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★★★★☆

“If you need a PC cam that doubles as a still/motion...”

Written on: 13/04/2003 by CALOi. (1 review written)

Good Points
Small, lightweight, easy to use, doubles as PC Cam through USB, doubles as MMC drive through USB, comes with a 32Mb MMC, may be connected to the TV for preview, nice software CD, too.

Bad Points
No external power source, no directed lighting/flash, microphone does not work in PC Cam mode, may stop recording even if there is still available storage memory. No tripod.

General Comments
If you need a PC cam that doubles as a still/motion video camera, then you may want to consider the Mustek DV3000. At around $140, the DV3000 comes in a compact camcorder look. It is very light that you can carry it with one hand. You can bring it anywhere you go without any bulky carrying case, but the DV3000 is no substitute to a full featured digital camcorder. There is just no point of comparison. If you are looking for a motion video camera, you have to buy a fuller featured digital camcorder. You need to invest some more on the hardware. What you pay for is what you get.

STILL CAMERA REVIEW
The DV3000 has three capture modes for stills: Low(640x480), High(1600x1200), and Fine(2048x1536). The color quality of the captures are at par with midrange digital cameras like the Canon Powershot S100. Decent and not "grainy".
Since the DV3000 does not come with some directed light source (like a flash or spotlight), it is recommended that you use it as a daytime camera only so that you won't lose detail on your captures. The DV3000 does have a "night-shot" mode, which overexposes shots for 1 second, but the subject should definitely be still. If not, some afterimage effects may occur.
Pictures are stored as JPGs in the 32Mb Multimedia Card (MMC) that came free with the DV3000.
The still camera mode also comes with a 10-second timer for your group pictures.

MOTION CAMERA REVIEW
The DV3000 has two video capture qualities: Standard and High. You could take a 10-minute (approx) motion video at Standard resolution with the free 32k MMC, or about 5 minutes (approx) for a video at High resolution.
I would recommend that you always use High resolution in capturing your motion videos. Standard mode compromises quality and the frames would appear heavily rough around the edges.
Again, since there is no directed lighting source, picture quality is better when taken outdoors during the day.
FREE 32MB MMC
The 32Mb MMC that came with the DV3000 is very useful in keeping stills. That is not sufficient for motion videos, however. I would recommend that you upgrade to at least a 128Mb MMC. These things are relatively cheap nowadays.
KEEP SPARE BATTERIES

The DV3000 runs on two AA batteries, that don't dry out fast because the MMC uses only little power. Just keep spare batteries with you so that you won't get be in a hassle while in the middle of an Oscar winning shot.
I am a bit concerned about the battery bay cover, though. It seems fragile. This cover secures both the batteries and the MMC. I am afraid that it could break off under frequent use. Given that, try not to take the MMC frequently and try to use the MMC reader function. Also try to use better brand batteries to ensure battery life. That should minimizes your need to open the cover often.




PC INTERFACING

The DV3000 attaches to the PC with a USB cable to serve as a PC Camera and as an MMC reader. The USB interface powers the DV3000 while it is connected to the PC so you do not need batteries to use these two functions.





By the way, the DV3000 microphone does not work when it is working in PC Cam mode. You will need a PC microphone to do video chats.





Again, you will need a well lit workspace to use the PC cam.




PARTING WORDS

Again, if you are looking for a PC camera that could double as a portable digital video camera, consider the Mintek DV3000. It is no substitute for a dedicated digital video camera, but it is a nice gizmo to bring along in a day trip.

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