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Submitted by Chip Dennison a Beginner from Lancaster, Ohio, USA
Date Reviewed: August 29, 2000
Strengths: High quality for the price, Good and easy to use software and easy point and shoot operation.
Weaknesses: Takes six AA batteries, some lens refraction and limited flash range.
Sound vision produces this camera for vivitar. I purchased this camera for 100.00 dollars from a local computer store minus the cable. I made a call to sound vision and requested the cable 18.00 dollars and two days later I had it. This camers is a super buy at 118.00 Dollars, the only camera I have to compare it to is the Sony-MVC-FD7 Mavica. I will say that the mavica is a little bit better than this camera due to the fact that there is not as much lens refraction and the flash seemed to have a better range. But at 400.00 dollars cheaper than the Sony it's a small pay-off. This camera will make a great beginner camera due to ease of use and good image quality.
Similar Products Used: Sony-MVC-FD7 Mavica
Submitted by John Del a Beginner from Waterbury, CT
Date Reviewed: March 12, 2000
Strengths: This camera takes very good images in bright light, or outdoors. The images are sharp, and the colors bright. The software is intuitive, and easy to use. This camera seems well made, and it performs without problems at all.
Weaknesses: It's great picture performance decreases dramatically with the available light. The flash causes overexposure under 10 feet. It's also limited to 4 feet, as there is no zoom or macro modes. It's also not the fastest to download, especially at the highest resolution.
This is a fabulous camera for the beginner who wants an easy to use camera providing superior pictures, as long as enough available light can be had. Indoors, the flash pictures are good only if the flash is used beyond ten feet. Outdoors or in bright light, this camera produces images as good or better than cameras that are much more expensive. An 800K pixel camera generally can't be had at this price level. Of course, many features are necessarily missing, such as an LCD back, zoom, or macro. But these don't detract much from this very decent performer.
Similar Products Used: Sony FD5
Submitted by Tyler Mumford a Intermediate from Magnolia, NJ, USA
Date Reviewed: December 23, 1999
Strengths: It does take quality pictures; comparable to more exspensive cameras, although I felt I had to stage my shots just right.
Weaknesses: It's not very useful in low-light; only the camera's TRIPOD mode allows you to take good pictures at night. The flash is devastating; you really have to be a lot further away from your subject than 5 feet. There is too much time between shots.
In spite of all the criticisms that I’ve mentioned, for the money it is a good camera. After playing with it as long as I have, I realized that my needs didn’t fit the camera’s strengths. It really works well in a pre-set environment and daylight. This doesn’t work if your subject matter is kids or if you are looking to take snapshots. I’m looking for more speed, more feature control "in the field", and less downtime between shots. These are features you just can’t get-quality included-without paying more money.
Similar Products Used: HP photoPC 500
Sony Mavica FD-71
Submitted by E LEWI S a Beginner from VA
Date Reviewed: January 1, 1999
I WAS KINDA ANXIOUS TO GET MY 3100 FROM VIVITAR BUT IT WAS SHORT LIVED.TRUTHFULLY YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR AND THIS CAMERA WAS PRETTY CHEAP.CHEESEY ON/OFF BUTTON THAT SOMETIMES WORK (RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX)!THE PICTURES WERE NOT AS VIVID AS A CHEAP CASIO BUT IT WAS GOOD ON BATTERIES. SO IF YOU JUST WANT A CHEAP CAMERA TO FIDDLE AROUND WITH AND DONT REALLY CARE ABOUT QUALITY GET THE 3100. PSYOU MIGHT GET MY CAMERA BECAUSE I RETURN IT WITH IN A WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!! KEEP THE BOX YOU WILL NEED IT.
Submitted by Phil Williams a Expert from Saratoga, California
Date Reviewed: July 13, 1998
OK, my house is beginning to look like a used digital warehouse...This is my third digital camera in as many months. Started with the Fuji DS-7 (which still works great for quick Web work), bought the Vivitar 3000 (which was OK with the new software - see review), and now I'm using the Vivitar 3100. After 500 pictures, I think it's time to comment...(this may be a bit wordy...)The Vivicam 3100 was actually developed by the folks at Sound Vision (their product number is SVMini209, web is http://www.soundvisioninc.com), and my comments apply to that unit as well. They have been extremely helpful in 1) making my decision to upgrade from the 3000 and 2) providing the latest software for this new unit.TECHNOLOGY The Vivicam 3000 and 3100 both use somewhat non-conventional CMOS technology which allows the cameras to be more cost effective. Most digital cameras today use CCD technology, and there are some tradeoffs to using CMOS...specifically, underexposure with CMOS is less forgiving, resulting in higer noise levels in the imagery. Longer exposure times using tripods virtually eliminate this problem, and SoundVision has developed a proprietary noise reduction software module which is very effective.The Vivicam 3100 is a bit bulkier than the 3000, but ergonomically, it fits the hand well, and follows the same design basics of the 3000. Keep it simple. There's no power hungry LCD display (I'm OK with this, coming from years of Rangefinder and SLR camera usage). There's a view finder, three buttons (Feature, Change, and the standard Expose button which is appropriately placed), plus a lens cover slide which doubles as the on-off switch. A small LCD text display informs you of what options/mode you're in. A fixed focus, f/4 glass lens provides good quality optics effective from about 4 feet to infinity. A single (PCMCIA) slot accomodates standard, brand-specific ATA memory modules (up to about 16MB), or with an optional adapter, also accomodates Flash memory modules. A video out adapter is also available. The good news is that this unit also incorporates a built-in flash.FEATURES From the LCD text display, you can determine how many pictures you've taken, how much memory is left, turn on/off flash, record sound, change JPEG compression quality, set standard v. tripod mode (for extended exposures up to 1 second), etc.Exposures take about 10-12 seconds of processing time, which is a bit slow, but considering the amount of data that's being processed, it's not too bad. Rapid picture taking is not what this camera's about...PICTURE QUALITY/FILE SIZE The Vivicam 3000 uses Wavelet compression resulting in file sizes of about 150KBytes at 100% quality. Some artifacts still occur in the images, however, they can generally be cleaned up with the SoundVision Noise Reduction filter.SoundVision changed the strategy with the 3100. JPEG compression is employed and the images are excellent. File sizes can reach 667KB, with 0% compression delivering virtually raw, uncompressed data. That's 960x800 pixels, which can be interpolated to 1920x1600 through the SoundVision version 2.x software. You can also select higher compression values resulting in smaller file sizes with an expected loss in quality, although I found that 70-80% quality settings were a good compromise (file sizes of around 150KB).FLASH Taking pictures using flash with the 3000 was somewhat iffy. The 3100 is far more consistent. The auto exposure can be fooled into delivering a "fill" component on a regular basis. The flash is a bit strong for photos taken closer than about 6 feet, and my recommendation is that flash be limited to the 8-12 foot range.BATTERY USAGE While the camera uses a somewhat non-standard set of 6 AA batteries (most cameras I've seen take 4), I've gotten upwards of 200 shots on a set, depending on the flash usage. The camera can also use rechargeables, which further reduces the cost. For downloads to your PC or Mac, the 6 volt adapter is recommended, although I've used both methodologies (battery and AC adapter) without any problems.SOFTWARE My unit came with LivePix, PhotoVista (both SE versions, so limited in features), and the SoundVision software version 2.x. You can read about LivePix and PhotoVista elsewhere, but you should note that due to the larger file sizes delivered by the 3100, PhotoVista really has a difficult time processing all of the data. A 90 MHZ PC laptop took over an hour to stitch 5 images (my Mac G3 233 took about 9 minutes). Typical 640x480 image processing in PhotoVista is FAR faster.SoundVision has really improved the software specifically for the 3100, although version 2.0 also works with the 3000. Noise reduction, white balance, color saturation, and image rotation are all built in. Virtually all of the camera features can be exercised in tethered mode, allowing you to use your PC to control the camera operation. There's even an extra software module that allows your Vivicam 3100 to act in a video mode (CUSeeMe capability at about 2 frames per second, low resolution). Mac connectivity is limited to receiving images only, and you need to download the Beta software from either the Vivitar (http://www.vivitar.com) or SoundVision Sites. When I spoke with the folks at Sound Vision, they indicated that Mac support would continue to be limited. Their focus is PC.To get a sense of the capabilities of the software, you should visit the SoundVision site noted above, and review the on-line documentation. You'll better sense of the feature set.Personally, I'm glad I upgraded to the 3100. The quality's good, and the camera's solid. IMHO, it compares favorably with the higher priced units available today.
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