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DXG HD Pocket Camcorders - Summer 2009  (8/2009)

    by Douglas Dixon

DXG Pocket Camcorders
Advanced Features
DXG Lifestyle Camcorders
DXG HD Camcorders

See my Video Camcorders Gallery for more on pocket camcorders

Pocket camcorders have become very popular in the past few years -- Pure Digital reported in June that Flip Video models  (www.theflip.com) were the top two selling camcorders in U.S. for Q1 2009, according to The NPD Group. There's a nice selection of products available in this market, but now a newer name, DXG USA, has expanded its product line with new options to make these portable camcorders more fun, fashionable, and rugged for active use (www.dxgusa.com).

These pocket camcorders are just so easy and fun to use, and relatively inexpensive at around $100. They slip comfortably into a pocket or bag and turn on instantly, so they are always ready. Yes, you do give up higher-quality zoom lenses and lots of features, and the video quality does not match even traditional consumer camcorders. But pocket camcorders just make it so easy to capture the moment, and the video is still quite reasonable, for sharing on the web or burning to DVD. And they are available to shoot both standard-def and HD video.

Pocket camcorders share a common design approach, typically simplifying the options to make them easier to use:

  • Vertical orientation, with the lens on the front and display and controls on back
  • Basic fixed focus lens, with no optical zoom, no macro mode
  • Small display, around 1 1/2 to 2 inches
  • Simple controls and limited options, without complex menus
  • Single video resolution / mode, no still photo mode
  • Pop-out USB connector to connect to a computer without additional cabling
  • No power cable: Recharge through USB or use batteries
  • Audio/video connector to display video directly on a television
  • Tripod mount on bottom
  • Built-in software to transfer and edit the captured clips, and upload directly to sites like YouTube

           
        Flip Ultra - RCA Small Wonder - Creative Vado - 

And there are a growing number of these kinds of pocket camera lines available, to shoot standard-def and high-def video (see my Video Camcorders Gallery)::

  • Pure Digital Flip (Cisco) -- Especially simple and compact - www.theflip.com
  • RCA Small Wonder (Audiovox) - Affordable, with features like flip-out display, expansion slot - www.rcaaudiovideo.com
  • Creative Vado Pocket Video - Multiple video resolutions (HD, SD, Web), wider angle, low light - www.myvado.com
  • Kodak HD Pocket Video - Video and photos, macro, high-speed 60 fps HD, slow mo playback - www.kodak.com
  • Sony Webbie HD Cameras - Swivel screen, swivel lens, optical zoom, stabilization - www.sonystyle.com/retail
  • DXG Pocket Camcorders - Full line of SD and HD cameras, to full HD - www.dxgusa.com

        Kodak Zx1 - Sony Webbie


DXG Pocket Camcorders


DXG is not a well-known brand name, but its parent company is one of the world's leading OEM manufacturers and designers of digital cameras and camcorders for more than 20 years. DXG has become more visible in the market by developing a broad line of inexpensive and fun pocket camcorders, which are loaded with advanced features for this price range ($100 - $230).

The company's positioning shows how it has expanded beyond manufacturing products for other companies to resell:  "DXG USA, The Digital Camera Company, is one of the fastest growing digital camera manufacturers in the U.S., providing intuitively designed digital cameras and camcorders for the youth and mainstream markets. Compact, fashionable and affordably priced, DXG digital camcorders are setting trends for high-quality, easy-to-use consumer electronics."

The DXG cameras are not designed like the other pocket camcorders, held face-on with the screen on the back. Instead, they are designed more like traditional consumer camcorders, with several pairs of models offering your choice in design: the traditional horizontal orientation, held in your palm with the strap, or the vertical / upright orientation, with the lens on the side and a flip-out display.


    Horizontal and vertical orientations: DXG-580V, DXG-579V

DXG's HD camcorder line begins with products at the two HD resolutions: 720p (1280 x 720), and 1080p (1440/1920 x 1080), and one model with optical zoom:

  • DXG-517V / 579V HD Camcorders - 720p - $129 ($99 street)
  • DXG-580V / 581V HD Camcorders - 1080p  - $169 / $179 ($120 / $140 street)
  • DXG-595V HD Camcorder - 1080p with 5X optical zoom - $229 ($173 street)

But pocket camcorders are not expensive, delicate instruments -- at this size and these price points they are almost impulse purchases as fun portable devices. As with cell phones, consumers are looking for color and fashion and lifestyle options.

As a result, the DXG camcorders are available in a fun array of colors, including silver, black, blue, red, and pink. And DXG is also introducing variants of these products for active lifestyle, with rugged and underwater cameras, and for more fun with fashion, with the new Luxe line introduced this week with quilted and argyle designs:

  • DXG Luxe Collection - Fashion HD Camcorders (Riviera / quilted, Soho / argyle) - $149
  • DXG-125V All-Weather HD Camcorder - $99
  • DXG-579VS Underwater Value Pack - $140 (camera plus waterproof casing)

                
        Fashion and lifestyle: Luxe Collection, DXG-125V All-Weather, DXG-579VS Underwater

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Advanced Features


The DXG cameras also feature a variety of advanced features not typically found in pocket camcorders or at this price point. They typically support multiple video resolutions (HD, SD, Web), shoot still photos, provide shooting enhancement options, and have a LED light / flash. They are typically powered by 4 AAA batteries, or can use a removable custom Li-ion battery. And the products include ArcSoft TotalMedia Extreme software to edit and share standard and high-def video.

This section summarizes features available among the DXG camcorders. Some cameras (particularly the horizontal designs) have more of these options.

Multiple Video Resolutions - HD, SD, Web

  • Video is stored in MOV file format, with H.264 compression
  • 1080p Full HD - 1920  x 1080 at 30 fps
  • 1080p HD - 1440 x 1080 at 30 fps
  • 720p  - 1280 x 720 at 30 fps
  • D1 - 720 x 480 / WVGA - 848 x 480 at 30 fps
  • CIF - 320 x 240 / QVGA - 320/352 x 240 at 30 fps
  • 60 fps video for fast motion

Still Photo Mode - JPEG

  • 5 MP CMOS sensor
  • Photos are stored in JPEG (EXIF) format
  • Multiple resolutions: 3 MP, 5 MP, 8 MP (interpolated)

Digital Voice Recorder

  • Audio only recording mode

Fixed Lens

  • 3X - 5X digital zoom (typically not optical zoom)
  • Macro mode for close-ups

Expandable Storage - Internal + SD Card

  • Internal memory storage (on most cameras) - 32 to 128 MB (some reserved)
  • Additional storage with SD/SDHC card slot - 8 GB card provides up to 4 hours of recording at 720p

Video Output Options - Display directly from camera on TV / monitor

  • NTSC and PAL output - U.S, and European television standards
  • Component output - Higher-quality analog
  • HDMI output - Digital HD to widescreen HDTV

LED Light - Video and photo

  • LED video light for video / flash for photos

Shooting / Enhancement Options

  • White balance (Auto / Sunny / Cloudy / Tungsten / Fluorescent)
  • EV compensation (-2.0EV ~ +2.0EV)
  • Color effects (Color / B&W / Sepia)
  • Self-timer (5, 10 secs.)

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DXG Lifestyle Camcorders

The DXG lifetyle camcorders include the Luxe Collection with fashionable designs, and more rugged weather-resistant camcorders for active and underwater use.


DXG Luxe Collection - Fashion HD Camcorders

The DXG Luxe Collection is a newly-introduced line of stylish designs that reflect current fashion trends, to let you express your taste and personal style.

There are two models: Riviera (quilted) in white, black, pink, and Soho (argyle) in blue and pink. They weigh around 8 ounces (without battery).

These are 720p camcorders like the DXG-580V, with internal 128 MB memory (90 MB available). These are just coming available, priced at $149.



DXG-125V All-Weather HD Camcorder

For active lifestyles and sports, the DXG-125V is a ruggedized all-weather camcorder, splash and weather-resistant, with a rubber handgrip on the sides. 

It shoots 720p HD video, but with fewer options, a smaller 2" display, and lower-res photos at 3 MP (interpolated). 

It does have a 128 MB internal memory. It weighs around 3 ounces (without battery).

It's due out around August, at $99.



DXG-579VS Underwater Value Pack

For swimming, snorkeling, diving, the DXG-579VS Underwater Value Pack combines the DXG-579V camera with an underwater casing that is waterproof up to 15 feet. 

The camera snaps securely into the underwater housing, made of durable and heavy-duty molded plastic, to protect from water, salt, sand, and elements. 

The case is rubberized to provide full access to the camera controls: Record, play, zoom, shoot video or still photos, use the underwater light. The DXG-579V is a 720p camera, priced at $149 bundled with the waterproof casing.

Find the DXG-579V Camcorder on Amazon.com

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DXG HD Camcorders

DXG's HD camcorder line offers both horizontal and vertical designs at the two HD resolutions, 720p and 1080p, plus a more expensive model with optical zoom.


DXG-517V / 579V HD Camcorders - 720p

The DXG-517V (horizontal) and 579V (vertical) are the DXG 720p HD camcorders. They weigh 8 and 4.8 ounces respectively (without battery).

The horizontal 517V adds a few features like a 128 MB internal memory (vs. 32 MB) and HDMI out.

Both are priced at $129 (around $99 street).

Find the DXG-517V and DXG-579V HD Camcorders on Amazon.com

DXG-580V / 581V HD Camcorders - 1080p

The DXG-580V (horizontal) and 581V (vertical) are 1080p camcorders -- but with different resolutions. The 580V is 1440 x 1080 resolution, while the vertical 581V is full HD at 1920 x 1080 resolution, and has HDMI output.

Both have a built-in 32 MB memory (15 MB for storage). The horizontal 580V has a larger 3" screen (vs. 2.5"). They weigh around 8 and 4.8 ounces respectively (without battery). 

They are priced at $169 (around $122 street).

Find the DXG-580V and DXG-581V HD Camcorders on Amazon.com

DXG-595V HD Camcorder - 1080p - Optical Zoom

The DXG-595V is a more advanced full HD 1080p camcorder with 5X optical zoom (the other cameras have digital zoom only).

It also features a 3" flip-out display, 720p recording at 60 fps, component HD video out (not HDMI), and a stabilizer function.

It has 32 MB of built-in memory, weighs around 10 1/2 ounces, and is priced at $229 (around $173 street).

Find the DXG-595V Camcorder on Amazon.com


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