For a little while now people, myself included (though intermittently due to other committments), have been working on getting the newer Ritz PV2 cameras unlocked so that they can be used as cheap digital cameras. This is not so much because they have stunning image quality (most, if not all of us have much, much better quality digital cameras already). Part of it is for the challenge. For me though there was also an element of being able to give a cheap camera to a couple of young kids I know and have them play with photography.
The PV2 is ideal for this since it has an LCD (enabling them to see the photo they’ve just taken immediately), it is cheap (no real loss if it gets broken), it runs on standard AA batteries and it was designed to survive well enough to be recycled by the store (and they are in a pretty tough plastic case).
Recently, there has been a bit of a breakthrough and the camera can now be reprogrammed a little bit so that an easily available Windows (and Mac OS X for that matter) driver can read the photos from them and reset the counter to zero allowing the camera to be used again. You can get more information about this from a number of places:
- My own PV2 page on the bluedonkey.org TWiki site
- John Maushammer’s excellent site. John is the person behind much of the progress on getting this camera to work.
- The I-Appliance Camera forums. Lots of discussion here on these cameras, both from the perspective of getting access to the images and other data inside it, and some work on decoding the RAW image format that the camera’s use internally.
- Forkboy’s Windows PV2Tool page.
- The PV2 page at cexx.org.
- Binaryweaver’s pages, complete with new skins for the camera’s and some instructions for getting the photos off without access to the unlocking tool (useful for Windows-only people until there is a Windows version of the unlocking tool).
I’m sure I’ve missed some. Almost all of those pages have links to other sites though so keep following them. There’s a lot of information out there. The I-Applicance forums are perhaps the most up-to-date, but they can be a little difficult to follow these days since there is so much activity there.