I've been really frustrated with my "look at me" videos because the inexpensive cameras I
use have crap audio. Even those with audio inputs for external mics load them down with
AGC/ALC processing that adds noise and distortion.
The Zoom Q3 addressed the
issue with good mics and preamp circuitry, but it was an SD shooter that came out just
when HD took over. Now Zoom has released the Q3HD to address that limitation, and they've
added a few new features, particularly a Line In jack.Camera Comparo
I've had my cam for a couple of days and the first thing I did with it was a
comparison with the Kodak Zi8 and Sanyo Xacti HD2000, two cameras I bought because of
their audio input features.
Here's a blog post with the details: http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2010/11/28/a-first-look-at-the-zoom-q3hd/
And here's the comparison video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=env3UPYfhBA
after comparing these cams - the Zi8 is done here. Maybe mine is dying, but the video and
audio quality really suffer in comparison to the Q3HD. The video on the Sanyo is superior,
it includes features like manual white balance, manual exposure control, optical zoom,
etc. But for audio, the Q3HD gives the Xacti a whipping.A Music Video from
I tried out the in-camera editing features and created a music
video without any external software. I used the Line In jack to feed the audio from a Rode
NT4 and M-Audio DMP3, shot about five takes of an old Hawaiian song, Haole Hula
then trimmed the clip down to the one I preferred. The editing feature is quite simple,
but it's enough to get rid of the extraneous material we often see at the beginning and
end of homemade music vids.
Here's the clip that resulted: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkLmTYSBLzoOverall
Impressions So Far
The overall feel of this product is pretty darned good.
It seems better built than my trusty old Zoom H2, the controls are simple and effective,
the menu system is easy to navigate and makes sense, the rear screen is large and bright.
One of my favorite features is the on-screen audio metering and live audio
monitoring. In the past I've had to shoot multiple test shots to get my audio levels in
the ballpark, but with this cam I can set levels easily and with confidence.
I'm a bit annoyed that the AC adapter is a separate cost item, because I often shoot a
whole two hour performance without stopping the camera and the ability to use AC power
along with a large SDHC memory card is the trick to getting very long shot times.
And while I was initially pleased to see a Line In jack, I'm now wishing a stereo
mic input had been included as well. Even with the nice on-board mics the audio will be
compromised by the distance required to frame the shot. In most spaces, a closer mic
placement is preferable for a quiet instrument like acoustic guitar. The need for an
external mic preamp will reduce the portability and ease of use in the field, not to
mention the added cost.
So far I haven't tested any of the scene modes Zoom has
engineered into the camera. These are advertised as improving performance in difficult
situations like night shooting and concerts.
E ho`okani pila kakou ma Kaleponi