DXG-506V Digital Camera

by K. Samwell on July 10, 2007 in Miscellaneous

Expensive cameras are not for everyone, but everyone does want a camera with ample qualities to get the job done. DXG realizes this and as a result, they have released their 506V digital camera. To call it a digital camera is an understatement though, as it can act as a web cam, MP3 player and even a voice recorder.

Still Camera, Webcam, Voice Recorder

Point and shoot! That instructional statement applies to firearms and cameras equally, with the exception of some of today’s digital cameras, where the reality is more like Point, Shoot & Wait.

I understand that most cameras, of all price ranges have a little bit of shutter stutter and this camera from DXG was no exception. There won’t be any action shots or lucky shots with this, as the shutter delay was easily twice as long as my other digital camera of similar value.

On that note, freeze! Don’t move or that image will blur, and that goes for you and the subject. Even the flower blowing in the breeze blurred a little but don’t worry there’s an icon of a waving hand to tell you when –you’re- not steady enough to take the picture. Sadly I had a tough time trying to get that hand to go away…

The image modes themselves are very easy to change once you learn what all the icons are for, three dots, five dots, shaky hand, light, etc, although it was a little hard to determine when I was in sepia tone or black & white mode. There are a lot of icons on the screen perhaps I simply overlooked them.

And finally, let there be light. If you don’t have light, you simply don’t have a picture. Full bright sunlight is always the best with any digital camera, but doubly so with this one, (since I usually had my finger over the flash as the only way to hold it securely). Twilight and dim light pictures turned grainy and just didn’t work out. The times I needed the flash, it went off, however it took a long time for the flash to charge back up again. I have a feeling the batteries would have lasted much longer had I taken less flash required shots.

Since there are several settings on this camera, I took multiple photos of the same flower in most of the modes.

Can you tell the difference?

As a video camera…

I think because of the way this camera is very much a one handed device, I liked taking movies MORE with this than my little square digital camera, there was more freedom of movement, a more natural feel to taking a movie.

Now keep in mind, you’re not filming Braveheart here folks, think more Blair Witch. It actually did take fairly good movies and the sound was decent enough provided you weren’t in a monsoon in a vehicle at the time of the film – the intense rainstorm turned out to sound more like radioactive static than rain, however the voices could be heard over the rain in the enclosed vehicle.

One outdoor movie I took was in a busy public area, and the people closest to me were all captured in the audio, and so was a loudspeaker announcement, but thankfully there wasn’t an overall din from the area.

I did not have the opportunity to test this in a forum with a speaker at the head of an audience. I think if the person speaking was amplified, you’d have no problem catching the audio along with the video, you’d just have to be careful of your own anecdotal comments as they were supersede the more distant sound.

One nice surprise was the ability to take movies in both Sepia tone and Black and White. I had originally thought that feature only applied to the still images, but one mistakenly taken sepia movie later and I was actually thrilled at the thought of making ‘oldies’.

I would have liked to share the videos I took, however one mysteriously disappeared from my hard drive and the others cannot be read by any software codec, including the programs that shipped with the camera itself, so I’m guessing the files are corrupt. (and sadly have since been deleted from the camera itself) I did a little digging and found some consumer comments and concerns that specifically addressed issues with pulling the videos off the camera. Hopefully this will be addressed at a later date.

As a WebCam…

Like most web cams, you need a well lit room, today it is VERY stormy (my ups has beeped to warn of brown outs twice three times now) so it’s not my usual sunny bright room. I must admit, this could very well be the best feature technically. There is very little lag and the picture is smooth. Albeit, I’m not used to having a webcam hooked up and seeing myself sit here and type is more than just a little creepy.

Plugging it into the USB, the camera automatically senses a connection and switches to a menu to allow you to select Mass Storage, DPS or PC Camera. Once PC Camera is selected, the screen goes blank and you can close up the camera, which is a good thing because it does not sit up straight when the screen is open.

Now should you want to capture your video image as I was trying to do today, don’t bother using printscreen, it doesn’t capture the projected image. Nor does Fraps, or even the software it comes with, sadly. Ah well you don’t need to see what my right arm looks like.

Keep in mind, this is not this camera’s primary function, but the fact it does act as a pretty decent webcam, is definitely a bonus. Anyone viewing you is not going to be able to read a document you hold up and you do need lots of light as with any webcam, but I must say, it’s certainly better than the other webcams I’ve dabbled with over the years without doubt.

It is a little hard to position simply because it has to stand on end to give you an upright view, however something like ThePod would solve that quickly and easily.

As an MP3 player…

How well do you know your music?

At first I was a little dismayed to see that the MP3s are not named, they’re numbered, simply titled 001, 002, 003 etc, but then I realized, we all already KNOW the songs on our playlist or we wouldn’t have them and wouldn’t have put them on the player itself, we’re not going to find any songs on our mp3 players that make us look at it and say, what the heck is this song?

So unless you’re trying to specifically find that one song and you don’t remember where it was on your list – do you really care what the artist, album and song name are as you’re waiting in your car at the mall? Probably not.

I certainly was surprised, though, when I accidentally yanked the headphone cord out and could still hear the song playing out of the little speaker on top of the camera! It wasn’t loud by any means, but it was audible, and distinguishable within a few feet range.

Unfortunately the audio levels were very low, even with the volume maxed, the sound in the headphones was below normal listening level (for me).

As a Digital Voice Recorder

Talking to yourself again?

No one really recognizes their own voice when they hear it played back and I’m no exception, I did use this as a personal voice recorder/reminder a few times, however that was always with the microphone less than 12″ away from the sound source, if you tried to use this to record a speaker on a stage perhaps, it would probably perform as if you were taking a video, and while it would pick up the loudspeaker, the immediate area would override the distant speaker.

This did hold quite a bit of data though, and would be a very nice option for annotating the pictures and videos you took, such as listing the names of the people in the shot, or the time date and location.