Digital camera woes

I have an extremely cheap, extremely old digital still camera/web cam. It’s a Ezonics EZMega Cam, model EZ-802. (A very unfortunate model number since it has nothing to d with wifi). It works well enough if you don’t mind the occasional red-eyed demon baby.

Its one serious problem is that it drains even quality batteries in a few hours after you take the first picture. If I’m away for the day I have to drag a laptop with me to download the pictures or they’ll be gone before I get home.

Supposedly, if you put a compact flash chip it it, it stores the pictures on that instead of its own memory, and doesn’t drain the batteries.

The problem is that when I put the compact flash chip in, the camera emits three short and one long beep and then shuts off.

I know the cf chips are ok, because I can read and write them in my reader/writer.

I think the problem is that the chips contain an entirely blank FAT/FAT16 file system. I think the camera is expecting there to be a directory structure of some sort.

The manual is of entirely no hope. It mentions that the camera can use them, but doesn’t say how. The cf chips I bought are the correct capacity.

Does anyone have any experience with this, or similar cameras?

Cameras usually have a setting somewhere in their menu tree to format a card for use. See if you can find that setting, then put the card in, because it doesn’t sound like you’ll have much time for doing it after you put the card in.

It’s also possible, I imagine, that your card so exceeds the maximum the camera can use that it can’t even recognize it as the correct type card.

The manual says the camera will take 24-128 MB cf chips. These are HP 128MB chips.

The manual says to turn the camera off when inserting or removing the chips. When I put in a chip and press on, there is about a 15 second delay, and the camera shuts off. The menu screen never appears. Indeed, the lcd panel never even lights up.

I tried putting in the chip with the camera on. It just shuts off with t he same sequence of beeps.

Still no joy.

Can you find the menu option to format the card? Without trying to put the card in first, I mean.

There doesn’t appear to be any such menu option. The “Flash” option is for the flash light, not the memory chip.

I looked up your camera, it really is a crap cam. :slight_smile:

Alkaline batteries are awful in digital cameras; as you have found they don’t last long. You should use NiMH rechargeable batteries. Right now the best choice is the low discharge varieties, like the Sanyo Enloops. They will last a long time in your camera and a set with a charger will run you around $25. I don’t think using a memory card is going to change your battery life with alkalines, they will still die a quick death. The onboard memory is doing the same thing that your memory card would do.

If you are using NiMH now then either your batteries are dying or your camera is hopelessly messed up.

But a brand new camera that will be leaps and bounds above your current model in all respects will run you about $100. Your camera is literally at the level of stuff given out free in cereal boxes today.

Sounds like all of his problems could be solved with his breakfast tomorrow!!!

Seriously I have had cameras of that quality. In a short time you will burn through enough batteries to justify the purchase of a better camera. Better to do it now and call it an investment.

I knew sooner or later folks were going to pile onto my camera. I don’t want to replace if because:

  1. I am unemployed;

  2. I am likely to stay unemployed for a long time because;

  3. I have Parkinson’s and have a lot of trouble using a keyboard;

  4. I am a programmer;

  5. I am living off my savings while trying to convince Social Security that I am disabled.

Thanks all for your comments though.

I guess my point is that you need rechargeable batteries regardless of what camera you end up with. If you are using alkalines now, getting the memory card to work won’t solve your problem, the batteries will still die in exactly the same time. So you need to spend some money to get new batteries but they will save you money in the long run since you won’t have to buy new AAs every time you use the camera.

ETA - you might be able to pick up a used camera for the same price as a set of batteries on Craigslist.

I think the OP is saying the internal memory is volatile memory, and the battery life would matter less if he could use a CF card.

But I have to agree, I think the OP is better off looking for another used camera. A quick look at my local Craigslist shows several cameras under $25 that are much better quality, and you can probably find one for less if you keep looking (or perhaps post a Wanted ad explaining what you need and why).

Hmm…unfortunately, I can only seem to find a generic EZMega manual on the web, and that manual makes no mention of CF cards. It’s this camera, right?

How did you format it? Do you have a CF card reader? Does the computer recognize the card? Let’s start there and see where we can go. Does it show up as a FAT-16 file system when you look at its info (I’m on a Mac, so I forget how to access info on Windows. Maybe right-click properties or something like that?) (I apologize if these are obvious questions, I see you’re a programmer, but I need to start at the beginning.)

Otherwise, the suggestion to use NiMH rechargeable is spot-on. The NiMHs, on digital cameras, for some technical reason that escapes me at the moment, last significantly longer. (In my experience, on a big, professional dSLR, we’re talking about 5 times longer. I don’t know if it scales differently on a smaller, older camera.)

And I’m doubting that is the case - although I suppose it is possible. I’m pretty sure the reason his batteries are dying is because they’re alkalines, not because of the memory in the camera.

Mr Beestie,

Can you confirm that if the batteries die, the pictures are gone from the camera?

I found that manual too. No, my camera has a slot in the side for cf memory. My manual does mention that it can use cf chips, and gives the sizes ift takes. The manual on the web page you linked to says nothing about cf chips.

Yes, the model number is the same, but the cameras are not.

I think scr4 is right about the volatile memory being the reason for the drained batteries. They don’t go dead so fast if the camera is off, and there are no stored pictures.

pulykamell: Yes, I have a multiformat reader/writer thingy that can format them. The chips came formatted FAT/FAT16. The computer recognizes them with no problem. I reformatted a chip to FAT32 in the reader/writer. The camera displays “561”, and then shuts off. The manual makes no mention of what error “561” means.

For whatever reason, Windows XP/Home will not let me partition the cf card. I’m thinking that maybe the manufacturer designed the thing to accept 128MB chips before they were available. When the chips were finally made, they didn’t work.
What are the odds that if I partition it with linux to 64MB partitions that it will work?

Well, there go my various ideas. At this point, it would be some last-ditch trial-and-error for me, including formatting back to FAT/FAT16, perhaps trying a low-level format; also, I’d check to make sure I could move files in and out of the card, as well, on the computer. If you had a 64MB card lying around, I’d have you try that in the camera, too, to see if that could somehow be the problem.

It’s hard to say. I have had CF cards, a long time ago, work for me on the computer, but not in the camera. They would even resist an in-camera format, and I was never able to figure out what the problem was. Other cards would work, however. It could be the card, it could be the camera–it’s hard to know for sure if you don’t have other CF cards available to test.

Assuming that taking the batteries out is the same as the batteries going dead, to my astonishment and chagrin, it kept the pictures! I’ll have to take them out longer to see if that remains so.

In fact I have 5 identical HP “Solvent” chips, all 128MB. I’ve tried two so far and neither work in the camera.

There is no reason whatsoever to expect the pictures to go away because the batteries go dead. Batteries in digital cameras go dead all the time. I don’t think that even the crappiest of digital cameras wouldn’t use volatile memory to store pictures.

Well this must be the crappiest! After about 1/2 hour with no batteries the pictures are gone.

Use NiMH batteries and you will see your battery problem go away. This is the #1 common complaint about digital cameras. It would extremely unlikely that your camera uses volatile memory; no camera I’ve ever heard of does.

And to avoid having the batteries discharge between uses get the low discharge types I mentioned above. They will hold their charge for a year between uses, unlike normal NiMH.