Made the mistake of walking into my local big box super electronics store with my credit cards today and walked out with a portable hard drive (160GB vs. my five year old LaCie 40GB) and a tiny (to me) digital still camera. The former cause you can never have enough portable storage and the latter to run through its paces in anticipation of some presentations I may be doing.
The Exilim is a solid metal camera – no plastic exterior here. It fits comfortably into a pocket and the controls are basic, but easy to understand. My purpose, of course, was to check the audio and video quality. After playing with it to find out how close I could get and still stay in focus as well as how tight and wide the lens would zoom, I handheld the camera and did the basic shots and downloaded to my laptop for editing. The camera is recognized by iPhoto, so I had to turn that off every time before importing to iMovie. Video quality seems reasonably clean for a point and shoot, but – as usual – the audio did not live up to my standards. In a quiet room you can do an interview if you are close enough…but you’ll need a tripod to hold it steady. However the audio sounds distant…not nearly as clean as a miked interview. There’s only a 3X optical zoom – barely enough to get you from here to there. There are controls for exposure and white balance. With a 2GB SD card I can get up to half an hour of video. For a little under twice the price of the PureDigital, you get a much better camera. It feels hefty and the sound, while not great, is vastly better than PD. I guess if I didn’t have anything else, I could work with this for simple stories. Here’s the basic shots from this camera.
The next day: by the way, while this camera is good for basic point and shoot stories or to teach yourself the basics…if you’re serious about being a VJ you’ll need a more serious lens and a mike input. So for a learner/basics camera – yes. If your heart and soul are locked on visuals, use it as a springboard. It is one of the better compromises between good still camera/good video camera at this end of the price spectrum. And while there are Exilims with 10x lenses and up to 10GB still size, none has a mike input.
Addendum: I seem to be having serious problems with compression. The video from the Exilim was way better than what I’m seeing online.