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The ability to record digital stills that can be off-loaded to a computer has become a standard feature on many of today’s camcorders. Now some of the companies who make digital still cameras are incorporating the ability to record video. This new breed of imaging tool might be just what you’ve been waiting for. At the very least, these new cross-breeds provide us with a peek at the tapeless future of the video camera.
The Sanyo iDshot stands out among the current crop of all-in-one image acquisition devices. Offering something for just about everyone, the iDshot successfully blurs the line between media types. Thanks to the new iD PHOTO disc’s 730MB recording capacity, the iDshot can shoot thousands of .jpg images at 640×480 resolution, or up to two hours of video (at 15 frames per second, 160×120 resolution) or 8 minutes of full-frame, full-motion video, without needing to reload. While many digital cameras require you to upload your images to your computer, when you hook this baby up through FireWire, it gets a drive letter assigned, and can be copied to/from just like any other drive on your PC. This simplifies the transfer process, as well as image/file management, allowing you to easily manage the files on the iD PHOTO disc.
The iDshot captures single shots, bracketed exposure sequences, rapid-fire still sequences, time-lapse sequences, stop-motion animation, audio and full-screen video. It allows either manual or automatic exposure, focus and white balance, as well as special effects such as overlaying one image over part of another. With this much versatility in a product, Sanyo clearly intends this digital multimedia camera to be useful for a wide variety of users, from beginner to pro.
We examined a pre-production model with beta firmware in order to prepare this preview; final production models may differ from what we studied. However, it’s likely that the iDshot will undergo only minor changes since it has been available in Asia for some time.
All in all, crafting the iDshot with its multiple features is a commendable accomplishment. We look forward to seeing the final product soon, and providing an in-depth report of its capabilities. We also look forward to seeing other devices that make use of the iD PHOTO disk (co-developed by Sanyo, Hitachi and Olympus).
Sensor (CCD): 1/2-inch 1.5 million pixel progressive scan CCD
(1.4 million pixels effective)
Lens: f/2.4 to 4.4, 7 to 21mm (equivalent to 38-114mm on 35mm camera), auto focus, built-in ND filter
Photo range: Normal – 60cm to infinity. Macro – 3cm to 60cm(tele), 20cm to 60cm(wide)
Shutter speed: Sequential shot – 1/15 to 1/2000 sec. (640 mode:1/30 to 1/2000 sec.). Video clip – 1/30 to 1/2000 sec.(30fps), 1/15 to 1/2000 sec.(15fps)
Viewfinder: 0.55-inch electronic viewfinder
LCD monitor: 110,000-pixel 1.8-inch TFT color LCD
Flash: Built-in type, automatic luminance control.
Light metering: Multi/center spot
White balance: Auto/manual (5 modes)
Sensitivity: ISO 100/200/400
Resolution (pixels): Stills/high-speed sequential shots – 1360 mode: 1360×1024; 1024 mode: 1024×768; 640 mode: 640×480. Video clips – 640 mode: 640×480; 320 mode: 320×240; 160 mode: 160x 120
Still photo capacity: 1360 mode: TIFF 255, Fine 1200, Norm 2000; 1024 mode: TIFF 450, Fine 2000, Norm 3000; 640 mode: TIFF 1150, Fine 4800, Norm 12000
High-speed sequential shot (per shot): 1360 (fine/normal): 11/20 (7.5 fps), 1024 (fine/normal): 20/30 (7.5 fps), 640 (fine/normal):40/40 (30 fps) Video clips (per disk, approx. times in minutes) 640 mode: 30 fps – 8, 15 fps – 16; 320 mode: 30 fps – 20, 15 fps – 40; 160 mode: 30 fps – 60, 15 fps – 120
Audio recording: 8 kHz 8-bit monaural, PCM
Mike input: 3.5 diameter mini plug, monaural, 2k ohm impedance
Speaker: Built-in monaural
A/V output: Video – composite video; Audio – monaural
Digital interface: FireWire (4-pin), USB iD PHOTO
Recording medium: 730MB iD PHOTO disk (iD Format)
Recording method: Laser pulse magnetic field modulation recording Center aperture detection magnetic super resolution
File system: UDF (Universal Disk Format) Ver. 1.5
RECORDING FILE FORMATS