Canon D30 vs. Kodak PalmPix

Tonight, I went to the monthly Stanford Palm Users Group where we were demonstrating the new Kodak PalmPix. Wanting to mirror the elections that were happening today, I decided to wage a little friendly competition between the PalmPix and my Canon D30 digital camera. Let’s take a look at the two cameras:

The Challenger: PalmPix

The Kodak PalmPix camera turns a Palm handheld into a digital camera. There are versions of the PalmPix for the M100 and the Palm III series of organizers. It features a CMOS imager with a resolution of 204,800 pixels (640×480) as well as a 2x digital zoom. Images are stored on the Palm handheld and transferred to the user’s computer using a serial connection and a HotSync conduit (Mac and Windows available). The PalmPix retails for $149. In our tests, we used a Palm VIIx wireless organizer to connect to the PalmPix.

The Incumbent: D30

The Canon D30 camera is a digital SLR featuring a CMOS imager with a resolution of 3,110,400 pixels (2160×1440), which comes out to 15 times the number of pixels over the PalmPix! Images are stored on CompactFlash and can be transferred to the user’s computer via USB or with a CF Card Reader. The D30’s body retails for $2999 (without lens), over 20 times the cost of the PalmPix. Is the D30’s image quality 15 times better and subsequently worth 20 times the PalmPix? The D30 was equipped with a Canon 28-70 mm L lens. The first two images were shot at ISO 1600, with the final picture being shot at ISO 200.

The Images

It’s clear from the images below that the D30 produces significantly higher quality images than the PalmPix. The links to the original images highlights this fact much more.

Conclusions

Mega-pixel digital cameras are dropping in price rapidly. Within the next year, you’ll be able to purchase a 1.3 megapixel digital camera for under $200. In fact, UMAX announced such a camera, the AstraCam 1800 on November 6, 2000 for $199. The quality and creative controls on these cameras far outpace those on the Kodak PalmPix. The PalmPix does offer convenience and compatibility with one’s Palm organizers. That being said, the small amount of memory in Palm organizers (2 or 8 megabytes) limits the amount of pictures that can be taken with the PalmPix. If you’re serious about taking digital photos, I recommend that you get a dedicated digicam. If you really desire a camera that you can use with your Palm, however, the PalmPix is the choice for you. If you have a Handspring Visor, you might want to check out the Eye Module from IDEO.

The D30’s image quality is top-notch, but the camera is not for everyone. It’s high price and hefty size will definitely dissuade most from this camera. But, if you want great images, interchangeable lenses, and the creative controls that come with an SLR, the D30 is for you!

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