The Bottom Line
After just a few minutes of using the DXG 5F9V dual camera, you'll quickly realize that this camera's video capabilities are much stronger than its still image capabilities. It's obvious that DXG emphasized video with this model, and the movie options are very good. (A dual camera is a video camera that also can shoot high-resolution still images.)
The 3D options with this camera are fun, too, and the LCD's ability to simulate 3D is an interesting feature.
Because my About.com Cameras site focuses on still image cameras, however, I have to emphasize those features in my review. Focusing on still image options makes it tough for me to give this 5F9V dual camera a high star ranking. Shutter lag is a significant problem with this 3D dual camera, and camera shake will ruin more than few of your still image photos.
Still, if you're looking for a fun camera that can handle both video and still images -- 2D and 3D -- for your older child, the 5F9V is well worth a look, as I would've given this camera a higher star rating if I was emphasizing its video image capabilities over its still image capabilities.
Still image quality is inconsistent with the DXG 5F9V dual camera. With indoor photos, the autofocus isn't very sharp, so you won't be able to make large prints. The image quality is much better outdoors and in well-lit scenes, but if you use the digital zoom at all, you'll receive a significant loss in image quality.
Unfortunately, when shooting still images, the 5F9V has a major design flaw, in my opinion. The shutter button for still images is on the top side of the camera. Because of the horizontal design of this camera, it's very difficult to press the shutter button without jostling the dual camera, which causes some blurry photos. I had a difficult time finding a way to hold the camera without causing the jostle, but it can be done after quite a bit of practice.
The zoom switch is on top of the camera, too, and it's pretty easy to reach as you're using the dual camera. However, the zoom moves very slowly, and it is a digital zoom only. The digital zoom causes enough of a loss in image quality that it isn't worth using.
Through the Settings menu, you don't have a lot of options. However, you can choose a manual white balance setting or some special effects, including sepia or black and white. You can set the 5F9V dual camera's resolution through the Settings menu, too. Still image resolution is available at 2 megapixels, 5MP, and 10MP.
DXG included an LED light on the front of this camera to illuminate dark areas. It's not quite as accurate as a built-in flash unit that you'd find on a camera that's more designed as a still image camera, but it does help a little bit with low light photos.
You will start and stop movies with a dedicated video button on the back panel of the 5F9V dual camera, which is easy to reach. It's too bad the still image shutter button wasn't placed back here, too, as that would fix some of the camera shake problems.
It's easy to shoot movies with this camera, and it's obvious that DXG intends video to be the primary function of this camera. You also have access to the digital zoom when shooting movies, and it's a larger zoom (10X) than is available with still images (4X). Five different movie resolutions are available, which is great.
Camera shake is a significant problem when shooting still images with this camera, especially when the digital zoom is at its maximum level. This will result in quite a few blurry photos, especially if you must shoot in low light.
It is easier to hold the 5F9V dual camera steady when shooting movies.
Shutter lag and shot-to-shot delays are significant when using the DXG 3D camera to shoot still images indoors, which is disappointing. With these types of performance issues, you won't want to rely on the 5F9V to shoot fast-moving action or scenes with tough lighting. If you're serious about still image photography, this camera's performance will leave you frustrated.
To create 3D video and images, the 5F9V dual camera makes use of a dual lens design. Each lens shoots the same scene, but from a slightly different angle, and the images from each lens are combined to create the 3D look. This interesting lens design really doesn't seem to hamper the performance of this dual camera at all.
DXG has included a very interesting 3D-capable LCD screen with this dual camera. You can see a 3D simulation on the LCD without the need for special glasses. This is handy for either playback of your 3D images and videos, or for trying to simulate what the 3D videos will look like as you're shooting them. If the 3D simulation starts to give you a bit of eye strain after a while, which I experienced, you can move into a 2D display mode by toggling the 3D button.
The first thing you'll notice with the 5F9V dual camera is its dual lenses that look almost like a mask (as shown in the photo at right). As you twist the segment containing lens, the camera becomes ready to shoot photos or movies. Couple the dual lens "mask" with the horizontal design, and the 5F9V is a dual camera that will draw attention to you as you use it.
It's also one of the lightest weight dual cameras I've had the chance to use. It fits very comfortably in the palm of your hand, and it's comfortable to use. All of these design factors will make this DXG 3D camera appealing for older children.
The horizontal design makes the 5F9V look a lot more like a digital camcorder, and, since video is its primary function, it's an appropriate design. As with most camcorders, the LCD flips to the side, ending up at a 90-degree angle to the camera. You can then rotate the LCD another 180 degrees, allowing for self-portraits, which is another feature older children will like.
The Settings menu, 3D, and playback buttons are located inside the camera's LCD panel, so you can't see or access them until the LCD is opened. Through a dial on the back of the DXG 3D camera, you also can access the Settings menu, as well as choose between shooting still images and video. The position of this dial and its inability to lock in place means you can inadvertently fall into video mode when you want still images, or vice versa.
To make selections from the menus, you must use a tiny joystick on the back panel. However, because the joystick is surrounded by a raised ring to protect it from accidental bumps, it can be a little difficult to use accurately. I didn't like this design; a standard four-way button would've been much better.
The DXG 5F9V works with SD memory cards, which are easy to find. The memory card compartment is secured tightly, as is the battery compartment. DXG included ports for both USB and HDMI cables.