I want to start by saying that my camcorder, an Aiptek v5v 720p HD Camcorder, is a pretty good tool considering that I got it on sale for about $150 about two years ago. It takes decent still pics at 8 megapixels and does great, especially when on a tripod, at capturing HD video.
There are however, three “features” about it that I would love to change. The first one is the fact that it does not have an option to plug in an external microphone. Instead it has a built in mic that is positioned near the rear of the camera so that the person using it can narrate what they’re shooting. That’s fine but when you’re needing to capture the sound of actors voices it’s a problem. You end up with them having to speak louder than normal and if they’re not good at controlling their volume it can come out sounding like they’re shouting. Definitely not good.
The second thing is the USB connection that is used both for charging the camera’s battery and for transferring files to a computer for editing. They couldn’t use a normal full sized USB port. No. They had to use the mini-USB port, which after all this time is beginning to get seriously funky.
After a lot of use the connector isn’t as tight as it once was and now when transferring video files to the computer it’s about a 50/50 shot that the transfer will fail because the connector wasn’t positioned just exactly so in order to make full contact. I’ve also had a lot of times lately when just plugging the USB cable into it will cause the computer to instantly crash and start rebooting. A sure sign that something’s fscked nearly beyond repair.
To solve that I figure I’m going to end up needing to get a card reader and just plug the camera’s memory card into it and move the files that way. Still a pain because the tripod quick-disconnect would have to be removed in order to get to the memory card door but I suppose that it’s a worthwhile tradeoff just to have something that will work reliably.
The third thing I hate, and I do mean HATE about this camera is that thrice damned seven degree angle that is built into it’s design. I suppose that it might be useful for somebody that uses it hand held most of the time but I use mine on a tripod almost exclusively and because of that angle I can’t use the leveling bubbles on my tripod to make sure the camera is straight and level. Instead I have to just eyeball it which isn’t nearly accurate (or as easy to duplicate results!).
At least the addition of the card reader to my setup will insure that I can get the video from the camera. What’s really weird about it is that while the computer connection frequently dies or just doesn’t work. The charger, which uses the same port, never has a problem.
[Tags]camcorder, design, flaws, usb, connector, mini usb, card reader, tripod, angle, impossible, infuriating[/tags]