Hitachi DZ-MV100A DVD-RAM Camrecorder
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users who wish to keep their precious moments with a camcorder seem to prefer
the new generation "Digital Camcorders", instead of the traditional
analog camcorders. The solutions so far are based on the MiniDV format that
has certain advantages and of course some disadvantages. The major problem is
the editing of the video and the time that this process takes, since you not
only have to transfer the movies to a PC but also prepare them for further use.
On April of 2001, Hitachi released a revolutionary solution with the codename
"DZ-MV100A" DVD-RAM Camcorder. The main advantage of the new camera
was the direct recording to DVD-RAM media, with all the advantages that DVD-RAM
format offers (quick access, quick erase etc) and the direct use of the written
discs to the PC, with the use of a DVD-RAM compatible DVD-ROM reader. The cost
of the DZ-MV100A is rather high ($2000) and this review has the purpose to unveil
all the features of Hitachi's DVD Cam recorder along with the negatives.
- DVD-RAM format
Most 12 cm DVD-RAM discs marketed as of Q3 2000 conform to DVDRAM Book 1.0
and their storage per side is 2.6 GB. The DVD Forum settled on a plan for new
Book 2.1 standard in 1999, stipulating a 12 cm disc with 4.7 GB storage per
side, or an 8 cm disc with the same density and 1.4 GB storage per side. An
8 cm DVD-RAM disc conforming to this Book 2.1 standard is expected as the medium
for digital recording because of its compactness and mass storage. It has been
adopted by this DVD camcorder, a world first, as a home use DVD camcorder.
Hitachi's DVD camcorder conforms to the DVD video recording standard. The
DVD video recording standard refers to the unified standard for video recording
using a rewritable DVD disc such as DVD-RAM, stipulated at the DVD Forum in
1999: Functions such as real-time video writing, additional video writing, editing,
etc. have been standardized, based on the standard of read-only DVD-Video. Since
the DVD-RAM disc used in this DVD camcorder conforms to the newest standards
of DVD-RAM Book 2.1 and DVD video recording, it cannot be used with most DVD
players and DVD-RAM drives available on the market as of third-quarter 2000.
However, some DVD players and some DVD drives to be marketed in the future will
comply with playback and reading/writing of discs with these standards.
- 8cm DVD-RAM media
are two types of DVD-RAM disc: for video camera and for PCs. You can only use
8 cm DVD-RAM discs (1.4 GB on one side, 2.8 GB on both sides) noted for video
camera use (for AV) with Hitachi's DVD camcorder. Most discs for video camera
use (for AV) can be removed from their cartridges for recording. Some discs
for PC, however, cannot be removed from their cartridges, and some can be removed
but recording cannot be made on them. The real capacity of 8cm DVD-RAM media
is 1.3GB and not 1.4GB due to different calculations of the DVD manufacturers
(1Kb=1000bytes and not 1024bytes).
- Recording modes
The 2 recording modes (FINE, STND) are referring to the resolution of the
recording video. The FINE mode is actually the true MPEG2 format. Hitachi's
implementation of the Mpeg2 is 704x480 (NTSC) with 4:3 aspect ratio. The DVD
movies have a 720x480 (NTSC) resolution. Hitachi says that "...We remove
the extra 16 lines because it's a title layer (black outlines around the video).
Because of this, we are able to save more information on the disc...".
The STND mode is 352x480 (also DVD compliant) but with a 3Mpbs bitrate. Since
the resolution is half, the final quality is just over VHS. The camera uses
CBR (constant bit-rate) Mpeg2 encoding technology. The audio is recorded at
Mpeg 1 Layer 2 format (48 KHz 224 Kbps).
The minimum recording time is approx. 3 seconds of video and the minimum editing
increment is approx. 0.5-second segment of video. The camera at the movie mode
uses approx. 720,000 CCD pixels while at the still photo mode uses approx. 1,000,000
The number of recordable stills on DVD-RAM disc is up to 999 stills per side
(when recording only stills). If free space of disc remains after 999 stills
are recorded, recording of movie will still be possible. Thumbnails can be created
for up to 999 scenes. Although recording of over 999 scenes is possible, new
thumbnails cannot be created.
Hitachi's DVD camcorder can use only DVD-RAM discs for AV, formatted in accordance
to the UDF 2.01 file system. No recording can be made on an unformatted disc
or a disc formatted with another UDF file system. The UDF 2.01 file system makes
the written media incompatible with Win2k/XP so a UDF 2.01 system driver must
be installed. The included CD contains VOB's InstandRead UDF package.