Toshiba may not be known for its prowess in the pocket camcorder market, but that doesn't mean it should be immediately counted out. Its latest pocket camcorder offering, the Camileo S30, hops on the touch-control bandwagon and tries to compete with the best with a user-friendly design. So can the Camileo S30 keep up with touch-based camcorder big shots like Sony Bloggie Touch? Read on and find out.
BUILD AND DESIGN
The Camileo is simplistic and basic in its design, but that doesn't mean that it's cheap or of poor quality. It's made of glossy plastic, but still has a respectable weight and feel about it, so it doesn't feel like it's going to break at any given moment. At 2.36" x 4.33" x 0.75", it can easily fit in your pocket or even a clutch, yet it still manages to sport a roomy flip-out, 3-inch LCD touchscreen.
A pop-open panel on the back spine of the camera houses its USB, TV, and HDMI ports. The most important controls of the Camileo are also featured on the spine of the device, including the record button, the zoom controls, the pause button, and the flash button.
The camera's three other buttons (power, photo/video toggle, and Internet Uploader, which I will explain later) are located on the inside of the device, underneath where the LCD screen folds in, and are easily accessible when the screen is open.
Other features include a light on the front of the camera, which can be used either as a flash or sustained lighting for video, and an SD slot on the top for memory cards up to 64GB.
In something of a design flaw, the lens of the camera isn't recessed. It runs flush with the front of the camera frame, leaving it completely exposed and vulnerable to fingerprints, the elements, and scratches. Located directly above the lens on the top of the camera is the microphone, while the speaker runs along the side of the camera, above where the LCD screen folds out.
Ergonomics and Controls
When it comes to usage right out of the box, it doesn't get much easier than the Camileo. When you flip out the screen, the camera automatically turns on (though, as mentioned, there is also a manual power switch, should you want to have the screen open with the screen off for whatever reason) and it's ready to go. At that point, one push of the sizeable, impossible-to-miss button on the spine of the camera and you're recording your first video.
The only basic function that I would say goes against common sense is accessing the on-screen menu for playback, settings, and switching between photo and video recording. To bring up the menu of options, you just tap anywhere on the touchscreen. This may seem like a good, simplistic choice on Toshiba's part, but when there is literally nothing on the screen -- there is no menu button, icon, or any sort of indicator -- your first thought isn't to just poke it. Call me stupid, but it took me three or four minutes before I figured it out.
Menu navigation can get a little frustrating, as the different categories like "effects" or "setup" are not labeled as such. Rather, you have to click (touch) an icon for the screen to display what submenu it leads to, and then click it again to actually access it. Aside from the fact that the required double-tapping is a bit of a nuisance, it can take a while before you memorize what each of the six icons on the main menu stand for. I still have to poke a couple of times before I find "setup" because I never remember which one it is.
My other issue with the on-screen menus is that you can't jump from one category to another. Let's say I go into "effects" and then "scene," and then when I'm done making my adjustments there I want to hop over to video settings. I have to use the "back" button (which requires two taps each time) on the screen to back out twice to the main menu and get to the video settings; I can't just go straight there. It just wasn't the smartest design, that's all. I recognize that these issues with the menus are minor gripes, but when everything else on the camera can be done so quickly and easily, these sorts of things stand out as noticeable quirks.
Menus and Modes
Once you tap the screen, toolbars appear on the top 'on' bottom of the display, offering shortcuts to quick settings like still/video, light/flash, playback/record, stabilization, delete, and the main menu. Once you enter the main menu, the options are as follows:
-Full HD (1080p/30fps)
-HD 60 (720p/60fps)
-HD 30 (720p/30fps)
-Off/1 second/3 second/5 second
-16 MP/8 MP/ 3 MP
-2 seconds/5 seconds/10 seconds/Off
Auto/Black and White/Classic/Negative
The Camileo's 3-inch display has a relatively mediocre resolution and is a resistive touchscreen. Toshiba's decision to go with a resistive touchscreen may have helped keep the price down, but you'll quickly realize that you get what you pay for when you have to batter the screen with the tip of your finger multiple times just to get things to register.
Also, the generous amount of real estate on the screen is somewhat hampered when you pull up the on-screen menu and options. Since the menu that pops up involves a bar on both the top and bottom of the screen, you tend to lose a little bit of visibility. It's not a lot, but it's definitely enough that you'll want to tap the screen again to make the menu bars go away before you continue to shoot.
Beyond that, there isn't much more to the display of the Camileo, which, while it may not be the sharpest thing I've ever seen, at least it truly displays what you're shooting; what you see on the screen while recording is exactly what you get, with nothing being truncated in the final product.
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