Less than satisfied with my camera

So I received the video camera I had ordered a few days ago – if you recall, this was a bargain basement option, to provide the basic ability to video gaming, crafting, and other activities.  As such, I ordered the cheapest camcorder I could locate on Amazon, while still hoping to meet the various needs, the Seree HDV-515.

The pros:

  • It was cheap – final price on Amazon was only $65, plus a $12 memory card
  • Video Quality is acceptable – as long as I keep it on 720p, the video is smooth and clear, at least for my novice eyes.  Once I render a final video thru Davinci Resolve, the video seems to be very solid.

The cons:

  • It was cheap – the case is plastic, and the materials feel very low quality.  The touch screen only barely works, requiring multiple presses to register, and there are only a few other external buttons for direct options.
  • Full HD is not workable – technically it is rated for 1080p, but only at 15 fps, which is choppy and very difficult to watch for any length of time.
  • Audio is nearly non-existent – There are mics on the camera, and they are supposed to function, however the audio level is nothing but static and a very (very) faint sound.  Of course the camera has no option to mute the sound, so the data file continues to record it (and take up space), even though the audio is unusable.  And this model of camera doesnt accept either a remote mic or have a jack for a connection.
  • Storage is limited by the SDHC card limitation – This restricts the storage to 32 GB.  It does have a second card slot, for a micro-SD card, and admittedly one feature is that it will swap between cards automatically when one is full.  However, at 32 GB with 720p, it only holds about 5 hours of video, which is likely to be insufficient for my plans.  With my micro-SD card of 16 GB, that is pushed up to about 7 1/2 or 8 hours, but I don’t currently have a means to read the data off of the micro-SD card.
  • The camera OS is unstable – more than a few times, I have tried to power it up or turn it off, and am greeted by a static filled screen which no longer will respond.  No lost data, but I can only clear it by removing the battery and killing the power entirely.
  • Outdated USB drivers – given that I run Windows 10 on all my computers, it is more than a hassle that the included USB drivers (USB also is the power source and battery charging) are non functional.  If I plug it into a computer, it charges, but I get a constant connected/disconnected from the computer.  This also makes it function as a webcam non-functional, though admittedly I had no plans to use that.
  • Charging via USB – similarly, since the charging comes thru USB, and I can’t plug it into a computer without annoyance, I have to plug it into the wall.  Fortunately it came with a USB wall plug – unfortunately the included wall plug was non-functional and wont charge.  It was a hassle, but at least I have spare plugs thanks to multiple i-devices from Apple.  Of course the connecting cable is very short, so it has to be rather close to a wall plug (or use an extension cord)

Overall, not a very satisfying experience, but good to help me identify what I do and do not want in the next camera.

For now, I am pushing ahead with this one, and I am going to attempt to film my remodeling of the kitchen this weekend.  If successful, I will be able to share at least a time lapse of the entire project, which if nothing else will be good for a laugh.

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