[Note: This is a joint review between TJ and Doug. ]
TJ: When I was growing up. 3 Dimensional viewing (3D) was the biggest thing …. that got put to the wayside. Initially it was with blue and red cellophane on cardboard glasses where I could see pictures or read comics out of certain special edition Disney Adventures magazines. Then there was a cartoon television show which had 3D graphics but the 3D didn’t give a true feeling of 3D. Time passed and it seemed that 3D stuffs were only things to be found in major theme parks like Universal Studios or Disney World.
Doug: I am a little older than TJ. When I was younger, 3D was not coming of age, it was still a real novelty. Every once in a while, we would huddle around the TV or crowed into a movie theater for a very special 3D presentation. The first movie I remember seeing in 3D was Jaws 3, and the shark practically jumped off the screen at you. Like TJ, though, those early experiences involved the red and blue glasses that were terribly uncomfortable and not really easy to keep in place while watching.
TJ: Now a decade or so later, 3D is back – and with a vengeance! Not only have movies gone to REAL3D but 3D has made its way into home theaters. Naturally, just like original cinema that took off with the advent of consumer camcorders, it is now time for the 3D revolution of camcorders. DXG recently sent me a review unit of the DXG-5F9V HD, a 1080p 3D camcorder.
Doug: They separately sent me a review unit of the same camera as well…hence the joint review. I have to say, I was not sure what to expect from this one, though I have been a huge fan of DXG in the past, so my hopes were high. Nonetheless, my expectations fell well short of the actual product which absolutely amazed me. Using this camera and recording real 3D images makes me realize how amazing it must have been to attend the World’s Fair back in 1939, watching one of the first television broadcasts (featuring a speech by Franklin Delano Roosevelt). Back then, they called television the World of Tomorrow. Today, I think that moniker applies equally to 3D broadcasts.
What’s in the Box:
- Pouch-Style Case
- Battery and proprietary charger. (This is the exact same battery and charger type used for the DXG-A85V!)
- Arcsoft Total Media HDCam software for editing and blue ray conversion.
- HDMI cord to connect the camera to the TV or even a monitor!
- RCA cable to connect the camera to the TV
- Manuals and quick start guides.
TJ: What’s not included in the box that you better get:
- SD Memory cards – I got myself a nice 16GB SDHC one.
- Additional batteries if you are going to be shooting for a while.
Lock and Load:
TJ: The camera itself does have 128MB of memory…not much but enough to get a little bit of footage for emergencies. First let’s look at the battery and the charger.
The battery was not charged out of the box. I charged the battery overnight until I saw a nice green light. The charger supplied is the same charger as the one for the DXG-A85V but the lights were not as clear with the orange/red light overpowering the green. Initially after the overnight charge I thought the battery still wasn’t charged as the light still shown orange/red. That made me think the battery was dead on arrival. This was not the case after comparing the charger and battery from the other unit and testing them against each other.
Doug: I think maybe TJ overthought this battery charging thing. I just stuck the battery in the charger and then into the camera. A few hours on the charger and it was good to go. Still, more interesting things await…so keep reading.
This is the side of the camera. There is a switch to open the battery hatch.
After inserting the battery and closing the door, now it’s time to load up the SDHC memory card.
TJ: The memory card door is on the bottom of the camera. You’ll need to open the LCD flip panel before you can open the memory card door. You’ll notice that a tripod mount is present near the memory card door. Now that we’ve got the battery and a self supplied SDHC memory card loaded, let’s look at the parts of the camera.
TJ: The back of the camera has the record button on the right hand side. You’ll also find the USB and HDMI ports below the directional pad. Here is where you can also select different camera modes whether it be video, photo, or setup via the “Mode Dial”.
TJ: The lens will twist counter-clockwise to turn the unit on (the LCD flip screen must also be open before the unit will power on). Right below the lens is a high powered white light. I wish they would have made a lens cover for this as to protect the dual lenses.
Doug: Let’s take a minute to talk about that lens. As you can see, it is a bit unusual. It has two lenses side-by-side, which is what allows it to create those gorgeous 3D images. Essentially, the camera is recording two images at once, which are processed simultaneously to create a 3D image in which your eyes are actually viewing two images at once…without the need for special glasses. To call it absolutely amazing would be an incredible understatement.
TJ: This is the top where you will find the zoom switch as well as still photo capture shutter button.
TJ: Opening up the LCD flip-out, you’ll see addition buttons including the 3D mode toggle and a power button. This is useful for when you want to keep the unit opened up and ready to shoot but want to conserve battery. You’ll also be able to preview in 3D video that you are taking – NO GLASSES NEEDED.
Doug: Did we mention that the 3D images will display without the need for glasses or other equipment.
TJ: This was one of the most amazing parts – however that is not something I can capture through a photo. The LCD display is rotatable to aid in getting those harder shots.
Doug: It is most frustrating that we cannot show you the images. Sadly, the camera is a bit ahead of its time, and quite a bit ahead of the Internet’s ability to receive and display these images. So, alas you will have to take our word for how cool this really is.
TJ: Recording is a snap. Open the screen and twist the lens to turn the unit on. Make sure the Mode dial is set to the correct function and hit the record button. Voila!
Doug: Voila, indeed. Did I mention how amazed I am by this? The screen is essentially the same technology that allows the Nintendo 3Ds to display 3D images. The only problem I had here was that you really must be looking directly at the screen in order to see those incredible images. Look at a slight angle and the effect begins to blur as the dual-recorded images separate and appear as two images. This really illustrates the fact that this technology is really in its infancy. Like the viewers in the 1939 World’s Fair, we can only imagine the future of this technology.
TJ: Just use the photo button on the top part of the camera to quickly and easily capture a still. The quality is quite decent.
Doug: In the picture taken by TJ, below, you can see how the camera records two images at once. When these images are overlayed, they will appear on the screen in 3D.
TJ: Not having a newer 3D TV I cannot directly plug in to my TV using the supplied HDMI cables. I enjoyed watching the videos on the flip out LCD screen. Without the special LCD screen, I crossed my eyes to get the 3D effect.
Doug: Well, I would not quite say I had to cross my eyes, but it did really make me wish I had a 3D TV for easier playback and viewing. Still, as I have said, the effect of recording and viewing those 3D images was nothing short of amazing. Using this camera, I feel as though we are on the precipice of a brave new world…and I, for one, am excited to find out where this path will lead.
TJ: WOW! This is one of the most amazing pieces of technology that I have ever picked up. I believe that 3D is the wave of the future and that we will see more and more 3D TVs in homes once the price comes down.
Doug: I think, based upon my comments throughout this article, it goes without saying that I completely agree! Well done, DXG…well done.