Hybrid waste

I am trying out the Canon TX1 hybrid cam. I am a big fan of hybrids — for the past couple of years I have used the Sony DSC M1 hybrid. This Canon promises a lot and thus far seems to deliver fairly well. The Camera is very stripped down and easy to use — but the ergonomics aren’t as good as the Sony, harder to hold and shoot with one hand. Stills are 7.1 pixels and other than the flash (which is weak) the stills are good. The face identification software does a really good job of finding faces — less clear whether the adjustments it does once it has found faces is worth much, but that strange allure of technology recognizing a human feature is enough to make one think it must be have some value.

Video is just weird. Canon promote this as an HD hybrid and sure enough the video is 720p, 16:9, 30fps. But it records in M-JPEG (Motion JPEG – basically a string of jpeg images?!). Hugely inefficient at encoding, gives you approx. 13mins of video on a 4 gig card? There is the advantage that you can pull a still from the video stream, which is kinda interesting if you want to wade through a gazzillon frames for the 1/30th of a precious second. But why M-JPEG, Divx or MPEG4? I suspect they wanted to (a) save on licensing fee’s — and (b) make sure the camera wasnt too good at doing video. The tension that hybrids have for Camera manufactures persist — if its too good then people wont need to buy two devices. But the choice is an interesting testament to how the plunging cost of storage continues to radically effect technology standards.

  • John

    Hi there. Since I just picked up a new Canon TX1, I’ve been following the blogs to see other users’ experiences and advice.

    Regarding the mjpeg compression, I thought I’d toss in the advantage of the format: it’s extremely high quality. The smaller file sizes of mpeg4 and others comes at the cost of the details lost in the codecs’ compression.

    Leaving aside the enormous file size it produces, I’ve been really impressed with the quality of what the camera and mjpeg format in good light (in low light the camera’s small chip clearly struggles and produces grain).

    I do wish Canon had also offered an mpeg4 additional option, perhaps calling it a “Super LP” option for the HD mode.

  • John

    Agree, the 16:9 720p looks very good — from a device that is just a little thicker than a video ipod

  • http://shifter-bmw.subarureviews.cn Stathis