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View Full Version : Which camcorder for best still pics?



John Tropi
11-26-2004, 11:20 AM
I have been wanting to ask this for ages, slightly uncertain as to the best area to post it - finally plucked up the courage!

I've been trying to decide on a new digicam for some weeks now but I would also like to replace my oldish but goodish JVC digital camcorder, whose only real problems are lack if DV IN and lack of Windows XP drivers for DV out. Basically, it won't talk to my PC and that's a serious combination problem!

I realise that the standard advice is that no camcorder can compete with a dedicated digicam for stills and vice versa. But that situation is gradually improving and I have seen still pics from a 1MP Sony TRV50e that looked pretty reasonable at full size on a 15" monitor. So I reckon that anything better than that might suit me very well indeed, given that I do not have hugely high expectations and am not looking for perfection. My still pics are almost certainly never going to be printed, definitely never printed bigger than 6 x 4 and will likely only ever be viewed on a monitor of some sort.

I have found it extremely hard to find any discussion or even good information from experienced users, yet there is a huge number of camcorders that have this facility and I presume people do use them.

From what little I have read, although the Panasonic GS400 is rated as a truly excellent camcorder, its still images are rated as 'disappointing, given its 4MP capability' and similar comments have been seen regarding Sony's HC1000e. I have already commented on the very reasonable standard obtained from the TRV50e and have heard pretty good reports of the Canon Optura Xi (MVX3i). The big problem is that I have never seen any sensible side-by-side comparisons of these units and have no idea what 'disappointing' really means to a camcorder reviewer, who possibly doesn't have much interest in the still image capability in the first place!

So here we have a vast range of quite sophisticated photographic machinery, yet no readily apparent depth of information on it, at least not to anything like the standard readily available for orthodox digicams. It seems like a photographic area that is ripe for discussion!

Can anyone help me, with personal experience or with pointers to sites I may find useful?
I'll look forward to any information that pops up!

Jake Conner
11-26-2004, 12:15 PM
While your question is indeed an interesting one, it isn't of the type that is normally handled here; this is a site for digital still cameras, not camcorders. The proprietor of this site, Jeff Keller, also runs a camcorder review site (www.dvspot.com), I believe he posts still photos from all the camcorders that he reviews, and that site also has a forum in which you could post your question.

Jake

John Tropi
11-26-2004, 04:19 PM
Thank you for your response, Jake, which discouragingly tends to confirm what I already suspected - that many still camera buffs simply don't want to talk about still pictures unless produced by a 'pure' still camera. I don't see why the source should matter in the least when the subject is simply the quality of still pictures produced by a slightly different form of digital camera.

I have been aware of dvspot for some time and Jeff's reviews there are certainly very helpful. However, unfortunately, the forum format there is among the most difficult to use that I have ever seen. It just doesn't work usefully, hence my asking a legitimate and entirely relevant question about still picture performance here, the home of still pictures!

Iin spite of the fact that both possess substantially overlapping facilities, it seems that there is a large gulf between movie cameras and still cameras and, if this gulf is not bridged, the camera manufacturers of both types are rather wasting their time in producing the overlapping technology. I would suggest that it's a good time to start bridging that gap and that this forum could be the ideal place to start building bridges rather than continuing to maintain the rather artificial separation.

ReF
11-26-2004, 05:43 PM
Thank you for your response, Jake, which discouragingly tends to confirm what I already suspected - that many still camera buffs simply don't want to talk about still pictures unless produced by a 'pure' still camera. I don't see why the source should matter in the least when the subject is simply the quality of still pictures produced by a slightly different form of digital camera.

I have been aware of dvspot for some time and Jeff's reviews there are certainly very helpful. However, unfortunately, the forum format there is among the most difficult to use that I have ever seen. It just doesn't work usefully, hence my asking a legitimate and entirely relevant question about still picture performance here, the home of still pictures!

Iin spite of the fact that both possess substantially overlapping facilities, it seems that there is a large gulf between movie cameras and still cameras and, if this gulf is not bridged, the camera manufacturers of both types are rather wasting their time in producing the overlapping technology. I would suggest that it's a good time to start bridging that gap and that this forum could be the ideal place to start building bridges rather than continuing to maintain the rather artificial separation.


while I suspect that there are quite a few people out there that look down upon pictures that aren't taken with a "pure" camera (just like the way some film users look down on digital cams), I think the main reason that Jake refered you to the other site is because the people here on this forum are mainly into cameras, and might not have much interest or experience in camcorders. Most of the people here seem pretty nice and I'm sure we'd help out IF we could. That's how I see it.

John Tropi
11-27-2004, 07:15 AM
I'm sure you are right ReF. :)
I'm also thinking that I can't be the only person with this dilemma and am hoping that this topic might open things up a bit for others who are in the same situation. There does seem to be an unnecessary gap between users and I'd love to see the gap narrowed and perhaps even eliminated over time. I feel sure it will happen eventually and here is an opportunity to make a start.