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Thursday, 31 August 2006

Vivitar DVR-510 5.0 Mega Pixel Digital Video Camera

Written by David Fortini
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vivitarThe DVR-510 is one of Vivitar’s digital video cameras. This camera can do more than just video and still images it can also be used as a voice recorder, MP3 player, and a PC camera. If you’re going for a light-weight, all-in-one device, this could be a bonus for you. It also supports PictBridge printing, so if you have a PictBridge printer you can print directly from the camera.


This is a digital zoom camera not an optical zoom. So the more you zoom in the fuzzier the image will get. I recommend you never use the zoom option. Always shoot at the widest setting for the least distortion.


The camera’s native resolution for still images is 2560 x 1920 pixels (5 megapixels) you have the option to increase the photo resolution to 3264 x 2448 pixels (8 megapixels). I would not recommend this, since the camera then uses software to interpolate the extra 3 megapixels, often resulting in images that are not as clear and sharp as they could be. (This goes for any digital camera with interpolation.)


The flash is located directly under the lens. Since the camera is so small, I found that if I gripped it with four fingers, I accidentally covered the flash. I ended up with many dark photos where I had mistakenly covered the flash. I had to remind myself to slide my hand down a bit when shooting photos.


One minor, potentially annoying, issue is that the view screen when unfolded is tilted slightly down to the left. This means that if you hold the camera for a level look at the LCD screen, your video and photos will be tilted to the left. It’s not a problem if you’re taking video of something with straight vertical reference points, but if you have nothing to line the LCD screen edge up with you may end up with some tilted video and photos.


The LCD screen is nice and clear, and fairly bright in interior settings. It can also be adjusted to suit room lighting. Outside, though, bright sunlight reflected off the screen, and it couldn’t be made bright enough to overcome the reflections. Also keep in mind the brighter you set the LCD screen, the faster your batteries will wear down.


The instructions are clear and straight forward. The only problem I had in operation was that the button for selecting flash mode didn’t work all the time, making flash control difficult. However it did work with all of the other menus.


The camera has a Photo Frame mode, which puts a generated image around your photos and video, such as “Happy Birthday,” none of which I liked. Fortunately you can turn this feature off; however you can also accidentally turn it on. In that event you need to flip through each one until you are back to a frameless shot.



For shooting video indoors in normal indoor lighting the video came out somewhat dim. This camera does its best work outdoors. Even on slightly overcast days the video came out well. The only time it was too dim outdoors was in a forest, where the amount of light was close to that of indoor lighting.


I would recommend you spend some time with the camera before a trip to familiarize yourself with all of its features.


The camera comes with:


USB/AV Cable

Software CD

Camera Pouch & Strap

Camera Tripod


2 AA Batteries


The package does not include an SD card, so I would recommend you get one. It only has internal memory for 24MB of images. That’s 7 photos at high resolution with 4:1 image compression and 44 seconds of video at 640x480 resolution at super-fine quality. You’ll want that SD card.


The directions say you can use up to a 1GB SD card in the camera, but I only have a 2GB card, which didn’t seem to make any difference at all. It showed 1:02:18 as the available time for a 640 x 480 video at super-fine quality, and 632 photos available at 2560 x 1920 resolution with super-fine quality. I’m not so sure that the batteries would last long enough to take over an hour of video unless you use Lithium batteries.


The fact that the camera comes with a mini tripod is quite useful, at the very least it saves you $20 on that accessory. They are often invaluable if you want to set the camera up on a rock and put yourself in the video. Plus its small size allows you to always have it with the camera.


Overall the Vivitar DVR-510 is a good little multi-purpose camera. You won’t shoot a Hollywood blockbuster with it, but you can capture your vacation without breaking your budget.


Details: The DVR-510 varies in price between $120-160.



©David Fortini


Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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