OK, so the big question is, what’s the tiny Canon TX1 like as a video camera? To answer the question, I made a short video this weekend. I’m not much for testing with charts and side by side comparisons these days, image quality is only part of the camera equation, so instead I do some shooting and from the results, I ask the question, is the image quality reasonable given all the other aspects of the camera that come into play when making the decision of what camera to purchase or use, for example, handling, form-factor, weight, cost, features, image processing, media formats, lens, ease-of use, etc.?
If you go to the movie page on blip.tv, under the “Play video in alternate format:” pop-up, you’ll have access to the following formats: 1. Large iPod Video (1:52, 21.2MB, 640 x 360 H.264, Stereo, default QuickTime Pro Export settings), 2. AppleTV Video (1:52, 50.3MB, 960 x 540, H.264, Stereo, default QuickTime Pro Export settings), 3. Flash version (transcoded by blip.tv, not sure of the exact settings, audio is 64 kbit/sec mono). I’ve also posted to Flickr a set of frame grabs from the original Motion JPEG frames so you can see the quality of the image prior to compression for web delivery.
All the video and audio was left “as is” with the TX1, no color correction or post-production processing on the audio or video, the only thing I did was import the video clips into Final Cut Pro and edit them on a DVCPRO HD timeline. Some horizontal resolution is lost going into the DVCPRO HD format, however, it’s pretty minor.
This test was designed to show the camera in real-world conditions, not in the best light, so there’s some shooting under relatively low light conditions. Most of the shots exhibit the noise that comes part and parcel with shooting in situations with less than optimum lighting.
Since the conversion to iPod movies and Flash for web viewing (which is what’s available on the blip.tv page) adds additional artifacts to the original image, and since the conversion from the Motion JPEG original to DVCPRO HD for editing also adds some additional artifacts, I’ve posted a series of frame grabs from the original video files so you can see the quality of the original Motion JPEG frames.
Video that is noisy does not compress as well as video that is clean to start with, so starting with an HDV or H.264 original would yield better compressed video than the Motion JPEG implementation in the TX1. In most shooting situations you’re going to see lots of noise in the image with this camera unless you’re shooting outdoors during the day.
Shots were made using auto white balance, 720p 30fps mode, auto focus (face tracking turned off).