Nikon Coolwalker MSV-01
Nikon’s Coolwalker is an attractive looking, thoughtfully engineered, portable storage device with plenty of features to please photographers. Designed to work with CompactFlash cards and Microdrives, it can accept other card types via a CF adapter and the card slot has a slide-up cover to prevent ingress of detritus. Its 30GB hard disk can store approximately 10,000 high-resolution JPEG images from a 6-megapixel camera and the 2.5-inch, 117,600 pixel colour TFT LCD screen allows images to be viewed anywhere. . . [more]
Quality rating (out of 10)
Ease of use: 8.0
Storage capacity: 8.5
Value for money: 7.5
Nikon’s Coolwalker is an attractive looking, thoughtfully engineered, portable storage device with plenty of features to please photographers. Designed to work with CompactFlash cards and Microdrives, it can accept other card types via a CF adapter and the card slot has a slide-up cover to prevent ingress of detritus. Its 30GB hard disk can store approximately 10,000 high-resolution JPEG images from a 6-megapixel camera and the 2.5-inch, 117,600 pixel colour TFT LCD screen allows images to be viewed anywhere.
The Coolwalker is supplied with an internal Lithium-ion Polymer battery that is charged in the unit and supports up to 1.5 hours of continuous usage – either uploading or downloading. The battery charger doubles as an AC adaptor, enabling users to connect the Coolwalker to mains power while files are downloaded to a PC. An AV-out port and cable allow the Coolwalker to be connected to a TV set so shots can be viewed on a grander scale and the Coolwalker’s slideshow control allows users to play back stored images. The default shot-to-shot interval is three seconds but users can vary this between one and 99 seconds in the slideshow menu and also choose which shots to display.
Support is provided for direct printing to PictBridge-enabled printers and the Coolwalker’s screen displays the required print commands plus error messages that warn users of paper jams and run-outs, low ink levels and connection problems. The unit can also double as a card reader, offering Hi-Speed USB 2.0 connectivity to PCs and retail printing equipment.
The Coolwalker supports a rich suite of image management functions, which are accessed by two function buttons and a four-way multi-selector with a central enter/set button. You can copy the contents of a memory card to or from its internal HDD, play or print selected images (or shots in selected folders) and view shots at full screen size or in index format with nine thumbnails displayed simultaneously. Images can be rotated for viewing and movie clips can be played back at full screen size. A histogram is also available for still image playback and, unlike many camera displays, it’s large enough to be useful in determining whether shots are correctly exposed. JPEG images can be played back at x2, x4 and x8 magnifications and metadata viewing and viewing of NEF-RAW files are available for pictures captured with Nikon digital cameras. Not surprisingly, RAW image files from other cameras and image files that have been edited in a software application and downloaded to a memory card cannot be viewed. Nor can NEF-RAW files from Nikon film scanners.
Limited editing facilities are also supported. Files can be deleted, copied and renamed (using the on-screen alphanumeric keyboard). You can also move selected images between folders and set up new folders to hold, say, a slideshow. A search function allows users to locate wanted files, but users must specify a range of dates to obtain speedy access. The supplied remote controller that can be used for most adjustments.
The Coolwalker is easy to use and we found image files from a Canon EOS 300D were displayed as readily as those from a Coolpix 5400, although we weren’t able to view the full metadata with the Canon files. We assume files from other DCF-compliant cameras would be treated similarly.
You have to hold the power button down for several seconds to wake it. This prevents the unit from switching on if the button is knocked accidentally. The Set/Enter button, which activates most functions, can also be slow to react at times. The unit is also comparatively slow in both its upload and download modes. In our tests, it took 11 minutes and 40 seconds to download the contents of a 1GB Type 1 CF card to the Coolwalker and just under 50 minutes to transfer the same files from the Coolwalker to a Windows PC via the USB 2.0 High Speed connection. A faster 256MB SanDisk Ultra II card took just over one and a half minutes to download. Formatting the internal HDD took roughly 25 seconds.
Overall, the Coolwalker is an attractive package for photographers with large portable storage and on-site display and image management requirements. However, in the light of increasing CF card capacities and declining card prices, it is rather pricey for those who can download shots to a computer at the end of each shooting day.
Storage Capacity: 30 GB
Supported Media: CompactFlash Type I/II and Microdrive
Display: 2.5-inch TFT LCD (490 x 240 dots) with thumbnail and full-screen playback
Interfaces: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed: works as an external HDD and CF card reader, supports direct connection to PictBridge-compatible printers via USB; NTSC/PAL video output
Power: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Polymer battery (EN-EL6), AC Adaptor
Charging Time: Approximately 4.5 hours (using AC power adaptor)
Operation Time: Approximately 90 mins (with full charge)
Dimensions: 81 x 130 x 35 mm
Weight: 350 grams
Distributor: Maxwell Optical Industries, ph. (02) 8748 5200 or 1300 366 499, www.maxwell.com.au.
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