Friday, July 29, 2011

Sound recording on a camera

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to good travel cameras. They are relatively inexpensive, small and light, have ample zoom, and takes great video in addition to good quality still images. You can buy heaps of storage in tiny flash memory cards. Imagine how much less baggage you need to carry these days, as compared to 15 years ago.

One useful feature is sorely lacking though: sound recording. I cannot imagine why the camera manufacturers have not seriously looked into this. I have a Sony F717 which I bought about 10 years ago. It has a feature that allows you to record a short sound clip in addition to the image, if you were to keep holding down the shutter release after it is pressed. On a sightseeing trip, you can record a short description of the image you are shooting. The voice clip filename is the same as the image filename, so you can immediately link them up. My only disappointment is that you can only record for about 10 sec.

My idea:
With the huge capacity of flash memory these days, it would be perfect if the recording is infinite, or programmable to a predetermined maximum duration. Once an image is taken and the shutter release is held down for 3 secs, it should activate the sound recording with an LED indicator lighted. The recording should continue even if you keep on shooting more images, until you turn the sound recorder off. This allows you to shooting multiple images with the same sound track running.

This sound recording feature will be great for spicing up a slideshow. Sometimes it is better to record a series of images with a continuous background sound, rather than to do a video recording. Furthermore, videos consume much more memory and takes up a lot more computing resources.

Don't you agree this is a "sound" idea for a travel camera?

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