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Old Oct 12, 2005, 10:38 PM   #1
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Tentative review of Digilife DDV-M1 aka DDV-910

Since I don't have an M1, my only source of information for this review was the on-line M1's manual. Given that the manufacturer probably uses "cut & paste" of the next older manual, there may be inaccuracies here. Nevertheless, it seems very clear the M1/910 is an update of the 720, rather than a V1/810 with a 5Mp sensor.

I strongly suspect the M1 uses components from OmniVision, as opposed to the V1's Zoran components.

I was idly considering getting an M1 until I went through this list. Unfortunately other than the better stills resolution, video-in and better video editing software, the M1 shares pretty well the same failings of the 720, while having no other of the V1's improvements.

Build Quality

Given that the 720's motherboard and therefore the camera itself are smaller than the V1, I suspect the M1 has the smaller size and more solid feel of the 720. The V1's case actually makes creaking noises if you press on it.

Video Capability

The M1 may have inherited the 720's poor microphone performance for video. It may have the greater blur during panning, less sharp focus, but brighter colors of the 720 compared to the V1

The manual makes no mention of zone AE metering control, which so far the Digilife's don't have for video.

I suspect the M1, like the 720, takes videos as .avi's.

Stills Performance

The important difference is that the M1 has a 5Mp cmos sensor, rather than the 3Mp sensors on the 720 and V1.

While the 720 had a 3-choice zone control for the auto-exposure for stills, the M1's manual mentions no such control at all.

The manual claims "Voice-added function while playing the picture". The V1's manual also claimed this, and it doesn't have it.

Like the 720, the M1 has a multisnap still function. The V1 does not.

Video - In Mode

One of the main features of the M1 and V1, but not the 720.

Startup Time, Time to Switch Modes

no information

Screen

2.4" like the V1. The 720 has a 2" screen.

No screen-dimming control like the V1 has, and the 720 does not. No big loss.

The M1 lacks the V1's screen-mounted navigation buttons, which the 720 also does not have.

The M1 and the 720 do not have the V1's histogram display.

Like the 720 and unlike the V1, the M1 allows you to easily shut off the screen icons during playback, and also has a remaining time/memory capacity readout.

Lens

Like the 720 and the V1, there is no on-screen indicator for portrait mode. So you can accidentally leave it out of focus for distant shots.

Digital Zoom

The M1 has an 8x digital zoom, compared to the 720's 8x and the V1's variety of digital zooms. It's not clear if the zoom can be used with motion stabilization turned on. This could not be done on the 720, but could on the V1.

Like the 720, and unlike the V1, the M1 has an on-screen icon to show the motion stabilization is active.

Exposure Control

As mentioned above, the 720's 3-zone AE metering control seems to be gone. Another step farther back from the Aiptek DV4500's immediately accessible 4-zone system. The M1 has a 3-setting white balance control, as opposed to the V1's 5-setting. All have brightness controls for stills.

Screen Icon Shutoff

Like the 720, and unlike the V1, the M1 has a simple way to shut off all the screen icons. Unlike the V1, the icons can't be turned off the screen while you are recording images. Why anyone would want to is beyond me anyway.

Controls

Like the 720, and unlike the V1, the M1 powers on when you open the screen, and powers off when you close it.

It appears you can't control the speaker volume during video playback, which was a nuisance on the 720 but was possible on the V1.

It seems the M1 lacks the V1's choices for auto shutoff timing. Which means you can't force it to stay on.

It will be interesting to find out if video clips display the last frame when finished playing back, like the V1, or the first frame which was a bad aspect of the 720.

It seems the M1 is like the 720 in that you can't mix videos and stills during playback. Too bad, since the V1 can do this.

Like the 720 and the V1, the M1 has no bright led on the front to indicate what mode it's in.

Flash

It seems the M1 has repeated the 720's lack of a redeye flash function. This seems odd, since the V1 has it.

Date/Time Function

No information.

Battery / Life

Like the 720, and unlike the V1, the M1's battery is charged inside the camera. This is good for charging the one battery in the camera, but means changing batteries to charge spares.

Hopefully the M1 has a 1000mAh battery, like the 720 and unlike the 850mAh the V1 came with.

The internal battery charging means you may be able to provide external battery power to the camera via the USB/charging jack.

Secure Digial Memory / Memory Use

no information

File Format

It seems the M1 takes video in AVI format. It remains to be seen if it can play the ASF files from the V1.

MP3 Player

I trust the M1 has stereo MP3, like the 720 and unlike the V1's mono.

Like the 720, you can't delete songs from the camera, while you can do so on the V1. This is a problem for travelling since you can't delete music to open space on your memory card for images. Like the 720, the M1 also does not display song titles, while the V1 does. None of them display how long a song is, or have tone controls.

Voice Memo / Audio Recording / Speaker / Microphone

It will be interesting to see if the M1 has the very sensitive microphone of the V1, or the very inadequate one like the 720's. Also the jack size may be the V1's mini size, or the 720's sub-mini.

Remote Control

All three have remote controls.

Tripod

The V1 came with a tripod, while the 720 did not. It appears the M1 does not.

Manufacturer Support

Probably the same as before - non-existent.

Software

While the V1 comes with Cyberlink PowerDirector, the M1 comes with Ulead Video Studio version 8. This includes an excellent video file conversion module, which should make it very easy to get videos from other cameras to play in the M1. As long as Video Studio accepts .asf files.

Notes:

It appears the M1 uses a more common USB jack than the tiny odd USB port on the V1.

Final Say

It's becoming more clear there are three main players behind these cameras. There's the companies like OmniVision and Zoran who make the chipsets and sensors, the companies who create the software the cameras run on, and the companies like Life Technologies who package all that as cameras.

My question is: why can't Life Technologies provide the chip and software makers of a list of ideal features to put on these cameras? Why do we have to put up with different sets of annoyances on each one, when it would seem so simple to get it right for all of them?

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Old Oct 13, 2005, 5:31 PM   #2
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Hi, I am thinking to get either one of M1 or V1, I am just wondering can I fastfoward or backward during a mp3 or mp4 movie playback? I have 720 right now, I can't get it to search a certain time period during mediaplayback, I don't want to watch all over again if I stop after 1 hour....thanks!
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Old Oct 13, 2005, 10:50 PM   #3
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coolee,

Welcome to the forum!

I don't know about the M1, but the V1 allows you to fastforward or fastreverse while you playback a video clip. It does this by skipping frames, so you get a pretty jerky effect, rather than "fast motion". Other than that, you have no way to position a start or end point within a video clip, and there is absolutely no function on the V1 to skip ahead or back within an MP3 song.

The fast forward/back function is about 5 times as fast as "real time". This means that it would take 10 minutes to go through a 50-minute move. Which is plenty of time to ponder the expertise of the people who design these cameras.

If you don't need to do it on the camera, the video editing software that comes with the camera allows you to position yourself at any point in a video clip. Total control, right down to a frame.

I think you've just pointed out a severe limitation in the PMP function of these cameras. It's the same with the slide show function, you are forced to start from the beginning each time. Silly.

My old Aiptek DV4500 allowed you to jump ahead or back during playback of videos or MP3's. Good for instant replays.

Does anyone know if the PMP devices allow this sort of control? A couple of them now have half decent camera systems, like the one from Digilife.
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Old Oct 14, 2005, 3:13 AM   #4
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that's too bad, I thought after so many PMP Cameras, Digilife wouldat leastadd somemore features for PMP function. I think I better just keep my 720 sinceI don't see great improvement from 720 to m1 or v1, wait for next major release then.Btw, I think I canjumpback orahead for videosand mp3'sduring playback on 720, just press left or right,but can't fastforward or fastreverse. You mean you can't even switch to next song during mp3 playback on V1?
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Old Oct 14, 2005, 10:06 PM   #5
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Yes, I can skip to the next video or MP3 before the one playing is finished. But I can also fastforward or fast reverse within a video.

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Old Oct 14, 2005, 11:12 PM   #6
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[img=http://img109.imagevenue.com/loc82/th_d33_IMG_0678.JPG]

I went to Digital Life Convention that is being held at Javits Center in NYC. They had a Digilife booth. They had M1, V1, DDV720(7000), and some others there. M1 with 128mb sd was selling for $349, and V1 was selling for $299. M1 has stereo mp3 play back, can not zoom with stabilizer on, and has a 2.5 inch screen(noticeably bigger right next to V1). M1 seem slightly more upscale compared to V1.

They also had a TV tuner for M1, it mounts where the tripod mounts. The guy claimed it wouldn't work with V1, I guess tripod mounts are different location on M1 and V1. With purchase of a M1 TV tuner was $30 and without is $80.

The Digilife booth was the highlight of the convention for me... I was looking forward to get my hands on the Xbox 360, but just watched some guy played Project Gotham 3(I think) and shown the abilities of xbox media center.
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Old Oct 14, 2005, 11:58 PM   #7
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Hi KungFuMonkey,

I'm green with envy at the thought of visiting a Digilife presentation! There are a few things I'd like to tell them.

1. Their prices are not competitive with eBay sellers. I bet the wholesale price is under $100usd each.

2. I wonder if they had a DDV-1000?

3. It doesn't surprise me that the M1 can't zoom with IS turned on. The M1 is an enhanced 720, with an OmniVision chipset, and the 720 can't zoom with IS on. The V1 can zoom with IS on, but it has a Zoran chipset.

4. I'm surprised the M1's 2.5" screen even seemed larger than the V1's 2.4". Maybe because the V1 has a larger bezel around the screen. Can you confirm that the M1 was a little smaller than the V1?

5. So the TV tuner option wasn't a myth. (The Ispan site showed it months ago, then removed all the information about it.) I don't think the tripod socket determines if it will work or not. The socket itself has no electrical connections inside the camera. I don't understand why the V1 can't use the tv tuner, because I can play my living room tv through my V1. Unless the tuner has a non-standard output that only the M1 understands.

6. Was there a lot of interest in their booth? Were Mustek and Aiptek present? Did you ask them if they knew about this forum?


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Old Oct 15, 2005, 12:43 AM   #8
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1. I don't think they would care about the prices from ebay so much, so I did not bring it up.

2.They did not have the ddv-1000; M1 was their best cam.

3.Yeah I was disappointed at the fact that it can't zoom with Is on.

4.The two was basicly the same size, I held both up and compared with screen opened and closed. The flap that opens on both the cam were basicly the same size also, so without the three buttons M1's screen filled out the area more.

5.The TV tuner was about 1 maybe 1.5 inches long and about the size of a finger. I dont know why I did not take a look at the V1's tripod screw mount, but M1's is near the back of the cam. I think he wanted to sell the M1 therefore telling me tv tuner did not work with V1.

6.There were many interests. One older gentleman bought the M1 while I was looking at the demo, but many turned away because the lack of optical zoom. I think If they priced it at least $100 cheaper, the cams would sell like hot cakes.

There were also another booth by the company called Supacam, they were selling the V1 for $299. They were comparing it the Sony cams, which is in a different league. I don't think they know their product too well.
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Old Oct 15, 2005, 1:28 AM   #9
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I can not find any information about the tv tuner on the web... I even tried searching http://www.google.com.tw/ but every website that came up just said it is an option but no picture. Maybe digilife stop the production because there is no demand for it? I am tempted to go back just to take few pictures of it (should of done it in the first place... Damn me)
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Old Oct 15, 2005, 7:31 AM   #10
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KungFuMonkey wrote:
Quote:
[img=http://img109.imagevenue.com/loc82/th_d33_IMG_0678.JPG]

I went to Digital Life Convention that is being held at Javits Center in NYC. They had a Digilife booth. They had M1, V1, DDV720(7000), and some others there. M1 with 128mb sd was selling for $349, and V1 was selling for $299. M1 has stereo mp3 play back, can not zoom with stabilizer on, and has a 2.5 inch screen(noticeably bigger right next to V1). M1 seem slightly more upscale compared to V1.

They also had a TV tuner for M1, it mounts where the tripod mounts. The guy claimed it wouldn't work with V1, I guess tripod mounts are different location on M1 and V1. With purchase of a M1 TV tuner was $30 and without is $80.

The Digilife booth was the highlight of the convention for me... I was looking forward to get my hands on the Xbox 360, but just watched some guy played Project Gotham 3(I think) and shown the abilities of xbox media center.
ha hah a I'll go today should have asked me dam it P'eed that's a WARNING*******

just kidding

I have my cameras on standby , going to get my tickets at digitallife.com code nypost 6.00 rather then 16.00 at the door, Sis and I are going now-, I may wait a little longer , or if someone approachs me with a freebie, like the boat show. I'll pass my ticket then. , only after I am in the door free, if lucky. I hesitated to go due to th rain, and what to expect, it is a digital place and the webpage had no information of suppliers but of gaming, tv's etc, I'll be filming, all of this and editing so hoping if I get a response not from kungfumonkee, but maybe Sis. we'll Hammer digilife with questions Lol. Wel Kungfu.... As My location was up, could have bin nice to have company but I understand working in the city, and had nothing to do after work, you made te best choice going friday, Did you get in befor the 12pm start? and if so I envy you as well.
update: taking most my cameras and editors pass lol
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