Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Phillips Keychain Camera - Worst. Camera. Ever.

I've seen the Phillips Keychain camera at stores like Wal-Mart and CSV before, and its usually dirty cheap - something like $10.00 - and I'm always tempted to pick one up. Well, turns out I didn't have to. Today on his way out to work, David, handed me the camera and cable and muttered some story about how it doesn't work with Mac. Sweet, his loss, my gain.

David paid something like $2.00 for the camera, and I can I tell you that was still too much. This thing is an absolute disaster. Let's talk about the pros and cons. First, the cons:

  • No real viewfinder, the fake viewfinder appears to have no bearing whatsoever on the actual picture being taken
  • The device loses your pictures when the batter dies
  • The device doesn't work out of the box with XP, Mac or Vista
  • The menu system couldn't be any more cryptic if they tried
  • The image quality is in the gutter
  • The camera generates .bmp files instead of fancy shmancy .jpg's
  • The only way to get images off the device is through some random little app which appears to be from the late 1990's
  • The software/hardware managed to cause blue screens of death on both my Vista and XP laptops. The XP laptop needed to be reverted back to a previous date to get it to stop rebooting randomly
  • There's no way to selectively remove photos from the camera - it's either all photos removed, or the last one

Now the the pros:

  • It comes with a nice USB cable

Does this mean that I won't play around with the camera and waste my time trying to find a use for it? Of course not! Free hardware? How can I turn that down. If you're like me and want to dabble with this sucker, here's a few tips I've picked up:.


Like I mentioned above, installation was a disaster on both XP and Vista. I did finally get the camera to work on Vista. I did a couple of things. First, I followed the instructions here to actually find drivers. I got them from Phillips. When installed the drivers, I got a little app on my desktop named MY CAMERA. Clicking on this brought up an app that said that it couldn't connect to the camera.

I then started dabbling with the drivers. Essentially, I uninstalled (and checked the delete driver software check box) all the drivers that were discovered by Vista, until I had the following showing in my Device Manager:

I had big problems with my laptop crashing when I opened up MY CAMERA, and these problems went away once I removed all the drivers but the one shown above.

Using the Camera

There isn't a whole to know about using the camera. Check out this review of the camera which includes some interesting discussion. Someone even decoded the 2 letter abbreviations that are the UI:

SE = self timer
CE = Continuous shooting mode
CP = compress mode
nP: non compress mode
AI: video function mode
OF: switch the camera to stand by mode
CL: delete the last photo
CA: delete all
Hr: high resolution format
Lr: low resolution format
F5: 50Hz
F6: 60 Hz

Amazingly, while this thing has all these detractors, I can confirm that it has a self-timer. I guess I should put that in the Pros above.

Apparently, to use the above features, you press the button on the front of the camera to choose the two letter code above, and then press the shutter button to cause it to take effect.

Here are some samples of what the camera can do. Finally, I can blame the hardware for my poor photography instead of my skills. Note, that last photo hasn't been processed with some funky filter - that's just how the photos come out.

Do I see any practical use for this? Well, you might think it'd be nice for kids - but it's way too much hassle for such poor results. Buy your kid a used 4 mega pixel camera off eBay for dirt cheap, not this junk. About the only thing I could see this being useful would be for some kind of photography game - everyone gets a crappy camera, the person who produces the best photo wins.

Hmmmm, and are both available. I'd just need to write up some rules to the game, and toss them up. Then allow folks to upload their work, and ... (Must resist urge to start building the website).

Other than that, and wacky art projects, I think this is pretty much useless.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:42 PM

    I have got that camera but I lost the USB cable and I don't know what type of usb is that. Can you help me?