CCD vs CMOS? Looking for a new Hybrid Cam

I’m looking for a new cam.. Thinking of the Sanyo Xacti HD700 or the HD1000.

I’ve been playing around with the Aiptek A-HD and a bit with the Flip Video Ultra and I’m disappointed with the CMOS sensor. It creates the typical ‘wobble’ effect. characteristic of digicams. I know the higher end HD cams from the big 3 (Sony, Panasonic, Canon), don’t have that effect with their CMOS sensors, but we’re talking about cheap webcam parts strung together and hope the chip is smart enough to figure it all out.

What appeals me with the Aipteks are the technical features, solid yet cheap build, and price to go with them. For $130, I have a 720P cam that produces H.264 video at around 4Mbps. I won’t feel bad bring an Aiptek along while surf fishing. If I end up catching the big one and have to sacrifice a cam to the Ocean, then so be it, I could always grab another.

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I will always strive to be at the place where I can have a nice balance of a solid build, high tech, and portability. So, now, I’m looking a step up. Sanyo’s.. Or perhaps a Panasonic HCD-HD9 (not very durable or portable). I’m leaning toward the Sanyo HD700 though. Pocketability (!) is fairly important.

The Sanyo E1 is very appealing as well. It’s freaking water proof. You can submerge the MoFo 5 feet deep and it’ll record all that in at 640×480 using the H.264 codec. It’s a bit bulky though. I cruised over to Fry’s and compared the E1 to the C6 , which has the same build as the CG65 and HD700; the E1 is pretty huge in comparison, but it does look durable.

What’s lacking for these cheaper hybrid cams.. are the essentials to compete as a heavyweight in the camcorder field.

Let’s see:

Opitical Image Stabilization (OIS). Much better than EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization).
Auto/Manual Focus. Fixed lens cams have their use. For day-to-day use, autofocus is convenient. The option for manual focus is gold.
Optics. The big players (Sony, Panasonic, Canon) all focus on their optics #1 priority. They don’t bother with cheap webcam parts. I love the pistolgrip form-factor, but it’s tough to combine a huge lens and portability. The big 3’s solution for their flash based cams are bullet shaped. House the best optics and ergonomics goes out the window.
Standard? This is one to argue about. Sony and Panasonic are going AVCHD which has caused a bit of trouble for those trying to edit video with both Mac and PC. Every format seems have trouble working with your favorite video editor though. Basically, most people have trouble even playing 1080p/720P H.264 footage since it’s so demanding. The thought of them even editing HD footage is a shiny new computer, long, far.. away.
For me, Sony Vegas has worked well. For you videographers/vloggers using digicams, MP4Cam2AVI has been gold for converting video to an editable format.
Installing ffdshow also helped in viewing/editing video with the preinstalled Windows Movie

Akihabara News Hands-On with Sanyo Xacti C9

Sanyo has been leading the way producing flash based, compact hybrid photo/video cams.

Now, they are trying to focus on marketing to women with their new, easy to use, compact, and stylish Xacti C9 hybrid cam.

It contains a whopping 9.12 MP CMOS sensor and encodes video to max 640×480 at 60 FPS using the H.264 codec. I don’t know about you but H.264 and ‘easy to use’ don’t exactly go hand in hand.

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This should be a great alternative if you are looking into the Sanyo VPC-CG65 but want something slightly more bulky and the option to shoot at 60 FPS.

The C9 will be aggressively priced as an entry level camera. I’m guessing around $300.

Specs from Sanyo’s site:

MPEG-4, H.264 Digital Video
9.12 Megapixel Still Images, CMOS
2.5″ LCD Display
5.0x Optical Zoom
Video and Still Image Stabilization
Real-Time Interpolation (12MP)
High Quality Audio Recording (AAC-LC)
Wind Roar and Red Eye Reduction
Web Cam Function
PictBridge Compatible
USB 2.0 and S-Video Output
Built-in Flash
SDHC Flash Memory, Compatible, 40 MB Internal Memory (approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes video recording per GB)

Check out the video and gallery over at Akihabara News.

Taking a cruise

Taking a cruise from Rodfather on Vimeo.

Taking a cruise along San Andreas Rd. Shot at around 6:30PM with about an hour or so left until Sunset.

Using the Aiptek A-HD at 720P 30FPS ~4Mbps attached to a GorillaPod SLR gorillapod which was clinging to the dash of my Subaru. It was very shaky but speeding it up somewhat helped.

Edited with Sony Vegas 7 and rendered to 720P WMVHD at 6Mbps. Original footage was 30 minutes. Sped it up to a little over 7 minutes.

The fixed lens helps out when shooting from a car. The Aiptek is not meant for motion though.

Looking into a Sanyo Xacti HD1000 with its 60FPS 720P mode.

Song is Master of Puppets by Metallica performed by Apocalyptica.

Download source 720P WMVHD video (328.66MB)

Fujitsu U810 Touchscreen Fix

There’s been an annoying issue with the touchscreen on the U810. If you don’t use it after a certain amount of time, maybe 10 seconds, it takes a second to get the touchscreen to respond again which makes inking frustrating.

I noticed the UMPC Portal forums, rexibaby posted a link to a comment in an Amazon review showing the solution to the response issues.

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Chris Heitmann says:

In reply to #8:
After using the u810 for a day – I also became frustrated with the unresponsiveness of the Touch Screen after not using it for 10 seconds or so. It was so frustrating to me that I was beginning to consider a return. Fortunately I finally found the solution so I thought I’d share.
HERE’S THE FIX! (Instructions are for Vista Home Premium – might be different on XP)
Open up “Device Manager” in Control Panel.
Expand “Human Interface Devices”
Double Click “FCL USB Pen Tablet”
Choose the “Power Management” tab
uncheck “allow the computer to turn off this device to save power”
That’s it. Real responsiveness! This really makes a HUGE difference in usability. Even if you have gotten used to the way it works or you’ve never had another tablet so you feel it’s performing ok – try this.

I tried it out and it works. The touchscreen is much more responsive now. Happy inking!

Take A Picture Of Yourself Everyday.

I’m sure most of you have seen the Everyday video where this dude Noah takes a picture of himself everyday for 6 years (and counting?). Well at least you’ve heard the music in the NBA’s Where Amazing Happens commercials..

Anyway, now you can easily snap a photo of yourself everyday straight to the browser using a webcam with Daily Mugshot.

girl-selfie

I’m not sure if I will keep up with this but since I have the Fujitsu U810 with me all the time with its built-in webcam, why not. Maybe this will be a good incentive to live a healthier lifestyle and not look so much like a chipmunk.

Keeping current with Web 2.0 goodness, they offer an embed code to stream your mug to your favorite social network.

Shortcovers eBook store and reader for the Palm Pre

I downloaded and signed up for Shortcovers, a eBook store and reader for the Palm Pre. What’s interesting is it appears to be all cloud based. I bookmarked the free book ‘Blood Hunt’ and when selecting a chapter, it takes some seconds to load up.

Shortcovers

Shortcovers

Shortcovers

Elantech Multitouch Super-Pad Control Panel Walkthrough

I recently upgraded the touchpad drivers for the Asus Eee PC 1000H to version 7.0.3.8.  It included a new control panel interface for configuring the various gestures.

Here are screenshots to showing which gestures you can do and how they can be configured.

New Mouse Properties

capture

Button Settings

jculk

Tapping Setting

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Rotation Setting

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Fast Keys Settings

jculk-1

Swipe Page Settings

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RathofMac WebcamMax How To Video


Found a cool video posted on Chris Pirillo’s site.  It’s a tutorial on how to make your live streaming screen look just like Chris’ on Ustream on a PC using WebCamMax.

This is a great tutorial for up and coming lifecasters who want to include ’stuff’ on the screen.

YouTube – RathofMac WebcamMax How To Video

National Handwriting Day

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National Handwriting Day
Well, well. I found out from Sumocat via
GBM it’s National Handwriting Day today.
This day was chosen using John Hancock’s
birthday which makes perfect sense.
GottaBeMobile has been posting a lot
about ink blogging lately. I’m not sure if
interest will blow up significantly, but
it would be nice to gain a few more
inkers.
-Rod
P.S. Going to try out
Build 52.

Sansa Connect Firmware Update!

There’s word from the Sansa Connect User Group the Sansa Connect’s firmware has been updated!  Finally we’ll be able to browse and stream Yahoo Unlimited’s 2 million song catalog all from a WiFi connection.  There’s also a new menu for Video.

Looks like the rumor was true!
I just finished updating my player with the new firmware… which
now lets me browse/stream specific tracks from the Yahoo Music
catalog!
There also seems to be a “video” addition to the photos menu. Looks
like this requires downloading the Sansa Media Converter to let you
transfer video from your PC. This wasn’t high on my wish-list, but
nice to know it’s there, I suppose.
I’ve just been playing with it for 5 minutes, but those are the two
big things I saw. Anybody see anything else?
this is a nice present for a Tuesday afternoon!

If you don’t know about the Sansa Connect, it’s a WiFi enabled media player that ties in with Yahoo Music Unlimited To Go subscription service.  I’m currently paying around $15/mo to have access to the entire music catalog with the ability to download tracks.  I’m a big fan of music subscription services.  It’s definitely a great way to explore new music or listen to newly released albums.  If you’re tired of paying $1/track from iTunes to listen to tracks you probably would never buy normally, this is the way to go.

The Connect runs on Linux.  The device and interface was developed by Zing who were recently bought out by Dell.  You can stream internet radio directly with Launchcast, view your Flickr photos, and download tracks/albums/playlists straight to the player through WiFi.. as long as you keep paying.  If you’re not a subscriber, you can still stream Launchcast radio but lose the ability to skip tracks.  You can also plug the Connect into a PC with the USB cable and transfer songs the normal way.  Since it’s using a real OS underneath the hood, it multitasks well.  You can download tracks in the background, listen to Launchcast radio, and view your Flickr photos all at the same time.

Search, browsing, and streaming the entire catalog has been the #1 request since its release.  This is something the iPhone/iPod Touch just cannot do.  Sure you have a fantastic interface to browse and search the iTunes catalog with the iTunes WiFi Music Store, but you have to purchase and download tracks first before you can play them.  With the Connect and a subscription, direct streaming baby!

The price has dropped down considerably as you can find one for around $100.