My new camcorder – Sharp VL-AX1E

Sharp VL-AX1E

After a long time without a digital video camera accessible to myself, I have finally got my own camcorder. It took me quite a while to research the market and make a decision on what to buy. In the end I got a Sharp VL-AX1. The motivations for buying this camcorder range widely and I have a few plans already on what to do with the camera as well…

Following are some of the reasons I ended up with the Sharp:

  • My experience with MiniDV cameras basically set the format. I need a digital non proprietary digital format. That is MiniDV.
  • I want a long body camcorder allowing me to hold the camera in my hand without too much shake. This automatically removed all the upright models and the miniature type cameras.
  • Decent picture quality is
    necessary, but a 3 CCD camera is beyond what I am willing to invest.
    This disqualifies another chunk of cameras on the market.
  • I want still shots onto some sort
    of memory card in a quality that allows me to put the photos on the
    website. I don’t need them to be print quality. This eliminated a
    lot of the low end camera without stills to card features.
  • Since I want to do some nature
    photography as well as take action footage in the surf a decent
    optical zoom is a must. This proofed to be a killer argument. Most
    cameras only come with a 10 times zoom, which I find pretty
    ridiculous. Sure, you can put a tele filter on the front. But who
    honestly changes around and takes them on and off. And even if, you
    will not be able to use the whole range at once. Nor can you use
    some parts of the range at all, since the lens will actually take up
    part of the view. Yuck…
  • I dislike vendors trying to force
    me to use their proprietary products, when there is a perfectly
    usable generic or even standard solution available. This eliminated
    all Sony camcorders, since they come with memory sticks only. Sony
    has been very persistent with forcing their stuff onto us. Microsoft
    is another vigilant worth mentioning.
  • I don’t need any web cam or MPEG4 features or other snazzy
    things that add to the price, but I will never use.

I had a really hard time finding much information about the
camcorder on the internet. There was more German than English
information available, but all indications I found were good.

With my new Sharp I have now access to a 23 times optical zoom.
The camera is very comfortable to hold and I can even takes stills on
a SDRAM card with up to 1152×768 resolution. Of course there is still
a lot to be discovered for me. I went through the manual, but with
the constant problem of only 24 hours a day I have not tried
everything yet. But that is part of the fun anyway;-)

Of course I had to get some accessories as well:

  • Since I am an outdoor enthusiast a
    Pelicase Box
    is essential for the camera. I will never forget when we went
    canyoning and used to throw the camera down the drops into the pools
    and then followed suit. Thats what you want. Of course you could
    also use an ammunition box, but that would be much heavier.
  • I needed to get bigger battery set
  • and a bigger tripod in addition to my trusted minitripod
  • and an additional charger with a cable to charge off the cigarette lighter connection in a car
  • and a UV filter to protect the lens
  • and a few tapes of course.

My plans with the camera are many. I am thinking of getting some
sort of waterproof housing for sea kayaking, surfing and so on. I
also still need to get a FireWire card I can use as a replacement for
my AVmaster card. I will have to find a card that is supported by
Linux though. After all I am aiming to see how far I get with editing
a video in Linux. Supposedly it is all possible, although rather
hard. Oh well, I can take a challenge.

Another nice gizmo would be a portable card reader with a big hard
disc inside. If I shell out the money for something like that I
should also get a MP3 (Ogg) player and maybe even a sort of PDA. Not
that I have seem anything like this on the market yet. I guess I will
have to research a bit more and potentially wait. At the moment I am
quite busy anyway…

As you can see I got a new toy and I am busy playing with it. Check out some of the photos in the Australia`s Animal Kingdom gallery and stay tuned for some videos in the future.


2 Comments

  • manfred

    26/03/2003

    It is now a few weeks that I have been using the camdcorder and I have to say that I am VERY happy with my decision. In fact I would like to have a BIGGER zoom. An the tripod comes in quite handy too.

    The only thing I had to do already is to clean the head with a cleaning tape.

    All else is good. Now I am collecting more material to work on my next video…

  • manfred

    26/03/2003

    It is now a few weeks that I have been using the camdcorder and I have to say that I am VERY happy with my decision. In fact I would like to have a BIGGER zoom. An the tripod comes in quite handy too.

    The only thing I had to do already is to clean the head with a cleaning tape.

    All else is good. Now I am collecting more material to work on my next video…

Comments are closed.