Everyone was getting them so we decided it was time we got one too. A digital Camera that is. We were also about to go on a two and a half week holiday and that would mean lots of films.
Being our first we didn't want anything too complicated. We had looked at them before but not understood half of the jargon so I went home and had a good search on the internet. Many sites will explain the details to you and it is useful to print this out and take it with you.
So armed with our info we set off to our local comet, without the children!, to have a good browse. After a good look, going through all the various specs, decided on the Toshiba PDRM25. It came with an 8mb smartmedia card and a 16mb one free, I think that's what swung it. I just love freebies. I can't remember exactly what we paid now but it was around average.
The camera comes with a really thick manual, and it's so tempting to ignore it, as it would takes ages to read. But once I did get around to reading it I found it very useful and very simple to follow.
In case you can't be bothered to read through the review here is a brief summary of it's features.
Weighs 230g (excluding batteries)
1.5'' LCD monitor
2.3 million pixels
3 x zooms and macro mode
Red eye reduction
Forced flash and Supressed flash.
Long Exposure Photography
Multi Image Photography
The accompanying manual is divided into 5 sections. Getting ready, Basic Photography, Playing back/Erasing Images, Other Applications and Additional Information. To start you only need to the first couple of sections, then you can try out the other features later when you have mastered it. Each section goes through the features of the camera so I'll use the manual to explain the camera to you.
This section starts by talking about the accessories you get, which are,
Smart Media Card
It then explains what each part of the camera is and does with very clear pictures. It also explains what all the LCD pictures means. It continues by telling you how to insert the batteries, the Smart media card and how to attatch the wrist strap. All pretty basic but nice to have the info included.
This section literally takes you step by step through how to take a photograph with again good real life pictures. It explains how to use automatic settings or manually do it. You can set both the image size and quality. You have six choices, two for size, (1792 x 1200 pixels and 896 x 600 pixels) and three for quality (low, middle and high compression). The better the quality and bigger the size the more memory that will be used on the card. Depending on what you take photos for, the lowest settings are Ok for viewing on the PC but the highest are best if printing out. The zoom features are explained and also macro mode (for close up photography). This section also gives details on using the self timer and how and when to use the flash.
If you are not much of a reader you can stop here and get going on your new camera but it's worth reading this bit as it now goes on to explain Multi Image photography , where you can take 16 photos at 0.25 sec intervals and Long Exposure Photography for subjects that will take several seconds to photograph, for example fireworks. For the real enthusiasts you can now read up on the manual settings (changing the white balance, exposure compensation and bulb photography) I must admit I still haven't read this section as I have been more than happy with the automatic settings.
Playing Back/ Erasing Images.
By now most people have tossed the manual aside and are getting to grips trying out the new camera. But the card soon fills up and you need to know how to empty and view the pics you've taken. All this is explained here, and tells you how to view your pics on the cameras LCD screen either individually or as a slide show. Also how you can compress images to give more space or protect them if you don't want them deleted.
Here you learn how to set the language and time and have sound on or off.
But most importantly it explains how to upload your images to PC using the CD provided (but other applications work) or view on your TV.
This lists all the specifications, and tells you how many images you should get using various sized Media cards and settings. Also the usual and useful troubleshooting guide.
Well that's the camera. We have had it at five years now so lower than most on pixels and probably a bit heavier. But I like this feature and was handy when swapping from a heavy 35mm camera. It felt more natural. My 6 year old son has been using the camera for a couple of years now and has no problems using this camera and has tested it's robustness on many an occasion. Although compared to new ones the pixels aren't great, if on the highest setting the images are still excellent quality when printed out.
We have bought a 128mb card now which means we can store at least 3 weeks worth of photos without needing to delete any. So will not be rushing off to buy a new one as this has been excellent and never had any problems.
The software that comes with the camera is great also. It also you to adjust photos and also to print them out in a variety of layouts, even allowing you to pick individual photos from each album you have.
This is definitely a great quality camera and will be with us for a few more years yet.