Aiptek Pencam 1.3 Mega
Aiptek Pencam 1.3 SD
photos in PenCam Bike Photo More photos in PenCam Bike Photo

A while back I began searching for a digital camera to bring along while cyclotouring. My main criteria were cheap and compact -- essentially I wanted something small enough to fit in a jersey pocket, and cheap enough that if it got dropped, lost, wet, or otherwise destroyed it wouldn't matter much.

I spent some time searching on Amazon and found that there were basically two categories of pocket cameras: very expensive and very cheap. The expensive ones were great feature-wise, but far too pricey; the cheap ones were merely toys with limited storage and poor image quality. One camera that caught my attention was part of the Philips "GoGear" line (now discontinued I think) -- it was a lipstick-sized camera with a mini LCD display and 2.0 megapixel resolution. This camera was perfect save for the $200 price tag. I also discovered the Aiptek brand, offering what they called "pencams". These seemed quite useful with 1.3 megapixel resolution and good storage capacity, but at $60 were still a bit too pricey.

I later discovered the Tinycams Yahoo group, where a random posting mentioned that Aiptek had a clearance-sale website where they sold off discontinued and refurbished units: I checked there and found the refurb'd Aiptek Pencam 1.3 Mega for $9 (normally $60). Of course I bought one! Based on the success of this camera, I later bought a refurbished Aiptek Pencam 1.3 SD with a 128Mb SD memory card for $19 from the same website. UPDATE: it seems that no longer sells these cameras, so head to to find them.

I've been having lots of fun shooting low-rez photos on bike rides, and I guess I'm responsible for spreading the word around on the iBOB list; lots of folks there got pencams for themselves, friends, and family members.

Check out photos from me and other pencam-cyclists on the Pencam Bike Photo Pool!

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