The DXG 579V is a high definition camcorder that captures 720p video in the H.264 format to SDHC memory cards. It offers a 2.4-inch flip-out LCD, a 3x digital zoom, and retails for $129. For $149, you can purchase an underwater version which includes a waterproof housing for diving up to 15 feet under water.
DXG 579V At a Glance
The Good: Good quality video and stills, light weight.
The Bad:Clumsy design.
The 579V records 1280 x 720 video at 30 frames per second in the H.264 format. You can also reduce the resolution to 720 x 480 and 320 x 240 to boost recording times. It employs a 1/2.5-inch, 5-megapixel CMOS sensor.
The $129 DXG 579V delivers surprisingly good quality for a model in its price range, particularly compared to slightly higher priced pocket camcorders from Kodak and Pure Digital. Even indoors, the 579V delivers accurate video. See an indoor sample here and here.
Thanks to its 5-megapixel sensor, the 579V can snap higher resolution stills than most pocket camcorders. Using interpolation, photos can be taken up to 8-megapixels. Since it doesn't have a flash, it's best to confine still photo taking to brightly lit environments.
The camera itself is fairly responsive, however, and the outdoor photos I snapped looked crisp.
As you'd expect given the price, there isn't a wealth of features on the DXG 579V. You'll get a 3x digital zoom, which isn't terribly useful. You can choose between three video effects modes and a night mode for low light shooting. You can also adjust exposure to improve low light performance.
The camcorder has a mere 11MB of internal memory dedicated to video and image storage, so you'll definitely need an SDHC card for recording at any length.
The design of the 579V is somewhat of a mixed bag. On the plus side, it's very lightweight and compact. It weighs close to 6 ounces when packed with its four AAA batteries. It has a flip-out and rotatable 2.4-inch LCD, which helps to frame your shots (although the LCD isn't very bright).
On the downside, the external controls are bunched together too tightly. The record button sits at the center of a four-way controller and I found myself turning on the camcorder's video light or white balance settings when I intended to hit record.
The zoom lever also doubles as an adjuster for the camera's exposure, so you may try to adjust one and find you've altered the other.
Another knock on the design is the placement of the video light. It's literally right beneath your finger when you're holding the camcorder. Having a video light is a nice little plus - it's something many camcorders in this category don't have - but its placement is ill-conceived and makes using it more difficult than it needs to be.
Under Water Housing
DXG sells a version of the 579V with an water proof housing included in the box for $149. Using the thick plastic case you can take the camcorder under water to a depth of 15 feet.
The case snaps on and off easily enough. It offers controls for switching between stills and video, playback, recording, zooming and turning on the video light. Unfortunately, there's no lever for turning the camcorder on and off. This isn't much help if you're underwater for any length of time and wish to preserve your battery life.
Given its limitations, the 579V shouldn't be the first choice for serious divers.
A Capable Budget Camcorder
If you're shopping for a budget-friendly video camera, you've got to anticipate some trade offs. So it is with the DXG 579V. You'll enjoy good video quality and still photos and a decent, if limited, feature set at the expense of some frustrations with the controls.