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479 of 486 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2007
For the price, it's a great deal. This camera is pretty much the cheapest HD video camera you can buy. Just bear in mind that it's nowhere near as feature rich or as well built as any Sanyo Xacti that costs $200 more. It's made almost entirely of paint coated plastic, although it should survive in your knapsack or purse if you're careful. It's not going to amaze you with a terrific zoom lens or the sharpest 720p HD video you've ever seen, but it's got some nice features. First, it uses the H.264 movie format that is compatible with the iPod Touch, iPhone, iPod 5G, and the 3G iPod Nano (just be sure to use the camera's web format to ensure you have no further conversion to do for those players - only Apple TV will play the DV1 files without conversion; also, iMovie HD will still need to convert the H.264 files to the iMovie HD format). Any Mac with OS X 10.3 or higher recognizes the camera as a USB device instantly. Second, it can record 480p or 720p input from an external device through it's video input mini-port*. It can upsample 480i content to 720p (although that won't improve the original quality of what you're taping), or you can record to DV1 (480p). It comes with two outputs: a regular AV in/out and an HD out (YPP). *The input recording is like DV-R, but without a timer or programming. For television or old VHS that you want on your computer, the quality is as good as most DV-R.

What you need to know:

The video is best in daylight and bright light, otherwise you'll see noise. It tends to overexpose whites, but there's a +/- exposure adjustment setting, and setting it to -1 permanently is a good idea. Othewise, it has okay contrast and saturation. The auto white balance is actually very good, too. But when you record in 720p, there's compression that can be noticeable on a good HD display. The compression is far less noticible in 480p and in CIF (web format), but there's less resolution. Also, the digital zoom creates jaggies from poor anti-aliasing, which are more evident in HD than in 480p. There's also no shake reduction, but there is a standard tripod mount. There is a "Night" setting that does indoors. low-light, but it increases the video noise considerably. The lens is soft, which is where you can tell you've only spent $1xx dollars, but that doesn't effect TV input, which is plenty sharp (so then you know it's a mediocre lens and not the CMOS chip). And, yes, there can be some "wave" distortion when you pan around too fast (it's not visible on the LCD screen, only on large televisions), because the refresh rates for the sensor are a little bit slow. Is the performance so bad it ruins the camera? No. It's about what you'd expect from a sub-$300 camera in 2007. Which is to say, better than a $200 camera 3 years ago.

For me, the battery life of the Li-Ion battery has been about 60mins of video recording with the LCD on, and 75min-90mins of recording with the LCD off. The manual recommends you charge the camera's battery for about 4 to 8 hrs before its first use, which I did. You can get extra replacement batteries from Aiptek, but it's the same model as for a number of other cameras from Pentax and Fuji, so they only cost between $10 and $20. I like that it charges by USB, so that when it's not connected to the computer in drive mode it can charge. It also comes with a tiny AC to USB power adapter for travelling. It takes about 3hrs for a charge.

The 4x zoom is digital, it works in both photo and video mode, and it's not going to let you either zoom in very far or zoom out very far. I'd say it's a 35mm to 60mm equivalent in 35mm camera focal range. The macro mode is only for 20">12", which isn't too close.

The LCD display pivots out and can rotate around to the front of the camera. It's 4:3 aspect ratio, but when you record in HD, the screen is letterboxed. You can also close the LCD and keep recording to save battery life. This is useful when you're recording TV input.

The inputs (USB and AV) are hidden by a pull-out rubber protective strip that deserves to be treated delicately. It's attached to the camera, and rotates out of the way, but if you think you'll be rough with it enough to snap it at its weakest spot, just pull it out permenantly.

The camera operation is really easy. The menu layout is simple-minded and navigated with a 4 direction joystick. The graphics and icons are pleasing well designed. There's a main menu for the 4 modes: Settings, Camera, My Works (your recordings), and Voice Recorder. Each mode activates that aspect of the camera, and then there's a sub menu for that mode, too. In My Works, you select video shots, photos, or voice notes. The photo sub menu allows for even a photo slideshow. Everything can be operated with your thumb and index finger while holding the camera.

The 5MP camera portion is a lot like a cellphone camera (the LED on the front of the unit is just for flash strobe with photos, not video), and although it can upsample to 8MP, it doesn't improve the quality. For sharpness, its 3MP option is the sweet spot. I wouldn't say this is the cameras strongest talent, but it beats any old MiniDV camera that included a 2MP "photo" option.

There's a top mounted microphone for recording sound, but there's no microphone input if you want to do otherwise. The AV input doesn't allow just audio input from an external microphone. If you want to record an audio overdub, you'll have to do it on your computer. However, the "voice recording" mode for recording audio in WAV format works much like a digital tape recorder. And you can plug in headphones so that the internal speaker doesn't emit your playback to those around you.

It doesn't come with an SD card (you get that seperately) but it does have enough RAM for a few photos and seconds of video. I'd guess about 32MB. It doesn't make much sense to use this with an SD card of less than 2GB. It's about 2GB per 1hr of HD recording. However, it accepts SDHC cards up to 32GB (I suppose they'll be available in the future) and USB 2.0 transfers from the camera to your computer are as fast as they should be.

Overall, it was better than I expected for under $150. The camera is a bit fragile and it really deserves to have well-lit subjects, but it's a good companion device for your daily go-bag or purse beause of its size. It would make a good gift for a tween.
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76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2007
Bought one of these for my brother and his wife and after seeing how well it works I think I'll get one for myself. Video plays without noticeable artifacts on a 42" plasma and the images move smoothly. I was amazed to see such solid compression in only 2GB/hr. Uses standard Quicktime files! Hallelujah! Charges with USB and accepts SD memory up to 32GB. Indoor performance is nothing to shout about but certainly useable (no camera this size can really impress in low light). The sound is rather poor, as the other reviews suggest, but I can live with it. The build quality and control layout are not great but explain the low price. The moral of the story here is that you can bring it along most anywhere without a fuss. And when it comes to memorable moments, any shot is better than no shot, right?. I think I'll keep one of these tucked away in a pocket from now on. A steal for this price.
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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2008
I own an expensive Sony HD camera that takes great video and decent sound. But I hardly ever used it. After taking trips to Hong Kong and Costa Rica wit the Sony, and coming back with almost no footage, because the camera was too bulky and expensive to want to carry around, I decided I needed to look into something better suited for my needs. The Aiptek is something I use all the time. I purchased this camera so I could take quick videos of my son, or anything else I wanted to post to YouTube or Vimeo. I did some research by going to Vimeo and searching for Aiptek A-HD. I found some great clips that showed me exactly what the camera can do in HD.

The Good
Picture quality is very good. It doesn't beat my Sony, but it will beat just about any camera you could have purchased for under $2k 5 years ago.

The camera couldn't be much simpler. Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder, 60-Minutes (White) is obviously the easiest camera to use, but the Aiptek is not going to stump anyone.

Fast upload. Unlike the long time my Sony took to bring video in from DV, the Aiptek is super fast at transferring those movies onto my machine.

Good use of space. I have a 4 gig card in mine, and it looks like I can get a little over 2 hours at full 720. Cards are so cheap now that I think I should have just got an 8 gig that should cover 4 hours.

Small and light. I take this camera everywhere. I hardly ever shot video with my Sony, but this thing I use all the time.

All cables included. This was a nice surprise for such a cheap camera, especially in a time of 1 game controller in $400 game system. The box included USB to mini USB, power cord, and even cords to hook up to the TV for normal and HD TV. No HDMI.

The Bad
Sound quality. The microphone is not great, and it's set to the rear. It feels like Aiptek set this up so that the person shooting the video could narrate the shot. But the lack of a external mic jack does limit the use of this camera.

No optical zoom. The camera does have a 2X digital zoom, but that's not ideal. The slightly more expensive Aiptek GO-HD High Definition 720p Camcorder with 3x Optical Zoom has 3X optical zoom if yo

Construction. With a low price comes low quality material. When I got my camera in the box, the "camera" button had already fallen off. Not wanting to deal with returning the camera through Amazon, I just superglued the thing back on and it's worked fine since. The camera feels sturdy enough when you hold it, but it does feel a little cheap in the buttons.

No stabilization. Since this is a cheap camera it does not come with any built in stabilization, so your shots can come out a little shaky if you're not steady handed.

As a digital camera the Aiptek works about as well as most inexpensive point and shoot models. The pictures are acceptable, and the built in flash does a good job exposing details.

Like most people will say, this is a great camera for the money. If you're someone who wants to take serious videos and need things like stabilization and external mic jacks, this isn't for you. But if you're someone who would like a good camera to shoot everyday events so you can post them online or save them to disk, this is a camera you should be happy with for a couple of years.

It does fit the need for travel as well. It's small enough to throw in my cargo pant pocket, and cheap enough that if lost or damaged, it wouldn't ruin my vacation.

I do think it's likely that I'll outgrow this camera as I want to do more video. I'm waiting to see the Sony HDR-TG1 4MP High Definition Handycam Camcorder with 10x Optical Super Steady Shot Zoom (4GB Memory Stick Included), which is about 6 times the price, but looks to be amazing. Maybe a Christmas present for myself.

This camera would also be great for teens to start shooting footage beyond their camera phones. I'll likely just hand mine over to my son when I upgrade.

When you transfer files to your computer they come in Quicktime, which works great for me since I'm on a Mac. This is perfect for iMovie.
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62 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2008
For the money, I give the hardware 5 stars. I recommend a tripod since cheap cameras don't do good with motion. Video is very nice, but the sound could be better. Because the manufacturer casually forgets to tell you that you won't be able to edit your videos on a PC, I give this camera 2 stars.

Video files are complex - you have the container (.mov, .avi, .wmv, .mpeg), you have the video encoding, and you have the audio encoding. This camera creates Apple Quicktime .mov files encoded with the latest video and audio codecs. My friend was able to play & edit the videos easily on his Mac. However, if you have a PC it's a different story. On a PC, the movies will play using Quicktime or using Windows Media Player if you install the codec on the supplied CD. Editing the movies is much more difficult on the PC. Windows Movie Maker won't even open a Quicktime .mov file. My Sony Vegas video editing software will load the video, but not the sound. After digging around the Aiptek web site, it appears that their more expensive camera comes with a video conversion program. I downloaded this $30 software. It was able to convert the .mov video to Windows .wmv format, but with significant loss in quality. Haven't had as much luck converting it to .avi or .mpeg (lots of different problems happened).

Anyway, I recommend this camera if you use a Mac or if you are o.k. leaving your videos as individual Quicktime .mov files. Too bad the camera doesn't create old-fashion DVD MPEG-2 files. Most manufacturers think their newfangled video decoder is better, but at the expense of being incompatible with most software. For the same money, you might try the Flip Video camera. It's not as high resolution, but at least you can pull the video clips into Windows Movie Maker, combine them, and burn to a DVD.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2007
I bought the Aiptek A-HD about a week ago. I wasn't expecting too much since I only paid about $100 for the thing. But after using it for a week I have to say I'm stunned. The video qualty is very good even in low light. The pictures are even better. Pictures are sharp and the colors are very accurate. Better than my old Pentax. I have had no problems with the sound as some others I have read. My only complaint is the lack of any image stabilization, the video does tend to bounce around alot. Aiptek has finally produced something here that is not a joke. Kudos to Aiptek! For the money you can't go wrong.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2008
I picked this unit up over the weekend at my local Best Buy. It was on special for $149.99 which also bundled a small tripod, 1GB Kingston SD Card and a carrying case. Overall this is a pretty good value for the extra $15 - $20.

The camcorder itself comes packaged with a lense-cover, wrist-strap, composite and component video cables, USB cable, instruction booklet and CD-ROM. One note about the CD-ROM for Windows users, you might want to at least install the Windwows Media Player codec that allows you to play the output files in Media Player, as it will only play in Quicktime if you don't. The rest of the software is pretty basic and, in my eyes, pretty worthless.

The device is relatively well put togetether for this price-point with a few exceptions. The plastic is fairly lightweight and cheap feeling. The main issue I have is that the battery doesn't seem to fit snugly into the battery compartment.

The on-screen interface is fairly basic but easy to navigate using the 5-way, thumb-operated joystick. Other buttons are limited to a dedicated camera key (used to exit any menu or to take a still photograph when in video mode), mode button (used to switch to playback mode), menu button, and the trigger-activated record button. There is also a slide next to the lense for the macro function to make close-up shots clear.

The LCD display is actually quite nice. The colors and well-represented, and the display is fairly bright and easy to see in direct sunlight. The display rotates and can be flipped flat against the body of the camcorder.

The quality of the video is a mixed bag. Video can be recorded in HD, SD or Web-quaity settings. In either case, video taken in well-lit environments works amazingly well for the price of the unit. Video is smooth, color well balanced and contains minimum artifacts and other digital distortion. In anything but well-lit environments though, the results drop off dramatically.

The sound quality of the built-in microphone is, as other reviewers have noted, sub-par. I am working around this by recording seperately using a decent microphone and mixing the audio in post-production.

Speaking of post-production, my main gripe with this camera is that records video files to .MOV format, making it a nightmare for Windows users. If you have a Mac computer, you'll be all good. However, .MOV files are a pain to work with in a Windows environment. I use Adobe Premiere to edit my video, and while it does load these files, it takes forever to "conform" the videos to the project and subsequently causes frequent crashes. If you convert the files before editing, you will not only lose more time but more quality as well. If I needed more motivation to upgrade to a Mac, I think I've found it.

All in all, the Aiptek A-HD camcorder met my expectations of being and affordable, easy to use, HD camcorder.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2008
This junk broke within months of getting it. I was so careful with this camera, but it just stopped working. The joystick part broke and now I can not change modes or play back video clips.

Just wanted to add that Aiptek gives you the run around and doesn't seem to want to honor the warranty. When called they said we need a return number. They sent us an email to replay to for the number. They never responded back with the number.

When/if we ever get the number to return the camera we pay to ship the camera to them. They won't send a replacement for 5 weeks after they receive my camera.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2008
It's probably more of a toy or a hobbyist camera, rather than consumer grade camera, and for one major reason - there is no image stabilitzation, so your hand needs to be *really* steady, or you need to use a tripod. Other that that, no complaints. It won't give you razor sharp high definition picture because of the real time compression to the SD card, but it's decent. It has three picture modes: Hi-def, DVD and Web. Most of the time I use DVD quality setting. The picture in this mode is way better than from VCR or even my older digital 8mm Sharp camcorder. It also takes decent photographs, comparable to cheap point-and-shoot cameras. It needs good lightning, but I have successfully filmed inside with not so great lightning conditions and the picture came out better than I expected. Overall, it exceeded my expectations. I like it a lot and I think it has a great value for the price I paid for it (~$150). I give it only three starts because of lack of image stabilization.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
You should know that I am probably the least "tech-y" person on the planet, so I bought this product with some hesitation, especially given that it didn't have stellar reviews.

I've tried it out a few times to video my toddlers, always inside during the daytime. The light was fine, we didn't use any extra special lighting. The HD quality was tremendous on our HD tv (although we had some trouble hooking up the sound - turns out we needed to plug that part into the sound system, not the tv. duh!) I was shocked at the quality of the video.

I thought the microphone did a reasonable job picking up the sound from a couple of yards away from my kids. It was really easy to transfer the files from the camera to my mac laptop... although I have no idea how to edit a movie or make a dvd yet.

I think someone had some concern about no image stabilization, but I had no problems keeping the camera still and the movies didn't come out shaky. You can easily hold it in your right hand, and use the palm of your left hand to help keep it stable. The zoom in and out wasn't exactly smooth when playing back the movie, more jerky, but for $150? Are you kidding?
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2008
I uploaded a 10 sec 320x240 video of a projector screen for example.

XBOX 360 720P compatible. Reads it (my CD/DVD with mov files xfered worked too) right from the game DVD drive or USB port. Havent checked other HD Players like Blueray. PS3 owners, let us know please.

Very versatile. Cheap flat batteries. Nice after firmware update to 2.002.
Even CIF mode is sharp for its size. (over 10 hours in that mode). Batteries are 5-10 dollars. 3rd party NP60 wall / auto charger kit is 5. I have 3 batteries now. Mini or regular tripod and remote control (for a low 10.00) are a nice addition. I like using using a monopod on occasion for a more professional scenery sweep.

Drag and drop to computer, or play MOV or JPG right from the cam USB port in any res, including Hi Def 720P, or even view upconverted to 1080P on your XBOX 360. (requires Free XBOX January 2008 Dashboard update)

Records (PVR) NTSC AV in at very good (4hrs on 4gb chip) DVD quality, and you could even use as dub say from one of the nite shots cameras on the fly, running the cord to your shirt pocket that this fits in (when your old cam runs out of tapes!!).

I mounted a 37mm ring adapter (included with the SIMA 2X SLS-20A lens or Sunpak (cheaper) CAL-1040KIT 2X) to the front (2 drops nail glue, so I can pop it off if I have to) to use my cheap SIMA SLS-05 Wide Angle wide angle and 2x SIMA SLS-20A lenses. You could make a 37mm push on friction adapter from the sima rear lens cover also. (check vimeo for clips)

Easy firmware 2.002 update adjusts sound down for better quality, and gets 4x zoom (other tweaks too.)(AIPTEK Oct 22 2007 V2.002 Oct 22 17:48:19)

No Audio Clicks or problems with this memory card. -
A-Data Turbo SD SDHC 4GB Class 6 Memory Card

Xbox 360 Pro Value Bundle
Xbox 360 Core Console System
Xbox 360 Console Includes 20GB Hard Drive

Sima Video Bracket
Sima ST-10T Mini Tripod
SIMA SLS-05 Wide Angle Conversion Lens
Sima 2x Telephoto Lens w/Updated Ring Sizes
Sima SL-10LX Universal LED Camcorder Light

Sunpak CAL-1040KIT 2.0x Tele-Conversion Lens Kit with 25, 27, 30, 30.5 and 37mm Filter Sizes

Phoenix M-Power small 0.45x magnetic wide angle lens

Global Digital 2 Pack Fuji / Fujifilm NP60 Brand New Equivalent 1200mAh LithiumIon Camera/Camcorder Battery, Long Lasting cell. It meets or exceeds OEM specifications!

Brand New Digital Camera & Camcorder Home Travel Charger with Car Adapter For Fuji NP-60, Casio NP-30 Compatible w/ Models:Fuji FinePix 50i / 601 / F401 / F401 Zoom / F410 / F410 Zoom / F601 / M603 / Casio QV-R3 / QV-R4 / HP Photosmart R07 / R507 / R607 /
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