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Moving Pictures ('05)

A band of Garage CGI Spielbergs, a Machinima movie and Hollywood's establishment

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Trojan Horses ('03)

P2P networks, portable digital media, the MPAA, Brooklyn Technical High School, the US government and terrorism

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How to improve Xbox 360?
Better use of 16:9
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More inspired art direction
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More stuff like Gotham TV
Screw the games. Give me DivX, XVid, HD-DVD and a TV show download service!


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The Art of the Possible. Commentary. Writing. Miscellany.
- - - - - - - - - - - -=[ Saturday, September 11, 2004 ]=- - - - - - - - - - - -

REVIEW: Fisher 3.2MP Still + MP4 Video Cameracorder

We've been meaning to write-up this little impulse purchase for a while now, but here goes. Having been on the look-out for a combo still/video camera using Flash memory, USB 2.0 and MP4 (to avoid transcoding and save memory), we were delighted to stumble into Fisher's (yes, the brand surprised us too) nifty little Pocket Cameracorder C1.

And we mean "little". This thing truly isn't much larger than the Canon Powershot (a great product in its own right) which it replaces. And it makes all the difference. To us the most critical thing in a device like this is not that it has the very best 3.2MP still image quality (although it has to be comparable to the Powershot, which it is), or the very best MP4 video quality (although it has to be 640x480, which it is), or the longest battery life (30 minutes is a surprisingly long time if you can afford to pack the charger) or the most memory (although the included 512MB SD card gives you 30 minutes of video, and with declining SD prices, that will soon be a moot point), but that it is so easy to carry, and so easy to use (kudos to the designers for the less-is-more physical interface, and very easy to navigate on-screen UI), that we have it with us more often, and use it more often.

On this front, it has been a revolution for our family movies, and the ability to bring the MP4 right into our Roxio Easy Media Creator (or, presumably, your video editing software of choice) over a swift USB2.0 link, has led to not only capturing a lot more of our adventures, but finally putting them together in digestible versions, rather than letting them sit to gather digital dust for all time.

A few caveats worth noting: Aside from the fact that the still imager chip has substantially better resolution than the video imager (which you, of course, expect), the video imager has weaker image quality, as it does noticably worse with lighting than the still imager. In addition, having only 5x optical zoom (and forget about doing much with the digital zoom) could feel constraining to the expert lens-men in the audience.

BOTTOM LINE: A very hearty thumbs up at the original $799 price from earlier this year, and a downright steal at the current $589.

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