Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Video Camcorders Go Tapeless: Direct Solid State Recording Is The New Mantra

As a budding video-maker I have been waiting for a while to see camcorders adopt new technologies that would allow them to do away with both tapes and other mechanical recording mechanisms.


I want maximum portability and image quality, and no matter how good you get with tapes and mini-DVDs, they have both physical limitations and are both prone to wear and tear. Top quality Mini-DV tapes, which can cost more than $20 for a one hour blank tape, can still be responsible for dropouts and other video errors on the initial part of the tape and in those sections where you may have over-shuttled a bit too much with your fast forward and rewind buttons.


Not only.

I want as little format conversion and transcoding between what I shoot and what is the final format that I will use for online publishing and distribution.

Finally a new generation of portable, solid state digital camcorders is starting to hit the shelves and promises to be just what I wanted and more. On this new generation of digital camcorders video is recorded directly onto a solid state memory card like the ones you normally use on standard digital cameras.



On one side is the Panasonic SV-AV100 which I have pointed at before. This is a slick and super-compact camcorder with lots of interesting features.


The SV-AV100 can in fact record industry standard MPEG2 video on SD-type memory cards, providing an image quality level rivaling DVDs. The SV-AV100 also supports recording in the MPEG4 video format. In MPEG4 video mode the Panasonic is capable of a video resolution of 320x240 pixels at a data rate of 1 Mbps (In the MPEG2 format the camcorder can reach 30fps at a data-recording rate of 6Mbps).

The SV-AV100 turns itself also into a portable video media center. With the A/V terminal on the included cradle, you can connect the camcorder to an external device, like a TV or VCR, and then transfer the content directly onto the SD Memory Card inside your SV-AV100. This little jewel integrates a full 2.5" LCD monitor capable of rotating a full 270 degrees.

With the separately sold DMR-E100H DVD Recorder you can store all your video taken with theSV-AV100 on the DMR-E100H's hard disk drive and edit the material without using a PC. The DMR-E100H has a built-in SD Memory Card slot allowing that direct and immediate approach to video editing that is yet unavailable to popular tape-based video cameras.

The SV-AV100 has a list price of USD 999.95.

See a detailed list of features for the Panasonic SV-AV100 right here.
Panasonic has a whole set of these camcorders called D-Snap. Check them out on this page or see a a basic comparison table here.

You must give a look at the interactive 3D display of this little jewel, which allows you to explore and discover this camcorder in your own way. Find out what the camera looks like from any angle, open the swivel screen, check plugs and outputs, zoom in to see the design details.


Creative has also just come out with a very interesting model: the DiVi Cam 316.

This is not just a video camera but also a damn good quality still camera, a ready-to-be-used webcam for your online meetings, an MP3 player and a portable audio interviewing machine rolled into one.


The DiVi Cam 316 has a 270° swivel LCD monitor, and a cool compact look. It can capture video and audio in the standard MPEG-4 format at an impressive video resolution of 640x480 (VGA). Considering that most any video clip and videoblog published today is published at 324x240 resolution you have plenty of extra quality to surf the videocasting wave without fear.

The DiVi Cam 316 i actually capable of reaching an impressive resolution of 6.6 megapixels for still pictures by using a sophisticated interpolation algorithm. The camera optics utilize a 3.1 megapixels CMOS sensor.

Last but not least this camcorder integrates audio, video and USB outputs and has also full support for printing directly to standard office equipment.


Quite unbelievable is the list price of this truly innovative technology, which is offered in Singapore at about USD $140 per unit. These units come with only 16MB of memory, and need therefore to be equipped at least with a 512MB or 1GB memory card bumping the price up $ 50-100. For now this newest model is unavailable in Europe or the US.

For more information please see this Creative page.

If you know of other tapeless (and discless) digital camcorders, which can record directly to a solid-state digital memory device, please use the comments are here below and provide more useful pointers for us to use.

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posted by Robin Good on Saturday, August 27 2005, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.




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