The Webmag Editor passed me a press release on this new digital camera from Asda, saying, “You might like to do a review on this.”Having been a photographer in a previous life, I was interested to see how it was possible to produce a workable digital camera for this price, so I went along to my local Asda to get one. They had never heard of it. Well, it wasn’t a particularly large Asda, so I went into the centre of Leeds to a bigger Asda – to no avail. The staff looked at me as if I was mad asking for a digital camera for £8.98.
Back to the office and I telephoned Asda’s head office and spoke to their Customer Services. The young lady I spoke to listened to my explanation of press release, product, etc. then said, “I’ll check on this, Sir; now where did you hear about this?” I explained again that it was a press release from them and I wanted to purchase one to do a review on it. Had to tell her again – twice – that it was a digital camera for children priced at £8.98. “I’ll get the proper department to give you a ring back and they’ll tell you where to get it.”
That was a couple of weeks ago and I’m still waiting for their call.
In the meantime, I happened to be out of town and was passing a huge Asda, so popped in to try my luck again. Searched the toy department and a helpful assistant suggested that I try the photographic counter. Success – there it was!
At home, I set about unpacking it. Nearly ten minutes later, I managed to extricate the bits and pieces from the ‘sealed-with-a-vengeance’ packaging. Contents looked promising, plastic camera, small carrying strap, USB cable, CD and instruction leaflet.
Glanced at the instruction leaflet and searched for a couple of AA batteries since none were supplied. “Slide the battery cover off in the direction of the arrow”, said the instructions. Nearly broke my finger nail trying to do this – it wouldn’t budge. I then saw a really tiny recessed screw in the cover, so, managed to find a tiny spectacles screwdriver, removed the screw and the cover, then slid. It wouldn’t stay closed after the batteries were inserted unless the screw was replaced.
Went into the garden on what was a rare March sunny day. Took a few shots of some greenery and some flower tubs. Installed the software on the computer and transferred the pictures I’d taken.
The dream ended there. Terrible quality. Now I didn’t expect miracles, but the quality was really dreadful with washed out colour and pixelated images. The webcam function made me look less human than usual although to be fair, the (silent) video facility using the webcam function (it has to be attached to the computer by the very short USB lead to take video) wasn’t too bad.
Overall, I would suggest that, although this camera is a cheapo, Asda really shouldn’t have bothered – (could be the reason why they didn’t phone back). Any child receiving this will be so disappointed by the results that it’s liable to be used once then discarded. According to the packaging, it is made in China by Vivitar. I’m surprised they put their name on it. If you want a camera for a child, look on E-Bay where you can buy a ‘real’ camera for around twenty quid.
If you want to see the photo results, go to www.whbs.co.uk/asdapics.