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The Mustek DV5300 digital movie camera is Linux compatible. You'd think the company would be helpful about this and would be keen to promote the camera's future as a Linux device rather than being stuck with old Microsoft systems which would relegate it onto the old Windows machine that's kept for legacy hardware! But no, they didn't reply to a message that was sent, even though the answer was later found to be easy.

The Mustek DV5300 is a small inexpensive digital camera which can take digital movies, and can take digital photographs, and sound samples, and can play mp3 files. It can also be used as a video camera, and has some interesting features such as interval shutter.

The maximum SD card size is said to be 512Mb, so if anyone has tried to see if it works with a 1Gb please say!

It requires 3 x AAA cells, which it eats! So, rechargeables are essential. Because three is an odd number, it is practical to buy six and charge them up as three pairs, while using them as two threesomes.

To use the camera on a Linux computer, you need to know it is not a basic "mount pen" command. What happens is that the camera is configured as TWO drives. The internal memory is /dev/sda and the SD memory card is /dev/sdb ... therefore to access images on the SD memory card, the sequence is:

mount /dev/sdb /mnt/pen

cd /mnt/pen/dcim/100media/

...and then you are in the directory with the images in. These can be copied, moved, etc as you like.

The image sequence imag0001.jpg ... imag[n] etc is controlled by the last remaining name on the drive, but you can leave a blank file on there of the appropriate number, and the camera does not care about the extension. The advantage of keeping a residual file is that the numbers continue in sequence rather than being reset. The camera makes no attempt to keep the date.

Unlike some of the earlier models, the Mustek DV5300 has a sound effect feature which makes an especially satisfying SCRUNCH sound to indicate when the digital shutter is being triggered. You might be fooled into thinking that is the exact moment it takes the photo, but it isn't. It takes the photo a bit later, after a deceptive delay which you need to be aware of to avoid unnecessary blurring which occurs because of the poor motion immunity. You can't blame the camera for the motion situation, as the light gathering capacity of a lens that small requires quite a long exposure. You just have to hold it very steady and wait a while after the sound.

I bought my Mustek DV5300 from my contact with a CPC account, see electronic supplies and parts, to replace my Aiptek DV3500 which was stolen by the police in San Ignacio in Belize. Clearly the Belize government don't pay the police enough, or they'd not need to supplement their wages by stealing things from visitors.

Mustek is Aiptek, we can presume, as the Mustek DV5300 shows signs of being part of a sequence of development from the earlier model, and shares many features with earlier models.

It is amazing that it's possible to manufacture a camera as advanced as this for such a cheap price.

NEWS: I have LOST my Mustek DV5300 on an experimental balloon flight! It was last seen floating away from the UK in an approximately Easterly direction. I don't expect to get the camera back (or the remains of it), but I am offering a REWARD for at least €100 (one hundred euros) for the DATA which consists of a movie of the launch and views from the air over a small town in England. e-mail me

For more about this interesting story, see Reward for finding camera lost on balloon flight - Last seen heading in the direction of Amsterdam.

Update: The Mustek DV5300 digital movie camera has been replaced with a Mustek DV316L, but this has many of the useful features MISSING.