Digital Still Cameras Go Full Video

A few select digital still cameras are now offering 24 to 30 frame 640 x 480 full motion video capture, some now offering the ability to zoom while taking videos!

Kodak has been a leader in this area.

Up until this year most digital cameras wouldn’t let you zoom once you started taking the video.

Up until this year most digital cameras only took web cast quality videos at 320 x 200 15 or 30 frames.

Now, we are getting still cameras that almost offer competition to digital video camcorders! The Kodak C-853, C-643, V603, V570, P850 all offer 640 video at either 24 or 30 frames per second for smooth videos, plus the ability to use both the optical and digital zoom! Digital zoom on video isn’t nearly as bad as it is for still pictures, because the video image is only 2/3 of a megapixel while the taking CCD is generally a 5, 6, or 8 mp! This means, for example on the new Kodak 853 that has an 8 MP sensor, with 5x optical and 5x digital zoom using a Schneider Vargion lens, you get a very good 25x zoom image!

And it fits in your pocket!

And it costs under $300!

And it delivers ultra high quality still pictures!

What a deal!

And it also does sound, although it is only monophonic sound (digital camcorders do stereo sound) and the mics are not as good in quality as with a camcorder.

Still, for $300 you are not going to get a good still picture out of any camcorder (most are 1 MP or less) and with something like this Kodak C-853, you get a great still picture (8 MP) and a video image that is 90% of what you get from a $300 camcorder.

The big downside on these videos is they are either Apple MOV or MPEG 2 format, however a few do record in AVI format. They also only come with composite Yellow and Red or Yellow and White RCA cords so you need an analog capture card on your computer or have to use a Y-cord on your DVD burner to get sound on both sides. It would be nice if they started offering S-Video or even FireWire connections next year, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one!

So, now when you go into the camera store to look at digital still cameras, try out the video mode. See if the zoom works. See if the image is smooth or jerky. Compare cameras. Read the spec sheets.

The bottom line is, if you buy wisely you can end up with one unit for $300-$400 that covers all the bases!



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