Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sat 15th Dec 2007 08:34 UTC
Multimedia, AV We don't publish lots of camera reviews at OSNews, but sometimes something refreshing and interesting comes out, and we feel the need to report on it. Geeks.com sent us for the purposes of this review the Kodak V1253, a 12 megapixel digicam with a 3.1" screen, that can also record 720p MPEG4-SP video at 30fps. At just $220, this must be one of the cheapest 720p solution in the market.
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The noise in the video seems pretty bad
by bimbo on Sat 15th Dec 2007 09:32 UTC
bimbo
Member since:
2006-05-09

What use is 720p video if its that noisy (witness the ground, especially)? Was that filmed from a tripod?

Reply Score: 2

Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Yes, it was filmed with a tripod. However, as I explain on Vimeo, it has a gracious amount of color grading on it. Sometimes grading creates noise. Download the other sample, the straight out of the camera one, to make your assertion about noise.

Reply Score: 0

flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

The quality of those photos seems pretty bad to me. They seem like a slight blur has been added in Photoshop.

Nice review though.

Reply Score: 2

Still pictures?
by djst on Sat 15th Dec 2007 11:34 UTC
djst
Member since:
2005-08-07

Why are you mostly filming 95% still pictures with some leaf moving slightly? Would be much more interesting to see how it handles moving objects, e.g. by shooting people passing by on a busy street.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Still pictures?
by Eugenia on Sat 15th Dec 2007 18:49 UTC in reply to "Still pictures?"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

I don't live close to busy streets, and i would need image release license for that anyway. ;)

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Still pictures?
by Alex Forster on Sat 15th Dec 2007 20:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Still pictures?"
Alex Forster Member since:
2005-08-12

No you wouldn't, the photos would be editorial use.

Reply Score: 4

nice, but ...
by Oliver on Sat 15th Dec 2007 14:13 UTC
Oliver
Member since:
2006-07-15

Since these reviews at OSNews I know just one thing for sure, the difference between a nerd and a geek. A geek just buys everything out there and doesn't know much about it, a nerd doesn't buy everything because he does know that most of the goodies a real crap :-) And this el cheapo cam, well nice review, but what's the point? Why not test some real geekware like the Casio Exilim (V7/V8) with 800p resolution, h264 recording, better quality with less MP for just a couple of bucks more?

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2007_reviews/casio_ex-v8.html

It's just an example for some really special stuff, but this cam above is more or less nothing special at all.

Reply Score: 3

Thank you
by Jon Dough on Sat 15th Dec 2007 16:07 UTC
Jon Dough
Member since:
2005-11-30

Thank you, Eugenia, for your review. I am saddened by those who feel they must attack any article or author who doesn't conform to their world view.

Reply Score: 1

FPS?
by Machster on Sat 15th Dec 2007 16:17 UTC
Machster
Member since:
2007-05-15

When playing the 720p version it seems to be playing back at a low FPS (15 or so) while the standard def is much higher. Is that the playback software limit?

Reply Score: 1

RE: FPS?
by Eugenia on Sat 15th Dec 2007 18:42 UTC in reply to "FPS?"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

No, it does not play in low fps, it seems that you just don't have a powerful enough PC to run 720p.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: FPS?
by Machster on Sat 15th Dec 2007 19:46 UTC in reply to "RE: FPS?"
Machster Member since:
2007-05-15

No, it does not play in low fps, it seems that you just don't have a powerful enough PC to run 720p.


My Mac Dual G5 2ghz is fast enough to do 1080p. Nope, that is not the problem.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: FPS?
by Eugenia on Sat 15th Dec 2007 19:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: FPS?"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

If you are talking about the sample from the camera, it should playback fine on your Mac. If not, then there's something wrong with your Mac.

If you are talking about the downloading version from Vimeo, this was re-encoded in h.264 with CABAC in it. Quicktime does not support CABAC well.

Reply Score: 1

You color corrected the sample video?
by Alex Forster on Sat 15th Dec 2007 20:49 UTC
Alex Forster
Member since:
2005-08-12

You color corrected the sample video? Since it's a review and all, I would kind of like to see the video uncorrected to gauge the device's color ability. I could tell it was corrected the moment I hit play (unfortunately the world is not that vibrant).

Was the weird plant photo also corrected? If not, there is a /lot/ of bleeding coming from this camera in bright scenes.

Reply Score: 2

Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

I have a non-color corrected video to download. All other normal videos that are meant for *presentation* will get color graded (NOT color corrected, these are different terms). Everyone who is serious about video should color grade. Besides, I had to re-encode anyway (because the camera files are huge), so you would not get the "straight out of the camera" look to evaluate the true quality of the video. Which is why I uploaded the short unretouched video.

As for the pictures, they are all unretouched, straight out of the camera.

Edited 2007-12-15 21:25

Reply Score: 0

Stop commenting off topic
by Eugenia on Sat 15th Dec 2007 22:40 UTC
Eugenia
Member since:
2005-06-28

To some around here: before you post another comment of "why is this osnews" and "where my comment went", please read article 8 of our Forum Terms and Conditions. Any other such comment will be removed by either myself *or* Thom, no questions asked. If you want to comment, comment ONLY about the product. Discussion about the topics only via email please.

Edited 2007-12-15 22:43

Reply Score: 1

More Megapixels == More noise.
by grat on Sat 15th Dec 2007 23:40 UTC
grat
Member since:
2006-02-02

The video's pretty good, although it has a tendency to blow out the highlights a bit-- some negative exposure compensation might help. Also in several scenes there appears to be a hot spot (pinkish circle) in the middle of the images, usually when strong sunlight is involved.

Unfortunately, however, the still images are terrible. The palm trees in the background are just a green smear on the horizon, with almost no visible detail.

Looking at the specs on the camera, it's easy to see why-- 12.1 million pixel sites on a (roughly) 7.6mm x 5.7mm sensor.

Sure, it keep glass costs down to use such a tiny sensor, but digital imaging has been getting *worse* for the last 5 years, not better. Smaller sensors mean less light gathering, more interference, more noise, and of course, cranking up the ISO (amplifying a weak signal) introduces *more* noise, resulting in increasingly paranoid noise-reduction.

A 5 or 6 megapixel camera will produce smaller images, but they'll have just as much detail-- and more importantly, they'll look just as good (if not better) when printed at 8x10 or 5x7.

I notice on the site that it says "Prints up to 40x30 inches!"-- proving that somewhere, someone at Kodak has lost their minds. While I'm sure you can print at that resolution, it's going to look like something by Monet, only less inspiring.

For something you're going to hang on a wall, having it professionally printed/framed at 200 dpi will still look great, and with a 6-8mp camera, producing a 17x11 print is no problem. With a package like Genuine Fractals, you can get some *REALLY* large prints. Panorama stitching can also produce really large images if desired.

Finally, "HD" (720p) in this case means "1280x720". That's smaller than my desktop resolution, less than 1 megapixel, and produces really nice video. 1080p, being 1920x1080, of course looks better, and comes in at just over 2 megapixels.

So why does this camera need to be 12mp? 6mp, and it would take superb photos, and videos.

Reply Score: 4

RE: More Megapixels == More noise.
by Eugenia on Sat 15th Dec 2007 23:56 UTC in reply to "More Megapixels == More noise."
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

You are of course very right in your comment. Part of the smearing look is the kind of compression Kodak uses. They don't want to get rid of it, because it looks good when pictures are printed with their printers. But for general picture-taking, if you are not interested in their printers, you aren't gonna like this look. There was a hack once, for an older kodak model, to take the smearing out, that's how far some people have gone to "fix" that look.

As for 720p video vs 1080p, 720p is plenty enough IMO, it's just needs to be better. The video too has the smearing you see. And there is no exposure controls for when in video mode.

Reply Score: 0

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

So why does this camera need to be 12mp? 6mp, and it would take superb photos, and videos.


Because more megapixels == more better, in the minds of many. The best way to disabuse people of that notion is to show them a picture from something like a Rebel XT ("only" 8MP) and compare it with a picture from one of the high MP cheap cameras.

Reply Score: 4

melkor Member since:
2006-12-16

Unfortunately, you have the marketing departments in all of the major manufucters to blame for this lie. This is one of the reasons why I have an extreme dislike for marketing people - they knowingly lie, and generally have no technical knowledge of the products that they are marketing. Sorry guys, but every marketing person at every company that I've worked for in near 20 years has been what I consider useless.

Dave

Reply Score: 1

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Sorry guys, but every marketing person at every company that I've worked for in near 20 years has been what I consider useless.


++

The old saying should be revised to: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, work in sales and marketing."

Reply Score: 2

Eugenia great review
by stormloss on Sun 16th Dec 2007 16:28 UTC
stormloss
Member since:
2005-08-03

I just ordered this camera.

BTW Kodak Australia get your act together for your brick and mortar suppliers pretty please.

Reply Score: 1

Pretty much like most digital compacts...
by melkor on Mon 17th Dec 2007 11:05 UTC
melkor
Member since:
2006-12-16

I have several worries about this camera (and most digital compacts):

1. Actual speed of use. Most (even modern) digital compacts are still slow to use, taking a second or so between shots. Kodak says 1.7fps for up to 3 frames, does it actually live up to this?

2. Slow/inaccurate autofocus

3. High noise at higher ISOs

4. Fastest shutter speed is 1/1200 second, and the slowest, 8 seconds, that's rather limiting in my eyes.

5. Kodak's compression ratios have been dodgy for quite some time.

6. No RAW file ability - a necessity for any serious photography, in fact, any semi serious photography.

Kudos to Kodak for making a smallish camera, that's sexy, and has a nice large LCD screen, and also has a variety of manual adjustments.

I suspect that the macro modes aren't true macro - which is 1:1 or greater. This is a specialty area of mine (see my website and my flickr pro account), so I would like to think that I know what I'm talking about ;-)

My final comments are that Kodak says it's a "1 / 1.72 in. CCD". Well, 1.72" is 4.3 or so centimeters. I doubt very much that the sensor is that large, especially since Canon's full frame sensor DSLRs cost a LOT more (due to fabrication issues), and that Canon up until the release of the Nikon D3 has been the only full frame competitor (other than a single Kodak DSLR 5 years or so ago).

The smaller sensor sizes of digital compacts causes several issues:

1. loss of resolution
2. High increase in noise at all ISO settings, but especially so at higher ISO ratings.

The usage of a CCD sensor instead of CMOS also causes several technical issues (higher power consumption, hower noise per pixel than equivalent CMOS technology).

The only real advantage that smaller sensor sizes have over the larger ones in DSLRs is the increased DOF due to the circle of confusion having less affect on the final image.

For the money, and for the average "snapper" it does seem good value.

Dave

PS Kodak's software totally blows - at least with my dad's version of software that he has...it screws up jpeg association, screws up EXIF information etc etc. Maybe newer versions of the Kodak software are better.

Reply Score: 1

You call that EasyShare?
by franz on Tue 18th Dec 2007 19:03 UTC
franz
Member since:
2006-07-26

"The only technical issue I had was that while XP would recognize the camera, it wouldn't mount it as an external drive, I had to use the EasyShare software or a flash reader to get my media out of the camera."

You're right. That's easy. No thanks.

Reply Score: 1