If you want an easy and fun way to capture and share video clips, the new DVC325 from Kodak could be the answer. It has a maximum resolution of 640 x 480 and can capture video at up to 30 frames per second (fps), albeit at a resolution of 176 x 144 pixels.
The DVC325 is more business looking than other cameras we have seen, so it is also suited to that environment as well as in the home. It has a manual focus wheel on the top as well as a shutter button. You can set the focus from a super-close 10cm to infinity, and take pictures using the shutter button or via software.
The standard base is rubberised and heavy, ensuring that the camera will stay on top of your monitor, and it also has a standard tripod mount for extra versatility. Sticky mounts are provided so you can use the camera with a laptop or on any other flat surface.
Connecting via USB, the camera was fairly easy to set up, and plenty of software is included on the CD to help you get the most out of it. Microsoft NetMeeting allows you to videoconference over the Internet or a LAN (local area network). Presto! Videoworks software give you the chance to capture video clips and still images, and then edit the video you capture. Mr Photo lets you capture stills, create film rolls, print catalogues and send email. Lastly, the Twain drivers let you easily import stills into image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop.
We tested the still capture facility using our usual digital camera tests and found the images were fair for the price - a comparable digital stills camera would take similar quality pictures. After tweaking the brightness so images weren't so white, we were able to take some fairly good shots at 640 x 480, but the refresh rate on screen was very slow, about once every second.
Macro shots were impressive, with fine details showing with clarity once we had focused using the wheel. Colours were fairly accurate, but overall quality wasn't as good as a conventional digital camera. For use in email, the images would be fine.
In terms of video, you can only achieve about 8 fps at full resolution. To get the claimed 30 fps we had to reduce the resolution to 176 x 144 pixels, resulting in a very small image. Over the Internet, it is more sensible to set the frame rate to about 15fps.