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***Intro*** Tired of paying for film for your camera? Sick of waiting to have them developed? Bored of waiting for the prints to come back from the lab and discovering they are awful when they do arrive? Gagging to take some risqué shots of the love of your life but afraid the guy at Prontaprint will show all his mates? Then you need a digital camera.
If you would love a digital camera but don’t want to take a degree in computing to know you have got one that is any use then this is the review for you. You can read this review and no PHD is required, I promise.
There is technical stuff right at the bottom of the page so if you are a tech head you can go there now if you wish.
***The Review*** I have wanted a digital camera for a while now but I wanted a decent one. The problem is the decent ones were simply out of my price range.
A few months ago during a trip to town I spotted a special offer in Woolworths – a digital camera for £50 (reduced from £100). The point that clinched the purchase for me was that unlike other cameras in this price range this camera had 2.1Mega Pixels that means the pictures would be of a good quality. The higher the Mega Pixel number the better the picture quality and I would recommend not going below 2Mega Pixels otherwise the results can be pretty dodgy.
This price sounded too good to be true and I was a little sceptical but I entered Woolies and had a good look at the box, opened it up and had a read of the manual (if I am going to spend 50 quid I want to be sure about it before it leaves my wallet). It looked good on paper too so I bought it, together with some batteries and took it home.
It was a great purchase although it got off to a rocky start.
I opened the box at home and put the two AA batteries in and switched the camera on. After a couple of seconds the camera went dead and would not work at all. I loaded my last set of two AA batteries into the camera and after a few seconds the camera went dead again. Oh great, I had a duff camera!
Or did I?
I then remembered reading that digital cameras can be rather hungry and eat cheap batteries like there is no tomorrow. I had bought the batteries at a pound shop so decided to buy a better set of batteries at my local store, these batteries stated they were designed for use on digital cameras and walkmen etc - Hey presto! The camera was working. I did get a much longer life out of these better quality batteries (a couple of days heavy use) but not as long as I had hoped.
My solution, I bought a battery charger and
purchased a pack of four 2000mAh batteries (again, when you buy rechargeable batteries the higher the mAh the longer they will last). It’s been over a month now with some heavy use and I am still using the batteries. I haven’t had to charge any yet so they have paid for themselves already, so the problem has been well and truly solved. One note worth pointing out is that once I bought the rechargeable batteries I discovered the camera came supplied with two batteries – DOH! Oh well, I would have wanted rechargeable batteries at some point any way.
You can buy a power adaptor separately that will allow you to plug the camera into the mains for indoor photography or for when you transfer your images from camera to computer. Procedures that will both use up valuable battery power without it.
From this point on it has been plain sailing with the camera.
***The Manual*** Like most electronic manuals this one is the size of most good novels but fear not it is in eight different languages and the English section runs to only 44 pages. Most of these are taken up with diagrams so if you are like me there is great relief to find there isn’t too much technical jargon to try and wade through. Another bonus is the diagrams and pictures are all black and white so I am able to colour them in with my crayons whenever I feel like it.
I know manuals can be a pain in the bum but I always recommend people invest the time in reading them because this is the best way to ensure you get the best from your new purchase plus you usually discover your product can do more than you realised so please – read the manuals if you can. :O)
After about five minutes reading I was up to speed and ready to start taking pictures like there was no tomorrow.
***The CD*** The camera comes with a CD to install drivers onto your PC (or Mac). This CD is only needed on a PC if you are running Windows 98, if you have Windows 2000, ME or XP the camera just plugs into your PC and away you go. Cool!
These drivers allow you to take your images from the camera and put them onto your computer using the supplied USB cable.
Also on the CD is a pretty good photo software package (MGI Photovista) to allow you to mess about with the pictures once they are on the computer. You can even produce 360degree panoramic images using this software – Ooooo!
***The Camera*** This camera comes in a very attractive silver and grey colour. Its size is just about the same as a pack of 20 Superking cigarettes so it can fit into a pocket quite easily. It has a sliding lens cover so you don’t have to worry about damaging the lens when you take it out of your pockets. The camera is quite light too, about the same weight as a Nokia Mobile phone.
It comes with a soft bag and a loooong neck strap so you can hang it from your neck and snap away when the mood takes you but I just slip it into the old pocket.
You can look through the viewfinder like any other camera or on the back is a little screen that allows you to compose your shot on that or through the viewfinder.
The camera has an automatic flash so it only flashes when you need it (cool!) but you can override this if you want to get arty with your shots. Now the flash is the only thing I have a problem with. For some reason when you take a picture with the flash it doesn’t flash once but three times in quick succession and the photo isn’t taken until the third and final flash. This can be a nightmare when taking pictures of your kids or pets. By the time the third flash goes off the little darlings have either scampered into the other room and you have a great shot of an empty sofa or they look like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a speeding truck.
I don’t see the point of the three flashes because it even confuses adults and goodness knows the kids are hard enough to keep still with a normal single flash. But this is just a minor gripe, besides I like a challenge.
This smart camera even turns itself off if you haven’t used it for a while to save your batteries, bless it.
The resolution you choose to take your pictures in decides the number of pictures you can take. You get between 12 and 24 pictures. This may not seem a lot but remember; once the pictures are taken you can view them instantly and delete any you are not happy with. So you keep only the good ones. This is unlike a standard roll of 24 pictures where you have maybe 5 good ones and the rest spend the rest of their days in a drawer. All the pictures you keep are good ones.
If you want more pictures there is a slot to place a tiny SD memory card (you can buy separately) allowing more pictures to be taken. These cards can be used with those new machines popping up in chemists and photographic shops where you can pop the card into the machine and print off your photographs instead of loading them onto your computer.
The camera also has a macro option allowing you to take pictures of tiny objects close up. So the risqué pictures of your husband, even in winter, are still a possibility! Or you could just take pictures of flowers and insects etc.
The camera has three simple
Pictures of Premier DC 2070
With the Lens cover closed.
modes. Photo (to take pictures), View (which allows you to view your images on the little screen the back of the camera) and Movie. Yes you can even make a short movie (up to about 30 seconds without extra memory). The movies are very good quality indeed for the tiny camera and they are a great deal of fun. The movies do not have sound however. You can even use a supplied cable to view the moves right from the camera onto your TV or you can of course load them onto your computer.Using the camera is very simple and the more complex options (should you wish to use them) are all menu driven and quite simple to follow. The important thing to remember is that the camera has been designed so that you can’t break it by pressing the wrong buttons so don’t worry. If you can use a normal point and click camera you can use this too.
***Conclusion*** This camera is perfect for all but the most professional of uses. If you have a conventional camera for taking holiday snaps or for day-to-day use this will fit the bill admirably. It is suitable for the trendy young things or for the older generation and everyone in between. It’s design, performance and price make it accessible to everyone. I love mine and the whole family uses it. There is even a timer delay so I can be in the pictures too. What more could you ask for 50 quid?
Thanks for reading this far. :O)
***The Boring Technical Stuff***
Sensor: Approx. 2.1 megapixels 1/3.2”CCD
Colour Depth: 24 Bits (8 Bits x 3 Colurs)
Resolution: 1600x1200 pixels, 800x600 pixels
LCD: 1.6” Colour TFT LCD
Self-Timer: Ten Second Delay
Shutter Speed: 1/10 sec. – 1/1000 sec.
Zoom: 2x Digital Zoom
Capture Modes: Still photography or Video Recording
Memory Type: 8MB internal (SD Memory Card up to 128MB capacity)
Memory Capacity: Storage for an 8MB memory card at 1600x1200 pixels: Fine 10 images; Normal 15 images; Basic 20 images