Fun with CHDK and Powershot A810
I got my five year old daughter a Canon Powershot A810. It sells for under 500DKR here in Denmark (Sub 100USD) and it is the cheapest camera Canon currently makes.
It's a typical cheap P&S. Lots noise if you shoot above ISO 200. clipped highlights etc. It can produce some good pictures in good light (or with flash) and my daughter has loads of fun using it. It surly beats the crappy camera in my daughters Nintendo 3DS and at the price point it surly has some value.
Before my daughter got to play with it, I had to play with at first.
I installed CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit) to see what such a cheap P&S camera can do when shooting RAW.
The JPGS are as they came off the memory car and shows how the Canon jpg engine works. The Canon software also provides distortion control as shown by the distorted raw files.
The RAW files where shot in DNG with CHDK and converted on default settings with Camera RAW
The A810 is not intended as a RAW shooting camera and the write times to the memory card are long, but even the default settings in Camera RAW gives a pleasing result and there and more details are retained.
CHDK is really fun, but I doubt my five year old will be using it