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Toshiba Camileo S10 review

Verdict

A very small camera that's capable of excellent results in good light, but awful low light performance makes it largely impractical.

Review Date: 17 Jun 2009

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £115 (£132 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £75
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
3 stars out of 6

Features & Design
2 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

Pocket video cameras have come a long way since they first hit the shops. They started out at a lowly resolution of 640 x 480, but it wasn't long before 720p reared its head and now, with the Toshiba Camileo S10, they've made it all the way to 1080p.

The camera doesn't quite shoot in Full HD, but its 1,440 x 1,080 at 30fps comes close. It records video using the H.264 codec to QuickTime MOV files, has grown-up features such as image stabilisation (only in 720p mode, though), a low light assistance light, and output direct to HDMI with the included cable.

It's very pocketable too, measuring just 19.5mm thick, with a 2.5in screen that pops out at the side. There's no optical zoom, but this is no great loss; our favourite pocket video camera the Flip Mino HD doesn't have one either, but that doesn't prevent being a very usable device. And it's very cheap too.

Shooting footage outdoors, the S10's quality is nothing short of superb. It captures more detail than the Flip Mino HD and any other pocket video camera we've yet tested. Despite its apparently low bit-rate (8Mbit/sec), it doesn't smear those details with over-aggressive compression and colours are generally good, albeit a little over-saturated. It produces decent 7.7-megapixel stills too, producing surprisingly crisp images, although there's no flash to help in low light.

Move inside and the picture changes, however. Video footage is so badly affected by colour noise and graining that it's entirely unusable, which rules it out for use in anything but ideal lighting conditions. It looks very dark, too, and the over-saturation makes images look even more ugly. For close-ups and small rooms the light improves things a little, but alas not enough.

Another downside is that, unlike the Flip cameras or Creative's Vado and Vado HD, there's no software stored on the camera, nor any integrated flash memory. You have to install the supplied software package - ArcSoft MediaImpression - from CD. So old hat.

So while the Camileo S10 is an admirable stab at bringing Full HD to low-end cameras, it's also a deeply flawed one. Detail capture may be second-to-none, but dreadful performance in low light means it just isn't worth the price.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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User comments

Toshiba Camelio S10

Thank goodness for someone who agrees with my thoughts on this one. Brilliant as camcorder and camera as long as you're outside where light is good and unusable indoors or with dull lighting. So pretty pointless if it can only be used outside. Even Toshiba customer service & shop where bought, had me thinking I was nuts. So thanks, mine is going back.

By dubork on 1 Sep 2009

Toshiba Camileo S10

Hi,

While talking of pocket camcorders I wonder why every site, every review speaks only of the Flips & Kodaks, while safely avoiding the Toshiba Camileos. I guess the Flips are damn good, but being not available (generally) outside the US, we mortals need to do with the other models.

I bought my Camileo S10 few days back, did some heavy duty shooting around and let me assert here that this is a preety good camcorder, as well.

I took a whole day, visiting various retailers, testing the Sony Webbie, Kodak Zx1, Aiptek z700, Xacti CG10 and the Camileo P30 & S10, besides the Samsung ST550 [TL225 elsewhere] (a Digital Camera doing 720p HD). These were the compact camcorders available here (Flip Ultra HD, Samsung U10 & Kodak Zi8 are not yet marketed here) and settled down for the Camileo S10 due to:
1. Great form factor.
2. Lightest among all.
3. *Best HD clips (2nd was Aiptek z700).
4. *2nd best Still shots (best was Aiptek z700), but very-very good.
5. **Li-on Battery (keeps the device slimmer).
6. ***Upto 32 Gb SD Card compatible.
7. Got an 8 Gb SD card free from the store.
8. Similar priced; under USD 160/- [the CG10 is a bit costlier (and the P30 is no better, but bigger)].
9. HDMI port (a must, so that we enjoy Full HD footage on an FHD TV).
10. ****Deal breaker: Slips easily into my shirt pocket, with ZERO bulge.

*Both clips & shots analyzed by playing on a 42" FHD LCD TV. [remember, it shoots just one step lower than 1080p, which is as good as 1080p, an ordinary guy like me would'nt notice the difference at all].
**Bought another Li-on battery for Stand-by (these are the same as used in most of the cameras & camcorders; thus, readily available - not proprietary; costed only USD 8/-).
***Note: standard SD card, NOT Micro SD; thus, cheaper.
****The S10 is a Flat device, half the thickness of my cigarette pack (B&H 20's) and only half inch taller than it.

EDITING & BURNING DVD:
I edited the clips & burnt a (regular) DVD - and wow! the movie was stunning. To note here, the supplied ArcSoft Suite is "just OK", but I had no problem making my DVD thru the Cyberlink PowerDirector Express, which is a good movie software and came with my JVC HD7.

MY VERDICT:
Friends, don't have any 2nd thoughts. If the 10 pointers I mentioned above are also your considering factors, go for the Camileo S10.

It is better than the rest. AND be assured, the vids are VERY SIMILAR to that of a Hi-End HD Camcorder (I have one), if you can overcome the top-notch movies you get from them due to their manual controls. But then, we are talking about a "Pocket Camcorder", whose basic purpose is to carry everywhere and shoot at the spur of the moment and under 1/10th of the price the Camileo S10 is a steal.

I am deeply satisfied with my Camileo; and so would be you!!!

Regards.

{Ps.: The Samsung ST 550 (TL225) is a too good digital camera though, but is double the price. It's Stills are mind blowing, but the Video is lagging behind Camileo S10. I was about to purchase it until I fully tested the Camileo S10}.

By sdutta on 27 Sep 2009

Poor quality - real let down - upscaled HD.

Someone lent me one of these to record a show recently, and I have to say it is really poor quality.

When I first saw it I thought, wow this is pretty nifty, the size of it, and the fact it does HD video. I was thinking about getting one myself until I used it

First correction - 1080p - ok it recorded the video in a VERY BLOCKY 1080p mode. Looks like very bad upscaling of a 320x240 picture, so less of the Tosh, Toshiba, if you want to make a 1080p HD camcorder make sure it actually records at 1080p, not just upscales video from LD to HD (any decent TV can already do that trick, and 1,000 times better than this camera can).

Ok second bad thing - In a room with full stage lights on it, some of the times can barely see the actors. Not very good at all at picking up lights.

Thirdly - Colour quality, I'm wondering does this thing record in full 24-bit colour, or is it just 16-bit colour, the colour from this camera looks like something that was produced on an old VGA computer, leading me to believe the colour capture isn't full colour, which a HD picture in 16-bit colour is really disappointing.

Fourth - Zoom - It's Digital zoom. Just what on earth is the point in Digital Zoom on anything? Optical zoom is good as it gets you the picture at the proper resolution, zoomed in, but digital zoom is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. All it does is chop bits of the picture off and reduce the resolution. Absolutely no use whatsoever, especially not for HD content, it would have been far better if there had been no zoom at all.

Fifth bad point - Microphone. On this camera you can barely hear the sound, despite it going through a theatres amplifier. The camera has produced a lot of interference over the top of the sound, also camera records sound in mono, not stereo (playback on a Dolby 5.1 surround sound system sounds awful, as it all goes through the centre speaker).

Final major problem with the camera - Very fiddly. Firstly when trying to open the screen, it was on a tripod, and the notch to open the screen is in the same place as the tripod, so to get the screen open you have to fiddle with the tripod (or find someone with long fingernails to get round the edge of the screen), then secondly changing memory cards in it was just as fiddly. Lost 2 minutes of the performance just trying to get into the memory card slot, also didn't help that there didn't appear to be any indicator whilst recording as to how full the card was and how many minutes were left on it. The only indication received was a warning which stated "Memory Full" on screen, advance warning would have been nice.

Next time I film something I'm going to stick to my Canon DVD camcorder, far superior quality, stereo recording, and optical zoom. It might not do 1080p resolution, but quite sure I could upscale the film to be better quality than this camera produces.

The only thing that this camera is probably good for is as a cheap digital stills camera, and occasional video recording, but even that there are some far better and less fiddly digital stills cameras out there like the Sony Cybershot range.

By TheKLF99 on 24 Mar 2010

Camileo S20?

I'm seeing the S20 for only £90 on Amazon right now and am very tempted... in my book that's almost free for a tiny HD video camera. But the reviews here are very mixed and making me have second thoughts.

By revsorg on 29 Nov 2010

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