Entertainment Quantified

Aug 16, 2002 - Fun Gadgets

Panasonic SV-AV10 Camera

I wanted a small digital camera that I can take to baseball games and stuff in my pocket. I also wanted something that could take digital movies. I found this little tiny device which is a little fatter and narrower than a deck of cards and it even added MP3 capability to it the mix. The camera, which does not have zoom, takes pretty decent pictures, and has the ability to record MPEG-4 videos. The video is very blocky and hard to see, even at it’s best quality. The camera gets really hot if you video for more than 10 minutes, and you cannot fill the 64MB memory card with one battery charge. I suppose that would be a good thing, but I’d like to take more than 20 minutes of video. MP3 support is “secure” thanks to Panasonic’s involvement with the SD committee. For those of you that don’t know SD stands for Secure Digital. It is a memory card that is the size of a postage stamp and can contain secure audio. The audio is secure because it can only be played on the device that it is installed on. I can’t take the music off of the card and play it on another machine. This is a terrible idea, and is the main reason I got rid of my old Sony memory stick MP3 player. This terrible idea is compounded when I was forced to use Real Jukebox to transfer files to the device. Needless to say I will not be using this device for MP3. The photos that the camera can take look good, so long as you are relatively close to the object. The lack of any form of zoom prohibits the lens from seeing anything good. Instead you get a wide angle of everything in front of it. On the lower resolutions the pixilation overwhelms the photograph and at high resolution the pictures are half way decent. Not to mention that I can fit 300 of them on the included 64MB card. For pictures that I want detail with I’ll continue to use my Kodak digital camera, but if I’m on the go I’ll take this with me. The video is a neat idea, but it needs to be worked out a little better. As I said above the battery life leaves a lot to be desired. It is fine if you want to take a quick 5 minute video of that one pitch at the baseball game, but don’t count on it for important stuff like a wedding or a baby’s first step. MPEG-4 video will run on Windows Media Player after a quick download from Microsoft. Also, the video needs to be taken with a lot of light around or it gets hard to see the image. In all I should have gone with three separate devices. I’d pick the MuVo from Creative Labs for MP3, my Kodak digital camera for pictures, and a real DV camcorder. Don’t give this little device a second look. I expected better.