Ritz Camera has announced that it will soon begin selling a $10.99 'Single-Use' digital camera. This two megapixel (CMOS) fixed focal length camera with no LCD carries the 'Dakota Digital' name and is made by 'Pure Digital Technologies' of San Francisco. Each camera allows for 25 images to be taken (although you can apparently delete), the camera must then be returned to Ritz Camera or Wolf Camera where you can produce digital prints and a Photo CD (although the exact cost of this service isn't declared). I feel the majority of users will still be much better off spending a few hundred dollars on a recent known brand three megapixel digital camera.

Phil: Sorry, but I simply don't get this, I can't imagine a $10.99 single-use digital is going to come anywhere near to even the cheapest decent (known brand, recent) two megapixel digital camera. It certainly won't be any replacement for disposable film cameras which can deliver surprisingly good results. To me this concept flies in the face of the logic behind digital photography. Lastly how many 'cycles' can one camera go through before it has to be thrown away?

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Press Release:

RITZ CAMERA CENTERS FIRST TO NATIONALLY LAUNCH FULLY DIGITAL SINGLE-USE CAMERA

Partnership with Pure Digital Technologies delivers high-quality, 100% digital photography at a single-use price

BELTSVILLE, Md. – July 25, 2003 – Ritz Camera Centers, the largest retail camera and photo chain in the United States, announced today the nationwide launch of the Dakota Digital Single-Use Camera at select Ritz Camera and Wolf Camera locations. The cameras, the first to offer consumers a high-quality, fully digital experience at a single-use price, will sell for $10.99 under the company’s Dakota Digital brand.

The Dakota Digital Single-Use Camera, built on the Pure DigitalTM Imaging Platform, gives consumers the exciting benefits of digital photography without the cost and complexity. The easy-to-use camera offers functions normally associated with sophisticated digital cameras, including the ability to delete unwanted pictures, a fully automatic flash, metered exposure control, and a self-timer feature. Processing is made simple by returning the camera to any of the participating Ritz Camera or Wolf Camera locations for Camera Store Quality DigiPrints and a photo CD. Now with the click of a mouse, even novice computer users can email pictures, create photo greetings, or send multiple photos as a slideshow. Each camera is recycled after processing.

“The Dakota Digital Single-Use Camera is the easy and affordable answer to digital photography without giving up prints,” noted David Ritz, Chairman of Ritz Camera Centers. “This worry-free digital camera is a perfect choice for capturing the moments of summer or for anyone interested in trying digital for the first time.”

According to the Photo Marketing Association, single-use camera sales have grown over 15% annually for the last five years, even as film sales have declined. Single-use cameras now represent over 19% of film rolls processed. Digital camera sales have grown 23% over the past year and are expected to be present in almost 30% of US homes by year’s end. Despite the increasing popularity of digital, less than 19% of digital pictures are printed, primarily due to the complexity, cost, and time requirements of home printing.

The Dakota Digital Single-Use Camera will be available beginning July 28th at Ritz Camera and Wolf Camera locations in more than 14 cities, including Washington, Baltimore, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Dallas.