Digital AND Disposable!

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Railfan, Aug 2, 2003.

  1. Railfan

    Railfan Guest

    In another thread there is a discussion as to whether disposable cameras
    are any good. And there are continuing threads questioning if digital
    cameras are any good too.

    In this week's Time magazine (August 4 edition), there is a small item
    on new 100% disposable digital cameras which go on sale this week! The
    item says

    "For $10.99 you get an automatic flash, metered exposure control, a
    self-timer and - because its digital - the option to instantly delete
    any pictures that don't pan out. The camera comes from Pure Digital
    Technologies in San Francisco. Digital photofinishing will take an hour,
    or you can use your printer. Walt Disney World Resorts will start
    selling the camera this fall."

    The beginning of the end? :)

    Bob Boudreau
    Railfan, Aug 2, 2003
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  2. What's the definition of 'disposable' in this case? Technically, I don't see
    how this type of camera can vary in any way from those cheap basic digital
    cameras that you can pick up just about anywhere. Maybe the camera
    manufacturer would 'lock' the camera in some way so that you couldn't
    download the pictures yourself, otherwise you be able to use it for as long
    as you wanted.

    Chris Barnard, Aug 2, 2003
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  3. Railfan

    Railfan Guest

    After I started this thread, I Googled the firm's name and came up with
    this report from that says a lot more. Oh, oh, Ritz Camera
    is in on it!

    Bob Boudreau

    "Digital Cameras Go Disposable

    Ritz Camera offers an affordable digital alternative.

    Grace Aquino,
    Friday, August 01, 2003

    Buying a digital camera doesn't have to be a big investment. This week,
    Ritz Camera Centers unveiled a single-use digital camera that will cost
    you only $11.

    The Dakota Digital Single-Use Camera is available in select Ritz Camera
    and Wolf Camera retail stores in 14 U.S. cities, including Atlanta,
    Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington

    David Ritz, Chairman of Ritz Camera Centers, says the Dakota Digital is
    ideal "for anyone who wants an inexpensive, single-use camera and is
    interested in trying digital for the first time."

    The camera could help users get past one of the biggest hurdles in
    digital photography: Despite its increasing popularity, less than 19
    percent of digital pictures are printed because of the complexity, cost,
    and time requirements of home printing, according to the Photo Marketing

    "For $10.99, customers have an opportunity to try digital technology
    without investing in a pricey digital camera," says Ritz. (By
    comparison, a disposable film camera from Kodak or Fuji costs about $8,
    according to Ritz.)

    The Basics
    The Dakota Digital, which was developed by San Francisco-based Pure
    Digital Technologies, captures up to 25 snapshots and uses a CMOS
    (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) sensor. The camera has 12MB of
    internal memory, Simon Fleming-Wood, Pure Digital's vice president of
    marketing says. He could not disclose the camera's image resolution. In
    comparison, you can buy a standard 1-megapixel camera with an LCD from
    companies like HP and Kodak for under $100. Such cameras, however, will
    tend to be older models.

    The camera runs on AA alkaline batteries (which are included) and
    features an automatic flash and a self timer. Although the camera has no
    LCD for viewing images, it does include a delete button. This means that
    unlike disposable film cameras, the Dakota Digital allows users to
    delete a bad photo--for example, when users know a subject has
    inadvertently moved or blinked. However, users can only delete the most
    recent photo.

    Get the Picture
    After capturing 25 pictures on the Dakota Digital, users return the
    camera to a Ritz or Wolf lab that has the equipment to process the
    images. The camera uses a proprietary image format (Pure Digital Imaging
    Platform) that works only with Pure Digital's machines. It cannot be
    connected to a PC to transfer photos.

    Ritz/Wolf charges about $11 for processing 25 4-by-6 prints and a photo
    CD. By comparison, the company charges $14 for developing film (from a
    disposable camera or a standard roll of film) for the same quantity and
    size prints and a photo CD. Processing takes about an hour in either
    case but depends on the lab's workload.

    On the photo CD, users have two viewing options: Small Photos, which
    shows a few thumbnails on screen, and Large Photo, which shows a single
    image on screen.

    From the photo CD, users can rotate images and edit captions. The
    software allows shutterbugs to e-mail pictures, save them on the PC by
    automatically creating a folder on the Windows desktop called Photo CD,
    print photos, and create a slide show.

    Once the prints have been developed, Ritz/Wolf returns the camera to
    Pure Digital for recycling. Much like the method for film disposables,
    Pure Digital refurbishes each camera for resale."
    Railfan, Aug 2, 2003
  4. Railfan

    Mxsmanic Guest

    The cameras are recycled, not thrown away, aren't they? So they aren't
    really disposable cameras; they are rental cameras.
    Mxsmanic, Aug 2, 2003
  5. Railfan

    Mxsmanic Guest

    Hint: It's not a rival to the 1Ds.

    A digital disposable may backfire if the intent is to introduce people
    to digital photography, mainly because the resolution and image quality
    will be so low that it will give people the impression that digital
    overall is dramatically inferior to film. Additionally, if all you want
    is prints, there's no particular reason to shoot digital at all.
    Mxsmanic, Aug 3, 2003
  6. Yes, and there are a lot of collectors who will just buy them for their,
    "museums" of old photographic memorabilia.......Someday they will be as
    collectable as the old box brownies......
    William Graham, Aug 3, 2003
  7. Railfan

    Jan Keirse Guest

    Hehe, I wonder for how long, computer freaks have been very original in the
    past, I can only hope someone find a trick to get the thing connected to a
    standard PC and write some software to convert the image format to someting
    common. Lets say 10 more dollars for some extra electronics and you'd have a
    dirt cheap digital camera... if the quality is reasonable... Well, it won't be
    like a DSLR, but if it is intended to make prints, maybe it will be better than
    the very bottom line (the cheapest of the cheapest) digicams, wich would be very
    nice for a lot of people who just want to take snapshots...
    Jan Keirse, Aug 3, 2003
  8. Railfan

    Mxsmanic Guest

    Perhaps forever, if the image quality is as bad as I suspect it will be.
    Which is why the quality will be poor. Nobody is going to sell digicams
    with a value of $500 for $11 if he ever expects to see them again, so by
    necessity the $11 digicams will have very poor image quality--poor even
    in comparison to disposable film, I suspect. It's the only way to
    prevent people from keeping them.
    Mxsmanic, Aug 3, 2003
  9. So the company loans a stripped-down ~$90 digital camera for $11 to one
    punter, who uses it, then the company gets their camera back and the cycle
    begins again. After loaning it out to eight people they are practically
    evens (not accounting the fact that the camera only cost $10 to make). If
    "refurbishing" means wiping the memory and replacing the CCD everytime it
    suffers a massive failure, then Pure Digital and their affiliates will be
    raking it in. Like film disposables, except that everyone will rush to buy a
    new cheap product with the word "digital" slapped on the front in big
    letters... and that they save a few cents in not buying film each time the
    camera's returned.

    The "McDonalds Miracle" is not that they can get people to buy their swill,
    but that they can convince people to keep coming back for more... If the
    companies who fall in with this idea can capture the McMiracle, then I dare
    say the consumer world is being changed as we speak.
    Martin Francis, Aug 3, 2003
  10. Railfan

    Duncan Ross Guest

    From: Mxsmanic
    Sound like it. I wonder if they make a fuss if you bring it back with the lens
    Duncan Ross, Aug 3, 2003
  11. Railfan

    Mxsmanic Guest

    Good question. I wonder if they ask for a deposit, too. A camera with
    AE, auto flash, self-timer, and other features is intrinsically worth
    more than $11, so if it comes back in pieces, who pays for the loss?
    Mxsmanic, Aug 4, 2003
  12. Railfan

    Polytone Guest

    how many megapixels?
    Polytone, Aug 4, 2003
  13. But what does it actually cost? 1 camera like that costs about 2 million
    dollars to make. 1000 costs $100 for the unit + $2000 for the
    development (of the product, not processing) costs. 1,000,000 cost about
    $10 each + $2 for the development costs. 5,000,000 cost about $5 each +
    $.40 for the development costs.

    So if they plan to sell 5,000,000 of them, they make 100% of the wholesale
    cost in profit the first time the sell it. This is quite high a percentage,
    the normal deal for electronics is that for the first million or so, you
    pay about $7 (cost from scratch to finished product) + another $2 to
    pay off development costs for something that retails for $11.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Aug 4, 2003
  14. Just be a good tidy citizen and demand YOUR camera back. :)

    To properly dispose of of course. Can't wait for it to come here.

    Paul Repacholi 1 Crescent Rd.,
    +61 (08) 9257-1001 Kalamunda.
    West Australia 6076
    comp.os.vms,- The Older, Grumpier Slashdot
    Raw, Cooked or Well-done, it's all half baked.
    EPIC, The Architecture of the future, always has been, always will be.
    Paul Repacholi, Aug 4, 2003
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