I am doing more than ever before by way of shooting video these days. No, I’m not like Larry with his 3000 You Tube subscribers, but I am taking some video pretty much every day. In part, this is the result of the iPhone having a “decent enough” video recorder. More than that though, I have come to appreciate that there is nothing like video when it comes to sharing an experience or review with the world.
The iPhone is great. It allows you to shoot and then edit video on the fly. At CES it was often less than a minute between shooting something and it appearing on the site. Still, all that flexibility still doesn’t make up or the fact that the QUALITY of the video is only decent. I also have a Flip Mino video camera. It’s a standard definition version, so it’s not nearly as good or crisp as the new high definition ones, but it does the job. It has the advantage of including onboard storage that pops up as soon as you plug the camera into a computer’s USB port. Between the iPhone and the Flip, I have two okay ways to shoot video. Okay, but not ideal.
What I’ve really need is a pocketable high-definition camera. The problem with that? Price. Most high-definition cameras are relatively expensive, and I’m not inclined to pick one up when I’ve got “good enough” already. That was the reason I was so interested in seeing a new high-definition video from Aluratek while we were in Las Vegas for CES. The camera is small, pocketable, shoots video in high definition, and, better still, it can be found on Amazon for under $120. That’s right, you read it correctly the camera can be purchased from Amazon right now for under $120.
But for your $120 do you get your money’s worth? Let’s take a look.
Introducing the Aluratek Cinecam HD DV Camcorder for the easiest way to capture and digitally store those magic moments. Whether you are looking to record HD video content or snap digital photos the Cinecam has you covered. Once you have those magic moments the Cinecam makes it easy to share between friends and family. Connect to your computer with the included USB 2.0 cable for an easy and quick way to transfer your digital files. If you are looking to upload to your favorite social networking sites such as YouTube, the included arcsoft software makes it effortless. Have fun recording and watching HD videos on you HDTV or your computer while preserving those precious moments forever, compliments of the Aluratek Cinecam.
What’s In The Box-
- HD DV Camcorder
- RCA & AV Cables
- CD w/ Arcsoft Software
- Power Adapter
- Lithium-ion Battery
- Storage Pouch
- Hand Strap
- User’s Manual
- Registration / Warranty Card
When I first opened the box and looked at the camera I was immediately impressed. It is smaller than I remember. It fits easily in the hand and is comfortable to hold for a fairly long period of time.
A Look Around-
Just above the battery cover there is a toggle which allows you to select the macro functionality if you’re using the camera in that way. In other words, the camera has a large selection of controls and features packed into a small and inexpensive unit.
Not so great was the fact that the camera doesn’t come with any SD card whatsoever. I always appreciate it when companies include some sort of a card with a purchase like this, so that the consumer can be up and running immediately. It’s not a concern for me as I’ve got numerous cards lying around. But if my parents were to buy this for example, and they didn’t think to get a card, they would be stuck until they found one.
I do like the fact that the SD slot is on the bottom of the camcorder and not hidden behind a door or anything else. That means it is totally accessible all the time and can be swapped out quickly when the card is all.
Finally, on the bottom of the camera is a socket for a tripod.
All of the significant buttons reside on the back of the camcorder where they are always accessible. There are six different buttons. One toggles between still photos and video. Below that is the “shutter” button. To the right of those buttons is the zoom control. Zooming is okay but, at least in my experience, not as smooth as I would like it to be.
Below that are a number of buttons that serve multiple purposes. The first is the flash buttons AND one of the menu toggle buttons. Below that is a button for controlling exposure. It also doubles as a menu toggle button.Below that is a button that allows you to enter the picture playback mode. Pressing this second time enters you into video playback mode. Below that is the final button which is the menu button that allows you to enter into the various menus of the camera and then to use the left and right buttons above it to select those features that you won’t.
The controls are simple but not intuitive. This is one time when spending three minutes with the instructions makes a big difference.
The 3″ screen is nice and easy to see. I have the camera set up so that it automatically turns on whenever I pop open the screen. The makes preparing to shoot video or take a picture far easier than were I to rely on a separate button.
I also like the fact that the camcorder ships with a carrying case. No, it isn’t a fancy carrying case but it’s actually pretty nice and it certainly doesn’t qualify as a cheap throwaway either. I also appreciate that the camcorder ships with all of the cables that you will need to be able to output to a television includes an HD or my cable for output to a high-definition television and cables for putting up to a standard definition camera as well.
Video can be shot at 1080 P., 720 P., W. VGA or view VGA. There are controls for white balance, contrast, sharpness, and more. No, this doesn’t have the largest number of settings that are user determinable but effect is on a camera like this there is something to be said with relatives of the city versus complex settings. Here is a quick comparison of video shot with the iPhone the Flip Mino and the Aluratek Cinecam HD DV Camcorder. You judge which is best.
It’s not a big deal since there are a host of video editing options for mackintosh computers but once again we see it a device being sold that is advertised as working with Windows and Macs and yet only include software for windows. (That noted if the software did work with Macs I probably wouldn’t be using it anyway.)
I like the camcorder very much. I like the size, the ease-of-use (once I read the manuals showing understood what the various buttons do) and the fact that I can quickly swap SD card. If there is one big criticism I have of this camcorder is the lack of image stabilization. I tried to shoot some video of some new construction that we’ve been doing and I discovered that it was all but unusable. As I walked along shooting the video from the parking lot the video was so shaky that, when I went to watch it later on, I got a bit dizzy and nauseous doing so. I can’t come down too hard on the camcorder for the lack of video stabilization however. After all the camera costs under $120 and for a price like that something has to go. It is well-built, shoots decent video, and is accessible to just about everyone at this price point. That in itself makes it a camcorder worth recommending.
The Aluratek AHDVC02F 3-Inch HD 1080p HDMI DV Camcorder is available from Amazon.com for $119.99.
What I Like-
Easy to use, well made, takes decent video and still, PRICE
What Needs Improvement-
Should include something by way of an SD card, lack of image stabilization is a bummer