Emerson EVC1800 Digital Camcorder - A Review
This Camera May Be Acceptable For A Few People
If you have read other reviews about the Emerson EVC1800 digital camcorder, they were most likely bad. There are two common complaints, one of which you can overcome. Past these two complaints, there are some attractive attributes that may make this camera worthwhile for a select few. I must admit, however, that in writing this review I felt like I was writing about the good attributes of the AMC Pacer.
The Two Common Complaints
Complaint #1 "I submerged it in water and it died". I have the owner's manual and nowhere in it do I read that the camera is waterproof, rather water resistant. Now granted, I do not have the original box/packaging that the camera came in, so perhaps it states that it is a waterproof camera, but if it were, I would think that the manual would state the same. So, the bottom line is don't purchase this camera if you are looking for a waterproof camera that you are going to submerge.
Complaint #2 "The battery does not charge". There isn't much you can do here other than contact the manufacturer for a replacement battery if you purchased the camera new. My battery charges fine.
A Very Functional and Simple Design
There are just a few buttons, yet a fair number of options - all very intuitive. All buttons are accessible. Furthermore, all of the adjustment buttons are on the back of the camera along with the screen, so the results of the adjustments are easy to see. Turning the camera on and off (the only function button located on the side of the camera) results in a beeping noise reminiscent of R2D2 in Star Wars. As you change the camera settings, you continue to get the R2D2 effect. You, and those around you for a good 30 feet distance, better like the sound because there is no way to turn it off.
Video is the default setting after turning the camera on. Pushing the big, metal silver button starts the video, pushing it again turns it off. While the video is running, it is possible to zoom the camera in and out with no distortion in picture quality or sound. Video resolution settings are 320x240, 640x480, 720x400, and 1280x720. Surprisingly, the latter three settings really do not extend the amount of storage space on the SD card measurably as you decrease resolution. Forget low light conditions - the video comes out too grainy, even with adjustments to white balance and exposure. Taking videos outdoors is good. The sound is a little on the light side. In very loud settings, the microphone vibrates and the sound is distorted. The video is in AVI format.
Still photos are good, again under good light conditions. The shutter speed is slow. Yes, you can adjust the white balance (cloudy, tungsten, etc...) and the setting (sport, party, scenery, etc...) but it is still blurry - so your subject needs to be still and in good lighting. Settings are 3, 5, 8, and 12 megapixel. You can digitally zoom in and out, but certainly no macro shots.
Ergonomic and Tripod Friendly
The camera fits nicely in your hand. The edges are rubberized with grips, thus making the camera easy to hold. Watch out for the battery cover built in the grip however, it easily slips open and thus the camera is no longer water resistant. The camera is threaded at the bottom so that it can be mounted on a tripod. The camera is centered over the tripod. A big bonus is that the battery and SD card can be accessed while the camera is still on the tripod.
The Screen Is Visible
The screen is clear and visible, even in bright conditions.
Those Sweet Little Annoying Things
Poor Access for the Battery and SD Card
In an effort to make the battery and SD card compartments water resistant, Emerson made them deep seated in the body of the camera with rubberized covers. This makes both inaccessible with fingers once you open the covers. The SD card is particularly inaccessible. Fortunately I always carry a knife and am able to remove and replace both fairly easily.
SD Card Readable if the Correct One
Standard SD cards will not work on video, only stills. High speed video SD cards will work. I recently purchased a 16GB high speed and the camera works well with it.
In Summary This Camera Is For You If ...
This camera will appeal to very few people, but there might be just a few who are up for the challenge. If you answer yes to most of the questions below, you might be a happy customer.
- You have no intentions of submerging the camera and at best limit it to splashes of water.
- You like Stars Wars and enjoy sharing the sound effects with those around you.
- You plan to use the camera outdoors under strong light conditions.
- Your subjects are still or nearly dead when taking still photographs.
- You typically carry a knife and enjoy using it. You view using this camera as an opportunity to show friends and family your knife skills.
About the Linked Videos
The first attached video shows some stills taken with a camera and then demonstrates standard operating procedures. This video was arrange with video making software that I own. Unfortunately, while my software is supposed to accept AVI format, it does not accept the Emerson's AVI. This turns out to be a major bummer because I primarily purchased the camera for taking video while fly fishing and to arrange movies with the software. I believe the camera came out in 2012, while my software is dated to 2004. Anyway, the last two videos were uploaded directly from the camera to YouTube.
By all accounts, do not purchase this camera new. Obviously you will pay too much. Purchase it used. When purchasing it used, ask the seller the following questions:
- Have they have successfully charged the battery?
- Have they ever submerged the camera (avoid purchasing if they have)?
- Ask if the battery and SD card doors stay reasonably shut.
- Ask if they seller would consider throwing in a knife with the purchase.