In 2001 or so digital cameras started to go from ridiculously expensive to only moderately expensive. Only the geekiest of people owned them. The rapid drop in prices, though, led to a memorable discussion between my roommate Scott and his friend Jeff, where they wondered how long it would take before disposable cameras went digital. A few years later you could get digital copies from disposable cameras. I don’t think the disposables were actually digital, I think they just scanned the film and provided people with a Picture CD along with the prints.
I was reminded of this discussion while finishing our Christmas shopping. I stumbled upon a keychain digital camera, which normally sold for $15 but was on clearance for $5. $5 for a working digital camera. I purchased one (just one) and now Melissa is questioning my sanity.
It only cost $5. It is extraordinarily small. It came with the required AAA battery, as well as a USB cable and a case. It also has a keychain built-in.
The AAA battery was nearly dead on arrival. The USB cable has some non-standard connector, so it can’t be used for anything else. Rather than do the sensible thing and have it mount as a USB mass storage device, it requires some Windows-only driver. It has 16 mb (that’s mega, with a M) of memory which holds only 20 photos at 352 x 288. It also seemed to randomly overwrite a few of the photos I took (not that they were even worth saving).
The photo quality speaks for itself. These are full size, unedited photos from the $5 camera.