Polaroid PDC3350 Digital Camera Review
If you ever heard all the talk about megapixel this, megapixel that and don’t understand it, that’s okay. The higher number of pixels an image contains, the better the quality is. The same thing goes for megapixels. The higher megapixels (in thousands) the greater the image quality. However, that depends on many things, such as the quality of the lens. Polaroid continues the hunt in being the best easy to use cameras for all types of people. Today we take a look at their 3MP solution and this will give us an indication of how their similar 2MP solutions perform as well. Introducing the Polaroid PDC3350 digital camera review.
The Polaroid PDC3350 digital camera arrived in perfect condition without any damage. The box design continues the design of a thin, nicely designed corrugated box as the PDC1050 was in. There are product features in the front and some easy steps at the back of the box.
If you don’t really know what all those terms mean, let’s just say as a whole, the Polaroid PDC3350 has nice specifications. The Polaroid PDC3350 sports a 3.3MP Sony CCD Sensor that can take pictures up to a resolution of 2048x1536. That will be beyond what you will need to print photo-sized pictures. It comes integrated with 16MB of internal memory and supports Secure Digital Cards to add more memory. The Polaroid PDC3350 has all the bells and whistles such as flash, Macro mode, Optical and Digital Zooms, Video, and many more. One of the great features of the Polaroid PDC3350 is that it supports DPOF (Digital Print Order Format). What this basically is, are sets of options that you can choose to print out your images on your Secure Digital Card. When you do this, you print out from a printer that supports DPOF and has a SD card built in.
What are included from your purchase of the Polaroid PDC3350 Digital Camera are the following items:
The bundle...the cables
The Polaroid PDC3350’s manual is very clear and has many pages to read. There are also illustrations that help you to understand much better and know the camera you are using.
The Polaroid PDC3350 is relatively small and not bulky. I really think the size of the Polaroid PDC3350 is the ideal size of digital cameras that I would choose to purchase. It measures 2.5” for the height, 2.5” for width of the camera, and has a depth of only 1.5”. This camera is also really light weighing at only 160g without batteries.
The construction of the Polaroid PDC3350 is made again of hard plastic with faux plastic buttons to help save costs. The camera unit feels very strong. Nothing on the Polaroid PDC3350 feels flimsy, not even the battery door. The battery door is the best battery door I have come across.
The PDC3350 has some good looking lens
The front of the Polaroid PDC3350 looks very attractive despite it looking a lil bit plastic. We have the nice optical lens that is capable of doing macro. Macro is an option that sharpens the object at hand and is usually used for close-ups. The lens supports an f-stop ranging from 5.7mm-16.3mm thus letting good amount of light being exposed through the viewfinder to the lens. The smaller the f-stop, the more light in the picture. The higher number of f-stop means less light. Of course, this camera automatically sets this for you as it auto focuses. The camera also supports ISO’s of 100, 200 and 400. You can tweak all the settings in manual mode. Lastly, there is sufficient amount of rubber in front of the camera for maximum grip while handling the camera.
Right side and it's flap opened; USB 1.1, etc
Your battery and SD Card compartment
The right side of the camera is where every connection is made. The USB connection, DC IN 3V port, and TV-Out port. The TV-Out port is one of the great things about the camera. Your TV basically becomes your extended LCD viewfinder where you can take pictures and view images stored on memory and is useful when showing family photos to your relatives. The Polaroid PDC3350 uses 2AA batteries, which is very good and does not require you to use four. I recommend picking up some NiMH batteries as they last so much longer and have many benefits as opposed to alkaline. We will be reviewing one kind shortly, so look for that.
The rear of the camera and the top of the camera
The rear of the Polaroid PDC3350 houses the 1.5” color viewfinder. The LCD suffers from no herky-jerky movement as the PDC1050 did and has a high refresh rate. The LCD produces vivid color and is easy to look at. Also on the rear you have your eye viewfinder, LED activity light, menu button, microphone, zoom buttons and your control pad on the left. On the left control pad, you are able to set the different flash options available such as red eye reduction, fill flash and so forth. The PDC3350 also has a self-timer that sets for two or 10 seconds.
The top portion of the camera houses the ON/OFF button, shutter button and the options dial. The dial turns freely and is not hard to turn as opposed to some Canon cameras that I used before have.
The bottom of the Polaroid PDC3350 houses the integrated tripod mount and serial information...
Installation and Software
Installing the drivers is straightforward along with the Arcsoft Suite software. Refer to my past Polaroid camera reviews on information about Arcsoft Suite.
Using the Polaroid PDC3350
The Polaroid PDC3350 is a very easy camera to use. If you have no idea on tweaking options and are a beginner then AUTO mode will decide everything for you. Using the AUTO mode, you can just point and shoot. If you are a tweaker then you can go into the Manual mode. In the manual mode you have adequate amounts of options to change such as the ISO, Lighting, EV, and image size. If you don’t know what EV is, it basically adjusts the brightness and decreases it to your liking. The camera lacks advanced features such as being able to take pictures in black and white, sephia, etc. From the point where you are ready to shoot, your LCD will have series of icons and will have a focus indicator in the middle to show that the camera has auto focused and is ready to shoot.
The Polaroid PDC3350 takes about 4-6 seconds from point of startup to taking images. There will be one thing you notice while using the optical zoom and macro feature. The optical zoom has excellent quality and the macro mode is excellent as well. The macro is very powerful and focuses on the object at hand very quickly. You will want to use a tripod when doing this. The macro mode can be used for close-ups and other shots when you want clear sharpness. The Polaroid PDC3350 has good image quality and has decent indoor picture quality depending on the lighting. The color reproduction is very good and does not usually saturate color. However, in some situations the Auto mode will have a hard time choosing the right lighting and become not the true color. During my use, skin tones are spot on and the camera does not suffer from many red eye images. Use the red eye reduction at night and you will be safe. There are in some cases such as at night and high ISO’s where some graining, and some distortion will occur. Overall grainy pictures are kept at a minimum. The highest resolution has good image quality. The lower resolutions that matter such as 1600x1200 and 1024x768 have much better quality. This is usually the resolution where pictures are mostly printed from.
One of the problems the Polaroid PDC3350 suffers from is slow shutter speed. Mainly the problem is due to the time it takes for the lens to focus. It takes about one second to focus without macro and at least 2-3 seconds with macro to focus on the subject. This creates instances where your image will become blurry when you don’t use a tripod (you use your hands). Also during after you take images, it takes a bit long to process into the onboard memory which leads me to believe it is slow. The Polaroid PDC3350 handles light very good but bright sometimes can be too bright. That’s where you can optimize your EV setting so your pictures can turn out the best.
Movie quality with the Polaroid is good but if you are taking movie clips while running with the camera or extensively moving, then expect the videos the be choppy at best.
Test Images (All on highest resolution, except some, viewed on Philips 109B20 19" Monitor @ 1280x1024 Resolution)
Update: Since this review I realized that I did not test out the flash abilities of this camera. So I am updating the review with new "with flash" results. I have compared it between a 2.0 Mega Pixel Canon A40 Digital Camera. These are two of the same position pictures at the same very time. One was taken after the other. These are 1024x768 resolution pictures.
As you can see when you compare the two, the Canon obviously rocks out a nearly perfect picture with a balance of flash exposure. There is no apparent overflash with the Canon. On the other hand, the Polaroid PDC3350 had major overflash. The same thing happened with the PDC3350 if I did the fill flash. So one of the downfalls of the PDC3350 is the over exposure of flash when using it. One solution to the problem is using a external lighting source and/or when taking the picture with flash, cover a part of the top portion of the flash with your hand. I've been playing around with this way, and sometimes it works much better. Nonetheless, the Polaroid PDC3350 overflashes.
Here is another comparison for the fun of it. This is the same position shots between the two cameras. These are both 1024x768 pictures and both on Auto mode for each camera. These are with no flash.
In this comparison, the Polaroid PDC3350 has the edge being sharper and less grainy. The Canon shot had a bit of grain and was lit with much lower light than the Polaroid while it was in the same setting.
Overall I feel the Polaroid PDC3350 is a very good camera and is strictly ideal for the starters. It’s a great shoot and point camera with good image quality and very easy to use. I will be using the Polaroid PDC3350 to take images of future products at Modsynergy.com because of the excellent macro/optical zoom this camera has.
The Polaroid PDC3350 has a problem of over exposing the flash and that allows the picture to turn out really bright.
I rate the Polaroid PDC3350 Digital Camera a…
Pros and Cons