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Panasonic NV-DCF1 ‘Card Shot’

 

STANDFIRST

Yet another digital still snapper, or have Panasonic brought something new to the market?

 

COPY

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 batteries.

 

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

 

How Much?

£500

Dimensions                  

93 x 94 x 51.3mm

Weight             

320g, with batteries

Maximum Resolution

640 x 480 pixels

Main Features              

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   

Sockets                       

NTSC video and digital in/out (minijack) DC socket

Panasonic UK, telephone (0990) 357357

 

CV RATINGS

Video quality                 4

PC image quality   4

Build quality                  4

Ease of use                   4

Value for money            3

 

Overall rating            70%

 

---end---

Ó R. Maybury 1997 2309

 


 

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