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Old Oct 27, 2006, 8:53 PM   #1
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I picked up one of these at Wallyworld for $19.96 for the megapixels and the single AAA battery usage, and was surprised when I got it home and read the fine print - it has a SD slot! Comes up as a mass storage device too! Picture quality is definitely way above average for a bottom-end camera that costs as much as a dumb card reader.

Yes, it's a toy...but it's a good place to stick your old tiny SD cards you've got lying around in the junk drawer...


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Old Oct 28, 2006, 2:14 PM   #2
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While serious users will alwyas laugh at these 'toys', it is interesting to think that the picture quality of these devices is often getting as good as more mainstream inexpensive cameras just a few years ago...
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 6:28 PM   #3
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Here's the scoop on the current drain: To keep its RAM alive, it draws a continuous 2.5 mA. This means an alkaline battery in here will last less than 18 days! Also, standby current drain is 230 mA, and peak (taking a picture) drain is 430 mA. Definitely a hog. In other words, use a SD card and remove the battery when storing! It also will NOT work with Nicad or NiMH batteries due to low battery drop-out around 1.3 volts.
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Old May 24, 2007, 4:00 PM   #4
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I made a youtube review of this camera a few months ago, check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUPNfySjPyA

I also did a few more:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTZGpCQRFGE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VmV2u6cR_E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkwvgzFFpx4

next, I'll be reviewing the Aiptek camcorder I just bought.
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Old May 25, 2007, 11:43 AM   #5
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Yes I saw those just recently. Excellent Reviews! I hope you continue to review some more of these types of cameras as they are ignored by the mainstream. They may be 'impulse buys' but it still is handy to know beforehand so you don't have to waste time returning it, if it turns out to be a bad camera. Having said this,your reviews show that there really are some gems among these 'cheapies'.

What I cannot understand is why they continue to use volatile SDRAM. I remember the vivicam 10 had 8MB FLASH memory! Flash memory is also MUCH cheaper now than it was then.

I know they try to make these asinexpensively as possible but most people who will buy these do not know any better and assume they willretain the photos like the more expensive models. They thenend up losing all the photos they just took because they jogged the battery door or simply didn't upload them right away thus running the battery down. I know this from experience with people.

It also happened to me. I remember having a Sipix blink which for it's time wasn'ta bad little cheap camera but it ended up in the drawer because I would take some photos only to come backand find out they had been erased because of a bad battery connection.

Back then I had originally wanted a cheap camera that I would always have in the car to take some fun photos or for use in an emergency etc. but gave up on them because of this and of course my cameraphone negates their purpose nowas it's always with me.

Having said that, at least the Vistaquest you reviewed now has an SD slot but it still doesn't seem to solve the problem of the battery drain as it sounds like from the above post that it continues to drain the battery even when you use an SD card. I guess it makes sense as it still needs to keep the internal SDRAM refreshed.


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Old May 25, 2007, 12:46 PM   #6
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Yes, the SDRAM is an irritating issue. I have put great amounts of thought into it and I can only come up with one possible reason they do this. As you say, Flash memory is now very cheap. My guess is that since the unit will require SDRAM for buffering and use for software algorithms (such as JPEG compressions) that they can eliminate having to have 2 seperate memory chips, making it smaller and less complex (ie: cheaper) However, it seems like they'd still need flash memory or some other kind of ROM to store the firmware in, unless it is actually built into the custom ASIC or whatever they are using.

I have had the same boggle with the idea of having a camera in my car at all times, because it never fails there is something I want to take a picture of. I do have a camera phone but the little $20 vistaquest takes better photos than my camera phone and it doesn't cost me money to send the picture to myself. So what I do is leave the vistaquest camera in my car with the 256 MB SD card inside, but I remove the battery. So when I want to use it, I just pop the battery in, shoot my pictures and take the battery back out. it is sort of a pain, but it works.

Yes, it is irritating that nobody ever reviews these cheaper cameras. Most of the time all I want to see are some sample images/movies taken with the cameras. But that is nearly impossible to find. You can find tons of websites showing example pictures on 6 megapixel cameras buy the name-brands. What is irritating to me is I can barely tell the difference between images taken from the different high-end cameras. Yet, these low end cameras have HUGE NOTICABLE differences in quality and are the ones I think need to be reviewed the most. I mean, if you spend $300 on a camera you pretty much know it is going to have good image quality. But if you spend $30 it is hit and miss.
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Old May 25, 2007, 3:09 PM   #7
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What is more, a lot of the manufacturer websites often don't have any sample images (even for the more expensive models). I guess I can understand this ie they are hoping that because you have to buy it to find out, that most people probably won't return it ie kind of like the way rebates work in that many people don't seem be too bothered reclaiming their hard earned cash.

Thankfully my cameraphone is not with a company who cripple the firmware (such as Verizon) to disable photo transfer by bluetooth or memory card. I have no problem with companies charging for services, but when they prevent you from gaining access to your own photos, even by using a memory card reader, this is just greed plain and simple. The amount of photos I can store on my Nokia and have taken, I'd be totally bankrupt by now if I had been with Verizon! :evil:

Talking of reviewing Aipteks, I have had a few Aipteks and currently have an Aiptek MPVR.

A while back I purchased an Aiptek Pencam SD 1.3 Megapixel camera and was stunned by the quality of it's photos. They wasn't much difference between them and my old Olympus D340R camera which was also 1.3 Megapixel.



You can still get this little gem on Aipteks website for $19.99! It also has the dreaded SDRAM though it takes SD cards as well. It also takes 640x480 video at 6-8 fps which are actually quite good quality, obviously with no sound though. The battery hatch is a bit flimsy though otherwise the camera is quite well made.

I also enjoyed the reviews you did on the other budget devices such as the mp3 players. Again no one else seems to be really doing this.
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Old Jun 6, 2007, 8:02 AM   #8
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I wonder how hard it would be to wire a little switch into a camera like that to act as a battery cutoff. At least then you wouldn't have to pull the battery when you aren't using the camera. Maybe I'll stop at my local Wal-Mart and pick one up--if I end up not using it, my daughter would probably like it since the only digital camera she has is her Nokia 6103 phone.
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Old Jun 8, 2007, 11:41 AM   #9
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Just make sure it is one that tcan store your photos on memory cards as well otherwise turning it off might result in a nasty surprise! :G
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 7:06 PM   #10
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it's a great emeergency can liked the review etc?
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