Camera Options - Video & Still + Hacks

Noticing the awesome photography thread, I thought I could ask this here.

The other day I was searching for a decent camera.

For quite sometime I am close to buying a canon hv30 from seeing numerous wonderful looking captures.

I’m almost there but the price is keeping me from doing anything yet.

Then yesterday while browsing an hv30 forum looking for the ability to do time-lapse, I read about the canon powershot being a decent alternative.
Someone has written a firmware addition labeled CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit), it doesn’t change the firmware, just adds to it. allowing a tremendous amount of control over the camera.
I don’t know yet if they ever plan on bringing this to the vixia series camcorders.

So now, I’m puzzled as to whether I should look into a mainly Stills powershot camera with a large amount of control brought through with the free kit linked, or splurge an buy a refurb hv30 and also find a control box for time-lapse Stills.

I would like to do both Vid and Still with the best tools available, hopefully in one package.

any input?

Here are two time-lapse videos I made with my Canon Powershot G9 + CHDK:

These were shot mostly at 4000x3000 resolution, and then scaled/edited using VirtualDub and AVIDemux2. The level of quality you can get from this process is pretty amazing, and easily results in much higher quality video than you would typically get from a camcorder.

CHDK itself is quite simple to use and there are lots of scripts available that other people have made. For my purposes, I decided to take a couple of the most popular time-lapse scripts and wrote my own based on their features. You can code the scripts in either BASIC or Lua, both of which are pretty easy to get to grips with.

Canon is up to the Powershot G11 now, but even my older G9 is still very powerful and an absolute joy to use. The main disadvantages are that it’s still firmly placed within the “compact camera” genre, so you do lose some of the flexibility that you’d find on something more like a digital SLR, like having a really nice depth of field (though you can still manage to nicely blur the background on shots by switching to macro mode). Its low light performance is also not AMAZING, but it is definitely no problem to take shots at night with a longer exposure time if you have any kind of tripod (I use a Joby Gorillapod which is simply awesome), and when doing long exposures on the lowest ISO setting, the shots come out crystal clear as you can see in my first video (direct images from the camera, no form of noise reduction was performed).

Another thing is that despite being on its 11th revision, the camera still only shoots video natively at 640x480x30fps (or 1024x768x15fps). The G12 will be arriving soon and will supposedly offer HD video, but I have seen rumours that this will only be possible in black&white mode, which seems rather silly to me.

Either way, they’re great cameras which are extremely well built and feel rock solid, they’re extremely easy to use, and they’re small enough so that you can bring them pretty anywhere with you and take shots whenever the mood strikes you. I carry mine around in my messenger bag pretty much every time I go out, just in case I stumble across something I like.

If you are mainly focused on taking great photographs and doing time-lapse video, then I think a Powershot + CHDK would be an excellent and relatively cheap investment.

That first video is awesome!

I agree both of those videos are extraordinary !

Such a hard decision now…

I was checking specs & reviews for a point & click powershot sx200 like this one:…0-340-_-Product

The CHDK for this is in beta so that’s promising.

Just really getting confused on which direction to go now. :D

Thinking I should probably look into the older model powershots now.

Used Powershot + great quality photos & really lush abilities & free options & totally digital. Or refurb hv30 with real quality lush video but, magnetic tape & digital, pay options for time-lapse.

Hmm, I didn’t see it before but it looks like the the CHDK people are looking into the hv30. I’m going to have to wait this out a while.

The Powershot line just keeps getting better and better. I’ve got an S5 IS … my GF has an sx110is … both are equally awesome.

I’d suggest, if you want the best Powershot money can buy, you go for the Powershot SX1 IS. It’s got 20x optical zoom, you can attach wide angle and tele zoom adapters and additional filters (like polarizers and UV filters), and it does 1080p video @ 30fps. The stereo microphones inside it will pick up almost anything, distortion free, as well. The sensor inside is a CMOS, just like most DSLRs, so it takes noise-free shots, even at night. All in all, the $800 price tag, and the fact that I already have an S5, are the only reasons I don’t have one yet…

… that and I’d rather get the DSLR the SX1 was designed alongside… the 5D Mark II. Too bad I’ll never afford that piece of kit until it’s deprecated.

I should note: My cousin has an SX1 … and it’s amazing.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part… the Super Macro mode on the larger Powershots will blow you away. You can hold the camera right up to an object, and the camera will focus on it no problem. I’ve photographed things which are touching the lens, and they come out clear as day.

A bit of a bland test of the SX1 video, but it looks great:

Here’s an example of the video in the worst possible shooting conditions… it handles pretty well:

Crystal Castles apparently likes to play their music louder than NIN though:

Super Macro:

Moar Super Macro: