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- Digital Camera Review-
this to say about the camera:
compact Polaroid i1032 into your pocket or purse and you're ready to
capture the action no matter where you go! Delivers amazing quality
with 10.0 megapixel images that are ideal for making breathtaking portraits,
sharing over the Internet or via email. So easy to use with fully-automatic
features. Just point and shoot for perfect pictures!"
You can find more information on their website.
The Camera: a visual tour: (Photos of the camera taken with the Panasonic Lumix FZ3)
Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax 35mm film camera - a medium/compact sized 35mm film camera.
Specifications / Features:
Average box contents - There is limited memory provided with the camera. The silicone skin is useful protection in the rain. It's nice to see the inclusion of a Printed Manual.
Battery usage: Camera power usage seemed good as I was able to take well over 200 8mp photos with freshly charged 2500mAh batteries (around 180 filled the 512Mb SD card). When the batteries do run out, the camera displays"replace battery"(though this message came quite suddenly after the indicator had been showing half-charged batteries for some time). I could not find any reference (in the manual or quick guide) to battery life expectancy. This will vary considerably dependant on camera use (ie image size, flash & frequency of use) however, as it takes regular AAs, carrying spares should avert missing photo opportunities.
Operation and Options:
To turn the camera on, the power button has to be held down until
the light comes on (about one second) and is ready for taking photos
when the light stops flashing. The Photo / Play button switches the
camera mode between photo and playback. The M button allows setting
of quality preferences. The SCN button reveals 11 preset scene options
as well as Program, Aperture, Shutter and full Manual priority.
The SET button reveals aperture, shutter, white balance, ISO, and Exposure
Value adjustment. The Left button on the four-way controller enables
Macro, the Right button switches through the flash modes, and the bottom
button self timer modes and multishot. The bottom left (wide-screen)
button toggles through the on-screen display
information options. The bottom right button switches between
the recording modes.
Screen / LCD display in photo mode: (shown on the left) The screen has a high resolution and updates smoothly, it is clear and the text and menus are easy to read and the colours appear accurate. There is no live histogram available. Optical Viewfinder: There is no optical viewfinder.
The shooting 'M' button menu: This gives you access to the following settings in Photo mode: Resolution, Quality, Metering, Sharpness, Effect, Date Stamp, Digital Zoom, & Setup, which has a submenu for sounds, auto review delay, power save, date & time, language, file number, TV format, USB, welcome image, format & reset to default.
The shooting 'SCN' button menu: Program, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual, Portrait,Landscape, Night scene, Sunset, Sports, Kids,Beach & Snow, Backlight, Fireworks, Close-Up, Text.
As well as the usual preset scene modes, having aperture, shutter or full manual priority options is a useful bonus.
The shooting 'SET' button menu: Aperture, shutter speed, white balance, ISO, and EV are available dependant on the preset selected in scene mode. Selecting M in 'SCN', would enable all options.
Playback (Review) mode options:
View mode: Scrolling through the photos is quick and there is a slide show option as well as various editing functions. The zoom is quick up to 5x and has the option of cropping the original to the zoomed in section.
The View 'M' button menu: protect, delete, slide show, DPOF, copy to card, effect, rotate, resize, voice memo, s. image (welcome picture) and setup.
Picture Size / Quality: The chart below gives an indication of the number of images the internal memory will store at specific image sizes and settings.
As shown in the table above, higher quality images take a large amount of memory, and you can't fit very many photos in the provided memory, so a high capacity memory card is definitely recommended. The manual suggests the Polaroid i1032 supports up to 1Gb SD. There is a reasonable choice of image sizes and compression.
A large memory card is relatively cheap, and highly recommended, I would recommend at a bare minimum a 256mb memory card, and preferably a 512mb memory card, especially considering the relatively low prices - the larger the memory card, the more photos you will be able to take. If you are likely to be away from a computer for a long time (such as when going on holiday) then the largest memory card you can afford would definitely be worth investing in. This camera takes only secure digital memory. Listed below are links to memory cards that will work with the Polaroid i1032:
Find the latest
prices for SD memory cards at Amazon.co.uk: 256mb: £5.75,
1gb (1000mb): £14.22
Speed: The camera takes 3 seconds to switch on. It takes roughly 4.5 seconds to switch on, focus and take the photo. Focusing is quick in average light at around 0.4 - 0.5 seconds set to wide angle, but slower when using macro. Shutter response is fairly quick at around 0.1 - 0.2 seconds. Shot to shot time is average at around 2.0 seconds between shots (with review switched on), with flash switched on this shot to shot time is around 10 seconds. Continuous shooting allows you to take 4 shots at roughly 1 frame every two seconds (flash not an option). Playback mode is fairly quick, and it's easy to zoom up to 5x on your last shot and check for blur with the zoom control. Moving from picture to picture is very quick, however it shows you a blurred version first and then shows you a sharper version a second later. Moving around the different menu options is rapid. The screen updates in photo mode are generally very quick and smooth.
Ease of use: The camera is intuitive in use, even though there are quite a lot of options and features. The controls on the back are fairly easy to use - the menus are responsive and easy to read. The shooting/recording modes are easy to access, with a dedicated button. There are numerous pre-set scene modes to enable you to take photos in different situations, and this is where you can select shutter, aperture, or manual priority.
Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The buttons are fairly easy to use, and they are in a good position and in easy reach for using the camera with one hand. The number of buttons for a mainly automatic point and shoot digital camera appear to be right. They feel okay, although the shutter release, being capsule shaped, will not function well if pressed at either end. Personally, I would have preferred a round one. The buttons are labeled fairly well. I thought the camera felt okay ergonomically, although there is very little in the way of a handgrip. The battery compartment cover seems to be well positioned and easy to open, though if not treated with care, could easily be damaged.
Image Quality: Here are some real world sample photos taken in various settings, such as Inside, Outside, Macro, to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the Polaroid i1032 Sample Photo Gallery!
Inside: The camera has quite good, well saturated colour - this one used portrait as preset, with no noticeable red-eye. Unless the subject is central, focus will be eratic. The flash is quite adequate and over exposed in some instances with colse-ups. (Notice some barrelling with wall picture, and purple fringing in flash reflections) Exposure and colour is good with larger group photos. The camera did a fairly good job at focusing most of the time even in low-light.
ISO Noise Test: Noise: Noise is generally a bad thing - it removes detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as digital camera noise is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise. Noise is most noticeable in dark areas of photos. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels, and manual ISO settings (ISO: 50, 100, 200)
Below you'll find the noise test image, plus actual pixel crops from the image taken at different ISO settings, compared with the 10 megapixel Casio Exilim EX-Z1000 and as a reference point, the 6 megapixel Canon Powershot A700.
The Casio Exilim
EX-Z1000 noise is very colourful and blotchy being made out of mainly
large red, green and blue dots. It's easy to see why the Polaroid i1032
has decided to limit ISO options when looking at the Casio's results,
in fact the Polaroid results appear slightly less noisey and slightly
sharper, so perhaps Polaroid could have provided an ISO400 mode as well.
Outside: The camera has quite rich, saturated colours, with good contrast and fairly good detail. There was no noticeable vignetting in any photos.
Zoom: This camera has a 3x optical zoom lens and a built in 4x digital zoom - in the case of this camera the digital zoom basically takes a smaller area of the photo and enlarges it using software blurring the image so that it is not pixellated. Generally it's best to avoid using digital zoom as it degrades the quality of the image and, often, better results can be obtained by using a photo package such as Adobe Photoshop. I've included examples below to show what the optical and digital zoom is capable of.
Exposure: The photos of the clock tower are exposed well with detail in the dark areas as well as the lighter areas - exposure in other photos varied considerably. Purple fringing is evident in the wide angle and 3x optical zoom photo. Vignetting was low on all photos.
Lens noise and zoom: The lens is fairly quiet in operation. The lens gives reasonable control over how you frame your subject with about 24 steps between wide and telephoto zoom. The zoom button is very responsive (sensitive), particularly in playback mode.
Quality issues: Exposure using the Normal preset was varied, however
selecting the appropriate metering mode (Center, Multi or Spot), or
preset may overcome this. Purple
fringing was quite bad in high contrast areas near picture corners.
This is a lens quality issue, which becomes more exaggerated the higher
the resolution of the picture, and will be a limitting factor as far
as to how much enlarging will be practical.
Macro: the macro mode allows you to focus between .05M and 1M on wide angle and .25 and 1M using Telephoto. The manual does not recomend the use of flash for macro shots closer than 20 to 30 Cm.
Noise seems low in this photo and colour is good.
Video mode: The camera features video in 640x480, 320x240, or 160x128 resolution at 30fps with sound. Video quality and length seemed quite good even in low light.
Summary: The Polaroid i1032 is a quite stylish, 10 megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom lens and a 2.4" screen. It has a lot of manual features available to control picture quality. In this case, the Polaroid i1032 is noticeably let down by the lens, as it produces worrying purple fringing (chromatic aberrations), emphasised when using higher resolutions, so no matter how much post-processing goes on, this aspect of image quality will always be a weak point. Exposure appeared inconsistent, though it was possible to compensate for this with more considered use of the presets or some post processing (the worst photos were left out of the gallery). As the lens design does not support the 10 megapixel CCD resolution, polaroid have failed to capitalise on its benefits, and it performs like a camera with a smaller CCD.
What I like:
What I don't like:
Additional Test Images are viewable in the Polaroid i1032 Sample Photo Gallery.