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Product Review: PhotoMAX FUN! FLASH 640 Digital Camera

By Michael - 10-29-01

For this review, I originally planned to take crappy pictures on purpose, and then joke about them. I found out that I did not need to try very hard to get a crappy picture. Come to think of it, Shutter Button = Crappy Picture. Every photo on this page is exactly as it was taken, with no image editing or enhancements (besides resizing).

I plan to hock some of my belongings on eBay, to get rid of the things I don't use. Now, if you've ever been to eBay, you'll know that most auctions are represented by a digital photo or two, so you can see what you're buying. So, I needed a digital camera if I was to do this properly - But which one? There are so many to choose from. The decision, in my case, was easy - 

  1. It has to be cheap (I've got a Gibson Les Paul guitar on backorder. I will be making payments on it until I die. Then Musician's Friend will get its payments from my corpse).

  2. It has to have something other than a USB interface (I don't have USB, and I don't feel like installing it right now).

I saw this camera at Circuit City's website for $39.00. Cheap? Yes. Serial Port? Bingo. I drove out to buy it the next day. No problem there. Found it, bought it.

Ok, here's where the review starts. After struggling for about ten minutes, I finally got the camera out of its packaging. It looks like a shiny silver plastic, um... camera. It's got a flash, four buttons on top (Power, Flash, Self Timer, and Shutter), and an LED meter on the back. No zoom. It uses four AAA batteries. Simple yet effective.

Don't call me an idiot, but putting in the batteries was a little complicated. You have to alternate the positive and negative, being sure to line them up with the lid. Ok, I'm an idiot. Shut up.

Now, this thing has a dual serial and USB cable, so if you don't have USB, you're not screwed. There's an added bonus: If you sniff the cable, you can get high! That's value! I plugged it in and installed the driver with no problems. Now I'm ready to take some pictures!


The first couple of pictures I took were a random shots of my living room. I turned the camera around and took a couple of quick pictures of myself for good measure. I excitedly ran back to the computer, plugged the camera in, and prepared to be impressed. The pictures that came out were poorly lit and blurry. I looked at the picture of myself...

A picture of me! (After eating mushrooms from the backyard)

...And then another.

I frighten small children.

"AUGH! I'm not that ugly, am I?", I asked my hideous mirror image. While taking the photo, I tried in vain to get my entire humongous, elongated head into the picture. It could not be done. It takes too much effort to turn the camera sideways. Just give up, that's what I always say.


Give up on a decent indoor photo. This thing is too sensitive to lighting. If the picture's too dark, you use the flash. Then, after using the flash, the picture is blindingly bright. And if you're a nervous, shaking, frustrated wreck, you get pictures like this:

How am I going to sell anything on eBay if nobody can tell what it is?

In case you're wondering, that's the mighty Decepticon gestalt, Devastator - or, it could be a tree, or a rock, or a tasty scoop of ice cream - I can't tell by looking at it. Conclusion: the camera pretty much sucks at indoor pictures. We can't blame the camera entirely - you must realize that I cannot hold a camera still to save my life. I quit smoking about six years ago, and I still haven't stopped shaking. 


After all of my complaining about the low quality of the indoor pictures (some of which was my fault, but as far as my looks are concerned, I blame my parents), I noticed that the 640 does take acceptable outdoor photos. I walked out my door, and took a quick shot...

My dope ride (and if you look to your right, somebody's old couch).

...Then I walked out back and took another shot...


Nothing wrong with either pic, so basically, you just have to be outside, at approximately 2:15 PM Eastern time on a sunny day with the sun behind you, during October, to get a decent shot. No problem there!


This thing eats batteries like popcorn (Assuming cameras can eat popcorn). If you use the flash more than three times, it's time to change 'em. It's got a timer, where if it's not in use for 45 seconds, it turns itself on standby and beeps. I think this thing wastes more energy beeping than anything else. Every 45 seconds you have to turn the camera back on. It's kind of annoying.


The 640 is basically the digital version of one of those disposable cameras you get at Eckerd for like, five bucks. Here's what it all comes down to: should you buy this camera? 

  • If you want to take photos for eBay - I don't think so...

  • If you want a camera just to send quick photos through email - Maybe. But not for photos which require a lot of detail, such as nudity.

  • If you want a camera that saves you from buying a disposable camera, developing the film, and then scanning each separate photo into your computer - YES. 

I know I've been pretty hard on the Fun! Flash 640 during the review, but you can't beat it for the price and convenience (I done set it up on mah first try!). This is THE lowest priced digital camera there is, pretty much, so I shouldn't complain too much. Of course, if you're a real photograph freak, I'd hold out for a better, more expensive model. In the case of digital cameras, you get what you pay for.

Can't touch this.I done told you, homeboy - Can't touch this.
My rating: 2 M.C. Hammers out of 5.






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