Polaroid PDC-1320 digital still camera

Main features


These cameras really are the digital replacement for the instant snapshot camera.  It has quite poor image quality compared to a medium-quality 35 mm film camera, and really only takes decent pictures in medium contrast outdoor lighting conditions.  It's not too bad for taking pictures to be shown on computer screens, but not really good enough for photos to be printed on paper.  I would class it more as an expensive toy, than anything else.

When changing resolutions, the image size stays the same.  Which suggests that either the higher resolution could be faked (a simple doubling of the real resolution), though looking at the picture that assumption wouldn't appear to be the case; or that when you drop to half resolution it's skipping the extra pixels in between (which also doesn't seem to be the case); or averaging out the difference between them.  The last option would appear to be how it works, since the lower resolution does like quite good, it's just got less pixels.

Internal 8 meg storage capacity:  (approximate)
Resolution JPEG compression
fine medium heavy
1280 × 960 pixels 17 photos
(500 kB each)
25 photos
(250 kB each)
50 photos
(200 kB each)
640 × 480 pixels 34 photos
(150 kB each)
69 photos
(100 kB each)
138 photos
(90 kB each)

(If you insert a 128 meg memory card, you can take around 266 photos at maximum resolution and quality settings.  That's probably more than enough that you wouldn't bother with compression, unless you really wanted small files.)

The fine and medium compression options are quite reasonable, the heavy compression is a bit gross.  Though none are great, it really is a digital replacement for the cheap instant Polaroid cameras.

If you were going to have photos printed onto paper, you'd really want to be using the maximum resolution of the camera.  But for e-mailing photos to your friends, to view just on the monitor screen, the lower resolution and medium compression, would be the way to go.  The large resolution is larger than many people's screens (meaning that they've either go to shrink it to fit, or scroll around looking at only part of it at a time), and the smaller one is smaller than most people's screens (meaning that the entire picture can be seen at the same time).

I haven't really tried the software that came with the camera, Arcsoft's PhotoImpression 2 (just played with it enough to work out that I didn't want to use it), but the drivers that came with the camera aren't the latest.  Be sure to download updated ones from Polaroid's website, and install them instead of the supplied ones (if you do install the Arcsoft software, opt not to install the drivers from the CD-ROM).  I don't know whether it's the old drivers, and them not uninstalling properly, or all the drivers, but this camera is unusable on a Hewlett Packard Pavillion PC I tried (instant death to the PC, during any attempt).

Automatic/controllable features:


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PDC-1320 camera
Canon A520