Tom Ramcigam (magicmarmot) wrote,
Tom Ramcigam


This thing is a monster inside. The "quick start" manual is on a DVD, and it's 85 minutes long. Really though, so far it's impressing the hell out of me. The direct-to-hard-drive recording also means that each take is its own clip, and you can not only playback the clip in-camera, but you can pause, frame advance backward/forward, slow-speed backward/forward, and just generally have random access to your clips. It's a lot like an in-camera DVD player.

I honestly haven't had a lot of cotton with consumer camcorders. I tend to want a feature set that's very different, with a lot of manual control, because most of my shooting is very controlled. This camera has a lot of consumer-type features, but is really easy to switch into what I'll call "assisted manual" mode. In assisted manual mode, things like focus and exposure are adjusted manually, but there are handy assisting features, like presets (looks like factory presets only) for specific types of shooting conditions that you might run into, like portraits, or strong backlight, or outside in snow. I haven't tried any of these modes yet, but I'm sure I will. There's also a "night owl" feature that does a nighttime auto-adjust slow shutter speed thing that I'm not sure I understand fully, but looks interesting.

There's a hell of a lot here, more than what I expected by a long shot. And it strikes me that it would really be useful for a camera with this much computing power to be able to link to something like a laptop in real-time and access the functions while you're shooting. That would make something like crane shots really nice. To be fair, there is an infrared remote control that has a lot of functionality on it-- it looks like you can access menus from it-- but it doesn't do things like allow focus.

Speaking of focus, there's a focus assist mode in manual control that does something nifty: it changes the viewfinder image to black-and-white and shows the things in focus with a colored outline. Because it's a high-def camera, focusing is a lot more critical, and the viewfinder doesn't have the resolution to see the focus well enough. The focus assist makes that not as much of a problem.

Unfortunately I'm not gonna get much of a chance to play with Darth real soon, so any more in-depth stuff will have to wait.
Tags: darthcam

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