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Digital Cameras Go Disposable

timothy posted about 13 years ago | from the japan-is-weird dept.

Technology 221

iforgotmyfirstlogon writes: "Three Japanese companies are trying to make money off "disposable" digital cameras. You pay for using the camera, take it back to the store to get your pictures, and they recycle the camera so someone else can use it CNN story here. I think it's just a matter of (little) time before hordes of enterprising geeks figure out how to get the pics out and reuse it without paying the fee, or simply gut the camera for parts. Can't see how they'll make money..." And at $16 for .3 megapixels, this sounds like more of a novelty than a bargain, considering that 4-megapixel cameras are available now for less than a thousand dollars.

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I've already got one (1, Funny)

sllort (442574) | about 13 years ago | (#2447651)

I've got a disposable digital camera right here. My friend called it an "Imac", but whatever.

Re:I've already got one (1)

xZAQx (472674) | about 13 years ago | (#2447702)

LOL, this is really funny. Mod this parent up.

Seriously, though, I'm an aspiring EE, it couldn't be hard to tear that thing down. This is, without a doubt, one of the stupidest ideas I've ever heard of. As a matter of fact, this is right up there with the infamous list:

Copy-protected CDs

the RIAA legally hacking your boxen for mp3s

DoS'ing your boxen if you trade mp3s, moviez, et al

There are 2^1024 stupid people in the world. The list above is a marginal fraction of that number.

You're a fucking dork. (-1)

CmdrTaco on (468152) | about 13 years ago | (#2447957)

Your 'infamous list' is made up of 3 things that have happened recently in the last month or so. Are you one of those new lame ass trolls?

frist ps0t? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447653)

of course it is, don't be silly. we didn't spend all day reloading /. for nothing, did we, preciousssss? sfi 4eva.

Re:frist ps0t? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447691)

or not [slashdot.org]

digital cameras make nice bed fellows (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447658)

now i can take digital pics of my sweet sweet ass for only $15!

These sound......interesting. (1)

Trinn (523103) | about 13 years ago | (#2447660)

I agree, these will not be around long. They are not a terrible idea though, someone just needs to make ones out of better technology. Right now the picture is probably on par with a webcam.

two examples at $25 from pricewatch (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447904)

I think both of these are made by Mattel and are the same camera. It stores something like 6 low resolution images when detached from the computer.

I have seen the Barbie one for $10 somewhere.

Barbie Photo Design Digital Camera complete with Photo Design software $19 + $6 shipping

Nick Click! Digital Camera Complete Retail Package with Nickelodeon Software $19 + $6 shipping

gimmick (0)

motherfuckin_spork (446610) | about 13 years ago | (#2447670)

fad

passing fancy

need I say more?

I think we can all see that this is not a "long-run" type product.

Re:gimmick (1)

Green Aardvark House (523269) | about 13 years ago | (#2447773)

Nah. I thought the same way about disposable cameras, but with time, these disposables will have more resolution, etc. And of course the initial investment is lower, so you do not have to be as cautious with it. The only drawback is that you have to return it to the store from where it was purchased, unlike traditional disposables. (Think of the problems if you buy one on vacaton and take ithome with you!)

IMHO, it's just the next step in disposable cameras.

I dunno... (0)

motherfuckin_spork (446610) | about 13 years ago | (#2447829)

I can see the purpose of a dispoable film-based camera. They're cheap, they serve a purpose, you don't need to worry about up-keep.

But a disposable digital camera, such as is discussed here, isn't really "dispoable" at all... I think you lose the bang-to-buck ratio that you have with the film based cameras. Plus, why bother? Why not just buy a non-dispo digital camera, and keep using it? I just don't see any value being added here.

Re:gimmick (-1)

benevolent_spork (446160) | about 13 years ago | (#2447873)

d00d!

Holy Fuck! Nonnegative karma! Jesus fucking sandpaper, that is fucking cool!

You goo girl!

YeeeeFuckingHaaaaw! (c) 2001 Spork_Testicle.

economics (1)

shibut (208631) | about 13 years ago | (#2447683)

A similar cost argument could have applied to disposable cameras and yet they do have their uses and have a real market. I think this could be a great replacement for those disposable cameras, although I agree that there may be a problem with people hacking them. Perhaps they'll use a "deposit" like for bottles or credit card guarantee like for hotel rooms.

Re:economics (2, Insightful)

RadioheadKid (461411) | about 13 years ago | (#2447723)

I have to disagree. One of the great selling points of a disposable camera is that you can bring it somewhere and you don't have to worry about losing or breaking it. If you do you've lost a few pictures and you're out $10-$15. I can't imagine the digital camera renter's being as forgiving, even if it is a low-end model.

KidA

Re:economics (1)

RadioheadKid (461411) | about 13 years ago | (#2447743)

Actually I f-ed up, I should have read the article more closely:
"Customers are under no obligation to return the camera to the store or collect their prints, once the service fee is paid."

Oops..

Re:economics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447813)

Right. You can bring a disposable camera into a concert, and if security confiscates your $15.00 throwaway, BFD.

forget disposable camera for concerts (2)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | about 13 years ago | (#2447865)

Why use a disposable camera? Use the Wristwatch Camera [slashdot.org] . How will they know what is is, when it is up your sleeve.

Re:forget disposable camera for concerts (-1)

CmdrTaco on (468152) | about 13 years ago | (#2447992)

Why use a disposable camera? Use the Asswatch Camera [slashdot.org] . How will they know what is is, when it is up your ass.

Re:economics (1)

allism (457899) | about 13 years ago | (#2447728)

Nah, the beauty of disposable 35mm cameras is that I can buy one at the gift shop in the airport in Cincinnati during my layover on the way to Ft. Lauderdale, then wait to get the pics developed when I get to Denver instead of having to make a trip back to where I bought the camera. The only way this'll be a real moneymaker is if some big chain (think Wal-mart, Texaco, etc.) does a nationwide thing and lets you get the prints printed at any location.

Re:economics (1)

jiheison (468171) | about 13 years ago | (#2447857)

I agree that there may be a problem with people hacking them.

It is a simple matter to take apart a standard disposable camera and load new film into it, yet these are still on the market. Why would digital cameras be any different?

The average user isn't giong to bother with hacking into a sufficently cheap disposable product.

Re:economics (1)

agdv (457752) | about 13 years ago | (#2447900)

It is a simple matter to take apart a standard disposable camera and load new film into it


...as long as you do it in a perfectly dark room. IIRC there is no rewind mechanism, so all the film is out of the roll.

Better images than the watch (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | about 13 years ago | (#2447686)

Cassio released a few days ago, and cheaper too.

and is not wrist mounted...

What's the point? (2, Insightful)

Dark Legend (125785) | about 13 years ago | (#2447687)

What's the point? if you have to take it back to the shop U might as well use a normal camera and get the pics developed in 1hr??? just why???

Re:What's the point? (1)

Dark Legend (125785) | about 13 years ago | (#2447887)

you do loose all the benefits of a digital camera this way, namely being able to print out the pics yourself, at your leisure, in your own home.. I assume there will also be no LCD (aricle doesn't mention) to preview the pics and see if they are any good, this is a function I often use on my camera, if the picture is crap, I take another...

same problems as the iOpener? (2, Troll)

sllort (442574) | about 13 years ago | (#2447690)

"Profit-making relies on how many cameras we can collect and how many times we can recycle them, which can be recycled for several times," says Katsuhiko Miyata, an Asahi Optical spokesperson, noting that the manufacturing cost of the camera, even at this quality level, is still more than the service fee.

This is going to have the same problem those subscription-based internet appliances had. As soon as someone figures out how to hack these into a webcam, people are going to buy them and not return them.

As the company spokesperson admitted, the problem is the cost differential. They're depending on a certain percentage of customers actually returning the cameras X number of times. If they can hit that percentage and that X, they're good.

My guess is the first person to put out information on how to hack one of these is going to get slapped with a lawsuit.

Re:same problems as the iOpener? (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 13 years ago | (#2447759)

Unless they ask for credit card number before you return it. Keep it, and they charge you.

Honestly, I don't see the difference in this and just renting one...

Re:same problems as the iOpener? (2, Insightful)

famazza (398147) | about 13 years ago | (#2447808)

  • My guess is the first person to put out information on how to hack one of these is going to get slapped with a lawsuit.

Please, try to remember this. Not all the countries have stupid laws (like DMCA or SSSCA) to avoid this kind of hacking.

There are many other places where you have the right of full free speech (different from limited free speech, AKA as DMCA limitations).

I don't think Dmitri was dumb, he just haven't even imagined that in the so called country of freedom he would have full free speech, just like he have now a days in Russia.

Re:same problems as the iOpener? (1)

ChannelX (89676) | about 13 years ago | (#2447981)

Can you point to any country and give hard proof that it has 'full freedom of speech'? The US has never had it (regardless of someones imagination).

Re:same problems as the iOpener? (2)

stripes (3681) | about 13 years ago | (#2447860)

My guess is the first person to put out information on how to hack one of these is going to get slapped with a lawsuit

Perhaps to make it harder to crack whenever you fail to give the camera the right handshake it dumps the charge it normally uses to fire the flash (speedlight) into the I/O port frying everything on the other side...

Bzzzzzt!

Re:same problems as the iOpener? (1)

aclarke (307017) | about 13 years ago | (#2447869)

This is like saying that as soon as people figure out they can KEEP their rental car forever after only paying for the first day, they can have a car for $20...

If these companies do a $200 authentication on your credit card, you're definitely going to have a vested interest in returning the camera. And if you don't, the company just cleaned up on you.

OR (1)

aclarke (307017) | about 13 years ago | (#2447879)

...this is like commenting that those companies who rent DVD players at airports have a stupid idea because people are just going to take their DVD players home with them and not return them at the destination airport...

I would pay $10 to $20 for this (4, Interesting)

WillSeattle (239206) | about 13 years ago | (#2447697)

Seriously, I'd love to rent a high-end digital camera, cause I can't justify wasting more than $300 on buying something I don't use that often.

But I'd love to rent one when I have guests from out of town, fill it up with pictures of us doing the town, take it back and get the pictures.

Will they be offering those digital movie cameras too? This is something I'd also be willing to rent, take it on a short trip, maybe film a ski trip with friends, then turn it in.

Re:I would pay $10 to $20 for this (3, Insightful)

DShor (127100) | about 13 years ago | (#2447768)

I don't think that the issue is whether or not people will pay the $16 or what have you for the camera. The issue is whether the company will lose money on people hacking the cameras. Remember, if they can get in to get your pics (even if they encrypt the data), you can get in too. It's only a matter of time before someone figures out how to get the pics out, and/or bypass whatever security measures are in place.

The only way I see this working is if they place a hold on your credit card for the value of the camera. The problem is, most people won't want a $300+ hold on their card just for this.

Besides, at $10 to $20 per use, you could've bought your own unlimited use digital camera after 15 or so uses of which you would probably need 4 or so uses per trip. It just doesn't pay.

Re:I would pay $10 to $20 for this (3, Informative)

stripes (3681) | about 13 years ago | (#2447770)

Seriously, I'd love to rent a high-end digital camera, cause I can't justify wasting more than $300 on buying something I don't use that often

These are not high end, 0.3Mpixels is not enough to make a good 4x6 print (2.1Mpixels is more then enough).

Places like Penn camera do rent high end digital cameras (Nikon D1, D1h, D1x, Canon EOS-D30, and I would assume the EOS-1D in a few months), but they run more like $100 to $300 a day (oddly enough a weekend is one "day").

I think you are going to be better off "renting" one of the disposable film cameras. The quality from them is pretty bad (far worse then a good $100 film P&S like the Stylus, or T4), but a lot better then 0.3Mpixels!

Re:I would pay $10 to $20 for this (1)

schon (31600) | about 13 years ago | (#2447785)

I'd love to rent a high-end digital camera

The problem is that these are not high-end.

They're very low end. I have a D-link with more than double the resolution that cost me $120 Canadian - that's about $65 US.. at that rate, you rent the thing 4 times and you might as well have bought one (and have a better camera to boot!)

Agred, if you could rent a high-end one, that MIGHT make it work better, but the current cost is way too high for what you're getting.

Re:I would pay $10 to $20 for this (1)

khofTim (529214) | about 13 years ago | (#2447871)

really? you would actually pay 16 US$ for 24 pictures at 640x480?
sorry but i wouldn't.

.

Where have these people been? (0, Troll)

deitrahs (449087) | about 13 years ago | (#2447698)

"Profit-making relies on how many cameras we can collect and how many times we can recycle them, which can be recycled for several times," says Katsuhiko Miyata, an Asahi Optical spokesperson, noting that the manufacturing cost of the camera, even at this quality level, is still more than the service fee.

Um... is it just me, or is this yet ANOTHER variation on the Cue:Cat? Is Japan so far behind that they're just NOW getting to the dot.com bubble stage of their economic collapse?

"We're selling them at a loss... but we'll make it up in volume!"

Of course, that doesn't stop me from wanting one. This is just screaming "Hack Me!".

Cheers,
--bmc

Re:Where have these people been? (1)

jiheison (468171) | about 13 years ago | (#2447925)

Is Japan so far behind. . .?

Nice troll. I'll bite. . .

Of course, that doesn't stop me from wanting one. This is just screaming "Hack Me!".

Perhaps they figure that no Japanese person would waste their time hacking a cheap disposable camera so that they can get low quality digital pictures for free.

How much time do you waste reloading film into standard disposable cameras, just to save a few bucks.

I Hate em... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447706)

I hate digital cameras.

slashdot editors are too rich.. junkbust ads now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447707)

And at $16 for .3 megapixels, this sounds like more of a novelty than a bargain, considering that 4-megapixel cameras are available now for less than a thousand dollars.
Is it me, or is there something inherently spoilt about someone who doesn't see much difference between $16 and $1000 ?

Re:slashdot editors are too rich.. junkbust ads no (1)

DShor (127100) | about 13 years ago | (#2447845)

But you pay $1000 for unlimited usage as opposed to $16 for a certain number of exposures. If you go on a trip with one of these things, how many would you need to take, or how often would you have to replace the camera? I saw some nice 2.1MP cameras for a hundred dollars, and this is a .3MP camera for $16 a use... Do the math:

SiPix SC-2100:
Price: $150.00
MP: 2.1
Mem: 8MB Compact Flash

Other:
Price: $16.00/use
MP: = .3
Mem: = ? (probably 8MB)

If you use your camera more than 10 times, then you have made your money back. On top of that, you get much better image quality at 2.1MP.

Re:slashdot editors are too rich.. junkbust ads no (2)

tmark (230091) | about 13 years ago | (#2447916)

All your original analysis does is presuppose that the user has *need* for more than, say, 10 usages. Which, by itself, admits that if you did NOT need this many usages, disposable cameras could well justify itself. All the arguments about why disposable digitals make no sense could be made verbatim to argue that disposable 35mm cameras make no sense, for these cost far more than the contained film. But disposable 35mms are hugely popular and appropriate for many situations. I keep thinking I should pack a disposable in my backpack/glove compartment/office just for those special occassions where I wouldn't otherwise have a camera handy.

Re:slashdot editors are too rich.. junkbust ads no (1)

jiheison (468171) | about 13 years ago | (#2447960)

I keep thinking I should pack a disposable in my backpack/glove compartment/office just for those special occassions where I wouldn't otherwise have a camera handy.

Good idea, in case you ever witness a car accident or crime.

Re:slashdot editors are too rich.. junkbust ads no (1)

DShor (127100) | about 13 years ago | (#2447966)

True, I do assume that the user will use the camera more than ten times, but unlike film cameras, there is no need to constantly purchase film. The film in a digital camera is reusable. Also, a non-digital disposable camera has much better resolution than .3MP.

I see sub$10 usable disposable digital cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447710)

in 1 year

Re:I see sub$10 usable disposable digital cameras (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447777)

i see dead people

Bargains (5, Interesting)

dmorin (25609) | about 13 years ago | (#2447711)

You're telling me that of all the people who might benefit from a digital camera, that the majority will see 4megapixels for "under a thousand" as the better buy? For a large part of the universe, "under a thousand" could very well mean "more than I paid for the whole PC in the first place". When the heck did our perspective on price get to be so...so....so Rain-Man? How much is geek toy X? Bout a thousand dollars.....

We got my dad his digital camera about 4 years ago. Cost like $400. I'm sure its resolution is a tiny fraction of what can be done now. But he's gotten 4 years out of it and is still going strong. He's still the hit of the family parties. Still the only one in the immediate fam that even has one. If we're at a point now where the disposal version can do even a piece of what his can, I'm sure they will be an instant best seller, not a novelty.

Re:Bargains (1)

JohnHegarty (453016) | about 13 years ago | (#2447734)

Exactly.

Would this camera find a market where under $1000 is a years income.

Re:Bargains (2)

gorilla (36491) | about 13 years ago | (#2447765)

You can now get 2megapixels for about $200 US. I got one a couple of weeks ago, and I don't think I could find a use for anything greater. 2megapixels is 1200x1600, which is full screen at the resolution I run at.

Re:Bargains (3, Interesting)

stripes (3681) | about 13 years ago | (#2447804)

I don't think I could find a use for anything greater. 2megapixels is 1200x1600, which is full screen at the resolution I run at

In a word: printing

2Megapixels from most digital cameras (say the Canon PowerShot 100) will not make a good 8x10 print. The Nikon D1 is a pretty big exception, it's 2.7Mpixels can make decent 8x10 prints, you have probably seen some on the cover of Newsweek or Time. However it has exceptionally noise free images (as does the EOS-D30, Nikon D1x, and Nikon D1h, and some of the other $2000+ digital cameras).

Another good reason to have excess pixels is for cropping. Most good photos have their subject off center, like about 1/3rd over and up or down. Most cameras either only have a central focus point, or have the best focus point at the center, so cropping is useful. It is also useful if your viewfinder doesn't show a 100% view...

Wander over to DP review [dpreview.com] (digital photography, not double penetration) and see how disappointed people are that the new Canon EOS-1D has only 4.1Mpixels!

Re:Bargains (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447965)

You can review Double penetration here [oral-cumshot.com] if you'd want to.

Re:Bargains (2)

EisPick (29965) | about 13 years ago | (#2447968)

I too gagged on the notion that "less than a thousand dollars" enough of a bargain to squeeze a $16 product out of the market.

I see this a the Polaroid of the future, and part of the reason that the Polaroid of the past is circling the drain.

It used to be that if you were headed to a wedding or to the beach or to a graduation and you wanted a cheap way to take some pictures and make prints with no hassles, you could go to a drug store, pay $30 bucks or so for a cheap Polaroid and a cartridge or two of film, and you were in business. No advanced planning required. No photographic ability. Just point, shoot and share pictures.

This product seems to have the same virtues, so I don't see why it doesn't have a decent chance of success.

Keeping It (1)

JohnHegarty (453016) | about 13 years ago | (#2447714)

Any reason you can't keep it and continue to use use it... or there a contract / restions on the camera ?

why do we need more disposable stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447715)

What's wrong with having something of decent quality that you reuse many times, that you don't toss away to make extra trash? What is wrong with our species?

Very Cool Device (2, Informative)

Brontosaurus Jim (528803) | about 13 years ago | (#2447721)

A buddy of mine is interning in Japan, and has told me stories about these things.

Aparently in his city (Kyoto, iirc) these things are around in a few places. He had the oppurtunity to play around with one, and the pictures were pretty good. He sent a few to me, and I could definatly tell they were low quality, but they were definatly useable for anything you'd use a disposable

I personally can't wait until these get to America. Should be fun to hack. Aparently he opened one up and it looks like there is a removable chip in it, that he thinks is the memory. He's working on figuring out how to access it. He has a website about it that I'll post when I get back home to my bookmarks.

Oh, cmon! (2, Informative)

lumpenprole (114780) | about 13 years ago | (#2447725)

Normal digital cameras are down to like a hundred bucks for the cheap ones! I know that's not free, but the attraction of disposable film cameras has always been that they're not that much more expensive than the film. This way, you take 15 pictures, you've just paid for a camera with unlimited "film". Who's really going to use this?

Re:Oh, cmon! (2)

GTRacer (234395) | about 13 years ago | (#2447894)

My wife, maybe?

I just bought her a Polaroid I-Zone Digital combo for 30 bucks and she's thrilled. Sure, she'd love something with better than 640x480. But odds are good she'll lose this thing within the year.

I wanted to buy her a true digicam, but, as much as she loves photography (for scrapbooking/family projects), she couldn't stomach the $400-odd price (plus printer).

I'm sure someday she'll *WANT* a real camera, but until then, she's very satisfied with the Polaroid.

GTRacer
- "But this is HDTV...It's got better resolution than Real Life"

Why worry? (2)

MrKevvy (85565) | about 13 years ago | (#2447731)

I think it's just a matter of (little) time before hordes of enterprising geeks figure out how to get the pics out and reuse it without paying the fee, or simply gut the camera for parts..."

All the manufacturer has to do is "encrypt" the camera's internal memory by XOR'ing it with 0xFF and then getting the data out of it is a DMCA violation, at least in the U. S. of A.

Re:Why worry? (5, Informative)

dillon_rinker (17944) | about 13 years ago | (#2447779)

The manuyfacturer is not the copyright holder. The photographer is. Those disposable cameras from Kodak "encrypt" photographs by storing them in an unusable state, substituting for each color the complementary one. (They call these "negatives"). Kodak develops (or could, anyway) the pictures for you but does not hold the copyright.

I suppose it would be possible to award the copyright to the manufacturer in the rental agreement, rendering my point moot.

Re:Why worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447832)

NO. The photographer is the copyright holder of the images, and has the right to decrypt his own images without anyone else's permission.

Their business model is based on the premise that no one will figure out how to do it.

Re:Why worry? (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about 13 years ago | (#2447874)

All the manufacturer has to do is "encrypt" the camera's internal memory

Ok, that might delay the hackers for about a week.

All we need now... (1, Offtopic)

jonfromspace (179394) | about 13 years ago | (#2447740)

...is a disposable OS! Oh, wait... we already have one... hmmm.

.3Mpix though... not really very good now is it... I wonder if these will fly outside of the tech-hungry Japanese market?

We do this at Virginia Tech... (1)

mickeyreznor (320351) | about 13 years ago | (#2447742)

We can just go to the library and borrow a camera for free for one day(though we don't have that many cameras to go around). Oh yeah, and we can take as many pictures as we want.

The above system seems much better than what these japanese folks are doing. It would seem rather costly to make digital cameras that are restricted in use. Why not just let people borrow it for x amounts of hours or a day? The only problem there is figuring out how much people are willing to pay for a day's use of a digital camera.

Hmmm.... I've seen 'Toy' digital cameras for less. (2)

Bonker (243350) | about 13 years ago | (#2447746)

At JC Penny, Walmart, ToysRUs, etc...

Isn't this simply a limited expensive rental? (2)

gelfling (6534) | about 13 years ago | (#2447749)

You're renting the camera and paying for someone to make prints. Both costs are bundled into one charge. Shit I could do this at Kinko's today. Even if I don't have a PC I can bring my camera to Kinko's download the images and manipulate them myself. If I want I can even burn a PhotoCD and hand that off to anyone to make an unlimited number of prints.

I don't see how this 'disposable' makes any sense.

that's a laugh... (3, Interesting)

Sj0 (472011) | about 13 years ago | (#2447751)

And at $16 for .3 megapixels, this sounds like more of a novelty than a bargain, considering that 4-megapixel cameras are available now for less than a thousand dollars.

Yeah! I mean, for the low price of 50 of these, you could buy a high end camera!

Seriously, high definition isn't really as important as an accurate picture. even a decent 640x480 picture is fine, as long as the picture is accurate(no glitchy pixels). my USB webcam sucks in this regard except outdoors in summer (and even then it's not always a sure thing). Spending 16 bucks for a camera to go on vacation and take a few pictures sounds fine.

Re:that's a laugh... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447771)

No shit. I can't tell if it's a failed sarcastic comment, on genuine cluelessness.

I hacked one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447753)

I got one and hacked it already... surprise! surprise! it's got surplus :CueCat parts inside. I don't know what they're gonna do when they can't get 'em anymore, but enjoy 'em while them last.

No files? (1)

Syris (129850) | about 13 years ago | (#2447754)

The cnn article doen't mention if you even get the pictures in digital form.

It won't last for a number of already mentioned reasons:

1. 640x480 isn't good enough, even for $16.
2. many of the camera's will be hacked (I'm looking forward to trying).
3. the quality of the print won't approach other disposable cameras that are cheaper.

Printed??? (2)

brunes69 (86786) | about 13 years ago | (#2447757)

At the store, they can view all the photo images on a display screen and choose any 24 images to be printed.

Excuse me, but I'm not paying 20 bucks to ent a digital camera so i can just print the pictures on some paper. If all you want is hardcopys then go buy a 35 mm camera for 20 bucks, and you're way ahead of the game. These guys need to get a clue and at least let you ave the images to a floppy.

Re:Printed??? (2)

myc (105406) | about 13 years ago | (#2447802)

Personally I tend to agree with you. Unfortunately, most (non-geek) people often dislike digital images. I bought a digital camera before my daughter was born, for the purpose of uploading pictures to a website so that all the relatives, grandparents, etc. could see new baby pictures immediately. But all they wanted were printouts. To paraphrase my mom, "I don't want to have to boot up the computer every time I want to show my friends a picture of my granddaughter!" The only thing that digital has going for me now, insofar as baby pictures for the grandparents goes, is that I can see what the pictures will look like before they are printed, and therefore decide which ones I want to print in the first place. Which is what these guys are probably trying to sell, I guess.

Re:Printed??? (2)

brunes69 (86786) | about 13 years ago | (#2448014)

Well that does mke sense for technophobes, but if I ended up printing off all my picures I'd just go buy a 35mm. End up with better quality (than you get with inkjets, I doubt you have a color laser), and its much cheaper when you factor in all the color ink your using. Plus everyone and their dog can take 35mm images to a photo shop and get reprints, grandmothers especially like to get this done I hear :)

I invented that (1)

cr@ckwhore (165454) | about 13 years ago | (#2447766)

Hey! I invented that about 6 months ago... it was an idea I had while drunk one night. Then I figured, whats the point?

why digital? (2, Informative)

pcardoso (132954) | about 13 years ago | (#2447778)

what's the use for this? just to have disposable cameras? we already have that, for about the same price, if not cheaper. I don't know about the price factor, as I just use my regular 35mm rechargeable.

why would I use one of these digital models? to say "cool, it's a digital camera", and then realise that for the same price you could have bought an disposable analog one, with much better pictures?

it seems that everything that is digital is the way to go these days... in a way this is true. it's much more hackeable :)

Ooo, I almost hate to say it... (5, Interesting)

dmorin (25609) | about 13 years ago | (#2447795)

But it seems like one way they could make money is to offer some sort drop off / email service where you turn in the camera, and then they email you the pictures. Of course, that means that you have to give them your valid email, thus automatically opting you in to whatever evil schemes they have in mind.... :-/ I don't particularly love the idea, but I've also watched people with traditional cameras who rush to the 1hr place, and then gleefully proclaim "The pictures are ready! Let's go get them!" so to these people the idea of having the pictures show up right on your home PC would be a major win. It would never even occur to them what else it's costing them.

Duane

(Note, on that "automatically opt in" thing. While I don't agree with it, it's the logic that a "bulk email provider" friend of mine used on me once: register with a company and you are implicitly opting in. Yeah, sure. Glad she's out of work now :))

Re:Ooo, I almost hate to say it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447881)

They could just give you a URL and a password.

Re:Ooo, I almost hate to say it... (1)

_ph1ux_ (216706) | about 13 years ago | (#2447979)

Ihave a thought on the email aspect of this in regards to spam. is it now possible - or some sourceforge project should be made that creates a series of "PO Boxes" within your email...

basically you should have certain boxes that are designated "PICs only" and you give out this addy for pics to be emailed to you. It should parse the attachments and allow .jpg .gif etc attachments only to that box. plus you should be able to manually add rejection rules which will parse the body of the message for keywords like: "sex,make tons of money fast, your advice etc"

and you should be able to setup "disposable" addresses for certain vendors for a certain amount of time - like "fotomat@pics.myemail.com" and fotomat can send you the pics for a period of a week or something before that po box is closed.

anything like this exist?

Not everything is possible... (1)

Mike McTernan (260224) | about 13 years ago | (#2447796)

I think it's just a matter of (little) time before hordes of enterprising geeks figure out how to get the pics out and reuse it without paying the fee

If they use public key cryptography they can make this impossible...

The camera just has the shops public key embedded and encrypts the pictures as it encodes/saves them. Without the private key held at the shop, even the best geek is scuppered.

Also assume that the public key held in the camera can't be swapped changed and is in ROM

Re:Not everything is possible... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447843)

Shit! M$ are planning to encrypt all data in the next version of NTFS, such that you have to upload data to an MS server to have it decrypted and read! This is awful, read more at Technology Online [techol.com] [goatse.cx]

megapixels are not that important anymore (1)

jdesbonnet (22) | about 13 years ago | (#2447800)

I really couldn't care less for megapixels --
I'd be happy with only 2 megapixels if I could
only have a SLR digicam at an affordable
price.

Japan... where *everybody* orders off the menu (2)

Bonker (243350) | about 13 years ago | (#2447801)

Let us not forget that these will be distributed in the land of conformity and social obligation. If people are told 'These are to be used only in this manner', it *will* siginificantly deter those interested in chewing up their guts. Even those who do manage to make their disposable camera into a real camera will never be seriously considered by the companies distributing the camera because they will not significantly impact profits in any way. No, this would not work in the U.S., but it just might in Nippon.

Re:Japan... where *everybody* orders off the menu (2)

hrieke (126185) | about 13 years ago | (#2447846)

Er, no, it will be hacked. The hardware otaku will make a short number on it, I'm sure.

What a great idea! (5, Funny)

BillyGoatThree (324006) | about 13 years ago | (#2447803)

Here I am, like a fool, with a digital camera I spent $250 on and requires me to own a computer with a "hard drive" and "monitor" and "serial port". Instead of that massive outlay I could instead pay $15/pop for the priviledge of driving back and forth to the store for my digital picture needs. The more I use it, the more I save!

Whats the point? (4, Insightful)

chinton (151403) | about 13 years ago | (#2447809)

I guess I'm missing the point. The reason I have a digital camera so I don't have to bring anything anywhere to get my pictures. I don't see how this is any better than buying a disposable camera and then bringing it to a 1-hour photo lab. Am I missing something?

HERE'S THE POINT (2)

Spameroni (158440) | about 13 years ago | (#2447870)

Think of it this way. With a 24 exposure disposable, you get 24 exposures. period. With an 8MB flash card and a digital camera, you get to take many more exposures (especially at 640x480), and choose your favourites (as mentioned in the article).

Now I'm not saying that this is definitely the way to go, or that it's all that revolutionary, just that there IS a point to this.

Composite images? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 13 years ago | (#2447820)

Just take 10 camera at $16 ($160 total) and you will have a 3 megapixel camera. Then send each image through a a rendering algorithm where it is combines with the others, so you can get detail from the historisis from each camera.

Quality will suffer severely- (5, Informative)

purduephotog (218304) | about 13 years ago | (#2447827)

I work for an imaging company...

At 0.3 megapixel, or 640x480, you are BARELY able to make a full resolution screen image. Yes it will probably look OK on that screen, but the typical person can see to 150 lpi (lines per inch)- benchmarking on that your print will be roughtly 3x4 inches.

Now, without even going into the sensor... the size that the image could be safely res'd up is probably 1.5, which gets you to the magic 4x6 print that consumers have come to expect.

Don't think about it going to 8x10 without some serious degradation. JPG artifacts alone will prohibit that sort of enlargment- blocking artifacts, clipping...

I think for parts the camera might be on the right track, but this has got to be the wrong approach.

I'd go into the other issues like noise, light sensitivity (speed), robustness... alignment... but i think that would rather bore most people.

Quality may not suffer severely (2, Interesting)

eAndroid (71215) | about 13 years ago | (#2447910)

150lpi? This is an odd way of specifying what a person can see. I mean, at what distance? Many billboards have FAR less lines per inch. if you used 640 x 480 on a billboard most people probably wouldn't notice, and here is the experiment to prove it:

1) find a billboard. bring along something you can measure with, even very approximately, like a business card (the narrow end is 2 inches wide).

2) stand as far away from the billboard as you would normally be to find it comfortable to read.

3) raise your measuring device up to your eye about as far from your face as you would normally view a photo.

4) take that width and imagine filling it with 640 pixels. For me, to the billboard out my window, that's about 500 dpi which is far more pixels than needed for not just a smooth photo, but to be able to read it.

So 640 x 480 does have practical uses. And I haven't even touched on web sites, business cards or even Ebay auctions.

license the camera (2)

gmhowell (26755) | about 13 years ago | (#2447840)

License the camera (or lease it). You don't sell it. That's how you make money.

Wake up and pay attention.

Geeky Digital Camera Resources? (1)

truffle (37924) | about 13 years ago | (#2447851)

Are there any good resources out there for geeks to help us in selecting our digital cameras?

Digital cameras have become so mainstream, it's difficult to find those gems that provide both the basic features and value you want from a digital camera today, but which also include geek friendly features that most normal people won't use, like Linux compatibilitity, unusually high amounts of memory, programability, etc.

The do have a market... (3, Insightful)

Once&FutureRocketman (148585) | about 13 years ago | (#2447864)

And at $16 for .3 megapixels, this sounds like more of a novelty than a bargain, considering that 4-megapixel cameras are available now for less than a thousand dollars.


No they're not a substitute for one's personal primary camera. But they're excellent for two applications:


1) Taking pictures in places that put the camera at significant risk (hiking, rafting, Burning Man)


2) Handing out to lots of people -- i.e. weddings -- without spending a bunch of money.

Preview (1)

b0bby (201198) | about 13 years ago | (#2447896)

I think that the main attraction of my digital camera is that it has an lcd to let you look at the photos right away. It's the same attraction as a Polaroid. A digital camera without an lcd is much less attractive, and is really no better than a disposable 35mm...

Disposable electronics already exist! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447907)

It's called Fry's.

Well you'll have to excuse the poor ones Tim... (1, Flamebait)

Telek (410366) | about 13 years ago | (#2447914)

And at $16 for .3 megapixels, this sounds like more of a novelty than a bargain, considering that 4-megapixel cameras are available now for less than a thousand dollars.

$1000 vs $16

I see a big bargain! Not everyone has deep pockets, not everyone can afford a digital camera. Some one wants to go on vacation for a week, snap up 3 dozen pictures (because they still take pictures like they would on film, not like us geeks who have had digital cameras for ages and take 100+ on any given night because, hey, it's free!), come back home and bam they have them all wonderfully on their computer, send them to all their friends, etc, etc, etc.

And I'm sure that the pixel range will increase with time, just give it a little to prove itself (or fail) as a buisiness model and then you'll see the bigger ones coming down too.

Oh wait, you can already rent digital cameras, and the big boys too, for not too expensive. One of my friends went on vacation for 10 days (I think he paid about $70), brought an old laptop and took well over 800 pictures at 3.1MP 1.2MB each. Damn. I'll just stick to my 2.1MP for now =(

Fine, what about the files? (1)

ferreth (182847) | about 13 years ago | (#2447918)

I would want at least the option of a CD/disk/web storage of the pixs.

I don't see the point of this otherwise as it sits. A disposable camera will give you *way* better quality than the 100dpi that they're talking about here.

Is is a little more instant? I assume you look at your pixs, pick the 24 you want and get them back in less than 10 minutes.

They're targeting young users who prefer to use digital still cameras, of which about half prefer to print their images. Did they bother to ask themselves about reprints, photoediting, archives that you get with a file? They just throwing the other half of their potential market away by not offering a file option.

For me, I'd be more interested in paying for a "disposable" camera that gets me a CD back with all my pictures on it.

Defeats the purpose (2, Funny)

drodver (410899) | about 13 years ago | (#2447939)

Think of the homemade p0rn! You really can't take those kinky pictures of the misses if you have to take it into the shop to get the pictures. That would cut out a big chunk of the reason why people want digital cameras!

Timothy is so rich! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2447945)

And at $16 for .3 megapixels, this sounds like more of a novelty than a bargain, considering that 4-megapixel cameras are available now for less than a thousand dollars.

900/16 = 56.25

.3 * 56.25 = 16.875.

So in order for this stupid statement to be true, today's sub-$1000 cameras would have to be nearly 17 Megapixels. Plus it seems apparent that Timothy completely missed the entire point of this story, that there may soon be $16 digital cameras available (though the quality will surely suck ass).

Voyeurism! (1)

Occam's Hammer (463213) | about 13 years ago | (#2447952)

I think that the marketing strategy could work itself out with the masses constantly being bombarded with "digital" buzzwords. Regardless of the quality people will still follow. As for the profitability, they require a lower percentage of returns because they are charging more ($16) for something that could cost less than a disposable film camera AND the prints could be from an expensive printer rather than a much-more-expensive photo processor.


I agree that the hack is the interesting angle. Once they are hacked and I can create my own adaptor to download the images, I essentially have a $16 digital camera that I'm not afraid to put in a bag and take SCUBA diving, or take surfing.

I'd like to go a step further and apply data forensics to the hack by recovering the images of the previous user before I use it. Found art! (I guess I should register "www.littlebrotheriswatching.com" as a repository)

What is the point? (2)

DrXym (126579) | about 13 years ago | (#2447991)

Someone tell me why *anyone* would want to use a disposable digital camera that costs twice as much as a conventional camera and where the resolution is so laughably bad as to be useless?
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