Digital cameras, QV-10A Pounds 349.99ex VAT, QV-100 Pounds 499.99 ex VATAC adaptor Pounds 11.95 ex VAT
When the Casio QV-10 digital camera was launched in June 1995 it caused quite a stir. Its advanced digital circuitry and LCD screen - used for previewing and displaying images - gave it a high profile among the first wave of digital "still" cameras released on to the home market.
The QV-10A, introduced last year, built on the success of its predecessor and added the option of directly transferring digital images from one QV unit to another via a data transfer cable. Last autumn Casio released a new, revamped version: the QV-100.
The most significant improvement is in image quality. The camera will take pictures in two modes: Normal (320x240 pixels) and Fine (640x480 pixels). It stores up to 64 images in Fine mode and 192 in Normal. These pictures can be viewed on either a computer monitor, the camera's LCD screen or a television.
The virtually noiseless shutter button, swivel-mounted lens and small LCD screen make for informal close-up photography. More significantly for the education market, children find it easy to operate and great fun. The advantage of digital photography for schools and colleges is that it is affordable and easy to use.
Casio digital cameras are supported for PC, Macintosh and Acorn computers and come with proprietary software and are available from several distributors. Given that the computers and printers will already have been bought by most schools, the only additional expense is the cost of ink cartridges and paper for the printer and batteries for the camera.
Casio also allows users to edit their work in two stages - on the LCD screen and, when the images have been downloaded, on a monitor - without the need for expensive and technically demanding photographic printing.
Digital camera manufacture is a triangular trade-off between price, qualityimage resolution and storage capacity. In this price range, image quality cannot hope to compete with a good traditional camera.
For outdoor daytime photography and under fluorescent light, the QV-100 takes a good picture but it's not as impressive in typical domestic artificial light. Although the exposure can be manually adjusted to compensate for indoor lighting conditions, the results are patchy. There may be technical reasons why Casio has not incorporated a flash unit, but it's a feature that is becoming standard in other digital cameras in this range.
Nonetheless, the Casio QV-100 is impressive and, with its improved picture quality, data transference capability, user-friendliness and huge storage capacity, still remains ahead of a hungry, competitive pack. For those on a tight budget, the QV-10A is worth considering but be aware that lower picture resolution is the trade-off on price.
Both cameras are supported on Windows, Macintosh and Acorn computers.
For a limited period, they are being bundled with Adobe PhotoDeluxe software (this does not apply to Acorn).
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