Archive for January 6th, 2008

The new camcorders at CES

Samsung and Panasonic have announced their new camcorder line up, and Canon’s already have been leaked too. The new trend is flash storage and full progressive 1080/30p recording. Panasonic goes the extra mile to include true progressive 1080/24p too, while Samsung can capture 300fps for 10 seconds which yields very “clean” slow motion. We know no tech specs about the new Canon cameras yet, but we know that they went flash-storage too. Sony didn’t offer major new ideas/features in their new lineup.

I am very happy to at last see true progressive recording, no more wacky aspect ratios, no more interlaced crap for consumers (50% of them don’t know how to de-interlace and then they export interlaced to sites like vimeo and so their videos end up looking like crap), and of course 24p.

However, Panasonic did not go the extra mile to compete with the HV20, and Samsung didn’t seem to even try either. Just because you can shoot progressively and 24p does not make your camcorder a better device than the HV20. Not only because AVCHD is still not as good as HDV in quality, or because 3CCDs are so small in these consumer cameras that yield essentially no background blur compared to 1/2.7 CMOS of the HV20, but also because there is no manual focus ring, no filter threads, no manual controls in hardware buttons.

This reminds me a lot of the efforts of Samsung and LG to compete with the iPhone last year. Instead of actually replicating all the existing iPhone features plus adding more new features, they just kept their old software feature-set and just gave their device a big ass touchscreen. Well, that’s not enough to compete with the iPhone, and in the same way, Panasonic’s solution is not a better deal for the hobbyist/indie filmmaker than the HV20 is.

Personally, I will still wait for this. If Canon won’t deliver that, no one will.

Update: This Casio digital camera looked very promising for a moment, but then I read that it has no image stabilization, not conversion lens support, and not enough background blur (same as in the HV20). This is why followers are not leaders in the market. Because they make a lot of buzz about a single feature that no one else has, but they forget to take care of the basic stuff. Stupid Casio.