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Mustek DV316L Digital Movie Camera

After I lost my Mustek DV5300 in an incident involving ballooning, I decided to replace the Mustek DV5300 with whatever the latest model of digital camera by Mustek was. I was advised it was the Mustek DV316L. It's an inexpensive digital movie camera, and I put an order in and the camera arrived in the post.

At taking digital movies, the Mustek DV316L is undoubtedly better. Also, it takes standard SD cards, and 3 standard AAA cells, and has a standard mini USB connector. As it's also a Bulk Storage Device, it is also Linux-Compatible. That's an important feature of such equipment.

The Mustek DV316L is best suited to taking movies, and the design is very much that of a small handheld digital movie camera, the sort of thing which corrupt authoritarian governments HATE. They detest it when people take movies of their heavy-handed behaviour, and it's a fact that such small modern video capture machines are a weapon against tyranny.

The Mustek DV316L can also take digital photographs, but they are not as good as those taken with cameras with larger lenses. However, as the DV316L has a larger lens than the DV5300, you'd expect the pictures to be better. It's also possible to use it to record sound, and to play back sound like an Ogg Vorbis / MP3 player. The bulk-storage ability also allows the unit to be used as an SD card interface to USB.

Another thing about the Mustek DV316L is that it is stylishly designed to fit in the grip of the hand, with the trigger button on the top. This is in contrast to the DV5300 which had a thumb-operated pushbutton at the back, one for photos and one for movies, and is quite different again to pistol-grip Super8 movie cameras. It's also unusual in being in RED as standard.

Instead of having a flash, which is supposed to help when taking stills, the DV316L has a movie light for taking movies. However, it is not a very bright movie light (as would be expected considering the power source of three AAA cells) and so it is possible to take movies in complete darkness, the result looking very dark. Useful for close inspection of rat holes.

The camera comes with a CD of software including some slightly esoteric movie editing software. Shame it's all for Microsoft Windows or MAC rather than Linux, but at least the interface is Linux-compatible.

Also, the camera is so inexpensive that you may dare to do things which you might otherwise not risk with a digital camera at all. I seem to remember something about some underwater photography in which a Tupperware lunchbox was in use in an experiment a bit like the sort of thing with the Tale of the Lizard (Underwater Iguana).

I must admit to being slightly disappointed in the Mustek DV316L being without some of the interesting features of the DV5300. For example, on the DV5300, you can set the camera up on a tripod on "Interval Timer" mode, leave food out for the wildlife, and then, once per minute for the next hour and a half, the camera would take a photo of the scene. As there were no humans nearby, the wildlife would not worry, and would be captured in digital images, scoffing the food that had been put out!

There is no good reason for Mustek to have got rid of such useful features. It didn't matter that few people used them. The additional features were just extra pieces of code in the firmware, and could be put back in if the company was so minded. Companies should not be in such despair about the poor level of intellect of folk that they feel the need to go for dumbing-down the product.

Here's a summary of the good and bad things about Mustek and the Mustek DV316L:



If you're looking to see where you can get one of these Mustek DV316L digital movie cameras, you could try Maplin first, and if they have sold out then try some camera shops, and see if any of the electrical shops have them.