Polaroid PDC2150 Review

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Polaroid PDC2150

Steve's Conclusion

The Polaroid PDC-2150 is an entry-level two-megapixel point-n-shoot camera that will be more likely found on the shelves of mass-market retailers, such as WalMart, than in the display cases of camera shops. While you will not mistake the PDC-2150 for a prosumer camera, its two-megapixel images will produce 5X7 inch prints, and its simplicity will put the most novice of photographers at ease. The compromises made in its design favor low-price and ease-of-use over flexibility and advanced features.

The fixed focal length lens produces average results and the 41mm (in 35mm equivalence) focal length offers a good compromise for both indoor and outdoor snapshots. Because it is fixed-focus, you won't be hampered by autofocus performance issues in low light. The built-in flash produces good results throughout its limited range.

The camera's shooting performance is slow even by entry-level standards. It takes about 3 seconds to power on and become ready to take the first shot. Shutter lag, the time between depressing the shutter release and image capture, is about 5/10 second, and shot-to-shot delay without flash about 6 seconds. Using Continuous Shutter mode, we were able to fire 4 shots in about 12 seconds, improving shot-to-shot delay to about 4 seconds. As a result of these delays, you will have some difficulty capturing images of moving subjects.

Speaking of moving subjects, you will have more success photographing them using the optical viewfinder than the LCD. The camera turns-off the LCD viewfinder while taking a photo, a period of at least 1/2 second (more if you are using flash with red eye reduction). As you pan to follow your subject, the blank LCD can be more than an annoyance, it can cause you to ruin the shot.

While it does not offer a movie mode, the PDC-2150 is capable of being used as a Web Cam by setting PC Camera in the USB Mode menu. The PDC-2150 Quickstart Guide even offers instructions on setting-up Microsoft's NetMeeting. Budget-conscious buyers will appreciate the ability to use a single camera for both still photos and Web Cam applications.

In my opinion, image quality is unexceptional; the results were a bit soft, under saturated, and in some cases plagued with JPEG artifacts. A 2-megapixel camera should produce better results, but please look at our sample images and decide for yourself. Announced in September 2002, at a suggested price of $299, and available from online retailers for about $180. The PDC-2150 might be satisfactory if price is your primary purchase consideration.

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