Not all video cameras are made the same

I recently bought a Sony Cybershot DSC-H400 (external link) to replace my broken Nikon. I’m happy with it to a point. The telephoto is outstanding, memory storage fantastic with a 64 gig card, and the battery life is excellent. But the video files it generates are unfamiliar to me.

Instead of the web-friendly and widely distributed MP4 format, Sony uses their own file type, something called AVCHD™. It was created to make Blu-ray Discs™ and, I suspect, avoid paying any licensing or royalty fees to Apple. (Although see this external link.) In any case, the files are difficult to work with and when finally processed, using every trick I know, exhibit video that is choppy and clunky. Sigh.

I bought the new camera primarily for still photos and it does that quite well. I think now, however, that it may be best to buy a dedicated camera just for video. Making a camera handle both still and motion is perhaps too much to ask. If I do get a special video camera I will make sure it is MP4 compatible. Let me know if you have a favorite camera for video.

Halt! My mistake. Completely on my own, I have discovered that the Sony is also storing my files in MP4. Great news but you have to look around in your file directory. When you connect your camera, in my case to a Mac, three icons appear on your screen. One is labeled Untitled. If you root around in there you will find movies in MP4. Take a look at the screen shot below. Perhaps when I first exported the files from the camera it delivered them in its native format. Now I know how to get around that. Much to learn.





By thomasfarley01

Business writer and graphic arts gadfly.

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