One of the most annoying aspects of this camera is the incredibly long delay between shots. It takes several seconds for the camera to store an image and then, sometimes, several more seconds as the camera decides on an exposure setting.
You also should be ready to buy lots of AA batteries. A set seems to last about 100 images. That may seem like a lot, but digital cameras are so easy to use that it doesn't take long to go through 100 images.
For all these shortcomings, the bottom line with the MagicImage 500 is that it is a winner and it is the first low-cost digital camera that enthusiasts will appreciate.
There are other low-cost options on the market, such as the $100 JamCam 3.0 and the $130 D-Link DSC-350, but the quality of the MagicImage easily beats both.
In another year, cameras certainly will get much better with higher resolutions, better optics and better light metering. I wouldn't be surprised if a camera under $200 came out next year with an LCD preview screen.
But with the MagicImage 500 it is finally OK to stop waiting and start shooting.
To read past E-Review columns, go to http://www.latimes.com/ereview.
Ashley Dunn can be reached at email@example.com.
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$149.99. Available at CompUSA and Best Buy.
Computer with Windows 95, 98 or NT, 24 megabytes RAM, VGA color monitor, CD-ROM and an available serial port.
1,280 by 960 pixels (1.2 megapixels) and 1,024 by 768 pixels (0.8 megapixels), 24-bit color.
Two AA batteries
4mb removable SmartMedia card, built-in flash and close-up capabilities.
4mb of removable memory expandable to 32mb.