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Quite awhile ago I published a review of the iDear DV30 video camera. I would now like to comment on the last few things on my list so I can finally put all the review issues to rest.
In bright light conditions I rarely experience lens flare, but if I am shooting in less that brilliant sunlight, I often see artifacts in the video. I also see them on the screen so its possible to sometimes mitigate the effect. If I am shooting a scene that is illuminated by spot sources I can make all kinds of orbs fly around the video. I’ve seen orbs like this on some of those stupid “ghost” videos, where people swear that they seen these things on the video only after they review it. Duh!
When panning at high speed, I noticed that the camera lagged behind a bit, making the pan seem jerky. Since returning from the factory this is become less of a problem. I consider it to be acceptable for my purposes.
Digital Zoom, And No Optical
Since the release of the iDear DV-30, there have been many SD card based video recorders in this same price range, and none of them have optical zoom. The problem with these kinds of zooms is that the more you zoom, the lower resolution you have because they rob resolution (so to speak) in order to zoom into the field of view. I am used to the 8x zoom on my Nikon, so sometimes it bugs me that the zoom on the DV-30 is not very useful. Even so, knowing that before you shoot anything allows you to just get closer to the subject if possible.
Slowish Auto Exposure System
Since returning from the factory the exposure system seems better. There is still a lag when moving between areas of high contrast, but for my purposes I find it acceptable.
By far, the best thing about the iDear DV-30 is its excellent audio. The microphone picks up the surrounding sounds remarkably well. The fact that the DV-30 can be used as an audio recorder makes it very attractive for recording meetings or other events. The standard 512MB SD card can record more than 8 hours of mp3 audio! Everything I have ever shot with the DV-30 has great audio.
Fixed Focus Lens
This is another “wish I had a better camera” thing, but let’s face it, in this price range you can’t expect too much. Hui-Chen’s sister purchased a similar tapeless digital video camera and it has switch selectable focus ranges. The DV-30 is fixed. I only notice a problem when I am trying to shoot something rather close-up. Most of the stuff that I shoot is more than 1 meter away so its not a problem for me.
Annoying Start-Up Glitch
When I first purchased the DV-30, I noticed that all of my videos had a start up glitch. I would press the button and the unit would begin to record. But immediately after the recording began, the unit would “hang” for a small interval of less than 1 second. This glitch was actually recorded and was not limited to the video monitoring system (which is quite good actually). Some people would not notice this I’m sure, but with my professional recording background, this little defect drove me nuts. Since the return from the factory, this annoyance has been all by eliminated. Now the startup glitch seems “normal” and is acceptable.
The battery sucks! It doesn’t hold a charge anymore. Fortunately it is a very common mobile phone battery so that isn’t going to put us out of business.
Since the introduction of the DV-30 last year, many companies have released similar products. The main differences that I have seen are MPEG4 capability, switchable focus ranges, higher CCD resolutions and accompanying longer digital zoom ranges. All these cameras seem to be pretty much the same, with very similar performances. However, the DV-30 is smaller than any of them. I have put the DV-30 into my shirt pocket and forgotten it was there until I checked my pockets before depositing the shirt into the dirty laundry basket! For me, that makes the DV-30 very suitable. I carry the DV-30 in an accessory pocket on my camera bag that I use for the Nikon. I also carry the battery charger. So the whole deal fits into a bag that I normally carry with me when traveling. I am very pleased about that!
Most of the videos on our blog were shot with the iDear DV-30.
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