My old Ricoh RDC-300

Digital cameras are an absolute wonder to me, but being the penny-pincher that I am, I waited to take the plunge.  The event that triggered my purchase was the annual Auto Show I attended with my son Philip a couple of years ago.  Having been to auto shows before I knew only too well how many photos I'd be taking with my Polaroid Spectra, at about $15 for each 10-photo pack.  How then to make sure I got good photos without spending a fortune on Polaroid film?  Bingo--a digital camera.

Circuit City had been promoting the new RDC models from Ricoh so I figured I might snap up a bargain if I tried to find the previous model, although I was prepared to get the newer model if it was what I was looking for.  Well sure enough they had both the latest model and the RDC-300 from the previous six months.  But here was the rub. The RDC-300 had a 4 Mb permanent memory onboard.  The newer RDC-300Z used an ATA-Flash card for storing the photos.  It was bundled with a 2 Mb card that would have had me running for the laptop every couple of hours to download it, and it cost $200 more than the previous RDC-300.  At that time, even a 4 or 8 Mb Flash Card was a $60 - $90 proposition, so that made the RDC-300Z now $300 more than the RDC-300.  4 Mb seemed just about right to me and as it turns out, it was (appropriate technology yet again).  Not to mention the ease of just hooking it up to my laptop and uploading it, without fear of losing or misplacing a little cartridge about the size of a postage stamp.  What iced the deal for me was Circuit City's $100 off promotion for the RDC-300.  That made it a $249 purchase instead of a $349 purchase, with the RDC-300Z going for $549 at the time.  I did the math and surmised that it would pay for itself after the equivalent of 15 cartridges worth of Polaroid film.  That made it a no-brainer for me, and its been a pleasure to use ever since.  As it turns out, it paid for itself in less than three months, having taken some 120 photos at the Auto Show, and 135 more while visiting my folks in L.A. with Philip and Valerie that Christmas.

Postscript.  3 months later I'm at a computer show with Philip, and we find the Mitsubishi DJ-1000, a cam about the size of a PCMCIA modem, for $35 including a PCMCIA adapter, case, and a 2 Mb Flash Card!  Whoa!  How cool was that price?  Even if the camera was crap, the ATA Flash card and the PCMCIA adapter alone were a bargain. But in fact it took incredibly good digital photos for its focal attributes. Needless to say I set about trying to find more of them for Christmas.  Alas, none were to be found, and when I did find them again a year later they were going for $125 without the adapter and Flash Card.  As it turns out, those cameras were a special loss leader Mitsubishi was using to promote their new range of high-capacity ATA Flash Cards.  That was one real sweet bargain.

I'm at a computer show with Philip, and we find the Mitsubishi DJ-1000, a cam about the size of a PCMCIA modem, for $35 including a PCMCIA adapter, case, and a 2 Mb Flash Card!  Whoa!  How cool was that price? 

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