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Thread: Barbie Cam Review

  1. #1
    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Barbie Cam Review

    As a amateur photographer and tech fanatic, I enjoy playing with new toys, particularly those that are in the technology space.

    It's easy to get wrapped up in the Nikon vs Canon space, and forget to look around, but sometimes you need to realize there is a life outside of Nikon and Canon.



    My 3 year old daughter has taken an interest in photography, largely to prevent herself being on the receiving end and I'll be honest and say that having a pro body with pro lenses falls into the "slightly to heavy for a toddler to wield comfortably" territory.



    Whilst browsing around the tech section of Target one day, something new caught my eye. A new Barbie camera. How did this camera miss the main stream media when Nikon's D4s is plastered all over the place? Finally there was something Barbie related that a real man could play with, and of course share with my daughter.

    Packaging is reasonable given the heavy $20 price tag of this piece of professional glass. Weight is surprisingly light, and I'm not quite sure how they managed to keep it that light with professional glass in it. They even included a wrist strap which is surprising given my Nikon body only came with a neck strap.

    The specs are a little astounding for this type of gear so hold yourself back. This baby houses a 1.4MP sensor and to top it off, Barbie have splashed out on internal memory so you don't need to bother yourself with expensive 64GB SD or CF cards. That's a saving of $100 which means they are virtually paying you to take this camera. That's right, from the moment you buy it, you're making a profit! Granted its full within a relatively short period of time, but if you've ever seen how long a single toy holds a toddlers attention, that won't be a problem.



    They don't specify the glass on this camera, but given my lengthy professional photography background and superb photography analytical skills, I'd be inclined to believe this camera holds a 35mm Zeiss f/1.2 prime. I've showed the quality of photos to number of professional photographers and the look of shock when I mentioned Barbie cam, $20 and Zeiss prime serves to confirm my suspicions about the legitimacy of my Zeiss lens claims. I have contacted Zeiss for a comment on the matter, but I can only assume their silence is a clear indication that they don't want to spoil the sales of their $4000 primes when potential buyers find out they can just buy a barbie cam.

    The "Zeiss" optics with Zeiss like plastic quality. No expense has been spared.


    Here is an example of a picture. Bare in mind that this is also handheld at f/3.0. The sharpness of the optic is so strong it picks up the dust particles in the air!


    Now compare that to this photo taken with a much more expensive camera and lens, and it's hard to see how Nikon justify the price differential (no post processing)


    Usability is on a par for what I'd expect. It has a number of buttons on the back that offer the ability to switch on the camera, play photos and scroll through the photos. The rear LCD is an astounding AHD (almost HD) 640x480 which puts in on a par with the pro bodies (in 2001).



    If I was to niggle about anything on this camera that would limit its capacity to hit a 10/10, I'd say the lack of rechargeable battery may be a killer for some buyers, but the AAA batteries have reasonable battery life and are located in most countries if you intend doing international travel. I'd also say that the lack of zoom probably pushes this into the professional territory as most novices will be looking for a zoom.

    No IS/VR required on this baby. It's startlingly sharp. This photo was taken by my daughter and if you compare it to the photos I took of her with my D700, they are barely distinguishable.


    Size is amazing considering the tech that is inside this body. Here you can see it along side a Nikon 70-200 and you can see how the lens dwarfs this piece of high tech gear, astounding given how close they are in quality of photos. When comparing the Barbie cam against my D700, if you look at 1.4MP sensor vs 12MP sensor, by simply moving the decimal point one character to the left, the Barbie cam actually has a bigger sensor. $3000 vs $20 for one decimal point is pretty hard for Nikon to justify the additional $2980 purchase price! Add the internal memory of the barbie cam, and the fact that the D700 doesn't come with its own lens, and it's clear that the barbie cam is the winner in the specifications race.

    No need for an l plate on this baby, it comes tripod ready


    One of the things I like about having bleeding edge technology at my disposal is the attention it gets from the public. Pull out a pro DSLR these days in a tram or bus, and it's a dime a dozen with tourists everywhere sporting similar displays. Pull out a Barbie cam, and people really start to stare. Now I know how people in Ferrari's feel when they get out of their cars. I was one of the first to get an iPhone and even that wasn't enough to garner the sort of looks I get when I pull out my Barbie cam. You can even see the disapproving looks from the more jealous members of society shaking their heads in disapproval. I was at the Melbourne Photography meet last weekend and when I pulled this out it was like I had just shown them my new 800mm f/5.6. When a couple of females joined the group, I could feel myself constantly surrounded by them. As I said, this is like having a Ferrari in your pocket. If you don't like attention, go with a mainstream DSLR.

    If you're in the market for a camera and are currently looking at a Nikon and Canon pro body, I'd recommend you consider this option seriously, if not just to keep your toddlers hands off your real body. If you're the kind of person that likes to be noticed and be the envy of people's attention, this camera fits the bill.
    Fuji XT-2, Fuji VPB-XT2, Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8, Fujinon 50-140 f/2.8, Fujinon 23 f/2, Fujinon 35 f2, Fujinon 90 f/2, Yongnuo YN560 IV, Yongnuo YN560 TX, Benro C3580T
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    Excellent review! My upgrade path from the D90 has just revealed itself!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry41 View Post
    Excellent review! My upgrade path from the D90 has just revealed itself!
    if you're coming from a D90 you're probably not ready for this. It's an advanced only camera due to the fixed focal length. I'd advise spending some time in manual mode after upgrading to a D600/D800/D4 and then when you're used to working with primes, you'll be ready for this. Without being arrogant, I think the high resolution sensor and quality optics would be wasted on a D90 owner.

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    surely I can learn on the fly? Does it come with a user's manual?

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    Ausphotography Regular paulheath's Avatar
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    seriously looking at moving from Canon.......i think this ticks all the boxes, what would swing me is does it have "liveview"? looking at the quality of the pics its not really a deal breaker if it doesn't. great review..... you don't work for Mattel Inc do you?
    long live
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    Canon 7D, and a lot of other bits and bobs


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    Quote Originally Posted by paulheath View Post
    seriously looking at moving from Canon.......i think this ticks all the boxes, what would swing me is does it have "liveview"? looking at the quality of the pics its not really a deal breaker if it doesn't. great review..... you don't work for Mattel Inc do you?
    Yup. It has liveview. I didn't think to add that to the notes due to the fact that it doesn't have an optical viewfinder. Technically it falls into the mirrorless category but the focus speed on this baby is on a par with most professional DSLR's so I really see it as the mirrorless camera that bridges the gap for professionals to convert.

    I know it's hard to believe that I don't work for the manufacturer, but this camera is just that good that I don't think it's possible to do a bad review. I've heard rumours that when Sigma heard about this camera, they dropped their plans for any further ART lenses because they felt it would be impossible to compete.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Does it come in blue?
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
    Nikon, etc!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Does it come in blue?
    No, it does not come in blue. If you're asking that sort of question, this camera is not the right camera for you.

    The "Thomas the Tank" camera comes in blue. Everyone knows that.

    If you're going to ask novice questions about photography gear, please don't put "advanced" next to the skill level on your name!

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    Loves The Wildlife. Mary Anne's Avatar
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    Ok I have my laugh for today Thanks
    My 52/2011 Challenge

    I shoot with Canon And Olympus Cameras



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    Member Kaktus's Avatar
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    Totally spellbinding review The included photos only add to the story
    Thank you soooo much for posting this, made my day
    Last edited by Kaktus; 14-06-2014 at 4:50pm. Reason: additional text

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    Thanks. It's one of the few occasions I get to accuse Rick of being a novice without getting banned

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    Member Jim560's Avatar
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    What a fantastic review. I wish I had read this prior to my recent upgrade, not only did I waste money on my D800 iIalso bought my daughter a Dora Camera form Kmart for $25.. what a rip off, and the pictures from that were terrible. Mission Man please give me any future updates when you do the initial tests..



    (READ BARBIE)
    www.project52melbourne.com

    Converted Fuji Shooter.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    No need for an l plate on this baby, it comes tripod ready
    I was very excited by all the tech here and had my credit card out and ready to hit the buy now button until I saw the tripod mount isn't aligned with the lens centre.
    That is a definite deal breaker I'm afraid as it simply won't cut it for multi row panorama shots.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jim560 View Post
    What a fantastic review. I wish I had read this prior to my recent upgrade, not only did I waste money on my D800 iIalso bought my daughter a Dora Camera form Kmart for $25.. what a rip off, and the pictures from that were terrible. Mission Man please give me any future updates when you do the initial tests..
    (READ BARBIE)
    Jim, I'm certain that if you really want cutting edge Dora / Barbie tech in a camera and can't afford another body, you could simply swap the D800 with your daughter. Do your best used car salesman impersonation, kids are easily convinced and in the end you will have her believing she did get a good deal.
    Last edited by I @ M; 15-06-2014 at 4:31am.
    Andrew
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    Ausphotography Regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    I was very excited by all the tech here and had my credit card out and ready to hit the buy now button until I saw the tripod mount isn't aligned with the lens centre.
    That is a definite deal breaker I'm afraid as it simply won't cut it for multi row panorama shots.
    More novice questions.

    The offset of the tripod mount is to cater for the error of parallax. This graphic from one of the education sites shows how the visual point should always be offset slightly to one side. This is only something you'll notice on professional grade cameras.


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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    More novice questions.

    The offset of the tripod mount is to cater for the error of parallax. This graphic from one of the education sites shows how the visual point should always be offset slightly to one side. This is only something you'll notice on professional grade cameras.

    Now I smell something fishy !!!

    That diagram is actually for measuring spring deflection rates in a sample of that rare metal unobtanium when subjected to 1, 2 or 3 levels of UV light!!!

    Besides, I can't see a viewfinder on that camera --------

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    Thanks. It's one of the few occasions I get to accuse Rick of being a novice without getting banned
    Except it would appear that some of the photos above are copyright to your lovely daughter, not you. Please read the site rules, in particular rule 20.

  17. #17
    Ausphotography Regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Except it would appear that some of the photos above are copyright to your lovely daughter, not you. Please read the site rules, in particular rule 20.
    Touché

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    and it would seem from a current thread elsewhere on the site, that even though it is only 1.4mp, as the pixel site size may in fact be equal to or larger than the D800's 36mp, then the Barbie Cam wins hands down. After all, nothing else matters, just the pixel site size.

    Win Win!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    and it would seem from a current thread elsewhere on the site, that even though it is only 1.4mp, as the pixel site size may in fact be equal to or larger than the D800's 36mp, then the Barbie Cam wins hands down. After all, nothing else matters, just the pixel site size.

    Win Win!
    It does if it's Ken Rockwell's Barbie cam.

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    Member JJM's Avatar
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    Most importantly how many FPS is it capable of ?

    Great review!

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