When I decided I needed a camera, I wanted to upgrade to my first video camera so that I could post videos on the web. The last camera I’d used was one of those massive beasts that sat on the shoulder and recorded onto VHS tapes. I wanted something compact, light and versatile.
The Aiptek (approximately 4.5 inches long, 2.5 inches wide, 1.25 inches thick) has served me well for several years. It bears only minor visible wear even though I haven’t been all that careful with it. I recommend the camera to friends because of the ease of use, quality of construction and variety of features it has demonstrated. For the money, I consider it an outstanding value.
I can manage to operate the camera more or less intuitively, without a serious read of the manual. Photos and videos are simple to transfer to the computer: connect a cord, click on an icon. The camera takes a while to recharge if the user waits for the battery run into the red, but the camera goes the distance on a single charge. Record directly off of television to save programs to watch later and transfer them onto your computer or watch video on the camera’s screen.
The downside of the camera is minimal. During sound recordings, the sound of adjusting the camera in hand is sometimes captured on the video or sound recording. Hitting the REC button accidentally is sometimes an annoyance when you grasp the camera with one hand and try to snap a photo. Photos and videos are numbered as recorded. The numbering begins anew after old files are transferred, making it necessary to save the photos to a new file each time you download (or for the files to be uniquely labeled/numbered, which becomes cumbersome with large amounts of photos).
The Aiptek allowed me to transfer all of my old videotapes to my laptop, but during the process, the camera would stop and power off when the television screen turned to snow between shows, so it occasionally required some persistent babysitting. On a couple of occasions when transferring video recorded from videotape, the picture was skewed, causing me to lose an entire session of taping. The camera has hung up a few times, requiring me to pull the plugs, card, or battery to reset, but the camera has never lost a file or failed to reset.
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off (may be disabled), LCD brightness adjustable, NTSC and PAL TV system
compatible, language options
The LCD screen provides a tremendous amount of information through icons, even noting the remaining time to record. Fastforward, rewind, play/pause and power commands are available on the side of the monitor and an easy, thumb control zoom near the shutter trigger.