CASIO QV3000EX Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: October 24, 2004

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General

Q: What's to like about the Casio QV3000EX?  There are many new cameras out there now.
A: It has a great Canon lens, easy operation, and takes great pictures.  The 3.3 megapixel pictures at a resolution of 2048x1536 can be printed at 8x10 size as good as (or even better than) a 35mm photograph.

IBM microdrive (some QV3000EX's came bundled with an IBM 340MB compact flash sized hard drive)

Q: How fragile is the IBM microdrive?
A: IBM states it can withstand significant shock of "150 G (2 ms)" (when operating) and "1000 G (1 ms)" [!!!!] (when non-operating).  For more information on the drive, check http://www.storage.ibm.com/hardsoft/diskdrdl/micro/overvw.htm.

Q: I've heard the drive gets 'slower' when it gets full, is this true?
A: Yes, but it's also (and probably more so) dependent on battery level.  The lower the battery level, the longer it takes to save pictures.

Q: Do I need a card reader for the IBM microdrive?
A: No.  You just connect your camera to your computer via a USB port and (with Casio's USB driver on Win95/98/ME/NT/2000, no driver is needed for WinXP) the camera shows up as a removable drive to your computer.  From there you can just copy the files over.

Batteries, chargers, A/C power, etc.

Q: Does Casio offer a rechargeable battery pack and charger?
A: Casio offers a combo charger and AC adapter called the BC-3HB4.

Q: What rechargeable batteries and charger do you recommend?
A: Many users really like the Maha C204F 'smart' charger is great. It's small, and it charges 4 NiMH AA's in just 90 minutes. It also lets you 'condition' batteries when you need to, which fully discharges and then recharges the batteries so they hold a charge better. It's available in a kit with some batteries from http://www.thomas-distributing.com for about $30.

Q: The camera doesn't come with an A/C adapter - do I need one?
A: No, but you should get one.  You can operate the camera entirely without an A/C adapter, but for uploading pictures from the camera to a PC you should have either a fresh set of batteries or the A/C adapter as this uses a lot of power.

Q: Should I buy Casio's A/C adapter or should I buy another, possibly cheaper one?
A: Digital cameras need a clean power supply. Why risk damaging the camera electronics and voiding the camera warranty to save a bit of money now?  Buy Casio's adapter.

Q: What's the battery life for the Casio?
A: Using alkaline batteries is a waste of time except for an emergency.  Buy NiMH rechargeables.  A good set (1600 or more maH) will probably be good for 70 or more pictures depending upon use of the LCD display, how full the microdrive is, zoom use, etc.

Q: What does 'maH' mean?
A: maH is short for milli-amp hours and is an indication of the total power output of a battery.  More is better!  There are now 1600maH batteries available and are worth any small price premium you might pay over less expensive batteries.

Q: How can I save power while using the camera?
A: Don't keep turning the camera from REC to OFF between pictures if you're taking them fairly often.  When in REC (record) mode, turn the LCD off (by pressing the DISP button one or more times) when you're not ready to take a picture, or entirely, if you're OK using the viewfinder.  The camera may decide to use the flash when you don't really need it.  Manually turn the flash off.  You also might need less flash.  See turning off browser data too.

Operation

Q: When I go from REC (record) mode to OFF or PLAY the camera light flashes for a long time before the camera is really OFF or ready to play, what is it doing and can I speed it up?
A: By default, the camera creates sophisticated HTML documents on the memory card or IBM microdrive when you leave REC mode.  You can turn this off though.  Press MENU, then Setup, and select Card Browser.  Set the format to 'Off'.  The auto-loader software still creates HTML for you, so the only down side by setting the format to Off is that the camera storage can't be browsed directly when connected.

Q: Why do I see a an 'Press DISP to cancel save' in the LCD occasionally after taking a picture?
A: If the battery power is a little low, the camera puts up this message to give you a chance to stop the image being saved so it isn't partially written if the batteries run out which could corrupt the storage (flash memory or microdrive).

Q: Can I quickly see a picture I've just taken?
A: Yes.  After taking the picture, turn on the LCD if it's off (press DISP), and then hold the Preview button to see the picture just taken.

Q: What is the difference between Landscape and Infinity settings?
A: "Infinity" setting biases the lens toward infinity focus (speeding up the auto-focus, or allowing pictures when too dark for auto-focus), while landscape stops down the lens [aperture] for max depth of field (keeps as much in the foreground and background in focus as possible). -- Thanks to Ian Jordan from the Casio Forum on Digital Photography Review.

Photo Loader

Q: What is Photo Loader?
A: Photo Loader can automatically transfer picture files from your camera to your PC or Macintosh.  It also lets you use your Internet browser to look at your images.  I don't use it any longer since it's not that great, and because I now use Windows XP which has great built-in support for digital cameras.

Q: When I look at my pictures through the browser, I copy and paste them into my photo editing program and the quality isn't good - what's happening?
A: You're probably copying the much smaller resolution 'preview' version of the image from the screen.  You can copy images when looking at the bigger size ones, but this is wasteful of disk space since you'll be storing the image twice on your hard drive.  See next question.

Q: Photo Loader has transferred images to my computer, how do I find where it has put them?
A: From the Photo Loader main window, click the 'Preferences' button.  (Assuming the 'General' tab is selected) Look at the 'Folder to save library' setting and that's where your images are being stored by Photo Loader.  This folder is like any other, and you can load images into your picture editing programs directly from there, you can save modified versions of your images there, etc.

Q: Can I delete individual images with Photo Loader?
A: No.  But you can find the image in Windows Explorer (assuming you're running Windows - Mac Users, I'm sure you know what to do) and delete it.  See above if you need to find where Photo Loader has stored your images.  After deleting the image(s), you can rebuild the browser view by clicking 'Edit' from the Photo Loader menu, selecting the folder you deleted the image(s) from, and then click 'Rebuild...' and select OK from the dialog.

Q: Do I need to use Photo Loader?
A: No!  Assuming your camera is connected to your computer with a USB cable, your camera storage is accessible directly (as a drive letter under Windows) from any program on your computer.  It's not a good idea to keep all your images and edited versions on your camera however, but you can use Windows Explorer for example to copy images directly from your camera to your PC's hard drive (instead of Photo Loader).

TIFF format pictures

Q: I've heard the camera can store pictures in TIFF format (a secret mode) instead of JPEG. Why would I want to do this?
A: The standard picture format the camera uses is JPEG.  The conversion of original picture image data to JPEG can lose some quality due to its compression method, although you will probably not notice any loss in quality in the camera's 'fine' mode. The TIFF format is compressed but without quality loss (see below). However, the files are MUCH larger.  A typical (2048x1536 fine mode) JPEG is 1.2 megabytes, and a typical TIFF is over 6 megabytes!  Because TIFF picture files are so large, they take a looooong time to save (on a microdrive at least) which is probably why TIFF mode is 'hidden' (and probably unsupported mode).

Q: How do I make the camera store pictures in TIFF format?
A: You press SET and FLASH buttons at the same time and the camera goes into TIFF mode.

Q: How do I get out of TIFF mode?
A: You must go out of RECORD mode (to OFF or PLAY) and back to RECORD mode.

Q: When I use Photo Loader to transfer my pictures, it doesn't transfer TIFF pictures - how do I get them?
A: The camera creates a TIF folder on your storage device and you have to transfer TIFF image files from there manually using Windows Explorer on Windows and equivalent software on the Macintosh.

Q: I can't open the TIFF files from the camera in [name your favorite image processing program, e.g., Photoshop] - why not?
A: The Casio TIFF files are saved in a format called YCbCr which captures 2 green pixel values for each one of red and blue (like the camera's CCD) which saves space (6MB) over a full RGB TIFF (9+MB). You can download a program such as Irfanview (from http://www.irfanview.com) which can load the Casio TIFF files, and you can re-save them as uncompressed TIFFs for use with your other programs.

Other 'hidden' features

Q: Does the camera have a full manual exposure mode?
A: Yes, press SET and RIGHT ARROW buttons in Shutter Priority mode 

Q: Can I have exposures longer than the normal maximum of 2 seconds?
A: Yes, press SET and DOWN arrow in Shutter Priority mode and you can have exposures up to 60 seconds or BULB mode

Q: Can I upgrade the camera's built in software?
A: Yes!  But Casio doesn't supply it on the web.  Try Maurice Delaney's excellent site at: http://www.inweb.ch/qv3000ex/index.html or Ray Sanderford's site here.

Q: Can I find out the version of the firmware (software) inside the camera?
A: Yes, with the camera off, hold down SET then turn the camera on.  It either reports the firmware version or if not, then you have version 1.000.

Q: Is there a TEST MODE for the camera?
A: Yes - hold down MENU and DISP then turn the camera on and the camera will report the TEST MODE results.

Q: Is there a quicker way of navigating menus?
A: Yes, with the LCD showing a menu, the SHUTTER button is the same as SET, and MODE exits any menu completely - no need to choose 'Exit' or press menu twice.  These 2 keys also allow you to use your right and left hand together to navigate the menus, it's a lot faster than just using your left hand.

Picture quality

Q: Why are some of my indoor lower light pictures 'washed out'?
A: It seems the auto white balance feature of the camera doesn't do a good job in this situation. Great results can be achieved with manual white balance setting or setting to 'tungsten' (incandescent) white balance mode.

Q: How is the camera in macro mode?
A: Spectacular!  There's some samples on my samples page.

Q: What does the camera's 'night mode' do and how good is it?
A: I don't know how it does what it does, but the results are SPECTACULAR!  It's useful for taking shots when a flash won't be of any use (e.g., outdoors at night with a big subject area that won't be illuminated by the flash).  Click here for a sample.

Panorama Pictures

Q: The Panorama Editor included with the camera doesn't do a good job of 'stitching' together the separate images - there's lots of distortion.  What can I do?
A: Fortunately, there are other packages that do a MUCH better job.  Here's links to information about other products:
  http://www.panavue.com/
  http://www.panoramafactory.com/
  http://www.livepicture.com/products/photovista/index.html

'Movies'

Q: How good are the movies the camera can take?
A: They're only 30 seconds long, relatively low resolution (320x240), and no sound, so they're not going to replace a video camera.

Q: I transferred the .avi movie file from the camera to my PC, but RealPlayer and Microsoft's Media Player can't play it.  What's wrong?
A: The .avi requires Apple's QuickTime player.  This is included on the CD that came with the camera.

Printing pictures

Q: How is the print quality of images from the Casio?
A: This varies with the printer itself and the paper you use (or you may choose to use a print service on the internet, there's many available - see below). The high image resolution means you should be able to print 8"x10"s that look as good as prints from 35mm film.

Q: Where on the internet can I send files to get them printed?
A: Lots of places!  Many offer free prints for new users.  Here's some site:
  http://www.wolfcamera.com/paws/index.html
  http://www.ofoto.com/
  http://www.zing.com/express/
  http://www.shutterfly.com
  http://www.ezprints.com
  http://www.printroom.com
  http://www.photoworks.com
  http://www.photoaccess.com

Parts

Q: I've lost my USB cable.  How do I get a new one?
A: Casio has spare USB cables available for the QV-3000EX.  They can be bought by calling Casio (at 1-800-836-8580 in the U.S.) for $9.95 plus $5.95 S&H.

Picture Information

Q: Photo Loader lets me see information about the picture (speed, flash settings, etc.), but is there any way to see this information without using Photo Loader?
A: Yes!  Eckhard Henkel has created a very nice Windows utility that lets you select a 'DiCaInfo' command when you right click on a .JPG file in Windows Explorer.  This command brings up an information window showing all the picture parameters.  Full information about Eckhard's tool can be found at: www.dicasoft.de.

 

Comments, additions, corrections, welcomed.  e-mail me by clicking here.

 

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