In order for a gift to find its way into th stocking, the rules at our house state that the item must: 1) Fit inside the stocking; 2) Not break should the thin, fabric mounting loop fail; and 3) Be priced at or below $10.
Finding an electronic gift that a family member would find useful and meets the house rules is no trivial task.
Bill Schweber of Planet Analog sent along a device in early December which fit the bill: Vivitar's Mini Digital Camera at a stocking stuffer price of $9.99.
The blister package surrounding the camera and accessory kit was sure to fit neatly inside a stocking and provide sufficient protection in case of failure of the stocking loop. Needing to make one last "stuff" with a digital camera able to meet the house rules, an additional camera was purchased for a teardown.
|Vivitar Mini Digital Camera |
The cardboard insert placed inside the clear packaging states that the camera is one of the most compact 3-in-1 (still, video and Web camera) digital cameras, with the ability to store up to 243 photos thanks to its 16 Mbytes of memory. Included with the keychain camera is a CD-ROM containing camera drivers and ArcSoft's PhotoImpression imaging software, one AAA battery, a USB cable, and a bonus vinyl carrying case with belt loop.
Specifications found within the operation manual reinforce the exterior marketing message of 243 photos stored on 16 Mbytes of SDRAM, but only by compressing pictures taken on the low resolution, 176 by 144, setting.
At the maximum resolution of 352 by 288 (CIF), the camera can store about 20 uncompressed images. Additional specifications in the operation manual indicate: an image sensor optical size of 1/4 inch, utilizing CMOS technology; a frame rate of 12 frames per second; 10 hours of battery life. The camera measures 59 mm by 42 mm by 15 mm. A safety notice at the end of the manual notifying the user to download the pictures before taking the batteries out highlights the drawback of using volatile SDRAM memory to store the images.
|Vivitar Mini Digital Camera Accessory Kit |
Once inside the plastic, snap-fit enclosure, the 25 mm by 51 mm PCB with S4P-HE513 markings indicate the camera is a relative of the Precision HE513 Mini Digital Camera which first appeared in 2003 at a price of $40, indicating a price decline of 24 percent annually since the original launch.