Camcorder or DSLR for Video? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 89 Old 06-24-2013, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm sure this has been discussed at length, but after some searching I thought easiest to start at new thread with my specific requirements. Basically trying to decide what would work best for me for video recording and not sure if I should go the camcorder route or a good camera, e.g. DSLR that records good video.

-My current camera is a 2-3 year old Canon point and shoot and a Panasonic TS3 for water and heavy duty use. I must say that the TS3 takes amazing video for what it is (some reference for you on my interpretation of quality).

-I’m looking for ease of use, automation, etc. I have never taken a photography class, and would prefer not to get into manual controls.

-Video mostly for home and recreational use, kids, sports, etc. Small clips, 30 seconds to 5-10 minute segments.

-I’d probably due some very simple video editing, mostly for cutting down clips to save space on the computer hard drive.

-I really don’t like the idea of carrying around a DSLR on vacation (why I love the point and shoots), but is a good CAMCORDER that much smaller?

-I’d like to get the best bang for my buck from a value perspective, i.e. finding that sweet spot between a great product that works for the average video/photo guy. I’m not sure where that sweet spot is when pricing camcorder or DSLRs, but would like to be around $500. Open to getting the right lenses, etc. if that will improve quality.

Thanks for the help!
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post #2 of 89 Old 06-24-2013, 05:39 PM
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Since you want ease of use/automated, a camcorder would definitely be better. Video for DSLR is more involved. Camcorders can be big, but many of the mid-range models are actually quite small.

The Panasonic v720 would be a good choice (it's $549):
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/910268-REG/panasonic_hc_v720k_hc_v720_live_streaming_hd.html

The dimensions: (widthxheightxdepth) 2.4 x 2.7 x 4.9" (inches) is very small and portable. You can use a ruler on a piece of paper to get an idea.

These Panasonics have great image stabilization and shoot 60p. (60 progressive frames per second/good for action.)

This camcorder can stream video to the internet/broadcast in real time. v720 can also be controlled via a tablet or smart phone.

If you can up the budget even a bit more, an extra battery would be ideal (for any camera).
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post #3 of 89 Old 06-24-2013, 05:39 PM
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For ease of use , kids, sports etc get a camcorder. A DSLR is not for that in video mode.

Sony 16GB HDR-PJ380 60p HD Handycam Camcorder with Projector

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/909735-REG/sony_hdr_pj380_r_16gb_hdr_pj380_60p_hd.html
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post #4 of 89 Old 06-24-2013, 08:03 PM
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Hi Delirium - if you get a camcorder, would you carry the P&S for stills, the TS4 for the water and the camcorder for video?

I recommend you get a $490 Panasonic FZ200 bridge camera for stills and video and sell the Canon P&S.

It is just as good a camcorder as the V720 (without the wi-fi) or the PJ380 (without the projector) - but it is a much better still camera than either of them (it can shoot 12 still frames per second, for example, to capture your kids' best moments).

It also shoots 720/120p slow motion - something the camcorders cannot do. Note the kids playing in slow motion here (please watch at 720p):




With the FZ200, you only have to carry around two cameras - not three smile.gif

Hope this is helpful,

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post #5 of 89 Old 06-24-2013, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Good thoughts, thanks. In looking at some of the options, would the below PJ580 be significantly better than the PJ380? Only reason I ask is because B&H has it at $600, marked down $250 less until the end of June versus an Amazon price of $840.

That video from the FZ200 was impressive.
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post #6 of 89 Old 06-25-2013, 01:26 AM
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$598 at B&H is a very good price, and it will produce very nice images in auto mode, but you can get it for less at Adorama - and you should know that it lacks several features common to other cameras/camcorders in its price range:

- no external mic input for improving sound in settings with background noise

- no "focus peaking" for more accurate manual focus

- no control of video color or sharpness

- no way to see or control audio levels

- no wi-fi or live streaming

That said, the projector is a cool feature, and <$600 is a pretty good price - and they're discounting it and throwing in extras (you can get it for $599.95 at Adorama with a free Sony RDP-CA1 speaker - an $18.99 value).

If you don't mind a rather short 12X zoom, the lack of manual controls, and the lack of wi-fi, it's a good camcorder.

For less money, though, you can get the $549 Panasonic V720, which has all of the features listed above (or the even less expensive FZ200 smile.gif)

Again, hope that's helpful!

Bill
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post #7 of 89 Old 06-25-2013, 05:03 PM
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DSLR kills Camcorders.

Why ?

To shoot good video, you need control over shutter speed, aperture (to control depth of field DOF), colour temp, custom ISO. Pretty much all DSLRs allow you to control these things. The Canon DSLRs are particularly video friendly in allowing you to adjust all functions whilst you are rolling. I am unaware of any consumer camcorders that give the user this control.

The new Magic LAnternfirm ware for canon dslrs also give RAW output and loads of pro functions. Low light performance is dictated by sensor size - Camcorders with their tiny sensors cannot compete here.

Cheap too.

And the glass for DSLRs is faaaar superioir.
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post #8 of 89 Old 06-25-2013, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepster returns View Post

DSLR kills Camcorders.

Why ?

To shoot good video, you need control over shutter speed, aperture (to control depth of field DOF), colour temp, custom ISO. Pretty much all DSLRs allow you to control these things. The Canon DSLRs are particularly video friendly in allowing you to adjust all functions whilst you are rolling. I am unaware of any consumer camcorders that give the user this control.

The new Magic LAnternfirm ware for canon dslrs also give RAW output and loads of pro functions. Low light performance is dictated by sensor size - Camcorders with their tiny sensors cannot compete here.

Cheap too.

And the glass for DSLRs is faaaar superioir.

May be ultimately true...but look at what OP wants in first post:
Quote:
Originally Posted by delirium330 View Post

I’m looking for ease of use, automation, etc. I have never taken a photography class, and would prefer not to get into manual controls.

-Video mostly for home and recreational use, kids, sports, etc. Small clips, 30 seconds to 5-10 minute segments.

-I really don’t like the idea of carrying around a DSLR on vacation
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post #9 of 89 Old 06-25-2013, 09:08 PM
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OK, to answer the opening question and thread title;

"Camcorder or DSLR for Video?"

Go with a DSLR for sure. You can use a DSLR in fully automatic mode (mugs mode) for as long as you like, and still make stunning video.

However, I am sure your curiosity will get the better of you eventually and you will explore the manual modes - at least a DSLR gives you the option to learn and grow, a camcorder does not.

Want something small that auto focusses ok on video ? I use and recommend the tint CANON EOSM (most of my vid is shot on this now) pocket camera + eg, a Canon 18-135mm STM for a wide range. Or, if it must fit in your pocket, I leave the tiny Canon 22mm F2 lens on my EOSM in my bag. The EOSM takes great low light video and stills, it has the same image quality as the Canon 7D, 60D, 700D etc. A rank beginner can use the EOSM.
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post #10 of 89 Old 06-26-2013, 12:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepster returns View Post

OK, to answer the opening question and thread title;

"Camcorder or DSLR for Video?"

Go with a DSLR for sure. You can use a DSLR in fully automatic mode (mugs mode) for as long as you like, and still make stunning video.

However, I am sure your curiosity will get the better of you eventually and you will explore the manual modes - at least a DSLR gives you the option to learn and grow, a camcorder does not.

Want something small that auto focusses ok on video ? I use and recommend the tint CANON EOSM (most of my vid is shot on this now) pocket camera + eg, a Canon 18-135mm STM for a wide range. Or, if it must fit in your pocket, I leave the tiny Canon 22mm F2 lens on my EOSM in my bag. The EOSM takes great low light video and stills, it has the same image quality as the Canon 7D, 60D, 700D etc. A rank beginner can use the EOSM.

I am sorry, this advice is not right, and ignores what we know, which is that DSLR video quality - especially that of Canon DSLRs - is inferior to video from camcorders, in sharpness and in artifacts (rolling shutter, moire, etc.).

Moreover, camcorders have faster lenses and more zoom in smaller packages, and also as an option offer full manual control, as well as tweaks to quality like contrast and saturation and noise control (depending on model). The shallow dof of DSLRs gets in the way of achieving sharp focus quickly, which makes DSLRs especially poor for sports or kids action. The variable-speed zoom rockers on camcorders are much better for controlling zoom while shooting than any DSLR.The Canon EOS is a particularly poor autofocus camera, especially its slow (small-aperture) zoom.
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post #11 of 89 Old 06-26-2013, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the advice, in regards to photos, would I be upgrading by using a new camcorder for photos versus my current point and shoot (Panasonic TS3)? Maybe a dumb question, but wanted to put it out there.

Obviously the camcorder can't match the photo ablity of a DSLR, but how inferior is it roughly? e.g. "camcorder photos will be roughly 70% of the capacity, control, quality, etc. of a DSLR."
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post #12 of 89 Old 06-27-2013, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delirium330 View Post

Thanks for all of the advice, in regards to photos, would I be upgrading by using a new camcorder for photos versus my current point and shoot (Panasonic TS3)? Maybe a dumb question, but wanted to put it out there.
Your question is not dumb at all, and neither is your OP. Indeed, the posts above are enlightening.

I think that if you go with a mid-range Panasonic/Sony/Canon camcorder, you will have better stills than your current point-and-shoot. (Check out the specs carefully.) Keep in mind that with a camcorder, you can use post-production software to get a screen grab (so-so quality) still from a video - or before shooting, you can put the camcorder into still camera mode as a point-and-shoot (with flash) and you'll get a better quality still.

I agree that a DSLR will give you more control over image - and interchangeable lenses!

Last point: Posters on this forum tend to put a lot of emphasis on image. But videos also have sound. A camcorder will record much better sound (in 5.1!) than any DSLR. The surroundsound of kids laughing puts you in the picture.
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post #13 of 89 Old 06-27-2013, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by August1991 View Post


Videos also have sound. A camcorder will record much better sound (in 5.1!) than any DSLR. The surroundsound of kids laughing will put you in the picture.

Great point...
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post #14 of 89 Old 06-28-2013, 05:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

I am sorry, this advice is not right, and ignores what we know, which is that DSLR video quality - especially that of Canon DSLRs - is inferior to video from camcorders, in sharpness and in artifacts (rolling shutter, moire, etc.).

Moreover, camcorders have faster lenses and more zoom in smaller packages, and also as an option offer full manual control, as well as tweaks to quality like contrast and saturation and noise control (depending on model). The shallow dof of DSLRs gets in the way of achieving sharp focus quickly, which makes DSLRs especially poor for sports or kids action. The variable-speed zoom rockers on camcorders are much better for controlling zoom while shooting than any DSLR.The Canon EOS is a particularly poor autofocus camera, especially its slow (small-aperture) zoom.

It depends. I'm getting pretty fantastic sharp video out of my Canon 5d Mark III in raw, have complete control over DOF. Video quality is not just pure sharpness, which is why there are very few camcorders that shoot major movies or even television shows or sports. Being able to isolate a subject is HUGE and plays a large role in storytelling. If you like the infinity focus / deep DOF / live look, then camcorders are a great option.
Camcorders have faster lenses? Please let me know which camcorder can equal the speed of my Sigma 35mm F/1.4 on a full frame sensor. Answer = there aren't any. Or the 85mm F/1.2, etc.
DSLR's will give you much better low light performance as well.

I will agree that it's near impossible to keep focus with a DSLR on moving subjects, so if your goal is to film Junior running around you'd best stick with a camcorder.

But I wouldn't get a camcorder or DSLR if I were you - I might get something like the Panasonic LX-7 or FZ200 or even Sony RX-100. Larger sensor than normal camcorders and much better for stills.
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post #15 of 89 Old 06-28-2013, 05:38 AM
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Here's "the look" of a DSLR for video:

https://vimeo.com/67789015

I shot this with the 5d3+70-200 IS II.
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post #16 of 89 Old 06-28-2013, 10:14 AM
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Shawn,

Nice work with the focus. You made the subject stand out better than most camcorder videos.
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post #17 of 89 Old 06-28-2013, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shield View Post

Here's "the look" of a DSLR for video:

https://vimeo.com/67789015

I shot this with the 5d3+70-200 IS II.
I agree that the image - to the extent that I can judge since I'm currently using a 1366x768 laptop screen - looks good. But it appears that you used a tripod, and the light was perfect. You had time to position your camera.

Video/film/motion picture recording is different from still photography. With video, the object moves and even the camera moves. Light changes.

BTW, I was impressed with the stereo sound of your clip but the sync is off. How did you record it?
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post #18 of 89 Old 06-28-2013, 01:54 PM
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At 0:35 I liked shallow DOF, but at the beginning with the steel net behind the batter I thought DOF was too shallow, which is weird because normally people don't like seeing fences.
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post #19 of 89 Old 06-28-2013, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by August1991 View Post

I agree that the image - to the extent that I can judge since I'm currently using a 1366x768 laptop screen - looks good. But it appears that you used a tripod, and the light was perfect. You had time to position your camera.

Video/film/motion picture recording is different from still photography. With video, the object moves and even the camera moves. Light changes.

BTW, I was impressed with the stereo sound of your clip but the sync is off. How did you record it?

It might be off a tad.
It's the onboard audio.

The object moves for still photography - ever shoot sports? So EVERY video has people moving in and out of the focus plane constantly? Why can't you shoot short static scenes and piece them together? Who says the subject has to be constantly moving in video? Please tell me all the films and motion pictures that have continuous autofocus video. Don't know of any.
Light did change during this scene, which is why I adjusted exposure with a variable ND filter between shots.
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post #20 of 89 Old 06-28-2013, 02:07 PM
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Also, how is having time to position my camera and using a tripod a bad thing? My son's games are scheduled - why sit there with a sore wrist holding a shaky camcorder? Which footage will be more entertaining for the viewer and myself later on? Common boring camcorder "everything in focus" footage or this? I'm not trying to be argumentative; just wondering what's wrong with being different from the norm? I should carry a small camcorder to games like everyone else? Last game a guy had a Nikon D4 + 300 2.8 lens - about $10k combined! smile.gif
Shawn
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post #21 of 89 Old 06-29-2013, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
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....Common boring camcorder "everything in focus" footage or this?

This.
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post #22 of 89 Old 06-29-2013, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shield View Post

Also, how is having time to position my camera and using a tripod a bad thing? My son's games are scheduled - why sit there with a sore wrist holding a shaky camcorder? Which footage will be more entertaining for the viewer and myself later on? Common boring camcorder "everything in focus" footage or this? I'm not trying to be argumentative; just wondering what's wrong with being different from the norm? I should carry a small camcorder to games like everyone else? Last game a guy had a Nikon D4 + 300 2.8 lens - about $10k combined! smile.gif
Shawn

Nothing wrong with doing what makes you happy. A good combo of static to focus and slow things down and then action to move things along.
(I am my own worst critic after I finish editing something. Hey how about I do this instead.... then it takes twice as long to get the final product.)

I have come to the slow realization that I now need a second and third camcorder just so I can cover multiple angles.
Two static on tripods and the third one moving (in other words me running around.)

I did a two camera - one underwater and one above and it turned out really well which gave me the extra bug.

This hobby is a money pit.
But I really enjoy it.

Rob
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post #23 of 89 Old 06-29-2013, 03:50 PM
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I was in a similar situation recently. My panny miniDV camcorder stopped focusing a couple years ago. Right around the time HD video was taking over. I didn't want to spend 500 or so on a new one so I just started using my canon SD780 IS for HD video. It has worked good but it has no zoom. So I miss out on long range video like my daughters recital the other day. I realized it was time to upgrade.

I just bought the panny FZ60 bridge camera. It works great but I feel it is a little too complicated for me. I am no more than a casual family photog guy who occasionally uses manual controls for flash and shutter length. I really was just looking to combine the two functions in one high rated, affordable camera. I was torn between the FZ60 and the ZS20 which is a pocket camera but has a big 20x zoom. I have a feeling the ZS20 is closer to what I am used to than the FZ60. I couldn't even figure out how to activate the flash in manual mode! There's like 6 manual modes to start with. The zoom is amazing though, so I do really like that.

I bought it on amazon so i can return it and buy the other if i want to. Are there any significant differences between the two that would make that decision easier? They both have excellent reviews.
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post #24 of 89 Old 06-29-2013, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
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This hobby is a money pit.
But I really enjoy it.

+1 smile.gif
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post #25 of 89 Old 06-29-2013, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pizzakid13 View Post

I was in a similar situation recently. My panny miniDV camcorder stopped focusing a couple years ago. Right around the time HD video was taking over. I didn't want to spend 500 or so on a new one so I just started using my canon SD780 IS for HD video. It has worked good but it has no zoom. So I miss out on long range video like my daughters recital the other day. I realized it was time to upgrade.

I just bought the panny FZ60 bridge camera. It works great but I feel it is a little too complicated for me. I am no more than a casual family photog guy who occasionally uses manual controls for flash and shutter length. I really was just looking to combine the two functions in one high rated, affordable camera. I was torn between the FZ60 and the ZS20 which is a pocket camera but has a big 20x zoom. I have a feeling the ZS20 is closer to what I am used to than the FZ60. I couldn't even figure out how to activate the flash in manual mode! There's like 6 manual modes to start with. The zoom is amazing though, so I do really like that.

I bought it on amazon so i can return it and buy the other if i want to. Are there any significant differences between the two that would make that decision easier? They both have excellent reviews.

Hi pizzakid - I would keep the FZ60 and leave it in iA mode. I prefer it to the ZS20 because it has a viewfinder and the ZS20 does not.

I personally hate trying to take a picture outdoors with an LCD - but that's just me. Yeah, Panasonic makes you push a button to pop the flash, even in Auto modes - but once you figure that out, they are simple cameras.

Good luck!

Bill
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post #26 of 89 Old 06-29-2013, 05:58 PM
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What about that GPS function? Seems cool. This is all really new tech to me.
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post #27 of 89 Old 06-30-2013, 01:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pizzakid13 View Post

What about that GPS function? Seems cool. This is all really new tech to me.

Haven't tried it, so I can't speak from first hand experience. I won't call it a gimmick because I used to say that about wi-fi, and now I can't live without it smile.gif

That said, I don't know why I would ever need GPS coordinates on my pictures unless I'm planning a strike (I used to fly Air Force airplanes, so the only pictures with coordinates on them I've ever looked at was with hostile intent wink.gif).
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post #28 of 89 Old 06-30-2013, 09:03 AM
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Are they actually stamped on the image unable to remove?

The ZS20 does have a touchscreen.
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post #29 of 89 Old 07-01-2013, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pizzakid13 View Post

Are they actually stamped on the image unable to remove?

No - it stores the data in EXIF

It also has a mapping function that shows you where your photographs were taken on a map, either on the camera's LCD - or on your computer.

Cheers,

Bill
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post #30 of 89 Old 07-01-2013, 08:09 AM
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Ok
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