I’ve played about a little with my new camera a Vivitar Vivicam 20. For it’s price (sub £40), it’s not too bad.
The image quality seems to be very light dependent. It has four different exposure settings: Outdoor dull (the default), outdoor sunny, indoor bright, and indoor dark. I could find very little difference between them in my initial experiments. It also has a built in automatic flash. The flash is extremely bright over the distance it covers; 0.8 to 1.5 metres with 1.0 – 1.2 metres described as ‘best’. The flash doesn’t function in macro mode.
Macro mode didn’t seem to make any difference in my simple tests. The manual claims it only works over 25 to 30 cm, thats a very small range!. I’ll have to do some more formal tests, most of the pictures I took in macro mode were out of focus. However my judgement of distances is quite poor so I’ll have to try some with a tape measure 🙂
The controls are a little strange; you press the mode button which then cycles through, VGA, CIF, outdoor dull, outdoor sunny, indoor bright, indoor dark, flash on, flash off, continous capture, delete all pictures, delete last picture, self timer. Each press is accompanied by a loud beep. When you get to the mode you want, you press the select button for a short while, this beeps twice and the mode is selected. If you don’t press select for long enough it cancels the mode selection and you have to start again.
Annoyingly, when it switches itself off (after 60 seconds of inactivity) it forgets your settings 🙁
The 8MB of internal memory seems to be plenty. I’ve managed to get 71 VGA pictures before it filled. At which point the camera beeps about once per second until it switches itself off.
I’ve also tried the webcam mode which worked OK, but again suffers from low light conditions. I’ve not tried the self timer or the continuous mode. When I’ve had a play with these two functions, I’ll report some more.
I’ve not used the supplied software other than very briefly. It uses a non-standard interface, that I couldn’t really figure out. I’ve only used it to download pictures from the camera. I’ve not tried any of the image editing functions. I’m quite happy using Paintshop Pro to download the images. As I mentioned before, I think I’m getting them uncompressed that way.