Image Capture Tests


I spend a great many hours looking for and sometimes getting interesting video of wildlife. This web site features a small sampling of still images taken from these videos. As I've mentioned elsewhere on this site every video was made under existing light contions which ranged from very early morning fog through rain to late evening sun. As might be expected some of the most interesting shots were made during less than ideal light conditions.

Until recently I used a Sony TRV-85 Hi8 analogue camcorder to record on Fuji or TDK Hi8 MP tapes and a Snappy Video Snapshot device to capture the selected stills. It is obvious from the images posted on this site that the quality ( sharpness and clarity) varies greatly. Like anyone serious about their toys I would like to improve quality where ever posssible and still use a consumer grade camcorder and 8mm/Hi8 tapes.

For many months I've seen and heard endless advertisements describing the advantages of going digital. After some hesitation I finally gave in. I purchased a Sony Digital8 camcorder (TRV7000) which I was just beginning to like when I stepped into a hidden stream just deep enough to engulf both me and the camcorder. Not only did the camcorder cease to function but at that very moment it went OBSOLETE. I could not find a repacement.

Now I have a Sony TRV720. This camcorder not only has a 25x optical zoom but it also came equiped with Sony's newest entry into the image capture market; the "Memory Stick" .

Now the quesion that I am now trying to resove is which of the following will produce the best still images:

1) Snappy capture from analogue tape,
2) Memory Sick capture from digital tape, or
3)Firewire capture using PhotoDV

So far I have completed two of these tests; test 1 very close up, test 2 at 15 feet
Both tests gave basically the same results; The undajusted images captured by Snappy appear somewhat darker than images captered by the other two devices. Aside from that there are very few other differences regardless of tape or capture device.

To see the results for yourself follow these links: Capture Test 1 (close up), Capture Test 2 (15 feet).

Also to see how other visitors rated the images click here.

Capture test 3 was designed differently: An image was captured from Digital 8 tape with each capture device and compared unadjusted and after sharpening using the respective software. To me this test provides more conclusive results.

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