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Digital photo frame

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I've been wanting a digital photo frame for quite a while. It seemed like a great solution to the question of how to display photos.

Was over at Pam & Arthur's the other night, and saw theirs, and was reminded that I wanted one. So I read some reviews, and quickly came to the conclusion that the one I wanted was the Pandigital 8-inch PanTouch. (Among other things, it has a display that's big enough for me in both inches and pixels, and the review said the image quality was high and the interface was pretty good, and it's in 4:3 aspect ratio, which matches most of my photos, and it comes with a dark-wood frame that I like a lot better than the usual cheap silvery plastic frames for these things, and it has the option (if you buy a separate attachment) to connect to WiFi and download photos from Picasa Web Albums.)

The biggest problem I had seen with digital photo frames in general was that the photos displayed looked kind of grainy and pixelated; I assumed that the problem was too few pixels per inch. Among other good things, the PanTouch (like several other similar models from other companies) has a display that's 6.3" by 4.8", and 800 pixels by 600 pixels, so roughly 125 pixels/inch. Which is significantly better than my MacBook's resolution, so I figured the images should be pretty crisp.

So I stopped by Bed, Bath, & Beyond and bought the frame. Got it home; had a little trouble with setup, but eventually managed to transfer some photos over. First I used GraphicConverter to scale them all to be no taller than 600 pixels and no wider than 800 pixels, 'cause I knew GC could do high-quality scaling and I didn't trust the frame's internal scaling system. (It'll happily scale photos if you tell it to.) I made sure that dithering was turned off in GC's scale-settings dialog box, and I told the frame to copy the photos exactly, not to do any scaling.

Unfortunately, at least some of the pictures as displayed on the frame look kinda grainy and pixelated.

I haven't pursued this in detail yet, and may not bother. From a distance of several feet, which will be the most common viewing distance, the photos look fine. And it's possible (though fairly unlikely) that the ones that look worst also don't look so good on my computer screen; I haven't looked at all of the scaled images individually on the computer screen.

But it still bugs me. I'm guessing that the frame is doing some kind of dithering before displaying, but I'm not sure why it would. Maybe it just can't display 24-bit color? I'm not sure.

Anyway, a little disappointing for a product that got reviewed as "a solid choice if your priority is image quality." But I'm still glad to have it.

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