on February 3, 2014
I'm writing a detailed review, now that I've used this continually since December 2013.
Intended Use- After reading MANY reviews, I purchased this camera to film church services and youth group activities.
I most often film inside our auditorium which is has a high ceiling and is well lit with fluorescent lighting. I shoot from above the congregation and back from the pulpit by about 50 feet as the crow flies, give or take. I've have filmed with both the lights on and off in the audio/video booth.
-Great zoom. I have this on a tri-pod, of course, and I use about half of the optical zoom it is capable of.
-Audio In- One of the features I bought this for! I have a line in coming from the sound board, and the quality of audio is superb! My editing software shows no "hiss" or white noise in the audio. Just clear sound.
-Back up on board memory- As I shoot in full HD, the built in memory would not hold much, and I knew that. It serves as an "overflow" for the memory card, and it does this seamlessly. I have tested this, intentionally letting it run past the 32 gig cards I use, and there was no noticeable transition.
- Coloring is very good. We have burgandy carpet and white walls- potentially a bad contrast combination, but the camera handles it well. I use manual settings and have found the feature set to be a good one for controlling all aspects, including white balance, contrast, & others. You can actually touch the screen to sample the white balance and choose that to make your adjustment... that's pretty awesome!
- Optical Image Stabilization- REALLY good on this camera. It is truly remarkable, and I use it even while on the tripod as it minimizes vibrations as I pan and tilt quite a bit.
- Built-in mic- As I mentioned earlier, I use the audio line in, but from time to time I use the microphones built into it, and I have to say, I was impressed. Not a lot of noise in breezy outdoor shooting (nothing that my editing software can't pull out), and it records sound clearly. It's as if the mic honed in on where the speaker was and adjusted as necessary.
- LCD Display- The overlays are super. Shows me all the information I need. Shows the volume in dB it is receiving both from the mic and from the line in, menu access of course, battery time remaining, memory remaining both amount and time, mode you are shooting in, etc.
- Built in lense cover- Slides closed with a switch on the left side by the hand strap
- Ability to throttle the zoom speed if required- 3 zoom speed settings if you'd like, or leave it to correspond with the pressure you give the zoom button. I can smoothly zoom in and out while even panning, but more on that in the "Con's" section, as there is a drawback with control.
- Memory card location- Good placement, although you do have to open the lcd screen to access it. Would have been better if it was on the back or elsewhere.
- Outdoors picture is amazing!
Con's- As obvious, there is no optical viewfinder. This is not necessarily a con, and I knew this before I bought it. They chose to use other good features instead. No real problem with this, so I won't dock a star for it, but some folks may not like this.
- "Noise" in the dark areas. I also knew about this before I purchased the camera. There is some graininess in the black or dark areas, especially when zoomed in. I do not use the digital zoom, and about only half of the optical at any given time.
- Zoom lever/control- This part of the review is a bit subjective, but here goes... the zoom button is a two-way slide lever (slide left to zoom in, slide it to the right to zoom out) is a little "clunky" and overly sensitive (yes, I am aware you can throttle the zoom speed). I often find myself sort of wedging my fingertip of my index finger into the space between the lever and the indent to help myself control the zoom and get a nice smooth, tiny creep of zoom in/out when needed. This is a bit annoying and sometimes I accidentally go to fast and the zoom becomes jerky. The throttling function only makes it a set speed of 3 choices and removes the ability to correlate the speed of zoom with the amount of pressure exerted on the switch. I hope that makes sense. I docked a star for this lack of finesse. I am VERY picky about how smooth my zoom is.
- You can download an application for your iphone/ipad or android device, but the app is also very clunky and lacks finesse. The way you connect to the camera is by making the camera itself a hotspot and connecting your device to it as if it were a wireless hub or router. I immediately disliked that particular way of connecting, but would have been ok with it, had it worked well, but alas, it was lacking badly. You have the ability to zoom in and out with the app, but you do not have LIVE control. It is a delayed reaction, making control very difficult. It also seriously cuts into the quality of the filming. I immediately stopped using this feature. The camera lost it's 2nd star because of this flaw.
Final Thoughts- I like the camera for its price point. I didn't have the funds to purchase a more expensive, professional camera for the church, so when I am able, I will buy one of Canon's higher end cameras, and relinquish this one to youth group activities outdoors, as that is really where this camera shines. It lacks zoom finesse and good wireless control or even the ability to connect a corded remote. I would recommend this camera for casual filming, but for church services or any kind of commercial use, I'd invest in a bigger camera.