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Digital camera: Casio LV-10 review

Wednesday, January 5, 2005 | 6 comments

December the 17th, 2004, I bought the digital camera I had seen 2 days earlier at a shop that belongs to the Chedraui chain. The price was extremely low, 249 pesos (about 22 USD) so I didn't expect much of this camera. The digital camera I already own, a Philips ESP60, was bought back in 1998 (and about 19 times more expensive). So I was really curious how those two would compare, since they have the same maximal number of horizontal and vertical pixels: 640 x 480.

Casio LV-10, taken with my Philips ESP60 digital camera.
Casio LV-10, taken with my Philips ESP60 digital camera.

The LV-10 has no LCD screen, and also misses quite some options the ESP60 has. What I like a lot of the Philips digital camera is the excellent macro option. Also the colors in pictures taken with the ESP60 are much better compared to the Casio. The latter shows the sky quite pink, and when using the flash the colors look too yellow.

Included with the camera were: USB cable, 2 AA batteries, wrist strap, manual, CD with software. However, instead of installing the software from CD (MD5 sum 7de5ba8d19074b8b3026865c80468389) I downloaded the LV-10 Viewer and installed that version (1.2) instead (MD5 sum: ba5a856899268db9e5eff14814195080).

What I like about the Casio is its small size and little weight. The latter is also caused by the fact that it only needs 2 AA batteries compared to the four AA required by the ESP60. It also seems to be less fussy about the brand of batteries. The Philips camera works best, in my experience, with Duracell Ultra. Some brands don't even work with the ESP60, even when brand new. The Casio has less problems, and even works with Duracell batteries that no longer are able to make the ESP60 take just one picture.

LV-10 pictures

Esme in Xalapa
Esme in Xalapa

The above picture was taken with the Casio LV-10. I have cropped and resized the image using Irfanview. However, the pink sky is effect is clearly visible in this picture. Also the tree above Esme's head has a weird yellow and blue artifact. The ESP60 has now and then similar artifacts, but smaller.

Esme in Xalapa, color corrected
Esme in Xalapa, color corrected

This is the same picture after enhancing (correcting) the color using Irfanview.

Coatepec, taken from the snake hill
Coatepec, taken from the snake hill

The last day of 2004 we went to Coatepec. The name is derived from the nahuatl Coatl-Tepetl meaning snake hill. In Spanish it's called 'cerro de las culebras' (hill of the snakes), which sounds promising if you want to spot some snakes but we saw none. However, we saw quite some lizards taking a sun bath, and even a hummingbird. The above picture was taken at the end of the day, around 5 PM, and the colors look almost normal. The pictures taken earlier suffered a lot of the amount of sunlight that day.

Vito the cat in a box
Vito the cat in a box

The flash makes images look too yellow, as clearly can be seen in the above picture. Also, make sure there is quite some distance between the camera and the object you take a picture of. A disadvantage is that flash has only two modes: off and automatic.

Horses behind the house of Esme's mother
Horses behind the house of Esme's mother

The above picture also has problems with the colors, but in this one it contributes a bit to the picture. Sadly something was on the lens, which has no cover nor does the camera come with a bag to protect the lens a bit

The USB cable can not only be used to download the pictures but also to use the camera as a videocamera at either 15 fps (640 x 480) or 30 fps (320 x 240). I have tested the camera as webcam with MSN Messenger but it needs a lot of light to get a decent indoor picture.

Conclusion

The LV-10 is a very cheap camera, small and weights just a little. However, you can't expect too much from it. I think it's useable for low quality images to enhance ones website, especially if you don't mind to post-process the images with software like Irfanview. I am not sure if the color flaw my camera has is present in all cameras. I am going to try to get the one I got exchanged for another LV-10.

The Casio LV-10 can also be used as a webcam but only if there is a lot of light or put in front of a window to capture the view outside. The webcam function works after installing the viewer software without installing extra drivers. Note however that I have had several BSoDs (Blue Screen of Death) when using it with MSN Messenger 7.0 beta on Windows XP. Most likely the driver for webcam streaming has some major issues, since on XP a BSoD means you have to restart the computer which can cause data loss.

The LV-10 viewer software is badly designed. The focus is on looks, not on ease of use. For example it doesn't remember the folder you saved your images last time.

Finally, the camera seems to be less power hungry compared to my older Philips ESP60. It only uses two AA batteries, and not having an LCD display is a major energy saver, of course.

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