Cheap Digital Cameras

Discussion in 'Tools of the Trade' started by xyberz, Feb 2, 2007.

  1. xyberz

    xyberz Member

    Cheap Digital Cameras New for $20 & Under

    Seeing how everyone may not have a digital camera, or cannot afford an expensive one, I wanted to list some viable options that others can obtain for a fairly cheap price with decent quality.

    I think that having a reusable one-time use digital camera / or mini digital camera is an indispensable tool when paper modeling, especially if you've got some talent for it. It'd be a shame to make something incredibly beautiful and not share it with others.

    I've already posted some information about some digital cameras that are under $20 at

    That conversation will be continued on in this thread.
  2. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    I dont want to be a poo head but.....

    You get what you pay for. My daughter wanted a digital camera and we bought MANY of the cheap digitals and were never happy with them - returned every one of them. We let both kids use ours now....
  3. xyberz

    xyberz Member

    Well there are cases of people who aren't able to get digital cameras more in the expensive price range, so some have to make do with what they can afford. Also just to let you know, you'll be incredibly surprised as to what type of pictures that a $20 digital camera can take.


  4. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

    OK..............neat! What'll help those who want to buy!

    Good pics too!

  5. DrBill

    DrBill Member

    Just a suggestion: Quality shows, especially in the lens and overall resolution. I'd go for something in the 6 to 8 megapixel range, not because you need full images at that resolution, but because you may be cropping images extensively and need the higher resolution to insure decent image quality in the cropped portions. If you're into air shows and that kind of thing, look for a camera with extensive optical zoom. (Ignore "digital zoom" -- it's nearly worthless.) If you're photographing models and other close-ups, look for a camera with good built-in macro capability (not an add-on lens). For airshows, something on the order of a 10x optical zoom is almost a necessity. For model photos with a macro setting, a 1.3 megapixel camera will work, so long as the macro capability is good. See attachment, done with a 1.3 megapixel Olympus. There's a bumch of photos on my website ( that were done with a 1.3 megapixel Olympus. The higher resolution and zoom capability simply expand the opportunities. Best of all worlds: 6-8+ megapixels with good opticla zoom and macro capability.

    Good luck!
  6. Sticks-N-Stones

    Sticks-N-Stones New Member

    Great topic! I have been limping along on a 1st gen camera that was given to me when a friend upgraded years ago. For internet posting of hobby related pics I would like to know the best model(s) for taking pictures up close. Many digitals I've looked at only focus at one distance when in "close" mode and have poor depth of field.
  7. Kaz

    Kaz Member

    That'll be normal, even for my Film based Nikon F80 The shallow depth of field is usually desirable especially in close work. If you need a deep DoF then macro is not the way to go. Stand further back and use the optical zoom.
  8. xyberz

    xyberz Member

    The 1.3MP camera I was talking about for $20 is sold at your local Wal-Mart store. It's the VistaQuest VQ1005B Digital Keychain Camera 1.3MP. Honestly you'll get nothing like it for $20 brand new from the store. Plus it's excellent small size make it a perfect thing to have in your pocket or glove compartment at all times for those can't miss shots.
    I myself have an 8.1MP digital camera from Casio, the Exilim EX-Z850 and a 3MP FujiFilm 3800.
    The Casio is really small, enough to fit comforterably in my pocket without giving that excessive bulge look. The only thing is that if it should fall and break, I'd be pretty disappointed as it's not a cheap camera. On the otherhand, the VistaQuest is only a drop in the bucket. If breaks, I won't feel nearly as bad.
    Also the VistaQuest also has come cool features. I'll list the specs:


    Camera Style: Ultra-compact
    Optical Zoom: N/A
    Digital Zoom: N/A
    Memory Included: 8MB
    Max. Resolution: 1600 x 1200
    Product Type: Digital camera
    Resolution: 1.3 Megapixel
    Width: 2.4 in
    Height: 1.5 in
    Depth: 0.8 in
    Lens System Type: Lens - f/2.8
    Focus Adjustment: Focus free
    Min Focus Range: 35.4 in
    Lens Aperture: F/2.8
    Supported Flash Memory: SD Memory Card
    Image Storage: JPEG 1280 x 960 ¦ JPEG 1600 x 1200 ¦ JPEG 640 x 480
    Integrated Memory: 8 MB ( SDRAM )
    Color Support: Color
    Optical Sensor Type: CMOS
    Max Shutter Speed: 1/1500 sec
    Min Shutter Speed: 1/15 sec
    Exposure Modes: Automatic
    White Balance: Automatic
    Digital Video Format: MJPEG
    Still Image Format: JPEG
    Video Capture: MPEG - 320 x 240
    Additional Features: Auto power save
    Supported Battery: AAA
    Supported Battery Details: 1 x AAA
    Connector Type: USB
    Available Body Colors: Black, blue, red, silver
    Operating System Support: MS Windows XP, MS Windows 2000, MS Windows ME, MS Windows 98 SE
    Model No.: VQ1005B
    Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.75
    Product in Inches (L x W x H): 9.25 x 1.18 x 6.1
    Assembled in Country of Origin: USA and/or Imported
    Origin of Components: USA and/or Imported
    Wal-Mart No.: 000658929

    The really cool thing is that it takes an external SD memory card, which is pretty surprising for something so cheap. It's said that it will go through a AAA pretty quick and if you should not remove the pictures from memory before you take out the battery, or before it dies, you'll lose your pictures. The other cool thing is that it only takes a single AAA battery to work which is fantastic.

    Also in the previous thread I listed earlier, I was talking about hacking a one-time use digital camera that you purchase from either CVS & Rite-Aid. The awesome thing about this camera is that it has a small color LCD screen to preview your pictures. The price is something that can't be beat with so many features, normally priced at about $12.99. The reason being that the camera is so cheap is because of the firmware that is included on the camera is SUPPOSED to make it a proprietary unit exclusive to developing at either CVS or Rite Aid. But through some tinkering and ingenuity, people have learned how to make these wonderful and affordable little buggers reusable forever and never having the need to take it back to CVS or Rite Aid to get the pictures out.


    I'm looking forward to purchasing both of these cameras myself. I'm a tinkerer my nature, so I look forward to it.

    I mean where else you gonna get 2 digital cameras new for only about $35?
  9. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    If you get one and take some pics of your models with it I would be interested in seeing your results. Honestly if I went on vacation and came back with those pics that were posted earlier I would be rather dissapointed. They are nice enough overall but the first looks to be lacking in focus/detail and the second really seems to have some skewed colors and also is very lacking on detail clarity. Just my opinion. I have two cameras. An olymus c740 with a 10x optical zoom (around 3.5 mp if I recall) only use it on occasion and nikon coolpix around 6 mp with 3x optical. I do need to dig the olympus out as I think it took better macros than the nikon but its been a while since using it! I dont mean to be just negative about the cheap digital cameras but I have had bad experiences with them and the quality just hasnt been there. Show me the money and convince me now :)
  10. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    GOTTA have MACRO....

    the cheap cameras are good to keep in your glove box. if you are in an accident, they may save you many times their cost from a single use. some interesting travel shots might be taken too. i'm on my third digital camera, a canon sure-shot 510. plenty of megapixels and the macro function. works well. for photograping models, i wouldn't waste your time on anything without the macro function. good results close in with anything else is more a matter of luck....

    P.S. another thing i like about the canon is the lens retracts and is covered when not in use. this prevents the the lense from getting dirty and eventually scratched (often during cleaning). get a set of re-chargable batteries too. you'll save a lot in the long run....
  11. I don't know how cheap they are but for posting stuff on the net I always use one of those old Sony's that use a floppy disk for the storage media. The nice thing is the file size is small enough that they are easily handled but most web photo posting services.
  12. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    Yeah those old sony mavica cameras were pretty good!
  13. Dnlgtr

    Dnlgtr Member

    OK. My friend could not 'Unlock' The camera. I don't know enough about PC's, Let alone this, So I will Not be trying myself.
    As it is I had to re-install the drivers ETC for my DVD drive.
    If any body wants to, I can send the camera & cable to them to 'Unlock' it(let me know how much) & paly arround with it for a while.
    Or I will give it away to some one, NEVER to bother with posting pictures Here or anywhere else EVER!
  14. xyberz

    xyberz Member

    Hey DNLGTR, sorry to hear that you couldn't get it to work. You can send it to me if you'd like and I could have my hand at it and I promise you that I will get it to work properly. DIY & tinkering has always been my thing and I have the proper equipment and soldering skills if needed to figure out what's wrong.
    Also you can trust from all my involvement in this community that I won't be running away with something that doesn't have really high value.
    I'm quite baffled that you couldn't get the drivers to work. Then again it would be hard for me to completely tell what's wrong without physically looking myself.

    I know you are really into paper modeling as all of us are, and it would be a shame that since you have already committed to purchasing that camera and not be able to ever post pictures of your work. I wouldn't be the only one looking forward to works being done by yourself, and others in this community.
  15. xyberz

    xyberz Member

    Macro is not that hard to do on a camera even if it's not included in it's normal functions. If you search on Makezine, you can see that using something quite as simple as a magnifying glass can get you some really nice results, of course that's also dependent of the original quality of the camera itself.
    With a little bit of determination, there's almost nothing that can be done.
    Also on Makezine, there's one person who took a 1MP or so camera off a Treo 650 cell phone and made a simple device that allows it to take very very nice macro shots.
    So I can't see why one couldn't do such a thing with these cheap cameras easily at home without much experience and/or skills.

    To help prove my points about ingenuity and the spirit of the DIY'er, I will be purchasing both cameras myself, (One I may not need to depending on if DNLGTR sends me his to allow me to figure out what's wrong), and then using them to take quality shots good enough for posting pictures of paper models and modifying them to take macro shots.
    I won't use any extravagant methods, just simple ones that just about ANYONE could do in their own homes with some simple tools and a little bit of effort. Everything will be documented along the way with complete instructions so everyone may follow along and do it themselves with great confidence.
    I will also be showing people how to make a cheap but effective photo box for taking high quailty studio style pictures of your models. Again this will follow the guidelines of being easy to do at home for anyone.
    All of this will be posted in a new thread when I start and I will add a link to it in this thread to reference it.
    I believe that everyone should have the ability to take pictures of their models regardless of budget. This project will be dedicated to those who are on a tight bugdet and want to be able to at least take decent pictures of all their hard work and effort that they put into their models.
    This project will be started as soon as have moved. Which will be in about 2 weeks or so. So be on the lookout for it.
  16. Dnlgtr

    Dnlgtr Member

    Close shots Might be possible with a 'PinHole Lens'.
    I have an issue of Scale Auto Enthusiast mag. That shows this with standard 35mm film cameras.
    So why wouldn't it work on Digital??
  17. mlthomas36

    mlthomas36 New Member

    Do you know which issue of Scale Auto Enthusiast mag had the article about the Pin Hole Lens?
    I would like to try this with my camera.
  18. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    "All of this will be posted in a new thread when I start and I will add a link to it in this thread to reference it.
    I believe that everyone should have the ability to take pictures of their models regardless of budget."

    sounds great. i'm not sure i'll be utilizing any of the techniques but i'll certainly try anything which could improve results. that canon of mine is only 3.5 mp but it has useful features. it looks like choosing model of the week photos is going to get more challenging for someone....

    good luck with your move.
  19. pgutzmer

    pgutzmer New Member

    What do you mean "Old". It's the best camera I have.
  20. Amazyah

    Amazyah Senior Member

    By Poppa Gutzmer!


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