DXG DXG-566V Camcorder
At a Glance
The only strength of the DXG-566V is its $150 price (as of September 29, 2008). The laundry list of weaknesses begins with image quality--the poorest by far of any camcorder that PC World tested for our "Camcorders: High-Def, No Tape" roundup. For $150, you get a passable alternative to recording video on a cell phone, but a subber-than-subpar alternative to any camcorder that records high-definition images to AVCHD or HDV. For that matter, even a Flip Video camcorder beats DXG's offering.
Though the 0.4-inch 5-megapixel CMOS sensor can capture a 1280-by-720-pixel video image at 30 frames per second, the DXG-566V earned low marks for video quality in both normal-light and low-light conditions. Under normal lighting, colors are off, objects look fuzzy, and motion is jerky. Low-light footage appears soft and washed out, as if viewed through several layers of cheesecloth, and the audio sounds thin and harsh. No wonder it fell so far short of the ranked models in our comparison chart.
There's no image stabilization, no viewfinder, no lens cover, no microphone, and no headphone jack. The 2X digital zoom produces jerky, blocky movement. The yellow-heavy 8-by-10-inch print images looked worse than the still images from other HD camcorders, none of which produced results that graded out higher than good. You'll get a unique look, that's for sure.
But it's not all bad news. The camera is easy to use, partly because it has so few control options. The 3-inch LCD screen is fairly bright and sharp. In addition to recording in high definition, the camera can capture more-compact (but still not high-quality) 720-by-480-pixel and 320-by-240-pixel video. You can expand the built-in 32MB flash memory through SD and SDHC cards.
Video is recorded as H.264 MOV files, and stills are saved as JPEGs. Both types of files are transferrable to Windows and Mac computers via a USB or SD card reader. The camera comes with USB, HD component, and composite video cables. The DXG's cleverest feature is its battery compartment, which can hold either the supplied lithium-ion battery or four AAA batteries.
So what is this camera good for? At 4.3 by 2.5 by 1.5 inches and 9 ounces (including battery), the DXG-566V is compact enough to carry anywhere. That, together with the low price, may make the DXG-566V a viable option for capturing sunny vacation scenes that you plan to share with friends over YouTube. But even then, it's essential that you not care about image quality.