Aiptek Z300HD-V Regina SK

The Z300HD-V records HD video at a maximum resolution of 1,280x720 pixels - roughly half that of the HF10. It can record video at 30 progressive frames per second, though, which is ideal for uploading to the internet. This is because many internet video-sharing sites, such as YouTube, use 15fps video. Simply halving the frame rate produces good-looking results and smoother motion than converting interlaced PAL video.

Gj Photo
(306) 757-4686
202-1815 Rae Street
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Oktober Revolution Photography
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Digney Photographics Ltd
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Focus 91 Photography
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Austring Photography Ltd
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Red Leaf Studios Inc
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Greschner Mark Photographer
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Cameraone.Ca
(306) 757-4612
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Don'S Photo Shop Ltd
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Digney Photographics Ltd
(306) 359-7988
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Regina, SK
 

Aiptek Z300HD-V

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Both the Aiptek Z300HD-V and the Canon HF10 (reviewed opposite) are HD camcorders, but it would be cruel to compare their output directly. At less than a third of the price of the HF10, the Z300HD-V is a bargain alternative to the big-brand HD models and even comes with a 2GB SD card.

One of the biggest differences between the two is resolution. The Z300HD-V records HD video at a maximum resolution of 1,280x720 pixels - roughly half that of the HF10. It can record video at 30 progressive frames per second, though, which is ideal for uploading to the internet. This is because many internet video-sharing sites, such as YouTube, use 15fps video. Simply halving the frame rate produces good-looking results and smoother motion than converting interlaced PAL video.

Aiptek couldn't tell us the bit rate of the video, but we worked out that it's around 5Mbit/s. Even taking the reduced resolution into account, this is far lower than the bit rates of most HD camcorders. The resulting videos are saved as H.264-encoded MPEG4 files in a MOV container. We found that they played in QuickTime without a problem. A codec for Windows Media Player is provided, and you can use the component or AV outputs to hook the Z300HD-V up to a TV.

Given its technical inadequacies, the results were acceptable in good lighting conditions. Our test videos didn't have a wealth of detail, but the footage was certainly sharper than any we've seen from a standard-definition flash-based camcorder. Low light defeated the Z300HD-V, however, and the resulting footage was very dark. As with all highly compressed video, motion caused plenty of problems, and busy scenes were marred by compression artefacts.

The 3x optical zoom is small compared with the 10x or 12x zooms found on most camcorders. The Z300HD-V also has a habit of adjusting the framing of the image a little each time it refocuses. This is because the focus system moves the zoom very slightly, which becomes very annoying once you start to notice it.

The Z300HD-V isn't very attractive and doesn't feel particularly well built. There's no lens cap to protect the lens from scratches, but the supplied carry case should help. Below the smallish lens is a pair of LED lights and a flash. The flash tended to overexpose subjects taken close up, and had little range. In better light conditions, the 5-megapixel stills lacked the detail we would expect from a compact digital camera costing half this price.

In fact, if you just want to share videos online, you're better off with a compact digital camera that can take video at 640x480 as you'll end up with better still images. If HD video is your top priority, consider spending more money.

System Specifications

SDHC storage, 3x optical zoom, 5-megapixel CMOS sensor, 2.4in LCD screen, AV out, component out, USB2 interface, one-year RTB warranty

Author: Seth Barton

Computer Shopper Online