Buy - but don't expect it to perform too well in "difficult" situations . . . keep to basic shots in good light with the subject a few metres away. Having the sun behind you, will improve things a lot.

Those opening shots in #3 are not suitable to judge a budget camcorder's performance.
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
If that is your Budget, it could be a good Buy - but don't expect it to perform too well in "difficult" situations . . . keep to basic shots in good light with the subject a few metres away. Having the sun behind you, will improve things a lot. Try to avoid panning, unless the subject is held in the shot.

Those opening shots in #3 are not suitable to judge a budget camcorder's performance.
 

carl.waring

Active Member
Well I took the plunge and bought one.

For the money it's fantastic. There's everything you could think of and need in the box; including a 2GB SD card. Yes, I know, only good for 30mins or so but it's not bad!

The only real issue I have is that the battery life is rather short. But then they're only 700mAh. You get around 50min on full charge. It comes with two though; and there's longer-lasting ones on ebay for next to nothing.

Also, it doesn't seem to handle fast motion very well (buildings seem to 'bend' :eek:), but this is my first personal experience with a camcorder so this might be 'normal'; but I suspect not.

I don't plan on putting anything on DVD from it anyway. That's what YouTube is for ;):p:D

Oh well. It will do the job for now.

Oh, and Brian...

I would be rather wary of an unbranded product like this.

It actually says "FujiHD" on it; and the batteries are Fuji too :) (Though I'm probably reading too much in to that!
 
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carl.waring

Active Member
As I mentioned, this is my first experience with a digital camcorder, but I think it's going back as I think I'm going need a minimum of image stabilisation. Unless I'm wrong and this behaviour is 'normal, but shouldn't even a digital camcorder be able to handle some quick movement.


Yes, I have removed the sound!
 
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12harry

Distinguished Member
I think you are experiencing the "change" from stills and video - -
If I may?.... you need to pan shots very slowly . . . . about half the speed you think is "ages" -the alternative is to spot something that's moving across and focus on that, keep it in the centre (or just off, so there is "room" for the person/car to move "into".

Typically we use "fluid heads" on a tripod, that forces us to pan slowly - but you can pay many times the cost of yr camcorder for this - but it will be lovely.

If you want really good quality then you'll need to up yr budget something under 10x

although it may have fan-noise issues in quiet surroundings, the Pana 700 is pretty good . . . . discounts to £500 I think...and has external mic-input and headphone out - essential for live recording, when you get more serious - but then the bug has bitten....
 

carl.waring

Active Member
I think you are experiencing the "change" from stills and video...
:confused:

If I may?.... you need to pan shots very slowly . . . . about half the speed you think is "ages" -the alternative is to spot something that's moving across and focus on that, keep it in the centre (or just off, so there is "room" for the person/car to move "into".
Good advice is always welcome :)

the Pana 700 is pretty good . . . . discounts to £500 I think...
Yeah. Thanks for that. Perhaps I might keep this after all ;)
 

carl.waring

Active Member
So, to clarify before I possible take it back, what you're saying is that nothing at this price-point will be any different - or better - than this one?
 

MarkE19

Moderator
That would be impossible to answer as nobody has used all the available camcorders :p

But as 12harry has said you really need to slow down any movements such as panning unless focused on a moving object. Look at the camera shots on TV and you will start to see that movements of the actual camera are generally fairly slow unless trying to show the effect of fast movement, and even then will be at a wide angle rather than a high zoom setting.
Steady shot does a lot to help, but you still need a good handling technique with a camcorder, and this takes time & effort to learn.

Mark.
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
Had a quick look at Yr vid - grief, no tripod . . . . if you don't have a stabaliser (and I doubt you get one at that price) then do use a decent tripod, with something like a fluid head. -Care some are not the real thing!
I can detect some video issues there, but most would not be noticable with good technique, sorry you have to change, then it will be much better. For panning "with" a car you might be a tad too close, as any error will be a mis-match and defeat the purpose of the tripod/pad. Bright sunlight helps too, sun behind you - there are 6 hours of good dayligt, except in winter, when its only 3.
Colours look pretty good - stick with it, unless it rattles (no don't try).
 

SoundBox

Novice Member
I know that CCD sensors are going out of fashion but looking that that footage I see the CMOS 'jelly' effect which I also get on a £600 HD SLR camera. S...L...O...W pans are the best way to get around this.
 

carl.waring

Active Member
That would be impossible to answer as nobody has used all the available camcorders :p
Of course :D My point was that if I'm going to have the same problem with any similarly-priced unit - and it looks like I might - then I may as well keep it and get used to how to use it.

But as 12harry has said you really need to slow down any movements such as panning...
Yes, I'm getting that :lesson:

Steady shot does a lot to help, but you still need a good handling technique with a camcorder, and this takes time & effort to learn.
So, more than a day then? :laugh:

I know that CCD sensors are going out of fashion but looking that that footage I see the CMOS 'jelly' effect which I also get on a £600 HD SLR camera. S...L...O...W pans are the best way to get around this.
Yes. That's what I was referring to early as "buildings bending". At least I know what it's technically called now! Also, looking at the link in your post gave me an idea... the Gorillapod tripod!!

Had a quick look at Yr vid - grief, no tripod . . . . if you don't have a stabaliser (and I doubt you get one at that price) then do use a decent tripod, with something like a fluid head. -Care some are not the real thing!
Next on the list. Thanks for the tips.

Colours look pretty good - stick with it, unless it rattles (no don't try).
:smashin: No. No moving parts.
 
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SoundBox

Novice Member
Carl - a tripod, even a basic one makes a real difference to video shooting. Even holding a camera still as possible there is a subtle wobbly effect in the end footage that makes it look cheap. One tip for these HD cameras is to let the action take place in the frame - don't try to follow it about by moving the camera. It is so tempting to do but unless it goes out of frame leave the camera still. I was looking at YouTube footage from a Flip HD (similar item to what you got) and with the camera on a tripod the resuls were detailed and stunning clear.

I have a CCD camera and CMOS one. The CCD system records the whole frame at once - so you don't get the wobble effect but it can look jumpy if panned about. CMOS is taking over and is cheaper to make but the jelly effect is caused because the sensor does not output a whole image at once - the top of the image is recorded before the bottom so when you move the camera the sensor does not know this and you get the effect mentioned.
 

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