By Bert Happel
3 Jul 2009
I'm one lucky guy. First my wife gets me a Canon Xti for Christmas 2007 and then last month she suprises me with an RCA Small Wonder for father's day.
Back in the early 1990's my parents bought a camcorder in anticipation of the arrival of their first grandchild. We borrowed this unit often and eventually ended up as defacto owner of it. Several years ago the Record button quit working so the camcorder has been good only for replaying the miniature VHS cassettes it had created. So we've been without a camcorder for a number of years.
My wife saw this version of the Small Wonder on a shopping channel and purchased it. The model EZ219 is a limited edition of the model EZ209 packaged with a 4Gb memory card and support software. The features of the unit are:
720p HD camcorder
8MP Still Photo
3x Digital Zoom
HDMI and USB connection
Micro SD/HCSD expansion slot
2 Inch video display
The camcorder feature can be set for "Web" resolution of 320x240@30fps which will capture approximately 10 hours of video on a 4GB memory card; "Sports" resolution of 848x480@60fps (2 hours); or "HD" resolution of 1280x720@30fps (2 hours).
I used the camcorder feature as our younger son went off to Boy Scout camp. But then as I was carrying the camera around I began toying with the still image option.
The Small Wonder is just bigger than a deck of playing cards (4.25hx2.5wx1d inch) so it is very easy to slip into a shirt pocket or hold unobtrusively. Taking pictures does require either a fair bit of light or a steady hand. I've gotten some decent low-light images using the Small Wonder but it is better suited for use in a well-lit room or in sunlight.
The Small Wonder is in reality an electronic pinhole camera. The EXIF data shows:
Shutter speeds from 1/2-1/1798th of a second.
All of the images that I have uploaded since June 28th have been from the Small Wonder. Several (like the main photo here) were taken inside and a number have been taken outside. I've used the Small Wonder in places and situations where I would not have dared to use my Xti - casual shots where the use of a DSLR would have been distracting to those around me & shots that benefit from one hand aim and control (my "Rolling" series which will get it's own story).
I've labeled the Small Wonder as "Semi-Precious" for it will never displace my Xti with it's interchangable lenses. But the Small Wonder has given me joy with the freedom of obtaining reasonable quality snapshot imaging.