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March 18, 2004
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Mike Angelo's Digital Darkroom

The Microtek S1/D1 Digital Camera for the Linux, Mac, and Windows Platforms

Mike Angelo -- 18 March 2004 (C) -- Page 3


Article Index

Viewfinder and LCD

The Microtek Take-it S1 digital camera has both an optical viewfinder and a 1.5" LCD (Liquid Crystal Diode) display for lining up your photographs. It's very nice to have both an optical viewfinder and an LCD panel.

The LCD panel let's you see exactly what the CCD image sensor is seeing and how your photograph will look. On the other hand it can be difficult if not impossible to see the LCD display on a bright sunny day. In such conditions, you can use the optical viewfinder to line up your shots.

Another nice thing about the optical viewfinder is that you can make preliminary shot lineups without needing to turn on the camera. That's convenient and it saves battery power. Moreover, you can turn the LCD panel off when taking shots and just use the optical viewfinder. That saves battery power too.

You also can use the LCD to view already taken pictures. If you do not like a picture you have taken and wish to re-shoot it, simply use the LCD display and menuing to delete the bad picture. Then re-shoot the picture.

Other S1 Photographic Features

The Microtek S1 has lots of other photographic features too.

  • 4x Digital Zoom
  • 4x Playback Zoom
  • Built-in Flash
  • Flash Range 3.2 ~ 6.7 ft
  • Flash Modes
  • Auto,
  • Auto with Red-Eye Reduction,
  • Forced Flash,
  • Forced Flash with Red-Eye Reduction,
  • Off
  • Exposure Adjustment
  • Auto/-2 EV to +2EV in 1-step increments
  • Continuous
  • 3 image / shot burst
  • Shutter Speed: 1/8 second - 1/4000 second
  • Lens f=7.51mm (35mm equivalent = 38mm)
  • Focus Range:
  • Normal: 3.2 ft (1m) to infinity,
  • Macro: N/A
  • 10-second delay self-timer
  • Tripod Mount

Multimedia Features

This review of the Microtek Take-It S1 Digital Camera focuses on it as a still or one-shot photographic camera. However, the S1 also takes video clips and records audio clips. Additionally, it can be used as a Web cam.

The S1's video-clip function is handy but it is not a camcorder -- nor should it be. In video mode, the S1 shoots 320-pixel x 240-pixel frames at 15 fps (frames per second)

Video clips are saved in the AVI format and audio clips are saved in the WAV format. You can record about one-minute of video-clips with the S1's internal 8-MB memory.

There is no limit to how long a movie you can shoot or audio recording you can make with the S1 -- other than how much memory you have available. The S1 will record until it runs out of memory.

If you want to be able to record longer video-clips, you will need to insert a SD memory card into the S1. For more information about SD memory cards and SD memory card readers please see our companion article, The SanDisk 512-MB SD Card and Ultra II Card Reader for Linux, Mac, and Windows.

If you do not already have a Web cam, the S1 also can be used as a Web cam.

Figure 1. Horse Drawn Planter.

Out of the Microtek S1 digital camera this photo was 2048-pixels by 1536-pixels (interpolated). The Gimp was used to crop the photograph down to a 1688-pixels x 1177-pixels photo. Then, the scale tool was used to re-size the photo to 550 pixels x 384 pixels.

Please note that even with all that cropping and scaling, the detail quality remains very good. For example, the reds, browns, grays, and tans are reasonably well-defined and the color variations and highlights are well preserved.

In part that is because the Microtek S1 did a good job of snapping the shot. Please see text for an explanation. (Horse Drawn Planter photo by Mike Angelo)

USB PC Connection and Software

The Microtek Take-It S1 digital camera comes with a USB cable to connect the S1 camera to your PC. If you are using Microsoft Windows 98, you likely will need to install the S1 drivers, which are included on the S1 CD.

Once connected to a PC via the USB, the S1 camera appears to the PC as a removable hard drive. In MS Windows, you can use the Windows Explorer or My Computer file managers to access the photo, video-clip, and audio-clip files stored on the S1. In Linux, you can use a Linux file manager such as the Konqueror file manager to access the photo, video-clip, and audio-clip files stored on the S1.

Once so connected, you can upload (copy) your photo, video-clip, and audio-clip files from the S1 to your PC. Then you can access them with your photo-editing, video-editing, and audio-editing software or view them with your photo-viewer, video-viewer, or audio-player software.

The Microtek Take-It S1 digital camera comes with a CD that includes a comprehensive, 65-page electronic User Guide/Manual plus lots of photo and video software. Here is the software list from the Microtek Web site. (Link in the Resources section at the end of this article.)

  • Adobe Photoshop Album SE (PC): Instantly find, import, and organize your digital photos and make slideshows with PDF files for easy viewing.
  • Ulead PhotoExplorer (PC & Mac): Allows you to browse, organize, and edit your digital images.
  • Ulead DVD PictureShow SE Basic (PC): Create slide shows with music and browseable menus on DVD or VCD format for viewing on the TV or PC.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader (PC & Mac): View files in PDF format.

We did not test any of this software as part of our S1 review. For the most part we used Free and Open Source (FOSS) software to view and edit the photos and video clips shot with the S1 during our field tests of the S1.

In Windows 98 SE, we used the Mozilla Browser to view photos and Windows Media Player to view video-clips. In Linux, we used the Konqueror file manager/browser and the KuickShow image viewer to view photos.

The Gimp was used for all the photo-image editing done as part of our S1 review and in preparing Figures 1 and 2 for this article.

TV Connection

You do not even need a computer to view your S1 photos and video clips. The S1 comes with a special cable that lets you connect the Microtek S1 to the video input jack on your TV or VCR.

Once the S1 is connected to the TV, you can view photo images or video clips directly on your TV. The S1 certainly is a very versatile device.

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