A wearable camera--who'd have thought? The tiny 2.0-megapixel, 128MB Philips keyring camera is just that. While not the most stylish accessory one could want, the camera is tiny enough to carry conveniently or to conceal, and also small enough that users will frequently be met with "That's a camera?" upon taking it out to shoot a picture.
Because it's so easy to take anywhere, we tried taking pictures with it everywhere, with widely varying results. We concluded that it's perhaps best to think of this camera as something of a novelty item--not something you'd want to rely on for births, weddings, holidays, and so on, but something that's fun to have for taking quick, fun snapshots on the fly.
Our best results with this tiny device came happened while we were using it at a cafe: The sky was overcast, we were sitting in a window seat, and we snapped a picture of a friend who was facing the sun. When the camera was in our friend's hands, though, and it came time to snap a picture that was ever-so-slightly backlit, the results were much less exciting: A lot of dark and a lot of bright and not a lot in between.
|This shot was framed very differently in the viewfinder.|
And creative framing? Forget about it. With the camera back in our hands, we set about composing a picture of what we thought would include our friend, the windows behind her, and a beautiful piece of cake sitting on the table in front of her. Instead we got the photo you see at left.
|A photo from sunrise in the mountains--nice, except that the climbers (circled) were meant to be in the center of the image.|
In addition to problems with framing, which occurred frequently due to the camera's simple viewfinder and lack of LCD, we also found that with the camera's one-exposure-fits-all internal settings, we could never quite guess what our shutter speed was. Pictures with complex lighting--in the snow, at dusk, inside, in bright sunlight, mixed bright sunlight and deep shadows, etc.--tended to be muddy. They also tended to have a mysterious gradient effect, which could be a function of some problem with our particular sample.
But despite all this, we enjoyed using the camera and found that if we weren't precious about making every shot a keeper, we could enjoy the ease with which the camera could be pulled from a pocket or from around our neck and a nice moment captured almost instantly. It's almost a camera phone without the phone part--or perhaps in this case, like a mass storage drive that just happens to have a lens. Since the camera is charged and photos are downloaded via a capped USB interface, the camera can also be loaded up with 128MB of images or data for easy storage or transfer.
In summary, this is a handy, fun little camera, worth its price for the novelty factor but not a serious enough piece of equipment to be your main camera.--Sarah Sternau
- Tiny enough to be carried anywhere
- Just flip open the shutter and it's ready to go
- USB interface for photo transfer and recharging is extremely convenient
- Picture quality is low
- Focus, framing, and exposure are unpredictable
- Cover for USB interface is not attached to camera and is easy to lose
At 3-1/2"H x 1-1/4"W x 3/4"D, it isn't easy to find a smaller digital-camera than this. About the size as a typical key-ring attachment, this is one camera you can take with you anywhere. With 128MB built-in memory, this pocket-sized photo companion takes up to 300 pictures at 2.0 megapixels. A direct USB connection allows for quick and easy downloading to your PC without a cable (works with Windows 98SE, Me, 2000, or XP). So don't miss another valuable photo opportunity. Get the Philips KEY01017.