There’s no doubt that digital cameras are making an impact in all areas of photography, from the high end to the entry level, plus a few new niches like key-ring cameras.
Ultimately, though, the mass market requirement is for pocket cameras that can be used at parties, on holidays and other ‘real world’ events. Such cameras need to be small enough to fit into a pocket or handbag, with high enough resolution to compete with basic 35mm cameras, plus a long battery life. If they’re easy to use, so much the better.
And that’s pretty much what we have here. The Polaroid name has been attached to this PDC 2150 digital camera, but there’s no ‘instant film’ inside. That old style of Polaroid mechanism has been pretty much relegated to the sidelines by digital imaging, and this camera has a 2.1-megapixel CCD instead. There’s 8MB of memory built in plus a slot for an SD card with which you can install more memory (although if you use this, the 8MB of internal memory is temporarily disabled; you can’t use both at once).
Refreshingly, it’s point and click. So much so that there’s rarely any need to use the small, backlit LCD screen. You can leave it off while you take pictures, which helps to prolong the battery life. You will need to use the screen to change resolution and perhaps tweak the settings – such as exposure, flash type, resolution, etc. – but on the whole you can get by without it most of the time.
So, what else do we have? A switch between macro and normal modes, two resolution settings, the higher of which – 1600 x 1200 pixels – produces surprisingly good photos, particularly when used outdoors. It’s not so much that the resolution is particularly high, more that the colour balance is good and the JPEG algorithm, which can sometimes leave a lot to be desired, has been well implemented so that smooth edges don’t look too jagged. In fact, the PDC 2150 would shame some more expensive cameras.
There’s a 2x digital zoom, which is pretty much irrelevant since you can do the same thing in software, and… well, that’s about it. Leaving aside the adequate photo imaging software, USB and video connection cables and the carry case that are included in the box, the only other point worth mentioning is that the PDC 2150 can be used as a Web-cam too should you feel the need.
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