November 1st, 2008, 13:37 Posted By: wraggster
We weren't particularly keen on messing around with internet connections and figuring out how to convert our audio files from MP3 into something DSi-compatible, so after opening up our new DSi systems and stroking their soothing matte shells for a few hours, our first experience with the system ended up being through the new camera.
When first selected, the DSi Camera program starts users off with a tutorial taking you through the basics. There's quite a bit to the experience, too. As detailed in our previous writeups, the DSi offers both internal and external cameras, with a wide range of effects. The following eleven effects are included: similarity camera, face synthesis camera, warp camera, expression camera, doodle/scribble camera, normal camera, mirror camera, joke/tease camera, frame camera, color add camera, and color change camera. These names, as you might have guessed, are rough translations on our part.
The effects are all viewable in real time as you take your picture, with the final picture ending up in higher quality after a moment of processing. You can also apply many of the effects to pictures after they've been taken and saved to internal memory or SD.
Playing with the various effects, especially the doodle/scribble and joke/tease cameras, should prove to be a blast, especially since you can use the external camera to apply the effects to unsuspecting friends. It should be noted, though, that you probably can't use the camera on unsuspecting strangers, as the shutter makes a sound even if you turn the system's audio all the way down.
Outside of taking pictures, you can also view pictures in a variety of ways. Shots can be tagged with one of three seals for easy sorting. You can also access a calendar to view pictures from any given date, and even leave a visual memo for each date.
Also included is a Slide Show feature, which displays the pictures with movement set to one of four background music tracks. The slide show can display pictures across both screens, which does admittedly look a bit odd due to the big partition between the screens.
In our initial tests, we've found the picture quality to be similar to what you might expect from a cell phone. Pictures, which are taken at 640x480 resolution, turn out grainy, with the finer areas becoming a complete mess of blocky pixels.
Of course, you only seem to notice this when viewing the pictures in full resolution on your PC. Viewed directly on the DS, the pics don't look as dirty, although you can still see grains if you look closely. Keep this in mind when viewing the pictures that we've uploaded to our gallery below.
Getting the pics over to the PC isn't too difficult. You simply have to transfer the SD card from your DS to PC. Pics that we took ended up being stored in a 101NIN02 folder under a DCIM folder that had already existed on the card. The DSi also created a "private" directory in the SD card's root. This had a mysterious "pit.bin" file buried a few directories deep. This is presumably the "management file" that the DSi says it's accessing whenever you select to read pics from SD rather than internal memory.
From what we can tell, the DSi Camera does not accept pictures that it itself didn't take. It wouldn't recognize other picture directories, nor would it even read files that we attempted to sneak into the 101NIN02 directory. We even tried to be sneaky by renaming all our files in line with the images the DSi had taken, and shrinking them down to 640x480 size. Here, the DSi registered images only after we'd manually deleted that pit.bin file, but even then it wouldn't actually open the images up. This is an area that will require a bit of experimentation.
Even without transfering pics between your PC and DSi, though, the system's camera looks like it's going to be a blast -- maybe as fun as PictoChat was way back when the DS first launched.
For more information and downloads, click here!
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