Camera: Veo Photo Traveler CompactFlash Card (type II) for
Pocket PC and SD card for Palm posted May 2003 by Lisa
Veo is a company that's been making
web cameras and laptop cameras for a few years, and they've
made a welcome entrance into the PDA arena with the $99 Veo
Photo Traveler. The Photo Traveler is available in both Palm
OS (SD card) and Pocket PC (type II CF) versions. We received
both the Pocket PC and Palm versions for review. The CF unit
has recently been redesigned to fit into the Dell's deeper
CF slot. It's compatible with the iPAQ 36xx, 37xx, 38xx, 39xx,
Toshiba e570, e740 and Dell Axim X5 Pocket PCs.
The Palm version is compatible with Palm OS
PDAs with an SD slot running Palm OS 4.x or 5 and works with
the Palm m12x, m5xx, i705, Tungsten T, Tungsten W Handspring
Treo 90 and the Kyocera 7135.
The Photo Traveler has a 1/3 megapixel digital
camera, and can take JPEG photos at 160 x 120 (PPC version
only), 3240 x 240 and 640 x 480 resolutions. The Pocket PC
model can also record movies in two resolutions: 160 x 120
and 320 x 240 in .AVI format. It can record movies at 10
fps at 160 x 120.
Software and Installation
Installation is straightforward, and all the
software you need is included on the companion CD. The the
installer will place the camera driver and the Photo Traveler
application on your PDA. It'll also install Veo Creative
Studio on your PC. Creative Studio is a nice app that you
can use to view photos and movies taken with the camera,
as well as to create e-greeting cards and make movies.
Pocket PC Features
To take pictures, you'll launch the Photo Traveler
app. You'll see a large preview screen which allows you to
see what the camera "sees". When the camera is
in the slot and the app is running, the camera is always
on. To take pictures, you'll press the big red capture button
positioned at the lower right corner of the preview window.
It's big enough that you can use your thumb or finger rather
than the stylus— a nice touch. The current resolution
setting is displayed just below the preview window. If you
wish to change settings, you'll press the settings button.
You can set the resolution, still image vs. movie, turn on
audio recording for movies (this uses the Pocket PC's internal
mic), specify an image folder (either internal or SD card),
set white balance (there are presets for Auto, fluorescent,
incandescent and outdoor lighting) and set brightness. The
camera also has a self timer. Not bad for a $99 camera! The
unit uses manual focus, which can be a bit annoying, though
it probably yields better pictures than a fixed focus lens.
To focus, you'll turn the lens itself. It's marked with macro
and landscape icons, so you know which direction to turn
the lens, and it has 1 full turn of travel. Why is it annoying?
Most users are accustomed to auto focus point and shoot cameras.
Also the preview window image isn't that clear in bright
ambient light or in darker shots, so it can be a bit difficult
to tell if you've actually got your subject in focus. Fortunately,
the focus range is broad and forgiving, so you don't have
to be spot on to get a sharp shot.
Once you've taken your still images,
you can press the album button to view them. Veo uses Pocket
Internet Explorer as the viewing engine for still JPEG
images. The Photo Traveler program handles playback of
video. Note that if you record audio with your video, you'll
be relying on your Pocket PC's built-in mic. The mic will
likely be facing you rather than your subject given the
front bezel mic location on most Pocket PCs. I noticed
that it tended to record any sounds I made more loudly
than my subject's.
Like the Pocket PC version, the Veo Palm camera
fits in your expansion slot (SD rather than CF) and the camera
head swivels, though only on one axis (front to back). The
Palm version has fewer features than it's Pocket PC counterpart,
but still gets the job done for a reasonable price. Note
that the Palm version of the Veo does not capture video or
audio, it is a still image camera.
The installer will place the Veo app on your
PDA, and also updated SDIO drivers. To take pictures, simply
place the camera in the SD slot and launch the Veo application.
When you run the Veo app, you'll start off in the thumbnail
view screen. As you can imagine, you'll see images you've
shot on your PDA, and it's here that you can also change
various camera settings via the menus. You can specify the
image size and quality in Basic Prefs, and the app will tell
you how many pix you can fit on your PDA at your selected
image size and quality(about 38k for a small image and 200k
for the highest resolution and quality). You can take shots
at 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 resolution at one of three quality
levels. Advanced Prefs allows you to turn of auto exposure
if you wish to manually tweak exposure.
You can also beam images from the thumbnail
window and delete any pictures you don't wish to keep. If
you do wish to beam images to other Palm OS PDAs, the receiving
Palm will need to have the Veo app installed. You can beam
the Veo app to other Palm users, then beam the images.
To take pictures, you'll click on the camera
icon at the bottom of the screen, and you'll see a preview
window which shows you what the camera sees. Press the camera
icon again to snap the photo, wait about 3 seconds and then
Veo will show you the image you just captured and gives you
the option to save or delete it. There's also a picture timer,
which can be handy if you want to jump into that family shot.
Note that since the camera is in the SD slot,
you will have to save images into internal memory. The preview
window updates a bit slowly on slow Palms. While it's pretty
fast on the Tungsten T, it's not terribly fast on the Kyocera
7135 (which also has a slow SD slot).
Pocket PC CF card version
top view, with lens swiveled
Palm OS SD card version with
For a camera of this resolution, images are reasonably
good. Since the camera doesn't have a flash, you will want to take
images in good lighting or you'll see serious color aberrations and
very dark shots. Below are sample images taken with the Veo at 630
x 480. To see the full size photo, click on the image.
The pictures are sharp as long as you've focused properly
and the colors are fairly accurate in good lighting. If you're indoors
under incandescent light, don't expect accurate colors or well lit
pictures. This camera does need strong ambient light, either natural
or plenty of indoor lighting. Color aberrations and fringing are
not that bad for a camera of this resolution and price.
This is an easy to use, battery friendly camera that
takes very good pictures for $99. The software offers good features,
is very intuitive and you'll be taking pictures for business or pleasure
in no time. While it can't replace a dedicated digicam, it is great
for capturing those fleeting moments when your camera isn't handy,
or for doing vertical work in markets such as insurance or real estate.