Thursday, September 10, 2009

New iPod Nano: World's Smallest Camcorder

The new iPod Nano is out and, yep, it's really got a videocamera crammed into its 3.6 x 1.5 x 0.2 inch little body -- sharing space with a mike, speaker, FM radio, voice recorder, pedometer... and, oh yeah, music player.

As the illustrious New York Times tech columnist David Pogue reports:

Yes, on the back of the new Nano, there’s a tiny lens and a microphone the size of a pinhole. If this isn’t the smallest camcorder in the world, I don’t know what is.

The video quality turns out to be exactly like the iPhone’s: nowhere near as good as a camcorder’s video, but better than a typical cellphone’s. You can see some sample footage on Apple’s demo page. Keep in mind, of course, that (a) Apple’s samples are all shot in bright sunlight, and (b) they appear on Apple’s page smaller than they really are, which makes them look sharper.

You can record for 8 or 16 hours on this little thing. There are 15 video effects you can add for fun (Black and White, X-Ray, Thermal, Security Cam, Cyborg, and so on). You ache for an image stabilizer—this wisp of metal truly isn’t an ideal shape for holding steady. In fact, filming with it feels awkward in general, at least at first.

The sound is crisp but mono; the video is only standard definition. The Nano does not shoot still photos; Apple says that kind of sensor wouldn’t fit in a case this small.

I want to whine about these things, I really do. But you know what? You’ve got video in a machine that can hide between two fingers, for Pete’s sake. There’s something to be said about having a video recorder in a gadget that’s so small, you always have it with you. What good is hi-def if you didn’t have the camcorder when the moment arose?

Also, don’t be surprised if this thing triggers a whole social wave of spy-filming. It’s totally easy to conceal.
Implications for videojournalists? Flip vidcams, and its burgeoning one-button copycats, are still better quality for on-the-fly HD shooting (if you don't need audio), and none of these hobbyist toys comes close to emulating professional gear. But anybody who bets against them soon becoming serious tools for journalists forgets that it was only 5 minutes ago that Final Cut made its way from Hollywood studios to laptops.

1 comment:

llOU said...

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