Sam Trenholme's webpage

Review of the Vivitar ViviCam 3345

This review was written in 2004, before cell phone cameras were ubiquitous

After thinking I might have lost my Kodak CX6230 for about a week, I decided to buy a cheaper digital camera, just so I can have a camera with me at all times, one that I don't have to worry about losing.

The cheapest reasonable digital camera (reasonable: Has a flash and at least one megapixel of resolution) at the local WalMart was a Vivitar ViviCam 3345. No bells and whistles: No zoom lens, fixed focus, no LCD to allow you to look at pictures after taking them, only 1.3 megapixels (1280x1024), etc. It did however, have the ability to use SD cards: The same memory card my Kodak uses (unusual in this day and age of too many different incompatible memory card standards). So I got a 64 meg SD card and the ViviCam.

Well, the ViviCam never worked. It would not turn on at first, finally turned on, then would not turn off. I took it outside the store, was able to turn it on again, took two pictures with it, then BOOM! It turned off. It refused to turn on again. It still wouldn't turn on after trying other batteries. It wouldn't do a thing when connected via USB to my laptop. It was as dead as a doornail.

The power switch for the ViviCam is painful on the fingers to hold down; you're expected to hold it down for four seconds to turn on the camera. I get the sense that this camera may be generally buggy and not very cooperative when you want it to take a picture. Mine died after taking only two pictures; someone else is selling one of these on EBay with a similiar problem (it turns off right after turning on in his case).

On the plus side, the camera does make a nice "beep" letting you know when a picture is taken. Since the documentation says that it acts like a USB storage device when connected to the computer, this thing (when and if it works) should be Linux compatible (and it can probably double as a USB flash drive to boot). The manual mentions that the camera has the ability to made videos with up to 8 frames per second in the videos; a self-timer is also mentioned.

I took it back to Wal-Mart, and got excellent customer service; after calling up and briefly talking to the photo department, they gave me back my money, no questions asked.

I don't think the technology is mature enough with digital cameras to get a reliable one for under $100 right now. A shame too, since the point of having a digital camera is to not have to pay for expensive film or processing when taking pictures.

Here are the two pictures I took with this camera. The reason why the pictures are blurry when blown up may have to do with the fact that it was fairly dark when I took them, resulting in camera shake.