Written on: 27/02/2006 by Bertie (27 reviews written)
Small and light
Very useful software
Can't leave battery in for very long (see text).
Can't handle high contrast subjects.
The Practica Micropix is a 100 kilo-pixel fixed-focus camera on a key-chain; very similar to the L'Espion, and suitable only for subjects not containing a great amount of detail.
For the £9-something I paid for this digital camera, I feel the ArcSoft Funhouse software that came with it was worth that alone, and which you can use for any of your pictures stored on your hard drive.
It takes 20 pictures in high resolution and 80 pictures in low, plus 10 seconds of video at 10 frames/second. It can also be used as a webcam. As it's maximum resolution is only 100 kilo-pixels, the low resolution is pretty dire (not that the high resolution is much to shout about), but it could be useful for producing surrealistic effects without resorting to a photo-manipulation program.
As this camera looks so similar to the L'Espion, I suspect the same factory makes both with a few cosmetic differences and positioning of the LCD display. The pop-up viewfinder is surprisingly accurate, but you have to hold the camera away from your eye for a clear picture.
A reviewer of the L'Espion noted the battery (a single AAA) didn't last very long, so I looked for any current drain and found that after 30 odd seconds when the camera goes into its Automatic Energy Saving Mode, there was a steady drain of 3.7 milliamps, which is keeping the internal memory alive. This is enough to seriously deplete a fresh battery in less than a week, so it's advisable to remove it if not using the camera for a day or so.
Loading the software was a breeze, and a USB cable, key chain and comprehensive 9-page instruction manual with an 0870 helpline make up this little fun camera.