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I have always been someone who loves to take photographs, especially family snapshots. The art of photography isn't really for me, but collecting images to remind me of a time or a place or a loved one has always been something I have loved.
I have more photo albums jam packed with pictures than I care to admit to, and until recently I had pictures dotted around my living room in frames. Moving to a smaller home however made me realise I simply didn't have space for some of the pictures I had on display and I realised that if I still wanted to have pictures on display yet not have the clutter of lots of different frames, then a digital photo frame was the way forward.
I had been considering buying one for some time but was put off by a friend's experience a couple of years ago when she purchased a fairly cheap, non branded one. The image display quality was appalling and she was quite firm in her disappointment, proclaiming it a total waste of money.
Bearing this experience in mind, I had sworn I would only buy a frame produced by a trusted brand, and so it came to pass that I got an e-mail from my sister advising me that the Marks & Spencer website had the Sony DPF-E72N photo frame on offer as the "Deal of the Day" for the rather fetching price of just £38.30. I decided to bite the bullet and ordered this for instore pick up.
~~What You Get~~
The Sony DPF-E72N comes with a power lead, a silver stand, remote control and three changeable panels in red, brown and black.
There is also a quick set up guide and an instruction manual.
~~Setting Up & Use~~
The frame is easy enough to set up. You obviously need to screw in the silver stand at the back of the frame and power it up. Using the remote control you can set the date and time, and this means you can start using your frame as a clock or a calendar immediately before you even add some photos.
The frame has an internal memory of 128MB, which Sony claims is enough to hold up to 250 photographs. I must admit however that I haven't actually added anything to the internal memory at all, finding it easier to just add photos to a 2GB SD memory card and insert that into the frame.
The frame can accommodate STD and DUO Memory Sticks, SD cards and XD cards. I have only ever used cameras with SD cards so can only speak of my experience using them but I found it easy enough to copy a fairly large number of photographs on to the SD card, and then simply put it into the relevant slot at the back of the frame.
The frame can show pictures in the JPEG, TIFF and BMP formats - I have only ever displayed JPEG photographs in my frame however.
I wasn't going to change the frame panel colour from the default black, but my daughter pleaded with me to change it to red. As the red is quite dark, and almost burgundy in tone I agreed and actually found myself preferring it to the black panel the frame had when it arrived.
There are function control buttons on the back of the frame but I haven't used them, preferring to use the remote control which is easy to use and responsive too.
This is a versatile photo frame and you can use it purely as a clock or a calendar, purely as a photo frame or combine all three into the mix.
Similarly you can view one single picture on the frame, or have a slide show. And if all that weren't enough, you can opt to have several pictures on show at the same time, using the Multi Image View.
It's very easy, using the remote control, to choose which of these options you want. I tend to have the frame working as a clock during the day and only have the pictures on slide show in the evening but you can set the frame to come on at a specific time and on a specific day of the week if you desire, with the frame automatically switching itself off when you don't need the power on.
I find the 7" screen is a little cramped with both the clock and a photograph, so I prefer to have this positioned in the landscape mode as most of the pictures I take tend to be landscape. The frame does automatically detect if you have turned it round to portrait mode so obviously portrait shots will look better that way and it's a nice touch - especially if you want to use it to only show one single photograph which is portrait.
Another nice feature is if you accidentally upload a photograph in the wrong aspect, you can rotate it on the frame so it shows the correct way.
You can select how long you want photographs to display for on the slide show feature with options ranging from 3 seconds to 24 hours, so you can, quite literally, change the picture in your frame once a day. Similarly you can change the effect used when a picture changes from one to the other, and you can opt to have your pictures displayed in sepia or black and white too, as well as the standard colour.
I really like this frame even though the resolution could perhaps be a little better than the 480 x 234 pixels on offer. The aspect ratio of this frame is 16:10 and as such I tend to prefer using the "Fit to View" option when viewing photographs as opposed to "Entire Image" as that fills the screen better.
As most of my pictures are family snapshots, the display is fine for that although I do notice that some skin tones seem either a little on the pink or a little on the yellow side on some of the pictures - something that isn't evident when I view them on my computer or through my home cinema system.
That's a pretty minor complaint however as I really like how easy to operate this frame is and how functional it is, never mind the fact I have been able to add a splash of colour by changing the front panel.
I have discovered when purchasing Sony products that they do seem to do all they can to keep their products as easy to use as possible, and as I get older, I really appreciate this. This photo frame is no different to other electronic products I have bought recently and set up and use is a doddle. To add to ease of use, the quick set up guide makes it a piece of cake to get started, and the user manual is clear and easy to follow.
I think the timer device is another brilliant idea, which enables you to have pictures on display when you want to have them, and not have to worry about your frame using up power when you don't need it. However this also looks great as a clock, with several clock face options available to you ranging from traditional clock face with second hand to a digital clock or clock and calendar.
For the price paid I am very happy with this product and it's something I can add pictures to easily by simply adding to the SD card on my computer and then replacing it in the picture frame.
You can connect this to a computer to add pictures to the internal memory too but there is no USB lead included so you would have to purchase that separately. I think it is far easier to just add a picture to the internal memory from the memory card you have your pictures stored on if you must have pictures stored internally or just to view them from the memory card directly.
It's ease of use and good design makes for a good buy and whilst perhaps the image clarity could be a little sharper, the frame itself looks very stylish and the various functions available to you make for a great product for displaying photos and reducing drastically the number of photo frames you have in your living room.
Marks & Spencer still have this frame on offer on their website, with 30% off the list price of £69, making this a good sub £50 digital photo frame. I would think twice about paying full price however as it is quite a basic frame.
The Sony DPF-E72N is a digital photo frame with a 7" LCD that costs roughly £60 - this isn't overly expensive for this type of frame, however when you think of standard frames this is substancially more than you'd pay for a regular frame of the same sort of size.
What are the benefits of digital photo frames?
You can use them to display multiple images (slideshows), you dont have to pay for the cost of prints and you don't get dust stuck between the glass and the photo.
What are the disadvantages?
They're expensive, use electricity, not as many style/design options, not available in large sizes and quality isn't always that good.
-128mb internal memory and a card slot which can take SD, XD and memory stick pro
- 480x234 pixel image display
- 7" LCD
- remote control
- clock and calendar
I've seen a number of different digital photo frames and never seen one that I've thought was particularly stylish - however this is the best one I've seen so far. The frame surround is a thick gloss plastic in black (although I think it might be available in a couple of other colours) - whilst this does look nice, it does unfortunately show up fingerprints, furthermore it attracts an annoying amount of dust to it.
All the buttons are placed on the back of the frame - they're well labelled and simple to use, however you have to consider that pressing the buttons will activate menu's on the LCD and you can't really look at the front and back of the frame at the same time! As a consequence you really need to be looking at the LCD and just feeling for the right button's - this isn't too difficult, but is a bit of a pain. The card slot is also located at the back and it's very simple to put the card in, the card will also stick partially out of the slot so it's easy to grab hold of and remove when necessary.
The frame can be positioned either landscape or portrait and the frame has a sensor in it which detects which way the frame is orientated and then flips your photos so they're the right way up.
You can choose from a number of different settings such as slideshow or having both a clock and image on display - you can switch between these modes at will and the addition of a clock and calendar definately gives another dimension to the frame.
From a distance the LCD is nicely bright and clear, colour reproduction and contrast is also good. Unfortunately though when you get up close you start to notice things that let this frame down and one of these should be obvious from the specifications - the frame only has an image display of 480x234pixels. To put this into perspective if you tried to print a 6x4 photo from a digital image with this number of pixels, the results would be poor. If you have good eyesight and look closely at this frame you can actually see the individual pixels - not that I'm suggesting that you will intimately scrutinate the images on the frame on a regular basis, but these low pixels do have the knock on effect of essentially eradicating fine detail.
Overall I can't say I'm impressed with this digital photo frame - it looks good from a distance and it's easy to use but the poor resolution has the knock on effect of poor image quality which is too big an issue for me to ignore. As mentioned at the start - the price isn't too bad for this type of frame, but I'll definately be sticking to traditional frames with prints!
I was bought the Sony DFP-E72N (not a very catchy name) photo frame as a present, but having looked up the cost, I see that it costs around £65 from Amazon.....so not cheap!
Unlike the other photo frame I have, this frame does have an internal memory of 128MB and so its possible to store a variety of photos all at one time. I find that I can generally store about 60 photos on the frame at any one time - which is really convenient because it means I can easily swap between photos depending on my mood and the situation. If I'm having friends over to stay, I might swap the photo to be one of the group of us together, and if I'm wanting to create a relaxing, romantic mood, then I might swap the photo to a landscape lake scene - or something like that. I'm sure you catch my drift. There is also a slideshow option if you just want the photo to be changed periodically.
I like that the frame is able to determine the orientation of the photo (landscape or portrait) without me having to mess around with the settings. Apparently, there is a orientation sensor that makes that possible.
Its easy to move images from my camera card to the frame because there is a multi-card slot which accepts my SD card. However, it also accepts Memory Stick and XD Media Cards - and so this covers most bases. Once you've plugged in the card, the frame automatically stores the images ready for use.
A nice touch is that you can choose from a choice of frame designs, as well as calendar views and clock views. The frame can either be black, brown or red - although I think the black frame looks the most classy and so I tend not to switch from this. I think it would be nice if there were a few more options....maybe some funky colours or some funky patterns which may be appealing for a party atmosphere or for a child's bedroom.
The image quality is "okay". I wouldn't say it was fantastic - but its passable. I just feel that a photo frame that costs nearly £70 should display photos at a higher resolution than this because some of the photos (which may be 10MB) are actually a little fuzzy and non-crisp....which is a bit irritating. This resolution is 800 pixel - 600 pixels, and I would like to see it higher. The size of the frame is decent (7 inches x 5 inches) so this makes it ideal for standard photo size.
Overall, I would say this frame is okay, but its not great. If they could improve the photo resolution quality then this would be a good photo frame, but for me, image quality is all. It also lacks a little inspiration.