Are digital cameras intentionally hobbled?

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
New coolpix does movie quality but only for 60 seconds



One thing my children will not lack is extensive photo and video documentation of their early childhood. I have thousands of digital pictures and nearly a hundred digcam tapes, but I still find myself missing the really great, unanticipated moments when I forget my digcam. For this reason I have eagerly awaited the arrival of a digital camera/camcorder that is solid state and small enough to carry around all the time. So naturally I was excited to learn that the new coolpix could record TV quality at 30 fps.



Then I discovered that it could only record 60 seconds at that quality. Why? Why, I ask, is there this artificial limit. Sure it will eat up an SD card quick, but SD cards are getting bigger and cheaper all the time.



I smell a rat.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    We're not there yet. You want that kind of recording time, you're going to need a bigger battery first of all. You don't want to know how much a 4 GB Secure Digital card costs.



    Just go ahead and buy a small camcorder and a small still camera right now, because we're not going to get any truly nice dual-function cameras anytime soon...none that are affordable anyway.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    smirclesmircle Posts: 1,035member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Nordstrodamus





    Then I discovered that it could only record 60 seconds at that quality. Why? Why, I ask, is there this artificial limit.




    I am not 100% certain, but I believe they grab the images from the CCD and store them in main memory before moving them to the flash card. Main memory is much faster than flash, so at the moment the main mem is full, recording has to stop while the content is pumped over to the flash card.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    Moving to Digital Hub, Bub.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    er, my Sony CyberShot P8 can take unlimited video and audio at 640x480, 25fps, MPEG 1 muxed. I have a 512MB Memstick Pro and have taken 15minute long videos. I can take up to 23minutes or so.



    even the older P7 and P9 (at 320x240) (and I think even the generation before that) could take unlimited (memory limited) video.



    I like the P8, but kinda want something else. BUT the only thing that keeps me attached to it is the video function. Its just great to have. And the quality is pretty good. BUT, no zooming while filming, and when its dark, the quality aint that great (no night vision).
  • Reply 5 of 14
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Smircle

    I am not 100% certain, but I believe they grab the images from the CCD and store them in main memory before moving them to the flash card. Main memory is much faster than flash, so at the moment the main mem is full, recording has to stop while the content is pumped over to the flash card.



    This also explains why filming at lower resolutions will increase the allowed clip duration.



    There a number of possible explanations for this and you've hit upon the most likely. It is likely that the bus to the camera's removable media cannot keep up with a video stream. Another possibility is that data from the CCD must be manipulated prior to storage and that the chip doing this conversion can't keep up. Once again, memory fills up and recording stops. Another possibility is that the removable media itself is unstable at any higher of a speed. Finally, it is possible that the camera might overheat and melt... literally.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    My stupid Coolpix 3500 only lets you record 30 second video. Even with a stick of 256 in it. That is a stupid limitation.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    My Fuji FinePix lets me record as much video as can fit on the smart media card that I am using at the time. Of course it is kind of crappy quality, but it is good for silly little stuff. Too bad that Smart Media cards are dying a slow death.



    A lot of cameras use a memory buffer because a lot of cameras don't have the best card reader/writer in them, and they can't get the data to the card fast enough.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    My friend's Sony DSC-F707 can take very high quality movies with sound as long as his camera has room for them. Meanwhile, my Sony DSC-u30 can only take 15 second long videos at extremely low resolution (like, 180x115 or something ridiculously low like that) with no sound. With mine they just threw in the movie feature as an afterthought... it's not like I ever use it, other than once or twice to test it out.



    There's no reason they put that limit there other than to entice you to buy their higher end models. It would be nice to get a camera that can do high quality (640x480 or higher) movies, of unlimited length, with sound, but I just couldn't do it for $200 so I decided on a pure point-and-shoot still camera instead. My Sony doesn't have many features (not even an optical zoom, or even a digital zoom), but it's so tiny I can bring it anywhere.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    Excuse my predictable announcement of my stupidity after this question...but had to ask...



    Don't digital video cameras have the option to take or capture still pictures?







    If so...then purchase a DV camera that does this...problem solved?
  • Reply 10 of 14
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Smircle

    I am not 100% certain, but I believe they grab the images from the CCD and store them in main memory before moving them to the flash card. Main memory is much faster than flash, so at the moment the main mem is full, recording has to stop while the content is pumped over to the flash card.



    This seems like a reasonable explanation. I suppose I could test it by seeing if it can immediately start recording another 60 seconds.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Artman @_@

    Don't digital video cameras have the option to take or capture still pictures?





    They do, but they are either low quality stills or the cameras tend to be bulky. There's even one camcorder that bothers to put a rotating lense to switch between high quality stills and low quality video (read: gluing a camcorder and camera together).



    I would still use a DV cam where possible, but the thing I need is a good, small digital camera that can record at least tv quality for whatever length my flash card will hold.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    It's all about the right tool for the job. You guys want really portable, continuous, low quality video with sound.

    You guys want one of these things.





    http://reviews.cnet.com/4505-6500_7-...tml?tag=search



    It can take as much video as the card can hold and still is a decent 2MP still cam. Gateway just introduced it for $200, which is a little more than a 2MP still cam alone. Of course the video is not DV quality, in fact it is probably much closer to crappy still cam video quality, but that's what you get for $200 less than a real camcorder - and it takes much better still pictures than a camcorder and is MUCH smaller.



    Or if you don't care about high-res stills, one of these things from Logitech. Also very interesting.



    http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/33663.html
  • Reply 13 of 14
    nm
  • Reply 14 of 14
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Curufinwe

    It can take as much video as the card can hold and still is a decent 2MP still cam. Gateway just introduced it for $200, which is a little more than a 2MP still cam alone. Of course the video is not DV quality, in fact it is probably much closer to crappy still cam video quality, but that's what you get for $200 less than a real camcorder - and it takes much better still pictures than a camcorder and is MUCH smaller.





    It's got to be at least 640x480 at 30 fps to be watchable on a TV. Of course, by the time they come out with one they will also have HD-cams and I'll probably want one of those.
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