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DXG-595V 5MP 1080p

"And now for something completely different". If you are over forty you probably know that I borrowed that line from Monty Python's Flying Circus. I used it not only to illustrate how UNCOOL I seem to have become lately with most of my popular culture references being older than my average reader, but also because it applies to today's review. That means no motherboards, video cards, or CPUs today. Rather we are looking at a Digital Camcorder, a DXG DXG-595V 5MP 1080p HD Camera/Camcorder to be exact. Also, since I am a camcorder newbie and this is my first Camcorder review, this review will be slanted somewhat in that direction. As usual today's review item is provided by Geeks our main site sponsor.

DXG Box Open

The DXG-595V HD Camera/Camcorder arrived safely, well protected by several air pillows. The DXG-595V HD Camera/Camcorder was housed in a brightly colored eye-pleasing retail clamshell packaging. Package contents include a USB cable, TRRS (3.5 mm) to A/V cable, TRRS (3.5 mm) to Component cable, Misc software bundle (VideoWorks, Mr. Photo, QuickTime, Arcsoft Total Media Extreme), Quick start guide, User's manual, Battery charger w/power cord, 3.7V 1700 mAh Li-ion battery (NP-120), Carrying pouch w/shoulder strap as well as the DXG DXG-595V HD Camera/Camcorder itself. Bonus points go to the manufacturer for including a comprehensive paper User's Manual, as well as Quick Start Guide--both of which are becoming a rarity these days.

DXG Box Front     DXG Box Rear

Features/Specifications:

General Features:

Black color
1/2.5-inch CMOS 5.0 Megapixel sensor
Active pixels: 5.0 Megapixel
Lens: Wide: F/3.2, f=6.26 mm / Tele: F/6.8, f=30.75 mm
Shutter: 1 ~ 1/2000 sec.
32 MB internal memory (reserved for system software)
Supports SD/SDHC (Up to 8GB Class 6)
USB 2.0 interface
Sensor sensitivity: Color, Black & White, Sepia
Focus Range: Normal: 17-inches ~ inf.; Macro: 2 ~ 17-inches
White Balance: Auto / Sunny / Cloudy / Tungsten / Fluorescent
EV Compensation: -2.0EV ~ +2.0EV
Self-timer: 5 sec / 10 sec / Off
TV Out format: NTSC / PAL / Component Output
LED Flash (video): Effective range: 2 ~ 3 feet
LED Strobe (camera): Effective range: 3 ~ 5 feet
Auto power off: Off, 1 min., 5 min. options
Built-in microphone w/digital voice recorder
3.0-inch TFT LCD screen (960 x 240 pixel resolution)
Removable rechargeable Li-ion battery
Carrying pouch w/shoulder strap included

Supported Formats:

Image Formats: JPEG (DPOF, EXIF)
Image Resolution: 3MP, 5MP, 8MP (Firmware interpolation)
Video Format: H.264 (MOV)
Video Resolution: QVGA (30 fps), WVGA (60 fps), 720p (60 fps), 1080p (30fps)
EIS Function: WVGA (60 fps), 720p (60 fps)

I/O Ports:

TV Out (3.5 mm)
HD Out (3.5 mm)
USB 2.0 mini B

Dimensions:

2.75 x 5 x 2.24-inches
Weight (w/o battery): 10.47 ounces

The DXG-595V HD Camera/Camcorder uses a rechargeable 3.7V 1700 mAh Li-ion battery. The battery must be taken out of the camera and plugged into the (included) recharger to charge. Charging times were about two to three hours depending on how much charge was remaining. Charger LED lights red to denote battery is charging, green when it is finished. Fully charged run times averaged about 90 minutes of mixed usage (picture taking, movie clip recording and playback). Your personal run times here are sure to vary depending on how your particular usage patterns, such as how much you use the zoom, how often you use the LED light, and how often you play back clips externally, which shuts off the LCD completely.

DXG Package 1     DXG Package 2

The DXG-595V is somewhat picky about SD/SDHC support. When I first got the DXG-595V I had so many problems with spotty card usage that I actually tried to contact DXG customer service to see if there was a firmware update or at least a SD/SDHC compatibility list available. After several weeks DXG never bothered to respond to my inquiries but between Geeks and myself we determined that the DXG-595V requires SD/SDHC Class 6 media to operate. This means that those of you with older SD/SDHC Class 2, or 4 media laying around may be out of luck and have to purchase newer SD/SDHC Class 6 media. Fortunately, that media is pretty inexpensive these days and also available at Geeks to purchase. So if you have an older card you might want to pick up an SD/SDHC card there as well, if buying this particular camcorder. For those of you that are curious at 720p HD a 15 minute clip takes about 1 GB of space.

The 3.0" TFT LCD is actually quite good, the picture is crisp and clear, the 960 x 240 resolution makes movie clip playback enjoyable and the LCD itself is reasonably bright, even in direct sunlight. The DXG-595V has a 20X Super Zoom (read 5X optical zoom, 4X digital zoom). I have already spent enough digital ink on this site expressing my disdain for all types of digital zooms (to summarize: you can do the exact same thing as a digital zoom in software with usually superior results) so while I would have liked an option to completely disable the digital zoom entirely like my digital camera has and none is present, I found the line on the viewfinder that lets you know when you are moving from optical zoom to digital zoom an acceptable compromise. As long as you stay in the optical range I think you will be happy with your zoom results, I was.

DXG Package 1     DXG Battery

Another feature I took advantage of was the stabilizer (EIS) Function. This prevents your video clips from looking like, say, the Blair Witch Project when shooting without a tri-pod, which I would imagine for most people will be nearly all of the time. The DXG-595V while not shirt pocket portable is smaller than my prosumer digital camera and practically begs you to take it with you, even going so far as including a useful easy access Velcro-equipped carrying pouch. As you can imagine a lot of that portability is sacrificed if you are forced to lug around a tri-pod with you as well.

After using the DXG-595V HD Camera/Camcorder I couldn't wait to see what clip playback would look like on my 42" Plasma HDTV (fortunately all the required cables for doing that were included) and I am here to report that I wasn't in the least bit disappointed. Even standard definition clips looked good and HD clips looked great--much better than I expected. No banding, tearing, colors weren't washed out, and the picture was crisp. The DXG-595V HD Camera/Camcorder really exceeded my expectations for a reasonably priced camcorder. While clips recorded in low light conditions weren't nearly as impressive—they were quite noticeably grainy--turning on the night mode did help some with the brightness levels. But, overall, low light clips--unlike their well lighted counterparts--were mediocre at best.

Park Picture     Park Video Clip

Original .MOV was over 25 MB, downsized using VLC Media Player.

Although 5MP Digital pictures can be taken with the DXG-595V HD Camera/Camcorder the results are average at best. While of a much better quality than those taken with my 2MP LG cell phone camera, they are noticeably blurry when compared to even a lower resolution mid-range digital camera. While the DXG-595V is fine for occasional use, if you take lots of photos don't get rid of your stand alone digital camera. You will probably want to keep using it for taking most of your digital photos. There is also a Macro function here, but again, IMO the pics are too grainy to be of much use to any serious photo enthusiast.

Conclusion:

If you are looking to replace your digital camera with the DXG-595V as an all-in-one Camera/Camcorder you are likely to be disappointed. However, if you want to shoot quality HD video on a moderate budget without a lot of fuss, especially with good lighting, then the DXG-595V HD Camera/Camcorder is a good choice. While I was pleased with the first class paper User's Manual, Quick Start Guide, and robust extra's (cables, carrying pouch, and software bundle) I was disappointed with the lackluster DXG customer (or lack there of) support.

Pros:

  • Shoots 720p (60 fps), 1080p (30fps) Video
  • Menus easy to navigate
  • Lots of package extras
  • Reasonably priced

Cons:

  • Digital pictures noticeably blurry
  • Doesn't support SD/SDHC Class 2, or 4
  • Questionable customer service

I would like to thank Geeks for providing us with the DXG-595V HD Camera/Camcorder for review. This item can be purchased at Geeks for 129 usd. Geeks was also kind enough to send me a SanDisk 4GB SDHC Class 6 card to get me going (as all of my cards were Class 2, and 4) this card sells at Geeks for 11.50.

Added: September 10th 2010
Reviewer: JimAdkins
Score: 8  
Related Link: DXG USA
Hits: 4199
Language: english

  

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