Let's get the video out of the way. Sonically, it's suprisingly good. The stereo mic up top does a very competent job of capturing chat 10 feet in front. Obviously, you'll get some zoom and focusing noise, if you do these things whilst recording. Alternatively, stay still or cut away.
Stereo mics on the top are pretty good, but prone to internal noise when focusing
The P100 does what DSLR hybrid HD cams can't do, namely, record 1080p for the full 29mins rather than say, the 12mins that the Canon EOS 5D MkII achieves. That 29mins being an EU taxation limit before the device is classed as something else. The P100 does this by recordings H264 files as MOV's at a reduced bit rate – 14Mbps as opposed to around 40Mbps of the Canon 5D MkII.
This is actually a big selling point over the DSLR hybrids, as most users will not be concerned about bit rates, as long as it looks OK eight feet from their flatscreen TV. It is as HD as the public are expecting to experience it at the moment. Everything is compressed, and we know that. As such, expectations are met.
I recorded two 28m 59 secs recordings of a concert (with constant red lighting and a fair bit of movement). Unfortunately one of them the audio is out by almost exactly 1 sec – i.e. 30 frames, but that appears to have been a one-off glitch, as all other files managed to be bang on. Fortunately, the timing issue was easily rectified within a video editing application.
The P100 also enables recording still sequences at 240 frames per sec at a much-reduced resolution of 320 x 240 for 10 seconds. It’s great fun and might make for some very silly slow motion moments. There are also 120fps (640 x 480) and 60fps (1280 x 720) alternative rates.
Fast shooting options up to 240 frames in 10 second bursts
Unfortunately these are even numbers corresponding to the biggest market; namely NTSC in the US. So getting any footage onto a UK DVD, is going to be challenging. Video is recorded as H264 MPEG4 at 29.97fps. I understand it is a global product, but a PAL version would have been nice. If you are playing back through your TV it does have the option to output a PAL signal. But that involves you turning up at other people's houses with the camera to playback.
Next page: Sample Shots
Is it just me?
...who thinks that rating the battery as 250 shots is just stupid? it'd be fine for an SLR without constant display which you can look through all day without taking a shot. But I feel that a usage time in muntes would be more appropriate for devices that require an always on display screen / electronic View finder. I suspect that saying it lasts for just 2 hours (on time based on 30 seconds per shot) ) might change some opinions.
All my Nikon's have this.
Maybe it's just me...
Maybe it's just me, but I think the pictures were quite noisy? Even the ISO 100 ones seemed noisy. Weird.
1) NTSC/PAL ceased to mean anything much when the CRT died - every flatscreen is progressive and supports all frame rates. PCs/media centres, etc, etc ONLY support progressive. So interlaced footage is only notionally supported as a transmitted stream which must then be deinterlaced either by the source (PC, etc) or destination (the plasma/LCD)
2) any DVD writer or player in the last 10 years will playback oldie worldie SD resolution PAL or NTSC footage if you insist on burning it. if its a UK player - you just need to set the region to UK - nothing to stop you still burning NTSC MPEG2 footage.
3) In HD, there is no such thing as 'NTSC' - there are various different frame rates, all supported by all HD tvs - 1080p30 is not 'HD NTSC'.. it is just 1080p30 - it is as valid as 1080p24 or 1080p25.. ah well except there is in fact, no such standard, only 1080p24 - why ? because it would be bloody stupid - the only reason there is a different frame rate between PAL and NTSC is the difference in vertical lines count - hence the extra bandwidth on NTSC being available for more fps.
NTSC DVD SD: 720x480, 29.97fps
PAL DVD SD: 720x576, 29.97fps
e.g: PAL has more definition, but has less temportal information. i.e. NTSC is not 'worse'... a common mistake people make - for fast moving scenes it may be significantly better....
this difference in vertical line count was due to the ANALOGUE NTSC vs PAL standards.
It ceased to mean much at all when we went digital, and ceased to mean anything at all when we went to HD...
so in HD there is:
720p (1280x720) and 1080p(1920x1080)
thats it! not a different size for UK and USA.
There are various different frame rates in the standard - these are there to support various different content types and are various trade offs between resolution integrity vs temportal data for a given framerate.
They have precisely FA to do with countries, or NTSC/PAL.
In reality, the artificial 720p25 and 1080i50 that were put into the standard were very much transients to support upscaling of SD content. They have FA other reason to exist. I can't think of a single device that shoots 720p25, and 1080i50 is hanging on only in the HDCAM/AVCHD standards and is rapidly losing favour to progressive - I'd expect it to disappear in the next few years to be replaced by progressive p30 and p60 as we are already seeing in cameras such as the EOS series.
In reality, the vast majority of HD currently is in 30p, 24p (movies), and 60i (sport).
Let NTSC and PAL die a death please.
From Amazon, the E-PL1 is £500, so hardly the same kind of money as the P100 (£300). It also comes with a 3x zoom rather than a 26x zoom. If you want a 26x range you'll need to lug around several more lens. If you want a viewfinder you have to pay more for that, too. It probably gives better quality pictures, though. It's a very different kind of camera.