DXG 581V High-Def Camcorder (Silver)
DXG 581V High-Def Camcorder (Silver) Review By Michael Patrick Brady
The DXG 581V is the third DXG camcorder that we’ve reviewed here at Camcorder HQ, following the 580V and the 595V. Each one has been progressively worse than the last. To be fair, however, the biggest problem with DXG brand camcorders is not their performance or image quality; it’s the difference between what a user might expect from an HD camera and what the DXG 581V actually provides.
A Dodgy Reputation
All three of the camcorders we’ve reviewed from DXG have been billed as being able to record high-definition video, the 581V and 595V at 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution and the 580V cheating a bit at 1440 x 1080 pixel resolution. Savvy consumers might notice that the price tag on the all these cameras is significantly lower than high-definition cameras from name brands like Canon and Panasonic. Those cameras are typically in the $1,000 to $1,400 range. Even budget HD cameras from JVC reside in the $700 range.
The advent of affordable, low-end HD cameras in the $150 – $250 range from Pure Digital, Creative, and Kodak, however, has muddied the water. Let me say clearly: the $150 DXG 581V does not produce video that one would feel comfortable calling “high-definition.” It is certainly not in the same league as expensive name brand HD camcorders, and isn’t even close to the cheaper name-brand HD camcorders (which have some problems themselves).
High Definition: More Than Just High Resolution
Although the DXG 581V can, in fact, record at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, that’s not the whole story. High quality high-definition video is not merely a measurement of resolution. There’s a factor known as bit rate that essentially measures the informational depth of a video. It determines how much visual information is distributed to each pixel in the video image. The higher the bit rate, the sharper and more detailed a video looks. Low bit rate videos look grainy, noisy, and dull.
The highest quality camcorders from Canon and Panasonic have bit rates of 24 megabytes per second; 17 megabytes per second is also common among $1,000+ camcorders. Cheaper camcorders like the Flip MinoHD tend to have bit rates closer to 9 megabytes per second, lower in quality but still sufficient to provide impressive levels of detail. From viewing the video quality on DXG brand camcorders, it seems clear that they use abysmally low bit rates, leading to poor quality video. They do not list the bit rates of their video in their manuals as most other manufacturers do, for obvious reasons.
This leads me to ask: why does DXG bother to pretend that these camcorders are capable of recording true high-definition video? Yes, they can shoot widescreen, high-resolution videos, but all that high resolution does is put greater emphasis on the fact that the camcorder is skimping on the bit rate, and not giving the image all the information it needs to truly fill up all those extra pixels.
Were the DXG 581V marketed simply as a cheap, standard-definition camcorder, suitable for taking brief web-friendly video clips, I would probably recommend it (provided it was $50 to $75 less expensive). There are some appealing aspects of the 581V. It has a comfortable, pistol-grip design that conforms nicely to the hand. The swiveling LCD is nice and easy on the eyes. It’s capable of recording to SDHC cards, providing large amounts of storage. DXG even includes an HDMI cable in the box, something major manufacturers haven’t done, even though it would be very convenient for their consumers.
Unfortunately, I simply can’t encourage anyone to give money to a company that offers low-quality products, and DXG is definitely doing that. They’re banking on the fact that few consumers truly understand the minute details of high-definition video, and hoping to hide behind the term “high resolution” when that’s simply a single component of what it takes to make a video look spectacular.
The DXG 581V (and, frankly, all DXG camcorders) is yet another illustration that if something appears too good to be true, then it probably is. The 581V simply cannot live up to its outrageous claims. If it could only come to terms with what it really is, a cheap video clip recorder, the 581V might be able to find a place in this world. Until then, avoid this company and its overblown schemes.
Product Descriptions :
The DXG-581V is the next-generation high-definition camcorder. Measuring less than 4″ high, this baby fits comfortably in your hand and performs like the big boys.Start with vibrant and crisp high-definition video up to 1920 x 1080 at 30fps – that’s 1080! – then capture brilliant still pictures, and the DXG-581V will not disappoint. This high-definition camcorder sports a bright 2.5″ TFT display, records in H.264, MOV format, and supports high-capacity SD cards so you won’t have to worry about missing those moments again. The DXG-581V even has a built-in voice recorder, perfect for personal memos and to-do lists.
Product Features and Technical Details :
- Records hi-def video up to 1920 x 1080 at 30fps, Takes still pictures at a resolution of up to 8MP, Built-in digital voice recorder
- H.264 MOV file format, Large, bright 2.4″ TFT screen to frame subjects or review files, Portable, ultra-compact for travel use
- Brand Name: DXG
- Model: DXG-581V
- Media Type: Flash card
- Lens Type: Lens
- Maximum Aperture Range: F/3.2
- Shooting Modes: Digital photo mode
- Video Input: Camcorder
- Display Size: 2.5 inches
- Optical Sensor Resolution: 5 MP
- Optical Sensor Technology: CMOS
- Optical Sensor Size: 1/2.5″
- Viewfinder Type: None
- Audio Input: Microphone
- Height: 3.9 inches
- Weight: 4.1 Ounces
- Depth: 2.6 inches
- Width: 1.4 inches