The VistaQuest disposable digital camera: novel idea or waste of time?

ReenaSewraz
by Lovemoney Staff ReenaSewraz on 22 November 2012  |  Comments 7 comments

Disposable cameras seemed to go the way of the dodo once digital cameras took off. But now there's a camera which is both digital and disposable. Why would you want one?

The VistaQuest disposable digital camera: novel idea or waste of time?

I think it’s fair to say that disposable cameras have fallen out of favour since the rise of digital alternatives, whether that's a digital camera or even a mobile phone with an in-built camera. The only time I really see them now is at weddings, allowing guests to get snap-happy at a minimal cost to the bride and groom.

But US-based company VistaQuest must think there is still some appetite for the retro gadget as they have launched a digital version. The VQ10 has all the trappings of a disposable single-use camera, but with the modern convenience of an instant upload. And all for an affordable £11.99.

Why would anyone want one?

The VQ10 can offer the novice an inexpensive route into digital photography. And because it is so easy to use you could even give it to a child as their introduction to taking pictures.

But it can also help those wanting to protect expensive cameras from risky situations, perhaps like a holiday by the pool, extreme activities like hiking or on nights out when you might get a bit tipsy.

The digital single-use camera enables users to freely collect images with little worry of damaging more expensive gadgets.

Background

VistaQuest showcased a range of single use digital cameras at the Photo Marketing Association Trade Show held in America back in 2010.

The range got a good response and after featuring at the show won a Photo Industry Reporter Rudy Award, which "celebrates ingenious, fascinating and quality products".

The idea clearly impressed the photography community, but is this twist on an old favourite worth getting?

The specifications

The VQ10 looks like a regular cheap and cheerful plastic disposable camera.

The model is fuss-free with none of the complicated features you normally find on digital cameras. It has a fixed focus lens for a simple point and shoot operation, with no zoom to mess about with.

But you may have trouble capturing the best image as there is no LCD screen to check as you go and the viewfinder is nothing more than a mere plastic square that pops up for you to try to frame the composition of your snap.

The camera can be used indoors and outdoors, but the VQ10 has no flash so you will need a lot of light in order to capture a good image.

When you pull the tab to activate the battery you will have 90 days to use up the 50 snaps. But the camera has a sleep function for when you’re not using it that makes it last a bit longer.

The VQ10 comes with a USB connector built into the bottom so you can easily upload your photos and the resolution of the images is set at 1280×960 pixels, which will provide prints measuring 5”x7”.

But beware the VQ10 only allows a single download so you should only attempt to transfer your snaps once you have got your 50 pictures as you won’t be able to plug in again.

The camera is compatible with PCs and Macs. And for those worried about the waste element it can be recycled at a photo development centre.

The reviews

Reviewers in the UK have mixed feelings about the VQ10.

Most are satisfied with the price but are less happy with the quality of the images the kit produces.

Those that have tried it out have reported blurry shots, odd hues and trouble using the strange viewfinder to capture the right image.

Verdict

I like the idea of the VistaQuest VQ10 as a cheap way for kids to get into photography or as a knockabout piece of kit to have with you on excursions where you are more likely to have an accident. But from the sound of the reviews, you get what you pay for and the real price of a cheap camera is poor image quality.

Although the camera is an affordable £11.99, for less than the price of two VQ10’s you could buy a reusable Vivitar Freelance 2.1MP Digital Camera, which stores 120 images for £22.99. It comes with a built-in viewfinder, can record movie clips and has a 1.5” LCD screen.

VistaQuest has more expensive versions available; some that come with flash and a 1.4” LCD screen may improve the quality of images and usability. But I don’t like the thought of paying much more than £11.99 for something that you have to throw away after 90 days.

Personally I wouldn’t bother with the VQ10; it feels like a waste of money. There are plenty of classic disposable cameras knocking around that are a lot cheaper as well as second hand or bottom of the range digital cameras that could match the price.

But what do you think? Would you go for one?

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Comments (7)

  • easygoing
    Love rating 170
    easygoing said

    Doomed to failure. It may have a use as a quick replacement for a forgotten device but with mobile phones having such good photographic capabilities I don't see much use for it even then. As for recycling, it is my guess that it will still just get binned and go into landfill. This has missed the boat, the throw away age has passed.

    Report on 25 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Mike10613
    Love rating 626
    Mike10613 said

    It might be worth buying, if it's sold in tourist spots. People who forget their camera might buy it so they don't miss a good shot. You can buy quite a good camera now for £50 if you shop around and so it's not likely to be very successful. If you want a bridge camera, look at the Fujfilm ones, some are less than £100; for a compact the Nikon ones can be picked up sometimes for as little as £49.99. You can get really good software free now to edit photos and I suspect the pictures from this camera would be poor quality.

    Report on 25 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • CuNNaXXa
    Love rating 410
    CuNNaXXa said

    Mike10613 has hit the nail on the head. These may be sold by traders hoping to cash in on the scenario of forgetting to bring your own camera.

    As for every other situation, you'll either use your own digital camera, or your mobile phone camera.

    The cons outweigh the pros. You cannot download in increments. Who wants to wait until they have taken all 50 photos before seeing the very first they snapped?

    Besides, you can pick up second hand digital cameras for mere pounds these days, or get hold of an older mobile phone and use that instead.

    So, we will probably see these disposable cameras at places like Alton Towers, Chessington, Tower Bridge and other tourist attractions, but I cannot see anyone wishing to buy one for their personal use, knowing it has an extremely limited lifespan.

    Report on 25 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Mark Harmer
    Love rating 33
    Mark Harmer said

    What a utterly pointless and environmentally-damaging product. People who design (or buy) stuff like this need their heads examined.

    Report on 25 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • css
    Love rating 18
    css said

    What a waste of money and totally unfriendly environmental attitude of the people behind this product - Sure they need their heads examined and possibly brain transplants, maybe one of these camera's can be planted in their empty brain cavities.

    As pointed out by others, most mobile phones are capable of taking good or high quality photo's these days. Secondly, you can buy a reasonably good cheap digital camera - not this junk - for about UKP 25-30

    Report on 26 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • PDB11
    Love rating 75
    PDB11 said

    I'm with css. The technology of that camera is perfectly capable of allowing you multiple downloads, and as many snaps as will fit in memory or battery. It wouldn't take much to allow erasure of memory and replacement of battery. It has been deliberately programmed to limit you to fifty snaps or one download, and for that reason alone I will avoid it on principle.

    Besides, I have a cheap digital camera I was given in 2006. I still use it more than my Nikon. And, most importantly, if I'm sightseeing, I'm likely to take about 200 snaps a day. Some of them are bracketed exposures, or attempting to get the autofocus to behave - the former at least I'd have to do more of with no preview screen!

    Report on 26 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • PoohBah
    Love rating 23
    PoohBah said

    A good old-fashioned disposable film camera had the advantage of lasting more or less forever until you eventually decided to get it processed. This new gizmo sounds really pretty useless, with its artificial limitations. No doubt they could be easily over-ridden by somebody with a screwdriver and a geeky turn of mind, but with its resolution of just over 1 megapixel the whole thing sounds like repackaged early technology and hardly worth buying at any price; even a child's starter camera has a screen and higher resolution.

    p.s. Since when has hiking been an "extreme activity"? Is that the view of somebody who hardly walks anywhere?

    Report on 26 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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