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(MPG4) Sanyo Xacti (all models)
A compact 720p MPEG4 digital media camera recording to SD Card.


 
 
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Old March 10th, 2006, 01:16 PM   #16
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How do you know when you're properly exposed? Do you see some zebra pattern or do you just have to eyeball it and hope for the best?
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Old March 10th, 2006, 02:32 PM   #17
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Graham, was this in shutter priority mode?
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Old March 10th, 2006, 03:43 PM   #18
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Yeah, I'm judging exposure on the cam's OLED monitor and then scrutinizing it afterwards on my 21" ultrascan.

Yes, this was after setting the cam in shutter priority mode. Switched on ND filter, set shutter speed to 1/60, exited from settings and then pulled exposure meter all the way down to boot. It's a cop-out but it looks pretty.

Again, that's subjective. It also means shadows are very underexposed and that overall it is very contrasty.
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Last edited by Graham Jones; March 11th, 2006 at 12:04 AM.
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Old March 10th, 2006, 04:47 PM   #19
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Graham, I have got to try that and see what the results are. The big problem I have is I don't see the true feedback on the cameras display of how bright the picture is until I hit the record button. I can shift the exposure adjustment all the way down and all the way up and the picture looks the same. Same deal with adjustment of the shutter speed. When I hit the record button the pictures brightness looks totally different from preview. How do I determine the proper level before recording?
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Old March 11th, 2006, 04:35 AM   #20
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Sanyo contacted

FYI, I finally managed to contact someone helpful from Sanyo Fisher Europe about the jagged diagonals. Here is his answer.

"Sorry for the delay in answering because of CeBit.

It is first time I have heard of this effect. The camera has been checked several times
without such complain.
Anyway I am going to provide your complain to the factory."

I guess that instead of "factory" one should read "engineers". I sent them a close-up of the chart shot by Joseph, on which the artifacts are pretty obvious.
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Old March 11th, 2006, 06:31 AM   #21
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That's weird Joseph, because I do get it all on preview. If I toggle the exposure adjustment up or down, it's immideately reflected on the OLED - before I start recording. Same for shutter speed or any other control. I see the effect during preview.

Well done shooting the chart - and well done Emmanuel for getting it to Sanyo!

The Sanyo rep who got back to me (I pasted his e-mail somewhere in this forum) said firmware upgrades would only be available at Sanyo service stations - but I found a page with a firmware upgrade for the C4 or C5. You download it and transfer it to the cam via USB. Then you go into the cam's menus and re-install.

I think that over the next 12 months there will probably be a firmware improvement.

Overcast today.

The cam was much more relaxed. Focus and exposure weren't fussing around. It was consistent.

However, there was actually some noise outdoors due to there being less light.
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Old March 11th, 2006, 06:36 PM   #22
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HD Setting

Regarding Graham's comment; "Actually I tried the second best setting today - compared SHQ and HQ. I was surprised not to see any difference! Both are the same HD Res. As far as I know the only difference is the 6mb vs 9mb. This has to cause some difference."

Viewed on a 60" HDTV, the difference is quite visible. The HD setting has less image sharpness, more jaggies and seemingly less image contrast, though with video you can't tell if the camera has changed the exposure when you changed the setting.

Having gone this far to get image quality, under normal circumstances I am not inclined to give up any for a 48% gain in recording time. I'd rather carry another SD card.
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Old March 11th, 2006, 07:09 PM   #23
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It's obvious to me that a difference exists between 6MB 720p and 9MB 720p, even if it doesn't jump out from a computer monitor.
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Old March 11th, 2006, 07:45 PM   #24
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Having made up my mind that the camera is a keeper (now that I have seen the images on HDTV) I am moving on to the question of how to display edited footage.

I have tentatively ruled out the DVD players (JVC and the soon to be available Kiss DP-600) because they involve streaming HD video over a LAN or burning files to DVD-ROM.

The other option seems to be storing the files on a TViX M500 HDD (I wouldn't attempt streaming). At least two people have reported success using this method with HD1 original files.

That raises the question of format for the edited video. The only option in Vegas seems to be WMV9, which takes forever to render (a 7 second clip took over 3 minutes to render, using a 1.7 Ghz computer).

Comments and suggestions very welcome!
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Old March 11th, 2006, 08:35 PM   #25
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Graham, my preview exposure problems may be due to testing adjustments in lower light indoors latley. I need to try it outdoors again. If I recall, I did get some better feedback when I tried manual modes in more light, bit it was still hard to get it just right. When I hit the record button in a lower light shot the picture on the cameras display get much brighter, so it makes it hard for me to do any manual adjustment. I would like to determine if it is an issue with my camera, or all of them. I get the same thing when I take a picture. If it is dark I need to press the picture button half way so I can frame the shot, because it is too dark otherwise.
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Old March 12th, 2006, 04:18 AM   #26
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Good question about how to view on HDTV.

The answer would most certainly be the HD1 itself, were it not for the fact that footage manipulated on a computer isn't re-admitted by the cam...

-The cam is extremely small and portable, it could service any HDTV you happened to be near
-It has a remote control, so you can watch and control from a comfortable position
-It has a component output for progressive HDTVs so the quality is great
-The camera is solid state, so using it as a 'projector' won't shorten its life

Let's hope this issue can be resolved with the right NLE or with a firmware upgrade.
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Old March 12th, 2006, 08:15 AM   #27
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Viewing on HDTV

Just to clear up any misconceptions, the original Xbox lacks both the processing power and HD components to effectively output 720p. The new Xbox (360 Premium) supports our 720p, but drops to 480 when playing movies. Until/unless the mod community comes up with something, no Xbox is a viable viewing system.

Linux boxes are efficient enough to output HDV even if the horsepower is limited. So far, the best low-cost HDV player option I have found is a box my friend was working on... a 2Ghz Linux with Nvidea HDV capable card. His box is able to play the video I sent him, both the 640X480 60fps and the 720p. It's a pretty involved process just to be able to get a cheap HDV player going, but at least it works.
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Old March 12th, 2006, 12:15 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Solmssen
Having made up my mind that the camera is a keeper (now that I have seen the images on HDTV) I am moving on to the question of how to display edited footage.
Peter, I have an mp4 capable DVD player, a HTPC (Windows XP), a Mac mini (G4), and a Linux Server. The XP machine is the most versatile, with Linux coming in 2nd. However, getting a HTPC with Window or Linux working well is a rather large hobby (and I don't think MCE, Vista, or Viiv will come to the rescue either!)

If you try a DVD player or other CE device, be sure to buy from a vendor with a lenient return policy as the performance and feature set of these devices can be dissappointing. I don't use my Panasonic S52 for anything but DVDs as it doesn't fill my Samsung HDTV screen when playing mpeg4 video (black bars all around).

A new core duo Mac mini may be a good compromise between flexibility and ease of use. My G4 is slightly underpowered for HD playback, but the new core duo minis can do it. The DVI output is also a nice feature (VGA adapter included) and the new minis come with "Front Row" and a simple remote control. VLC works well on the Mac and my father in law reported perfect playback with mplayer under Fedora Core Linux so mplayer for the Mac may be an option too. I found QT to be a bit glitchy on the Mac with the HD1 files, though it works well for trimming and processing them (QT Pro).
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Old March 12th, 2006, 12:48 PM   #29
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1--Can the HD1 serve as my primary compact camera?

I am using it as mine, but primary does not mean sole. I use a dSLR camera for indoor photography and it blows the doors off this. If the room is dim, the HD1 just doesn't do the trick. Outside, the distinction is much less significant. I've done 13" X 19" prints of the HD1 outdoor images and consider them suitable for framing.

2--Related to 1 above, will the stills be better or worse than a FUji 700?

A Fuji 700 isn't a lot of camera, what with a max resolution of 1.5MP and an ISO rating of 100 fixed. I'm going to assume you meant it's big brother, the Fuji F700.

The Fuji produces indoor shots using an exteded ISO range that is not present on the HD1, so low-light shots from your Fiji will be better. I don't think HD1 shots taken at ISO 400 or 800 are good for more than a 5 X 7. Do keep in mind that your need to use such ISO settings is entirely dependant on your lighting. I took lots of pictures of my son in the kitchen, and the only light was from the windows, and the pictures were great at ISO 200. Outdoor shots should be about comperable to your Fuji... perhaps a little more compressed but frameable at 13X19.

a--Forget that the flash is weak. That means little since most small cameras have weak flash. Is the flash and low light operation comparable to a $300 compact camera?

When you learn to use it, the flash is sufficient. They all have limitations.

b--Is the speed comparable to my Fuji F700 in terms of shot ot shot still speed and focus speed?

Ummmm..... no. But I counter that question with the fact you can take 5 MP pictures while videoing and not pause or compromise your video. It's fast enough that the loss of shots due to slow AF should be more than offset by the increase in shots while you record videos.

3--I don't care if the video isn't fully HD quality. Is it significantly better than the 640x480 AVI video taken by most compact cameras like my F700?

Yup, that's why I got it. I tested over 50 DV and mini-DVD cams before buying this. Nothing under $2000 produced comperable video. Not full HD quality? Hmmm.... you have to be pretty picky to make this claim, but I suppose. It looks amazing on HDTV though... watching motion video on HDTV, I've yet to see the artifacts that are evident on computer screens. I suppose it's because people are freezing the frames and analyzing them independently... I personally don't see the need to do that when they aren't viewed that way.

I should also mention that I tried a multitude of digicams as well, since I was intent on getting a solid state video recorder. None of the cameras held a candle to this in terms of video quality.

4--Can the camera function as the primary non-enthusiast video camera?

Oh heck yeah!

a--Do you get usable video indoors?

Do you have spotlights indoors? No just kidding. If you have ample lighting, it works well indoors. I find about 100 watts incandescent in a 12 X 12 room to be the minimum for acceptable video. Also note than you will need to choose manual mode for low-light video, as the camera won't jump into the most sensitive ISO setting when on auto.

b--Is it automatic enough to just turn on and start takign pictures of kds playing i.e. ability to focus, exposure capability when automatic?

Sure is... I was recording my son's 9th birthday after only playing 15 mins with it. And I could have done it in two. Allow yourself a few minutes for the wow factor, otherwise you'll be grinning too much as you record. ;)
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Old March 12th, 2006, 04:33 PM   #30
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Graham, here is an example of the preview problem I was complaining about on the camera. I reset the camera before I tried this test. I put the camera in M mode. I set the f stop at 3.5. The ISO is fixed at 50. I set the shutter at 4S. I frame in the kitchen light (OK, but not that bright) that I have posted clips in before. In preview mode the picture on the camera is not very bright, but good enough. I press the record button and the brightness is about the same on the preview while recording. Then I set the shutter to 1/2000 of a second. The preview looks identical to before. When I press the record button the picture is total black during recording. This tells me that the preview is not giving me proper feedback until I press record. Does your camera act in this way?
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