The AC Gears Bonzart Lit Mini ($40 direct) is a tiny, low-fi toy camera that can be a lot of fun to use. Its image output is akin to that from toy film cameras like the Lomography Diana F+—fuzzy, full of weird optical aberrations, and decidedly low-fi. But unlike the Diana F+, the Bonzart Lit Mini is a digital camera, so you won’t have to get film developed. If you like the Lomo look, it’s an inexpensive digital camera, and it can also be looked at as an inexpensive camera to get kids started on photography.
The Lit Mini is tiny; it measures just 1.8 by 2.5 by 0.7 inches (HWD) and weighs just about 1.1 ounce. Our review unit came in hot pink, but it can also be purchased in white, blue, black, or red. There aren’t a lot of controls of which to speak, just a power button (which toggles between image playback and recording when the camera is turned on) and a shutter release on the top. The rear controls are solely for navigating through menus.
The rear LCD panel is tiny, about 1.5 inches measured diagonally, with a 1:1 aspect ratio. It’s a low resolution panel, and it only gives you a rough idea of what your 4:3 aspect ratio frame will contain. Surprisingly, there’s a standard tripod socket on the rear of this tiny camera, as well as a mini USB port and a microSD card slot. That card slot means that you shouldn’t put the Lit Mini in the hands of the youngest photographers, but if a child is old enough to know the difference between food and microSD cards, the Lit Mini is a fun first camera.
The low-fi images that the Mini captures come in at a modest 3-megapixel resolution. They’re rough, sometimes barely focused, and rife with weird color fringing and other aberrations. But, that’s kind of the point. To the benefit of hipsters who are not quite hip enough to go the distance and shoot toy film cameras, the Lit Mini is a low-cost digital substitute to help get the Lomo look. Don’t expect to take control over settings, or to use it in very low light. The ISO is locked at a modest 100, so this is an outdoor/daylight camera only, especially when you consider its f/3.2 lens and lack of a flash. There’s some digital zoom available, but the optical field of view of the lens is roughly 60mm (full-frame equivalent).
There are a few color filters available—I stuck to the Normal mode to see what kind of output the camera would deliver, but you can also shoot in Black and White, or Sepia. There’s a Negative mode that inverts colors, as well as Red, Green, and Blue settings that give images a tinted, duotone look.
There’s a video mode, but as you would expect it’s SD only—the camera maxes out at 480p30 quality. The battery is internal, and is charged via the mini USB port on the bottom of the camera. The battery indicator drops from full to two-thirds very quickly, but I was able to rattle off more than 150 shots (in succession) without dropping to one-third. By default the camera makes sounds when shooting, but when they are disabled it is completely silent.
The AC Gear Bonzart Lit Mini is a fun little camera. If you like the low-fi Lomo look, but don’t want to deal with film photography, it’s a pretty inexpensive way to get it in a digital package. It’s not for everyone—if you’re after more traditional images, looks elsewhere (our Editors’ Choice compact Canon PowerShot Elph 330 HS is a good place to start). It would be the perfect first camera if it used internal memory rather than a tiny, removable card, but if your kids are old enough it’s a good starter to get them interested in photography.
|LCD size||1.5 inches|
|Interface Ports||mini USB|
|Dimensions||1.8 x 2.5 x 0.7" inches|
|LCD Aspect Ratio||1|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc