Agfa "Point and Clik!" Digital Camera
Big Storage, Small and Handy Unit
by Jim Bray
Agfa's CL30 "Clik!" digital camera looks to all intents and purposes
like your garden variety consumer digital camera - but it has a couple
of interesting new wrinkles to amaze and delight its owners.
For instance, it offers both serial and USB interfaces for getting your
photos into your PC - and its built-in Iomega "Clik" drive holds 40 megabytes
worth of digital masterpieces, which is up to ten times the capacity of
the "flash memory" cards found in many digital cameras.
I can attest to this storage tour de force. My own digital camera has
a 4 meg compact flash card and, while it's usually enough for the relatively
few shots I take in real life, it never seems enough when I'm actually
out in the field taking pictures for clients.
So having ten times the capacity gives you a wonderful amount of photographic
In fact, I was astounded to find that at the lowest resolution you can
get 360 shots on a disk! That's a pile of pixelated pics! I can only get
20 shots from my camera.
The Clik! disk looks like a tiny CD-ROM; it's only about two inches square
and the disk itself is contained in its own little caddy. There's also
nearly a quarter of it exposed to the daylight, however, so remember to
keep your fingers clear in case something awful happens to your prize-winning
The Clik! disk slides into and out of the Agfa quickly and easily, with
no fuss, much like a floppy disk goes into its drive.
There are plenty to other things to like about this $499 unit, including
thoughtful touches like a plastic cover over the 1.8 inch LCD screen that
helps keep fingerprints (or, worse still, nose prints) off the display.
The display isn't much good for setting up a shot, but it's great for
checking your work afterward to ensure you got the shot you wanted.
A handy little menu wheel lets you access the camera's features by rolling
it with your thumb, then pressing it as if it were a mouse button.
The CL30 handles resolutions of up to 1.5 million pixels, and you can
shoot at five resolutions, from 640x480 to 1440x1080 pixels. The higher
the resolution the better your picture quality is (not counting for operator
error or lack of photographic talent, of course), though the downside is
that higher resolutions take up more disk space, so you get fewer shots
Shots at the highest resolution can be printed out as 8x10's from your
Using the camera is point and click easy, and four different flash modes
help you get the right illumination. There's also a 2X digital zoom.
Agfa's "PhotoGenie" technology, which is built into the camera, is supposed
to remove artifacts (like jagged edges or pixelization) from your images,
and it appears to do a good job. The four AA batteries are included, which
What isn't as good is the lack of an AC adapter, so downloading your shots
to your PC will contribute to the batteries' demise.
One nice thing about the camera's USB connection is that it's fast (which
saves battery life), and it doesn't require a vacant serial port. The Agfa
also offers serial connection, but why use that if you have USB?
I've tried a couple of digital cameras that used the serial interface
and, with a PC that also had a serial mouse connection, it meant jumping
through a horrible rigmarole of hoops: unhooking the mouse, connecting
the camera, rebooting, and then fumbling around in the photo software without
being able to point and click with the (now disconnected) mouse - a real
With USB, it's more or less just "connect and download."
The CL30 comes with PhotoWise software, which is fine for downloading
the pictures from the camera and doing basic retouching. As with most software
that's included with digital cameras, there's nothing wrong with it and
most people may find it's all they need. If you're a professional, however,
and you want to wreak some real digital havoc on your shots you'd be better
served with a more powerful application.
You can also use the software to print out contact sheets and create slide
Should you ever need one, extra Clik! disks sell for about $10.
Jim Bray's technology columns are distributed by the TechnoFILE and Mochila Syndicates. Copyright Jim Bray.