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November 1997

DVC 300

Eastman Kodak
2/15/KO – Mailstop: 00539
343 State Street
Rochester, NY 14650
Ph: 800-508-1531
Web site: www.kodak.com/go/dvc

Price: $199.

Installation:  5.0
Documentation:  4.85
Features:  4.80
GUI (PictureWorks Live):  4.95

Taking pictures just got easier with the introduction of Kodak’s DVC 300, one of the first USB-compliant video cameras to enter the market. The DVC 300 allows you to perform videoconferencing, or take 24-bit still pictures and insert them into applications, including email. This makes it ideal to send multimedia greeting cards to friends and family. The camera features a one-hand point-andshoot operation. A single button on top of the camera allows you to snap still pictures or start/stop the recording of video. The camera can be mounted on a computer or detached for hand-held operation. The DVC 300 also comes with a lengthy 9.8-foot USB cable, which gives you lots of room to maneuver. A 32bit OCX is included on the software installation CD-ROM. The OCX allows you to integrate the camera with custom applications using Visual Basic or C++ programming language.

Here are some of the software applications which come with the Kodak DVC 300.

  • PICTUREWORKS LIVE Multimedia Application Software from PictureWorks Technology, Inc., lets you capture pictures and videos, control camera features, edit pictures and videos, and send picture and video e-mail via automated links to online services.

  • KAI’S POWER GOO SE software from MetaTools, Inc. lets you stretch, stir, or smudge your pictures into fun shapes.

  • TWAIN-compliant driver allows you add pictures directly from your camera into a TWAIN-compliant application.

  • Video Driver that lets you use any Win95-compatible videoediting or videoconferencing application.

The DVC 300 was a breeze to set up. We installed the software, which automatically made some updates to the USB components on our Windows 95 machine. Next, we plugged the camera’s tethered cable into an empty USB port. It wasn’t necessary to install a video capture card, nor was there any need for a power supply or batteries. The appropriate drivers were automatically added. The installation was so simple, it effortlessly earned a 5.0 rating.

The DVC 300 has controls for image brightness, hue, and saturation, which worked pretty well, as did the controls for the video quality, auto exposure, and auto white balance. The documentation was also very good. It consisted of a Kodak DVC 300 User’s Guide, PictureWorks Live manual, and a quick reference guide to Metatools’ Kai’s Power Goo program. The documentation was well organized and wasn’t missing anything as far as we could determine. Overall, it garnered a 4.85 rating.

We tested the DVC with several applications, including the bundled PictureWorks software, and Microsoft NetMeeting 2.0. Using the PictureWorks software, we were able to click on the “Take Picture” button which “snapped” a still photo. Interestingly enough, when you click on the “Take Picture” button, we heard through our multimedia speakers what sounded like a Polaroid camera snapping a picture. (Of course that may not be the best analogy considering the history between these two companies!)

If you wish to record a video, all you have to do is click on the button on the left side of the screen, which toggles between “picture” and “video” mode. After you record a video or take a picture, LivePicture puts thumbnail views of your recordings at the bottom of the screen. These thumbnails represent either a camera icon or a videocamera icon to indicate whether the thumbnail is a video or picture.

Another interesting piece of software is PictureWork’s NetCard, which allows you to send a video e-mail to friends, family, or coworkers via email. NetCard also allows you to choose which format to use and whether to use compression. Some supported formats include Microsoft Video 1, Intel Indeo Video Raw 1.1, Cinepak codec by Radius, and others. You can also set the compression-toquality ratio. So, if video quality is not that important, you can set the compression to high, which will make the file smaller. This would allow for transport over the Internet using a slower connection.

We could only come up with three areas for improvement. One is a direct shutter-speed control. Secondly, we’d like to see compression algorithms added to the Kodak DVC 300 to improve the frames-per-second rate. And lastly, we’d like to see a microphone integrated with the camera unit itself.

No more taking the computer apart to install a video capture card, and certainly no IRQ or memory address conflicts: These are just some of the advantages of the USBcompliant Kodak DVC 300. Another advantage, inherent in any USB camera, is the throughput of the Universal Serial Bus, which is much faster than in cameras which use the parallel port. The Kodak DVC 300 also has a nice sleek design. This camera comes bundled with tons of video and image editing software, videoconferencing software, and other related software. The fact that this camera works with so many popular applications such as Microsoft NetMeeting, White Pine’s CU-SeeMe, and others, makes Kodak’s DVC 300 USBcompliant camera an excellent choice.


  • 320 x 240 pixels for video images. (The size of the video image also depends on the application you use to capture the video image.)
  • No image compresssion.
  • 2.5-in. (H) x 2-in. (W) x 5-in. (D); Weighs under 8 ounces.
  • Image Sensor: 640 x 480 pixels interline transfer, progressive scan color CCD with square pixels.
  • Resolution (Photo): 640 x 480, 24bit color, 16.7 million colors.
  • Resolution (Video): 160 x 120 or 320 x 240, 24-bit color.
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 53 dB before A/D conversion.
  • Video Output Gamma: 0.45.
  • File Formats: BMP, TIFF, JPEG, PNG.
  • Color Space Format: RGB for photos; 4.3 aspect ratio; YUV for video.
  • White Balance and Exposure: Automatic (software option for manual adjustment).

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