Show Off Your Photos With a Digital Frame
The DF-560 comes with a decent 3.5-by-4.5-inch active-matrix LCD, and it offers a nice spread of features. The manual controls are easy to use. They're similar to how you operate a VCR--with forward, play/pause, and back buttons, along with a light contrast wheel. Most of the settings are controlled by a clickable menu wheel. That takes a little getting used to, but I was clicking and spinning like a pro by the second hour of testing. I also like the DF-560's ability to automatically switch to the correct perspective to display photos oriented in the horizontal position versus the vertical mode.
Unlike some competing products, such as Ceiva's $150
Setup is a snap. Plug in the 2-pound unit to a standard electrical outlet, pop in a CompactFlash or SmartMedia card containing digital pictures, flip the On switch, and you're in business: The DF-650 automatically starts cycling through the card's images. You can also create up to ten slide shows, using the device's built-in transition effects and the images on your card. I finally went with the random transition setting, which cycles through multiple styles--including black stripes, fadeout, bouncing thumbnails, rotating thumbnails, scattered slides, and dissolve--and I didn't have to futz with any special set up.
The DF-560 comes with three snap-on outer frames: silver (shown here), translucent blue, and wood grain. These can add some color, depending on your taste, and they help stabilize the desktop device.
In addition to full color, the DF-560 can display images in black and white or sepia tones. You can also get some amazing effects using infra-red and starlight, which makes pictures appear as they might be seen through light-intensifier lenses.
The company recommends displaying pictures at 640 by 480 pixels, a step
down in quality for most of today's megapixel cameras. If you try to display
large images, be prepared for them to take longer to "draw." Larger images can
be downsized using just about any photo-editing software, of course, but that
just adds another step to the process. Want a shortcut? Download a shareware
Transferring pictures to or from your computer with the DF-560 is slow,
thanks to the turtle-like speed of the unit's serial cable connection.
Digi-Frame says it has addressed that shortcoming in its newest and biggest
frame, the 17-inch
Unfortunately, there is no USB port on the DF-560, so direct transfer wasn't an option. And that's a real shortcoming in a $429 device. The company recommends a universal USB card reader (figure on spending another $20 to $30) for owners using incompatible media cards, like the XD and Sony Memory Stick.