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Old Nov 25, 2005, 10:28 AM
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CVS Camcorder quality ?

I've been reading about the CVS camcorders and while the price is low the quality of the videos that have posted look only fair at best. The results are dark blury and in many cases out of focus. Does the camera even have auto focus ?

I'm I missing something here or is the video quality really that poor?

Based on the video quality i've seen this far, I'm not sure I want to spend the $30.

Bob
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Old Nov 25, 2005, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyboy03051
I've been reading about the CVS camcorders and while the price is low the quality of the videos that have posted look only fair at best. The results are dark blury and in many cases out of focus. Does the camera even have auto focus ?

I'm I missing something here or is the video quality really that poor?

Based on the video quality i've seen this far, I'm not sure I want to spend the $30.

Bob
What other camcorders are you considering in the $30 price range, then?
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Old Nov 25, 2005, 12:14 PM
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GoatZilla

Goatzilla,

After reading a few more threads I saw you purchased the Aiptek MVPR camcorder. How do you rate the quality of MVPR compare to the CVS camcorder? Yes, I know the MVPR is approx 3-4 times the price.

Is the quality of the CVS camcorder worth it or would you recommend buying MVPR or somthing else?

Bob
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Old Nov 25, 2005, 01:47 PM
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Dont forget that when you post the vid, often the quality is reduced. When I play the cvs on my computer it looks way better than when its posted. The only drawback to bad quality on the cvs is low light conditions...what the heck..its only 30 bucks

-Dave
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Old Nov 25, 2005, 02:43 PM
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Get the Aiptek MPVR, the quality is much much better. Its only 98 bucks and its worth every penny.
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Old Nov 25, 2005, 04:29 PM
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Enjoy the CVS cam as a great toy. If you want quality don't go cheap. There is a reason why the good cams are over a grand. http://reviews.cnet.com/Sony_Handyca...2.html?tag=nav
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Old Nov 25, 2005, 05:51 PM
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$98?

JettPilot,

Where can you find it for $98?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JettPilot
Get the Aiptek MPVR, the quality is much much better. Its only 98 bucks and its worth every penny.
Phil
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Old Nov 26, 2005, 03:57 AM
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Target had a sale on them for 98.00 last week, but its over now

The good news is that I just saved 15 % on my car insurance......

Wait, what I really meant to say is that I bought the Aiptek, but it is not suitable for me. I am making DVD quality stuff, and the Aiptek is good, but I will have to stick with my larger more expensive Sony Digital video camera with tape. I will sell the Aiptek for 98.00 here. Its new, just tested it aroudn the house for a few days. Never flown....

It goes on Ebay Sunday, where they have been selling for more.
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Old Nov 26, 2005, 09:59 AM
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I purchased the CVS camcorders with the intent of being my "starter" camcorders for RC video. Since then I've been quite pleased with the picture quality considering the price, which was why I asked if you had any other competing products in the $30 price range.

I'm not going to be a tool and try to sway your decision one way or another, but I'll present some information and you can make up your own mind.

The CVS camcorder has a fixed 128mb memory, so there's no upgrading that. By default, it records in 320x240 at 30fps, although you can adjust this via the software hack. The highest resolution that you can set it to is 640x480, but I wouldn't recommend this as it isn't stable, and I think the video artifacting will make this resolution useless anyways.

I do, however, run it at 512x384 30fps with no stability problems. The picture quality in my opinion is quite good for a $30 device. It records in AVI to a standard codec so the video is easily manipulated.

Also keep in mind that the camcorder can be removed from the plastic case and powered off your BEC. My setup weighs 1.3oz shrink wrapped with a lens protector. I've even competely submerged it in the lake without any damage, although that's probably due to the way I used the heat shrink/foam to protect the lens.

Your ability to hack the CVS camcorder will be somewhat hit-or-miss. I happened to pick two up off the shelf with hackable firmwares. The newer firmwares will require the timed wire jump method.

The MPVR has expandable memory and records at 640x480 30fps. (Or, at 1000fps if you are to believe the container format's possibly intentionally misleading data). As far as image quality is concerned, the MPVR definitely has better detail, compression artifacts, and color quality. Neither camcorder fares very well in low light, but I would give the MPVR the slight edge in the low light department. I'm not sure if you'll be filming an aerial video in low light though.

The problem starts coming in when you try to process the video. If you're perfectly happy going from one proprietary format to another, or being stuck with a limited set of tools, or paying money for a substandard set of tools, or having to re-code from one format to another just to get at your own data, then you'll be just fine. I've found a way to cleanly chop up ASF without recoding to get the video data in my editor of choice, but most people around here seem more than happy to shell out money for crappy software, so I'll just leave them to their own devices.

Then there's the weight issue. The MPVR is 5.5 oz, minus the battery door. This, in my opinion, is too heavy. I haven't taken a scalpel to the device, but I'm estimating I should be able to get rid of the battery, which will drop the weight another 0.8 oz. Some people don't mind flying really heavy setups; I'm not one of those people. It's also somewhat awkwardly shaped, so you might want to put a little though into how you want to mount and orient it. Anyways, basically, the MPVR is about 4x heavier than the CVS camcorder. This will hold true until we start figuring out how to really lighten it up.

Then there's the cost. After you sort through the chaff, you will find that it costs $150 new. That's more than 5x the cost of the CVS camcorder. Of course, you get more for that 5x cost hike, like MP3 playing, digital photo capability, and extra super bonus -- IR remote capability, something the people aren't quite realizing right now for some reason.

Looking over all the specs, the MPVR has GREAT potential. And it's not a bad device just to carry around for personal use anyways. If we learn about the device and manage to get the electronic shutter working and the weight completely trimmed down, I'd say this will be the best value for general purpose RC camera/video.



Ultimately, I think you probably care about picture quality. I do have two sample clips that you could probably use for comparison. I took both cams out one day and shot them both at the same location, so they both have the same scenery and similar lighting conditions. Unfortunately I'm not at home right now, so I'll get them up later for you to compare yourself.
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Old Nov 26, 2005, 10:10 PM
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Hello GoatZilla,
I'm looking forward to seeing your posts of video comparison. I'm running my CVS at 640 x 480 and 30 fps and getting good stable results. I get 9 to 12 minutes before the card is filled. I probably should decrease resolution though. My problem has been wiggles in the video at high motor power that seem to be from vibration. I've built a really stiff mount and balanced the prop but still get some.
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Old Nov 27, 2005, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChromeDome
Hello GoatZilla,
I'm looking forward to seeing your posts of video comparison. I'm running my CVS at 640 x 480 and 30 fps and getting good stable results. I get 9 to 12 minutes before the card is filled. I probably should decrease resolution though. My problem has been wiggles in the video at high motor power that seem to be from vibration. I've built a really stiff mount and balanced the prop but still get some.
Yeah, I get those wiggles too. I don't know if the higher resolution will cause more or less sensitivity to the vibrations. If nothing else, you'll have to just lay off the throttle from time to time, depending on what you're doing. I got some wiggles in my MPVR video as well, although there are less. (Most likely due to a much heavier setup in the first place to dampen the vibrations.)


Anyways, I haven't had time to fully process the video (again, the MPVR video is giving me issues), but I did take two sample screen shots for you to look at. I tried to pick two shots with similar subject material. One thing to make a note of is I made the CVS shot first, and this was pretty early in the morning, so the MPVR which came later had more light to work with.


The CVS camera is not too shabby. In reviewing the video, I did notice that my setup does NOT like to be pointed toward the sun... the MPVR handled that situation much better. It might be a result of my lens protector though, I don't know. I need to tinker with it a bit.
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Old Nov 27, 2005, 08:23 AM
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CVS vs MPVR

GoatZilla

Thanks for the quality comparison and your responses. I decided to buy the CVS cams and modified it yesterday. While I haven't tried AP yet around the house the quality looks OK.

The bottom line is for $30.00 I'll play with it some more.

Bob
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Old Nov 27, 2005, 04:11 PM
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No problem. Here's a picture of what my modified CVS camera looks like mounted on my Slo-V. Stack of cd spindle rings + maglite lens, then heat shrink over the rest, hook the USB power to your RX/BEC. 1.3oz of fury! This photo was taken with my MPVR.
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