Creating 3D Animation


Even more DV questions: good for stills?
Aug 12, 1999


Q: I'm thinking of getting a DV camcorder for capturing still images. But I was wondering:

i) Will it have better resolution than an S-Video camera?
ii) Will there be less noise in the image?
iii) Will it be worth the price of a FireWire card to a nonprofessional, home user?
iv) Is there a place which offers samples of an image, captured from a DV camera, using FireWire as well as S-VIDEO?


A It seems like I'm getting a lot of DV questions; maybe I should change this section to "Ask the DV Guru?" Well, not to knock it. It's a topic I'm very interested in. I'll do my best to answer your questions.

Will you see better resolution? Not really. The resolution of the DV frame is going to essentially be the same as your analog capture (as an example, I reviewed a Fuse video card compared with a Radius DV card/software and found that the Fuse captures at 640 x 480, the DV image is 720 x 480.) Both are "limited" to the resolution of television. Of course, the actual information in the image itself depends upon the quality of the camera; but a professional Hi8 camera may have a better CCD than a low cost DV camera.

Will there be less "noise" in the image? Maybe, but doubtful. It greatly depends upon what you are using to capture analog at the moment. If you have a high quality analog capture card then it'll be very similar to DV. There will be differences, but you won't necessarily know which is which. You may even prefer the analog capture.

Will it be worth the price? Depends what you are doing, and what equipment you already have. Do you already have a DV camera? There are two big advantages to DV. If you transfer a file from the camera to the computer and back again, without adding filters or other effects, the data does not have to go through an analog to digital/digital to analog transfer. It stays as digital information. The other great advantage is in selecting and transferring to the computer the segments you want. FireWire includes deck control, so if the software is any good it will let you easily shuttle about and find what you want to transfer. For your application, really only the latter feature applies to you. If you're only capturing a few images anyway, then maybe it's not worth the extra cost.

The image quality difference - provided the analog card is reasonable - may be difficult to detect.

What are you using the stills for? A digital camera will do a lot better job than a camcorder of any kind. Cameras like the Nikon 950 have double the resolution (1600 x 1200) and cost about $800 (and falling.)

The real advantage (I think) in DV is for editing video. The images are high quality, but it's still video resolution. If you want to do video, and some still images at comparatively low resolution, then DV is great. I know people who've been very happy with using DV camcorders for stills, but if you're thinking DV will give you an order of magnitude better than S-Video, I think you will be disappointed.

Is there a place I can find samples of an image, captured from a DV camera, using FireWire as well as S-VIDEO? Check out an article at this website: <>

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