Samsung VP-HMX10 seems to be the video camera I have been waiting for. For years. Finally there is a camera that does couple of things well:
- Solid state - records directly to now relatively inexpensive SD-cards
- Compresses the video directly to a format that is suitable for storage, editing and viewing - with no postprocessing needed. In this case we are talking about H.264
- Non-interleaved, 60fps, HD (720p)
- Is a real video camera, not just still-camera with video recording feature: 10x optical zoom, image stabilation, nice form factor, excellent video quality, ok quality sound, all ports on camera with no \"cradle\" needed, ...
Why is this H.264 so important? In the era of DV-cams you were forced to go through tedious task of transferring the video over firewire to your computer. For hours. And then recompressing the video to a decent format, mostly H.264, for many more hours. When the video is already in H.264, I can just connect the camera with USB cable, double-click on any video-click and boom - Quicktime player shows HD-video immediately. Furthermore - because of great codec, 16GB SD can hold almost 6 hours of decent quality HD-video.
Enough of the pros, here are the most annoying cons:
- Even though PS3 plays video beautifully when you connect the camera with USB to it, for some compatibility reason there is no sound. I hope that this will be resolved in some future PS3 firmware update.
- iMovie 08 fails to import the videoclips from camera with Import from Camera feature, but imports them fine with Import Movies... function. Really strange bug in iMovie. Import itself is a breeze, but generating thumbnails phase takes ages on my first-gen MacBook Pro. More specifically - importing a 20 minutes of movies iMovie 08 takes hours, even when no transcoding of the video is needed! This is really really annoying bug and has nothing to do with VP-HMX10 - Apple should really fix this to make iMovie 08 useable.
- Battery is only good for shooting 90 minutes of HD. And there is no larger capacity batteries available.
In any case - I would recommend this excellent camera to anyone who is interested in relatively inexpensive HD-camera and finds the above mentioned features important.