Originally created 05/07/02

Credit-card sized digital camera available



The big deal about Logitech's new digital camera is that it is no big deal indeed.

It's literally the size of a credit card, and with its integrated brushed aluminum case is about half an inch thick at it thickest point and weighs just 1.8 ounces.

It's a point-and-shoot, no-focus viewfinder affair and connects to Windows PCs with a supplied USB (Universal Serial Bus) cable, which also recharges the built-in lithium polymer battery every time you hook it up to download pictures. The camera includes a built-in 10-second self-timer. You can also turn the shutter beep off, handy if you want to capture a napping baby's smile without disruption.

The camera ships with Logitech's Pocket Digital 5.0 software, which includes MGI Photosuite 4.0 SE to fiddle with your pictures. And the download software is a one-click process. The software launches when your PC detects the camera as attached, and clicking the "yes" button is all you have to do to both download your shots and erase the camera.

So all this glitz demands a CIA-size budget? Hardly - Logitech's pricing this at $129.95.

Beyond the obvious always-have-a-camera-handy benefits for those lucky souls whose children have presented them with grandchildren, insurance adjusters, appraisers, architects, contractors and cops might want to check it out, either as a primary or as a backup camera.

Because the camera is so light and small, I found it difficult to banish camera shake when I pressed the shutter unless I made a conscious effort - and sometimes not even then. Suggestion to Logitech: put the shutter release on the next one smack in the middle, making it easier to avoid the twist that comes with pressing down on one side of the camera.

The camera works best in brightly lighted situations, but produced acceptable results outdoors on an overcast day.

System requirements: Windows 98, 98SE, ME, 2000 or XP, 64 megabytes of RAM, 400-megahertz-or-better processor, CD-ROM drive and USB port, 16-bit or higher color display.

Although there's certainly much to be said for MGI Photosuite, if you want to use another package, it's no problem.

The camera is available at retail and on the Web at http://www.logitech.com

Questions and comments are welcome. Send them to Larry Blasko, The Associated Press, 50 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020-1666. Or e-mail lblasko@ap.org.