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Digital Video & Imaging

This corner of my web site is about digital video and imaging. Here, you'll find photos and 360º panoramic images taken with the Sony DSC-F717, the Nikon Coolpix 990, and the Sony TRV900 digital video camera.

Sony DSC-F717:

Nov 2002 - My wife got this brand new camera for my birthday, wow!

Having used the Nikon Coolpix 990, Minolta Dimage 7, Sony DSC-F707 (my brother's), and now this, I have to say my favorite has to be this one. The overall image quality of the DSC-F717 is the best among these cameras (followed by the F707, then the 990, and then the Dimage 7).

The F2.0-2.4 Carl Zeiss lens with 5X optical zoom is a beauty. Even though it is not as powerful as the Nikon Coolpix 5700's 8X zoom, it is a brighter lens (compared to Nikon's F2.8-4.2), and has a wonderful focusing system. Focusing at low light situations has always been a major pain with the Nikon and Minolta. This camera (and the F707) uses Sony's unique laser hologram focusing (see reviews for more information).

The other great feature has to be the Sony Info-Lithium battery - it lasts for hours of continuous shooting; just like the batteries for the Sony DV cameras. Both the Nikon and especially the Minolta drain batteries very quickly (even with 1800mAh Ni-MH batteries). A camera is useless if it has no power, as I have experienced at a trip to Portugal. With all rechargeable batteries drained, I bought regular AA batteries (at tourist prices); a set lasted only 15 minutes in the Nikon 990 (the Minolta is even worse when it comes to battery usage). This camera brings back the fun in digital photography without worrying about draining the batteries.

While this camera uses Memory Stick instead of Compact Flash for storage, having one or two 128MB sticks last for a good day of normal shooting at the highest resolution. Now that the prices of Memory Sticks have dropped, and higher capacity sticks are coming, this issue is not as big as it once was. As for the writing speed to memory, I find the operations of this camera very swift (probably because of the large built-in buffer).

Here are some reviews:

Digital Photography Review
Steve's DigiCams
Digital Camera Resource
Imaging Resource


Nikon Coolpix 990:

May 2000 - Just got the Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera with an Epson Stylus Photo 1270 printer. The combination makes a nice match for digital photography. This has been a nice camera, even though the focusing could be better in low light situations, and the battery life should be longer. The image quality of this camera is very good, and the macro feature is excellent too.




Sony TRV900:

The Sony TRV900 is a prosumer digital video camera. Some of the unique features include: 3 CCDs for accurate color reproduction, extensive manual controls, progressive scan, photo memory mode, a standard Type II PC card slot, floppy disk drive with PC card adapter, analog video input (for converting analog video to digital), and a decent lens.

In progressive scan mode, each video frame has twice the normal interlaced resolution. Still images can be captured to either a floppy disk, video tape or memory card. Photos can be saved as JPEG images with three levels of compression.

A small sample of the photos I took can be found in the Photo Gallery. All images were shot in progressive scan mode, and were captured with MotoDV through the Firewire (IEEE 1394/i.Link) port from tape, or from a compact flash memory card.

Images captured in memory mode (i.e. to the memory card or disk) tend to look darker than those captured to tape. What you see here may have been modified with Photoshop (by adjusting the gamma, color saturation and/or sharpness).

Also check out some 360º panoramic views taken with this camera: Bruce Mills (212K) and Puck Farm (296K). These images were shot without any VR hardware; a Java-enabled browser is required to view.

For more information on this wonderful camera, check out the excellent site by John Beale: Using the TRV900. There is also an active mailing list for exchanging information with other TRV900 users.

Updated Nov 2002: This model is now replaced by the TRV950.

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