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I am getting rid of my pro camera setup and looking for something that will fill that "fun video" void. A little search found the new Zoom Q3HD is coming out soon - HD video, excellent audio. One question - has anybody used the standard def Q3 before?

Some specs for you:

  • Built-in stereo condenser microphones with 120° X/Y configuration for true stereo imaging
  • Video resolution of 720p at 30 or 60 fps or 1080p at 30 fps
  • WVGA (standard definition) at 30 or 60 fps is also available for smaller file sizes
  • Get up to 45 minutes of 720p at 30fps video with 2GB SD card
  • Accepts up to a 32GB SDHC cards for 7 hours of 720p at 30fps (Audio at AAC192 kbps)
  • Large 2.4-inch 320 x 240 color LCD display
  • Built-in NTSC/PAL TV and HDMI output
  • 4x digital zoom
  • Video format: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (MOV)
  • Audio formats: 44.1/48/96kHz 16/24-bit WAV (PCM) or AAC up to 320kbps
  • Auto Record Level automatically sets audio levels during recordings
  • Uses two standard AA batteries or NiMH rechargeable batteries
  • USB 2.0 with built-in cable
  • Windows and Mac OS compatible
  • Built-in speaker and tripod mount
  • Includes HandyShare editing and, YouTube uploader software, Apple Quicktime, 2GB SD card, two AA batteries
  • Optional accessory package (APQ-3HD) includes soft shell case, windscreen, AC adapter, HDMI cable, AV cable and tripod

The CONS that I have found from reviews:

  • Video quality could be better - Flip probably has a bit better look.
  • Battery life isn't very good, but it does have a 5V DC jack.

For my needs, this is excellent - no need to pull out the full audio bag to get some SFX, just use this in audio only mode.

Zoom Q3HD on Samson Website. MSRP $299, accessory kit $49. This also means a price drop for the Q3 standard def to around $200 from what I've seen.

Some concert footage - very nice audio for what it's doing. [youtube]CVbcbJqFdMQ[/youtube]

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The new Q3HD is pretty slick. Shooting in SD is as easy as going into the menu and selecting WVGA/30 or WVGA/60. Both modes look pretty decent for a small camera.

The picture controls are rather limited. In the Scene Selection you only have:

Auto Concert Lighting Night

So controls are pretty limited.

I would recommend shooting with some kind of stabilizer. As shooting handheld with such a small device tends to produce jerky video. I tossed mine on a Steady Stick and that works well. Also, lots of handling noise if you're not careful while shooting handheld - another reason to avoid shooting without some kind of stabilizer. If I shoot handheld, I use the low cut to reduce rumble - and sliding of your hand across the plastic case is extremely loud. A windscreen would also be highly recommended - both indoors and out - even waving it around produces distortion. Other than that, since the mics are the same ones used in the H4n, the sound is very good.

The 4xZoom is the electronic digital zoom type, so it looks aliased as opposed to other cameras with Optical Zoom where it looks perfect. I still love mine though and carry it all the time.

  • @guycochran - ordered mine today! thanks for the recommendation. – VCProd Feb 17 '11 at 16:55

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