Panasonic NV-DCF1 ‘Card Shot’
Yet another digital still snapper, or have Panasonic
brought something new to the market?
Panasonic have jumped aboard the digital
still camera bandwagon with two new models, launched within a few weeks of one
another. The unusual KXL-600A has been swiftly followed by the more conventional-looking,
NV-DCF1, that we’re looking at here.
The design and layout follow a familiar
pattern, with a 1.8-inch LCD display screen on the back of the camera body.
However, there’s no optical viewfinder and this can be a problem shooting
outdoors as the image on the LCD screen is easily washed out. It has a fully automatic exposure system, with
manual override, built-in flash, switchable macro mode and the facility to play
back single or multiple images on the LCD screen. Maximum resolution is VGA standard at 640 x 480 pixels. The outfit
includes a serial link cable, PC/MAC software and a set of re-chargeable
The only slightly unusual feature is a removable
memory module. The postage-stamp sized card slots into a standard PC Card
(PCMCIA) adaptor (supplied), so it can be plugged directly into a PC or laptop
for image transfer, instead of using the slower serial comms link. The standard
2Mb card can store up to 11 images in fine resolution mode, 23 pictures on the
normal setting, or 47 in economy resolution.
Higher capacity modules are available, with 4, 10 and 15Mb of storage space, though be warned, they not cheap.
The best price we’ve seen so far is £100 for a 4Mb upgrade!
The Picture Works software installs easily and
images copy across from the camera, via the serial link, with relatively little
fuss. The suite includes some simple enhancement facilities, to change colour
balance, focus, brightness and remove dot patterns. The Creative Corner utility
has templates for creating calendars, flyers, greetings cards and postcards.
Image quality is satisfactory, pictures
contain a fair amount of detail and colour fidelity is reasonable in natural
light. The camera’s exposure system works well with evenly-lit scenes, strong
backlight or bright lights in the picture area can cause problems, though.
Performance is comparable with other,
similarly specified and priced models but the lack of an optical viewfinder,
and relatively low storage capacity of the supplied memory module, is a disadvantage
BOX COPY 1 -- SPECIFICATION
middle of the road digital still video camera
93 x 94 x 51.3mm
320g, with batteries
640 x 480 pixels
Removable flash memory card, 2Mb standard,
(upgradable to 4, 10 or 15 Mb),
11 fine, 23 normal 47 economy mode
images, built-in flash, switchable
macro function (0.03 - 0.7 m), 1.8-inch LCD monitor screen, automatic shutter
(1/4 to 1/2,000th sec), auto exposure, self timer, time/date recording. PC interface kit, Photo Enhancer software,
re-chargeable batteries, mains adaptor and case supplied
NTSC video and digital in/out (minijack) DC
Panasonic UK, telephone (0990) 357357
Video quality 4
PC image quality 4
Build quality 4
Ease of use 4
Value for money 3
Overall rating 70%
Ó R. Maybury 1997 2309