PSP Camera Comprehensive Review

This post was originally written on the City In The Clouds blog.

Well, I’ve checked, and no-one seems to really have reviewed the UK version in its current configuration AND have consistently ignored something that I will mention later on…

Intro
So, it has finally touched down on the shores of the UK (and Europe for that matter).  Retailing at £34.99 (€49.99), the Go!Cam– a Playstation Portable camera adapter, is an interesting proposition for the PSP-owning, tech-savvy and bargain-sniffing consumer.

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
So, what do you get for your £34.99?  Well, the Go!Cam is essentially a 1.3 megapixel camera with a wide-angle lens that plugs into the PSP’s USB port at the top.  The camera can be swivelled 180 degrees, either pointing at you (handy for self-portraits) or away, for point and click action at anything you fancy.  There’s also a microphone built into the knob that you use to swivel the camera.  There’s a link to the editing software, and a small plastic carrying case is included.  That’s all you need to know, really.

In use
All you need is your trusty PSP (with version 2.70 firmware or later), a decent-sized Memory Stick Duo (I’d recommend at least 1Gb), and your new Go!Cam.  Using the Go!Cam is simply a matter of selecting the ‘Camera’ option under ‘Photo’ on the main menu.  Do you need to plug in the camera before turning on the PSP?  Nope, I have tested this and the camera works fine in either circumstance.

The Go!Cam

Quality
Of course, only being a 1.3 megapixel camera is a major factor in the quality of the final image but the camera’s bargain price point reflects this.  Photos are saved in the JPG format and videos are saved in the AVI format.  The images, especially in low light can be quite grainy and the PSP has to be kept reasonably still, otherwise you’ll get blurred pictures.  Fast-moving objects could be a problem.

The ‘Go!Edit’ software…
Words cannot describe how much I hate this infernal piece of software.  When the Go!Cam was released in Japan, it was known as ‘Chotto Shot’ and came with editing software ‘Chotto Edit’ which came on a UMD disk.  The Go!Edit software for European consumers does not come with the the PSP camera.  Instead, you are given a link to www.yourpsp.com/goedit (so I see the ‘Your PSP’ website lives on in some form), and once on your memory stick, takes up 80Mb!

What is so bad about this piece of software?  The ‘effects’ are rubbish and pointless (for both photos and videos) and videos are only limited to 15 seconds.  What most people have failed to realise is that if you shoot a video directly from the main menu instead of using the Go!Edit software, you can shoot footage for as long as you have memory left on your Memory Stick Duo.  Once you’ve run out of memory, the PSP informs you and stops the filming.

White PSP and Go!Cam

Another advantage of NOT using the Go!Edit software is that both photos and videos are available under ‘Digital Camera Images’ and ‘Digital Camera Recordings’ where you’d expect to find them on the menu.  Whilst using the Go!Edit software, I could not find where the videos were stored using the PSP’s menu.  Avoid the Go!Edit software at all costs- it’s just not worth it!

So, good enough?
As other reviews and previews have mentioned, you can get most of this functionality on a typical camera phone these days.  However the unique feature that the Go!Cam presents is instant viewing of photos and videos taken, viewable on the PSP’s big, gorgeous widescreen display.  Now, go show me a camera phone with a screen that big, and of such quality.

A fairly nifty feature, is being able to take photos with a ’sketch’ effect that is created on-the-fly.  This is easily one of the better features.  Some photos I have taken with this effect are available here.

White PSP with Go!Cam

To conclude…
Obviously the Go!Cam is not going to be your primary camera, or possibly even your second camera BUT it is serious fun.  I don’t know of any other camera or video recorder with a screen this big, for this price.  I’d say the Go!Cam is worth it just for the novelty of being able to take pics and shoot the odd video on your PSP.  Just avoid the the Go!Edit software!

Rating: 4 STARS

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