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|Visioneer MX-200 Digital Camera Review|
Introduction: The Visioneer MX-200 digital camera is a 2MP, auto focus, digital camera, with a 3x digital zoom, 8mb internal memory, a 1.5" Colour TFT, Flash etc. The main advantage of this camera is that it only costs £39.99 from Toys'R'Us! (Initially the camera was £29.99, but Toys'R'Us must have released they could easily charge more!) The camera is capable of taking macro photos as close as 15cm, as well as being used as a webcam with the PC. The camera has all the usual features such as self timer, but also has several preset modes which should make using the camera easier. The camera can produce 3MP images through software interpolation. Nb. This camera was also sold as the Digital Dream Eclipse 2.0. Eclipse 2.0 drivers can be found on the Digital Dream website.
"Visioneer's new 2 megapixels digital camera with 3x optical zoom makes it easier than ever to capture your special moments as high-resolution digital pictures or up to 60 second video clips."
It's not tiny, but it's not overly large either.
Compared to a Pentax PC-550 35mm automatic
Can be used as a webcam (set the camera dial to "PC Mode"), and records videos at 15fps (without sound), it also has a video out so you can view your pictures on your TV with the provided cable. The camera takes 2 AA batteries, and includes a tripod mount thread.
Includes preset modes
such as: Macro, Self Timer, Sun/Lanscape, Portrait, Night Scene or you
can use the standard "Photo" mode.
The camera takes the following size pictures / and the following number of images will fit in the 8mb built in memory: (an extra memory card is recommended if you intend to go on holiday or are going to be away from a computer for more than a day!)
Speed, ease of use: Easy enough to operate, you simply switch it on and make sure the dial on the back is set to take photos. Pressing the shutter half way down will get the camera to focus, pressing it all the way down will take the photo - you can tell when the camera has successfully focused because the square in the middle will change from white (shown below) to red. Focusing is fairly quick - and taking the picture is also fairly quick - I found that the camera was more likely to focus correctly when pressed half way down, then when you can see the red box, press again to take the picture - on some occassions simply pressing the shutter release all the way down resulted in the camera taking a picture that was out of focus. It takes about a second to focus (slightly slower than the Canon A300 I have), and then another second to take the photo (about the same speed as the Canon A300) - whilst taking the photo, the display goes black - using the flash slows the camera down some more, and the screen goes black whilst the flash is charging.
Battery usage is fairly poor - slightly better than the Canon A300 - but rechargable high powered Ni-Mh batteries are HIGHLY recommended - this is pretty much the case with all digital cameras. Connecting the camera up to the computer shows the cameras memory as an additional disk drive. I find this a very easy way to copy and view the images on the camera.
LCD display in
In playback mode you can zoom into the image to have a closer look (x4) and pan around the image to see the part you are interested in. Like the Minolta E223 (which uses an almost identical menu system), when scrolling through photos, the camera shows you a blurry version first, then shows you a sharper version about half a second later.
Zoom: The camera has a built in 3x Digital zoom - this basically takes a smaller area of the photo and enlarges it using software to blur the image so that it does not look pixellated. Generally it's best to avoid using this, and simply crop the image later on your computer. I've included an example below simply to show what this feature does - and whilst it looks acceptable at the size shown, if you printed the images out or viewed the full size versions in the gallery you would easily notice the negative effect it has on image quality.
can be used in macro mode, the screen goes black whilst the camera "charges"
the flash. The macro mode lets you focus as closely as 10/15cm.
movie mode lets you record about 27 seconds on the built in memory at
around 15fps without sound.
The camera produces nice pictures, with good colour (if slightly yellowy), and produces good pictures even when using the flash close up. The preset modes are especially useful and make the camera easy to use. The camera has a decent size optical viewfinder which should please people who are new to digital cameras as they may prefer the more traditional way of composing their pictures. If you need or want sound with videos, this camera, unfortunately will not be suitable.
By spending more money you might be able to buy a better camera for around £60 or more, or perhaps one with a brand name, but at this price point, I doubt there is any camera currently that can produce pictures anywhere near the quality of this camera - most cameras around £40 are still 1.3MP, fixed focus, sometimes without a colour LCD etc. The closest alternative 2MP cameras are the: Fuji Q1 Digital from around £60, the Kodak CX6200 from around £60, the Trust PowerC@m 715 from £67 (which looks similar to the Visioneer MX200, but may have different specs etc), and the Umax XS1MP3 from around £60/70 to name but a few. To be honest though, I would save the £20 and spend that on a larger memory card, as you would need to buy a larger memory card for these other cameras as well.
Summary: Highly recommended for those on a budget! A bargain priced 2MP digital camera that produces decent images, and is easy to use with useful features. The camera has a good focal range, and macro mode. The only two negatives are the lack of memory included with the camera, and the lack of sound on videos. Read more digital camera reviews here.
What I like:
What I don't like: