Digital photo frames are the latest gadget to offer photographers a way of bringing pictures stuck inside digital cameras to life. Unlike traditional frames, which display a printed photograph, Pacific Digital's MemoryFrame displays digital images on a TFT LCD screen. The frame connects via USB and downloads images directly from your digital camera, your computer or memory card reader. Frames come in two sizes with different finishes: the 7ins x 5ins frame displays a slideshow of around 30 pictures and the 10ins x 8ins frame shows up to 80 images.
We set up a slideshow on the 10x8 frame. Pressing the menu button on the back of the frame takes it into Management Mode. Menus are self-explanatory and once we connected a digital camera via the USB port, it was simple to scroll through menus and thumbprints. Pictures have to be saved to the frame and this can be done by saving all photos from the camera, or by selecting individually. It's likely that lengthy slideshows will be compiled from pictures taken over the years, which are stored on a computer. In this case, the easiest would be to compile slideshows using the accompanying drag and drop Digital PixMaster PC software and transfer them all in one go. Using a PC gives you the option to add captions. These appear with pictures only at first and then disappear leaving just the image. The software also allows you to transfer slideshows from the MemoryFrame back to your PC, which would be handy if for some reason this was your only copy of an image.
Screen resolution on the MemoryFrame is 800x600 pixels. This is less than most photographic printers and it means that high resolution images do not benefit from increased detail or resolution once transferred to the frame. When we compared our slideshow to some dog-eared, film photographs that we had in photo frames, we were not too impressed with the sharpness of the digital display. The bigger problem was with combining portrait and landscape pictures. We had the MemoryFrame set to landscape but not all the pictures in our slideshow were the right dimension. Portrait shots have to be rotated but the automatic resizing leaves a 6x4 image with two blank panels either side in the 10x8 frame. To use the full impact of the screen, you really need to set the MemoryFrame to either Landscape or Portrait depending on how you are going to stand it up (or mount it on the wall) and then compile either all landscape or all portrait slideshows.
The advantage of the MemoryFrame is that it puts a lot of photos on display. This is not much use if what you want is a printed version of a special photo to treasure for ever. The frame is heavy, bulky and runs off an ugly mains cable. A remote control would be easier than using buttons on the back of the frame to manage slideshows. There are options to add captions and border effects and on some models, an audio commentary but what you end up with seemed horribly like a PowerPoint presentation to us. Would we pay 99p for a MemoryFrame on eBay? Probably not.
This product was kindly loaned to us by
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