Friday, October 1, 2004

Point and shoot digitals on the road


By Tim Hillebrand

In this article, we're going to take a look at two simple cameras I call Ph.D., or "Push Here Dummy", cameras. Despite the point and shoot simplicity of both of these units, each offers some surprisingly sophisticated features, particularly for the price and size. They're both snappy little photomongers worthy of your consideration.

The Veo 130S SD Ph.D. camera

I thought I was all set for my annual summer sojourn with a nice little Veo 130S camera, which plugs into the SDIO slot of my PDA. The Veo 130S, in Figure A, will take video clips as well as snapshots.


The Veo 130S SD digital camera for PDAs. (click for larger image)

One of my missions, besides visiting kids, grandkids, friends, and relatives, was to test various mobile devices, and write about how they helped me conduct business and stay in touch while on the road. I thought I was all set photographically for taking family pictures and tourist type snapshots that I could email to friends and family.

Once in a while I would have to take a shot of some hardware or a software box, but no big deal. Certainly the 1.3 Megapixel 130S would be sufficient.

Well, it turned out not to be up to snuff for some newspaper and magazine articles, and I had to invest in something with a little more hunk. But first let me tell you a little more about the Veo Photo Traveler 130S, because I think it's a nice package for ordinary camera chores.

The multi-element lens produces a high quality image that's recommended for printing on paper up to 3 x 5 inches. After that the image may become too pixilated. An outer ring on the lens allows for fine focusing, which is fine if you can see the image on the screen, but often outdoors the screen is difficult to see. The lens also swivels for self-portraits and for forward-facing scenes.

The image preview screen is, of course, on your PDA, so it's larger than the normal digital camera screen, and probably higher resolution too. To take the shot, just push the button on the pressure sensitive PDA screen. Captured images can be transferred to a PC, where they can be organized into albums for viewing.

The camera comes with Creative Studio, which enables you to edit your pictures, organize them into shows, use them to create greeting cards, or a Website. The software is nicely intuitive and allows for a great deal of user creativity.

To protect your camera, the Veo 130S comes with a handsome leather case. There isn't much chance of it falling out of the case, as the magnetic cover closes like the jaws of an angry alligator. The suggested retail price is $129, but I've seen them for $99. It's available for Pocket PCs, SmartPhones and Palms, as long as they're equipped with an SDIO slot. Veo also makes a similar unit for CF slotted devices.


The Veo 130S is a good camera for what it's intended for. You won't be any threat to the likes of Herb Ritts or Richard Avedon, but for a PDA camera intended for snapshots, it does the job.