Saturday, September 4, 2010

Testing Toshiba Camileo S20 HD camcorder.

Toshiba Camileo S20 is an low-level camcorder (it's somewhere around $150 in Romania), but it really impresses me. I was expecting to be just a camcorder with which you can just play a little, and nothing more (considering that I had before a P10 which I changed with the S20), but it definitely exceeded my expectations.

It's very thin (only 17mm), extremely light (I was searching the battery on the pack because I wasn't thinking that a camcorder can be that light with the battery inserted), and the design Toshiba gave to it makes it look really good (much better than the P10). It can record at both 1080p and 720p resolutions (the 4X zoom is available only for 720p and below), and some of the features it has are "Macro" mode, Slow Motion, Pre-recording, Motion Detect and many others (the P10 didn't have them, P20 might have them but as the specifications from Romanian websites selling these camcorders are very poor, I can't be sure it has).

It also has image stabilization, and the camera can shoot photos at 16 MP. The resolution is very good for a camera of this type, but, however, I wasn't able to take clear photos from a very short distance, even with Macro mode activated. Anyway, the photos I took outside look absolutely brilliant. The 3" LCD screen is quite poor, and even if the photos/videos don't look pretty good on it, when you put them on your computer, they are perfect.

Camera startup time is more than acceptable (it turns on and off automatically, but you also have a button to turn it on and off manually), and I think that the pre-recording and slow motion options are the features which make this camcorder to worth buying. You just push the pre-recording button, and when you see something interesting, you just push the recording button. This way, you can recording the lightnings very easy. Practically, when you push the record button with pre-recording on, the previous 3 seconds prior to pushing the record button are also added to the recording.

If you consider buying a camera like this, here is what you also need to know: in the pack, you're going to find the power cable, USB cable, a TV cable and a tripod (it's very useful), and of course, the quick start guide. And, if you buy one, don't forget to remove the insulator from the battery, otherwise it won't charge. Both photos and videos are accessible directly via USB, without the need of any additional software (like Sony does). What is also important is the container of movies, which, in this case, is AVI (QuickTime won't play it if you're on a Mac, but VLC does it smoothly, and it should be doing it on any platform).

Here is a video I recorded today in Hungary. My opinion is that the image is just perfect.

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