A new toy, a hitech video camera. After having used for two years a Samsung VP-D361 mini DV cam and being quite disappointed with the quality of that device (auto focus was off most of the time, and it failed on me when I was in China in the Forbidden City, the tape motor could be heard and fire-wire transfer is awkward) I decided to look at a better quality but affordable camera. For me quality means reliability, small, low weight, easy to carry and easy to add to my current video setup and reasonable video quality. Since my video equipment is not the latest and the greatest HD 1080p home Cinema type, the preferred video editing software is Premiere Elements 4, most of the movies are of the holiday memory kind and the budget limited to 400 euro I quickly abandoned the higher quality HD camera’s like the Canon HV30, HG10 or HF10. Those cameras, especially the flashcard based HF10 did meet the demands of being small and low weight and exceeded the video quality demands, but are quite expensive (900 euro) and generate video files in a format not easy to work with, like the AHVCD format on the HF10. A flashcard is quite attractive, no moving parts, so it is reliable, small and so easy to read the video files into the PC environment.
So I looked around and saw Canon, who also made my excellent Powershot A710is digital camera, announced the consumer flashcard based FS series video cameras. The FS100 is the one I selected, the cheapest of the series because no flash memory is built in. And I like that, flash cards are getting cheaper and higher capacity every day. It is not a HD camera, but a modest 1 million pixel camera with 16:9 wide screen or standard 4:3 dimensions. I have added an 8 GB Transcend Class 6 SHDC and a 16 GB Class 6 SDHC card.
After having to wait several weeks after pre-ordering it, showing my faith in Canon to deliver a quality device, it arrived this week. I paid 319 euro for the camera via internet at the dutch store fotokonijnenberg A good shop, recommended! No doubt it will fall in price a bit, but right in my budget. As you can see in the gallery above, it is quite a small and light device. The video quality did not disappoint me. It is not the best of course, but value for money. With enough light a sharp and (typical Canon) colorful image. Indoor the noise makes it not that good, the built in LED lamp helps a bit.
If you want to see a sample, proofing that zooming and autofocus works quite well, but shooting from the hand makes a shaky image, look here. Download the file and open it with e.g. Windows Media Player I should have used a tripod! This is the file straight from the flash card, type .mod, which is actually an mpeg2 file. Windows Media Player (and Photoshop Elements) understand this format, as do dvd players like WinDVD.
My first impression of the device is that it works well in normal light conditions. Convenient to operate due to light weight and small dimensions, but hard to keep a steady image. Flash cards are the way to go, like with my digital camera. like it, recommended!
Edit: on request a fragment shot inside (a church in Jordan).
Edit: Flash format video fragments here. I have taken the camera on two vacations (Jordan, Turkey) and around my hometown.Â
Edit: My experiences with editing are described here.Â SDCOPY, Virtualdub, Premiere Elements helped me.