Sunday, December 24, 2006

Playing with a Pen Cam

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If you have been following my photostream on Flickr, you probably have seen a few recent images taken with my Aiptek MegaCam - a 1.2 MP digicam that is a bit over an inch square and a hair over 3" tall. It's called a pencam, due to its shape. Now normally, I like to get as many megapixels out of a camera as possible. My first digicam was a Logitech Photoman - a b&w digicam with an image size of about 490 x 360 pixels. At the time (mid 1990s), I thought it was amazing (and of course, had I been serious about photography, I would have dismissed it). My next digicam was an Apple Quicktake 200, which produced 640x480 color images that were actually of decent quality. Still, though, it was pretty low-res, but not bad for web stuff.
Since then, I have used increasingly complex digital cameras, and my current digital SLR is a Nikon D70s. It's an amazing camera, and pretty much does whatever I want, except shoot b&w film, but that's another story. Anyway, I have been doing a lot of "toy camera" film photography in the past few years, and recently became curious about those bottom-feeding digital cameras, the 10-dollar keychain cameras. I then saw a reference to the Aiptek PenCam, which is selling for 9 dollars (!!) as a refurb unit online. DIGITAL VIDEO & PHOTOGRAPHY "On the Cheap" has a nice review of cheap pen-cam style cameras, and trying to use them with the Mac OS. Of course, ideally i'd like to be able to use this camera with my Mac, but since i have a Dell laptop, I can email the images to myself, etc., if I need to.

I bought the Aiptek MegaCam a few weeks ago, and for a cheap little 1.2 MP camera that's not much bigger than a cigarette lighter, I am very impressed. It's got some quirks, but if used within its limitations, it takes pretty good snapshots for web use, and the colors are saturated. It's my digital Toy Camera, since I have no idea what my results are until I upload the images to my computer.
Definitely a fun toy, and at the price they are selling for online, I can see someone buying them as party gifts!

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