Compact Digital Camera Under $250 with HD video

Hi Everyone,
I'm looking for a camera as a birthday gift for my mum. I had been looking at the Canon IXUS 220HS which had favourable reviews but my main concern is the video file size while recording at 720p. According to the video files write at 4 mbps at 1020p. I don't see why it should be higher than 1 mbps (standard dvd quality: 80mins = 4.7gb).
Could anyone please help me find a similar camera which produces decent photos and records video with a more manageable file size.
Any suggestions would be sincerely appreciated!


  • +1 vote

    First up, Cameras in that price-range are all going to be of a similar quality.. Anything more than $150 will net you decent photos and videos these days.

    Secondly, there are so many variables that it's hard to make a fair comparison between the 2 codecs mentioned below.

    Thirdly and finally,
    The most important fact you're missing from your reasoning is that DVD is not HD, that's why we have Blue-Ray (and HD-DVD until it died)! Standard DVD quality has a fifth of the pixels.. hence the file-size can be MUCH smaller.

    Full HD (like Blu-Ray) is 1920x1080 pixels = 2,073,600 pixels (that's 1920 pixels across the screen and 1080 pixels up the screen)
    DVD resolution is 720x576 pixels (for our PAL format)= 414,720 pixels (ie 720 pixels across the screen and 576 pixels up the screen)

    The reason HD video is not 5 times the size even though it contains 5 times the information is because HD Video is typically encoded with MPEG4 (h.264), wheras DVD is encoded with the older MPEG2 codec.. Not only is MPEG2 not as good at compression, it also loses more information so the Picture Quality is not as good.
    The big variables here though are sampling rate (bit rate) and compression ratio. It's absolutely possible to compress a 1080p video file down to a DVD filesize, but the quality of the video saved might suffer. You'd need to determine at what level you think the tradeoff of quality vs file size is right for you. But when memory is so cheap, most people don't care all that much, they want to capture the best quality possible and then they can compress according to the usage (ie high compression for uploading to the net, low compression for watching at home).

    So in summary, if you want a manageable file size for your videos then look at lower resolution video or look at a higher compression (lower quality) FullHD setting.
    720p resolution 1280x720 pixels only has around twice the number of pixels as DVD, but mpeg4 video filesize could make it fairly comparable in file size with little noticeable loss in quality from the high bit rate file..
    Alternatively a high compression 1080p video could be brought down to DVD filesize.
    It's highly likely this can be done in the camera you mention by altering the Video Quality settings in the camera.