Out with a 6MP noughties digicam I picked up for 3€, 07 March 2024

Out with a 6MP noughties digicam I picked up for 3€, 07 March 2024

It's been a while since I picked up a 'generic' camera from the CEX website, but last week they were advertising a 'generic 6MP camera' for 3€. I like these as you are never quite sure what you are going to get. This time it turned out to be an Olympus FE-170 digicam from 2006. It's a basic point and shoot camera, and on the whole took some decent photographs, but aside from preset programs it is completely automatic. Upon opening the camera for the first time I was a little concerned to find that instead of using the commonly available SD cards the Olympus used proprietary Olympus xD memory cards. This was a time when many camera manufacturers each used their own form of external media and nowadays can be a bit of a challenge to find a specific memory card. But looking a little closer I was delighted to see the black hump of an xD memory card protruding from the slot. There was a 150Mb card installed, what a relief.

As usual,with all new cameras I took the Olympus across the road to test it with my favourite tree and well. The images were competent enough,  nothing special, but let's face it, this is a basic automatic point and shoot camera from the noughties. So then I pulled out the colour filters to make a trichrome and see what the infrared response was like. Not bad, it turns out, but the IR filtered images were full of noise.

I took one colour photograph with the infrared filter then tried to set the camera to black and white so that I could make some trichromes. No luck, the camera just won't do it. So I opted for 'Plan B' and took colour photographs with red, green and blue filters. Back at home I loaded the colour images into GuIMP, desaturated them and using the infrared, red, and green images (for red, green and blue layers, respectively) made a digital aerodrome. This came out quite nicely, though there was a strong green tinge to the buildings. 

I also took the colour infrared image and channel swapped the red and blue channels. Often this can be 'hit-or-miss' but this time the channel-swapped photograph came out really well. By no means is this a notable addition to my collection, but I'm sure that I will find something to do with this cheap little camera, especially as there's a Shitty Camera Challenge coming up in July.

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