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Despite Toshiba having such a strong presence in other areas of the audiovisual market, it has stopped making digital cameras and hasn't focused much attention on camcorders - until this year. Following hot on the heels of the high-end Gigashot A100FE is another high definition contender. But where the Gigashot uses a capacious 100GB hard disk for video storage, the Camileo Pro HD relies purely on flash memory. So it's much smaller, weighing just 180g, and could easily fit in a pocket. Its price is positively anorexic, too.
The Toshiba is somewhat reminiscent of Sanyo's Xacti VPC-HD1000, with an upright format you hold like a pistol grip. All functions are performed with a thumb, which is relatively comfortable. However, where the Xacti has a bulbous lens which could ruin the cut of a jacket pocket, the Camileo Pro HD is only slightly fatter at the business end.
A 5-megapixel CMOS sensor captures the video, and despite Toshiba being very secretive about its physical size, it measures 1/2.5in. Still images can be shot at 8-megapixels (3,200 x 2,400) with interpolation, 5-megapixels (2,592 x 1,944), and 3-megapixels (2,048 x 1,536). In our testing, we found the 8-megapixel setting a bit pointless as it introduces grain which isn't evident at 5-megapixels. Strangely, Toshiba hasn't integrated any form of lens shutter or included a cover in the box, although there is a protective pouch. So care will have to be taken to avoid scratching the lens or getting greasy finger marks on it.
Like the Gigashot, the Camileo Pro HD eschews the dominant AVCHD standard. But where the Gigashot opts for HDMV instead, the Camileo relies on MP4. It doesn't offer Full HD, either, or even the 1,440 x 1,080 of HDV, but shoots at 1,280 x 720 at its highest setting. It also uses a rather aggressive level of compression to reach 4Mbits/sec, with no other compression modes available, although the video is progressively scanned. Alternatively, you can choose DVD (720 x 576), VGA (640 x 480) and CIF (352 x 240) resolutions. Whichever setting you select, the Camileo is limited to 30 frames/sec, which will be great for YouTube but not so good if you want to convert your footage to DVD for use in 25 fps Europe.
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