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★★★★★

“When I saw this DV3000 camera advertised it seemed to...”

Written on: 23/06/2003 by Rob. (1 review written)

Good Points
Inexpensive, small, lightweight, easy to use, LCD screen, connectivity, chuck-aboutable, functionality, capacity easily upgraded

Bad Points
Zoom can't be used during recording, auto-exposure can seem a bit slow sometimes, no macro function for close up work (OK past about 60cm)

General Comments
When I saw this DV3000 camera advertised it seemed to be spot on for what I wanted. A cheap video capable camera, which I wouldn't be scared to put on my biking helmet/attach to my power kites, or whatever that I'm not about to do with my Sony MiniDV camera.

Thusly I ordered and duly it arrived.

You've probably read that the video resolution isn't great, and it's not, but it depends what you want to do with the files. For websites the 320x240x10/15fps is fine, it keeps file sizes down and people can watch even if they're unlucky enough to be on 56K or less! (Broadband rules!) That said if you plug it into the TV using the supplied cable its perfectly acceptable, in the UK normal TV resolution is just over 500 lines anyway so there's not much of a problem with pixelation.

Still photos are OK, at all 3 resolutions, but I prefer to stick to the middle res which is the 2Mpixels native of the camera, not really much to be gained by going for the highest resolution as it's not getting any more information from the real world, but filling in the gaps itself!

Running Windows XP on my PC it instantly found the camera as a removable drive, you can then just use explorer to copy the avi (video) and jpg (still) files onto your PC. Turning it into a PC cam just requires pushing the mode button and maybe installing the required drivers first time. The mike doesn't work on the camera in this mode, but that's more likely to be due to the fact that getting mikes to work through USB in general is tricky, not actually sure I know of any dedicated webcams that have inbuilt mikes, but I could be wrong.

I took the DV3000 to a mountain bike race this weekend and having mounted it on my helmet with copious amounts of gaffer tape now have some very acceptable video clips.

I put a 128MB card in it and that gives me about 1hour at lowest quality video, this seems to vary depending on how much the image changes. (I ran it in low light, which came up pretty dark and got 1h15, but then I ran it in the daytime and only got 45mins!) Must be something to do with the compression it uses.

To sum up.

This camera is unlikely to help you win any oscars, but as an inexpensive, lightweight video capable camera for those times when the main image taker stays in its bag, it does the job for me!

I didn't put the low res video in as a downside for one simple reason at this particular time, what do you want for the money? If you want a camera for important events this isn't it, spend more on a dedicated machine. This camera has allowed, and will continue to allow, me to get video footage from places I would previously never have considered. That to me makes it a fantastic thing.

Hope this review isn't too rambling and helps you a bit.

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