OM Camera - a new angle

Mikko Rauhala mjrauhal at
Tue Sep 18 03:27:24 CEST 2007


I've recently bought a digital pocket camera, a Panasonic DMC-LZ7. It's
a pretty good one, as pocket cameras go, and eats std. AA batteries and
SD memory cards. So far so good, and bear with me for a moment. This
will get relevant at some point :]

The camera has a simple video mode, as they often do nowadays. Now, I
don't expect wonders from a pocket cam in the video department, but
there are a couple of things that struck my eye eventually.

Panasonic advertises that the maximum video length varies with memory
card. Support says 2G is the maximum. The actual camera, on the other
hand, seems to have a hard-coded limit of 15 minutes, when it stops,
with space to spare on my 2G SD. Ah well, it's a corner case anyway to
want so much video on that device. A bit dishonest, though.

Then comes the part which really pisses me off: Panasonic has crippled
the camera so that you can't use zoom or focus functions while recording
video. Now, I know this is not a camcorder. I don't expect it to record
good quality video - just something casual once in a while. However,
maybe I'm gullible, but I do not fucking expect Panasonic to maliciously
lock me out of basic camera controls when recording.

Presumably, this is all due to some sort of petty marketing policy to
intentionally cripple the software on consumer goods with the goal to
increase demand for their other devices. As someone having a clue or at
least a half, I'm not particularly itching to buy a Panasonic camcorder
after this; if they're willing to cripple basic functionality like this,
who knows what any given Panasonic product will refuse to do for me!
Almost reminds me of Apple. Well, scratch the almost.

Now, for the relevant part. I want an open digital camera. So, hey,
OpenMoko guys (or somebody else in the consumer device business and into
openness), when you're well on your way to having revolutionized the
mobile handset market, consider building one or twelve.

While of course not any sort of priority especially this early in the
game, such companion devices to the phones would fit into the Open
Mobile Kommunications theme quite nicely, especially with bluetooth
(and/or wifi) for easy integration with the cells - something
conspicuously lacking from all but the highest end cameras I could find.
(I do realize that some eventual OM phones will also likely have
integrated cameras, but they will also be behind the real pocket cams,
never mind real cameras, in quality and flexibility for a long while

Meanwhile, I was happy to hear that the GTA02 can provide 100 mA on the
USB port in host mode. It will likely make accessing USB cams in general
a whole lot easier from the phone when necessary...

PS: Did I mention that I'd suggest being careful buying Panasonic if you
don't want crippled products? Good.

Mikko Rauhala   - mjr at     - <URL:>
Transhumanist   - WTA member     - <URL:>
Singularitarian - SIAI supporter - <URL:>

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