James's Camera Collection: Toshiba PDR-M25

Toshiba PDR-M25 Japan Digital camera
Toshiba PDR-M25 digital camera
Camera type: Point-n-shoot
Approx. dates of manufacture: 2001
Sensor Size: CCD 1/2.6"
Max Resolution: 1729x1200
Memory card: Smart Media (SM)
Approx. original price: $279
Approx. street value: low

The second of a pair of cameras I paid $4 for (as a set!) from a thrift store. The other camera had a broken memory card door, this one has a bite taken out of its battery door (you can see it on the lower left corner in the photo). I was finally able to locate a memory card for it and found out that the lens doesn't work (it won't focus). Oh well.

This is off-topic, but I'll mention it anyway. People occasionally ask me advice on which camera to buy, and I typically suggest a camera made by an major camera manufacturer, rather than a consumer electronics company. Camera companies usually take their camera lines more seriously; particularly the big guys (Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, etc).

This is a good example. I bought this camera at the same time as my Canon S100, each for the same price. They're both about the same age and similar capabilities, and both have problems. The Canon had a broken memory-card door; this one has a broken battery cover. The Canon came with its proprietary battery; this one takes AAs. Neither came with any other accessories: no instruction manuals, no software, no cables, etc.

I was quickly able to get on the Canon website and download the manual, and if I want I can also get the software. The battery, the charger, and a lot of the gear can be find online. I ordered the memory-card door from a parts house. Easy.

Not so with this machine. Toshiba's website acts as if it never existed. In fact they don't have any support for any of their digital cameras—at least nothing that I could find. I was finally able to download the manual from a website called Retrevo, but that was after a fair amount of searching on the net. I haven't found the battery cover, nor any parts at all, even on eBay. I've found a few complete cameras for sale, but only a handful.

I'm not saying it's always this way, but it has been my experience that the traditional camera brands are far better supported than the non-camera brands. So if you're buying a cheapy P&S and you expect to get 5 years out of it and then retire it for something else, you may be perfectly happy. But if you tend to look at these things in the longer term, or if you want to buy a used camera for a bargain—these things matter.

Camera manual: Orphan Cameras.com

©opyright by James Ollinger. All Rights Reserved.