Go D-snap happy at pocket prices

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 12:00am

Few of us can be bothered to carry video cameras around, no matter how useful they may be. But leave it to Panasonic to shrink a video camera to fit both your budget and your pocket.

The SV-AV30 has been on Japanese shelves for several weeks, but it is also starting to appear in Hong Kong malls, courtesy of the local grey market.

Also marketed with the more user-friendly name of D-snap, the SV-AV30 is a remarkable, multi-function device that manages to combine video recorder, digital camera, audio player and recorder in a palm-sized package.

The device records video using the Mpeg4 standard and can capture 15 frames per second at 320x240 pixels. On the downside, the lens has a software-only zoom and captures video at just 310,000 pixels, but if you are in the market for a compact camera, the compromise is worthwhile.

The D-snap measures just 62x26x75mm and weighs 122 grams, including battery - less than the average mobile phone.

Videos can be watched on the two-inch TFT-LCD monitor, while users have the choice of listening to audio through headphones or a built-in speaker.

Though we have yet to test-drive a unit, Panasonic claims the SV-AV30 can record 90 minutes of video or 1,200 pictures (at 640x480 pixels), or playback three hours of music on a single charge.

Using the Secure Digital memory card standard means storage capacity can easily be increased by swapping cards. It also has a USB 2.0 connection for high-speed data transfer.

The battery charger features AV input and output sockets so you can recharge the battery while watching your videos on a big screen.

The D-snap comes in a choice of silver, blue, white and yellow, and is selling in Japan for about 47,000 yen (HK$2,700). The company has not decided whether to launch the D-Snap in Hong Kong, but no doubt it will be in the malls soon.