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Canon Optura Junior Watchdog
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 09:51 AM   #1
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Canon Hidden Features

As these new Opturas get into the hands of the public, I suspect some new and hidden features will be discovered.

The possibility of getting HD progressive scan output by removing the SD memory card and pumping the output directly into the computer holds a lot of promise.

Canon's PowerShot S1 IS a still camera offers a 10x image stabilized 640x480 30 fps progressive scan movie mode with exceptional quality. A sample clip can be found at:

http://web.canon.jp/Imaging/pss1is/sample-e.html

Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the video clip.

If a $400 still camera is capable of that kind of quality, I can imagine what we might be able to extract out of the Optura. The full CCD has more than enough pixles to pump out HD frames and the electronics were designed for video.

Owners of the Canon Digital Rebel 300D have been able to hack the firmware and upgrade the functionality to match some of the capabilities of the more expensive 10D.

I suspect with some experimentation, we can achieve some very incredible results with the Opturas as well.
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Old July 24th, 2004, 07:55 AM   #2
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Here are a couple of my own S1 clips -- see this thread.
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Old July 26th, 2004, 10:09 AM   #3
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Just a follow up. the "progressive" mode found on the Optura 300 also works with the Optura 30 (tested) and I am sure it will work with the Optura 40 as well.

By simply switching from tape to card mode, the camera outputs full frame (non-interlaced) streaming video out through the firewire port. You can actually see the change if you start in any mode (tape or card) and switch it while in camera/record mode. The card mode shows a larger frame (more area - taking advantage of all of the pixels). The unfortunate part is that it cannot ouput all of those pixels. It is downsampled down to 720 x 480.

I also performed some testing on getting decent "movies" from a still camera. The trick is to use a fast memory card. If you are using CF, stick with products such as a Sandisk Ultra II. Slower cards will result in dropped frames and very jerky results.

If I can only figure out how to get S1 frame rates (30 fps) and full Optura resolution captured on the Optura, I would have a near HD progressive scan, tapeless video cam.
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Old July 27th, 2004, 03:56 AM   #4
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is there any advantage picture-quality-wise in using the little Canon still camera instead of the Optura 300 for short clips? Specifically, is the latitude significantly better? Does the downsampling from a larger-resolution chip create fewer jaggies?
I know about the motion jpeg compression. What is the shutter speed on the still camera when in movie mode? 1/60th? Can it be changed?
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