Philips Keychain Digital Camera


I got Philips’ keychain digital camera for Christmas. I think it cost about $20, and surely was a tempting stocking stuffer last Christmas. While it may be a nice little camera for my collection, I can’t say it is a great performer. Here are some of my criticism of the keychain camera…

Image Quality Unfortunately, the image is very small. The “high resolution” setting is onlu 352 x 288 pixels, barely large enough for a web image. In low light (indoor light) you get horizontal lines accross the images.

Software Another complaint is that the camera forces you to use Availasoft software to download the pictures from the camera. Like most cheap software packages, it tries to install other programs on your machine like a photo album. On the bright side, the software (called MyCam CIF) allows you to control the camera directly from the software. This allows you to preview what the camera sees on screen. You can capture a frame, and even shoot in video mode this way.

Interface Since you don’t have a screen to view the images on, you are really shooting blind. There is a tiny screen that shows two letters that you use to figure out what you are doing. The abbreviations aren’t very intuitive, and unless you carry around the handbook or have a great memory, you don’t know what they stand for. For example, CA means delete all images. To make matters worse, sometimes it doesn’t even dislplay letters. For self timer mode, it uses an “S” and a letter that is a capital E without the top bar. Confusing to say the least.

Viewfinder Probably the biggest disappointment of this camera was the viewfinder. In trying to get an image to accompany this review, I had to take many photos of the same subject matter because, what I was seeing through the viewfinder wasn’t what got photographed. It was so off that I would have swore the camera wasn’t even pointing in the right direction. Here is a sample image from Philips Keychain Digital Camera: 006.jpg

In conclusion, this camera gets a thumbs down from me. Maybe I am being a little hard on a camera that is just meant to fit on your keychain, but the image quality and serious usability flaws make it not worth the trouble. The only way I could see this camera having any value is when it is plugged into a computer. It could be a treasure for anyone interested in making low quality video.

UPDATE: Due to the inferior nature of this product, there are lots of people that are frustrated with it. This post is one of the few places online that talk about this camera, so consequently it is towards the top of the Google results. If you found this entry by a Google search looking for support, I can’t help you. My advice is to buy a better camera. However, there are several kind people that have left comments here offering help. Please read all the comments for more support oriented questions. Sorry I can’t be more help than that, and I wish you luck if you are trying to make this piece of junk work…

Ebay is a great place to shop for miniature cameras. Here’s what is on Ebay right now:

317 Responses to “Philips Keychain Digital Camera”

  1. Jessicca Says:

    Hey there so umm ya i bought one of these little cameras an my mother is a clean freak an wasnt paying attention an she threw away my software to install it on my computer. Do any of you know a website i could possbaly go to. That will help me install it on my computer? if so e-mail me back at

  2. rose Says:

    just bought this cam,today.the pics are distorted and i cant find them on my pc anywhere after the download,can anyone help me with this problem or did i just make a bad buy

  3. Jann Says:

    I can’t remember where I got mine, but I love it! I also have a little one about the size of a carpenter’s pencil. I have the driver for the Philips on my laptop and have had no problem uploading them. The pics are really good quality comparatively.

  4. Jann Says:

    I just found the driver for this camera on the Philips site. Go to support and type in your product, in this case, P44417S, then on the left there is a link to drivers/software. You have to download the entire CD, 17.9m, but it is worth it.

  5. Joseph Stalin Says:

    You guys are a bunch of nubs.

    Not only did I get this camera to install error free (READ THE GOD DAMNED INSTRUCTIONS) but it also takes much better pictures than my cell phone.

    The store I work in had these in stock so I bought it as a semi-joke and it is crappier than I expected. It is regularly $55. If I paid that for it I would molatov Cocktail the store and the producer of this product. However, since I paid 9 dollars for it, I will enjoy it as my little joke camera. I was kind of hoping I could use it to take pictures of my daily outings but it’s too shitty for that, so instead it works excellent as a portable webcam.

  6. Norah Says:

    I just purchased this little camera, and I get the message “driver open fail”. Can anyone help me to get this thing to work? I’ve read here that some people are able to use this camera, however I can not. I’ve tried with the software that came with it, and also with the software recommended here on Feb. 22 and still the same problem “Driver Open Fail” Please someone help :-) Thank you in advance, Norah

  7. nancy Says:

    I have this camera too and I have the same problem someone please send me the directions on how to get the pics off this camera and onto my desktop HELP PLEASE

  8. kyle Says:

    i have this chain camera but the problem is it will not work when i will put it in the computer bcoz it needs the driver.. i’ve lost the software… cam you please give me a site where i can download a driver for this cam…..

  9. keliata Says:

    I have a similar keychain cam–JDC 5 mini digital camera. There’s a Chinese company that makes them and distributes them to various companies. I had no problem installing the software or downloading to My Documents.

    The photos have come out pretty nice with no trouble using the Ulead Photo Express to download the photos to my computer.

    I even took a brief video clip with it and uploaded it to You Tube (AVI).

    When you first capture the video clip it looks like snow but when you play it on Real Player or Windows Media you can see the footage.

    I also made a music video with Windows movie maker and uploaded it to You Tube. The photos were taken with the keychain cam during a fierce hail storm. Overall…all things considered…it’s a pretty good little camera for $13, but it has wetted my appetite for a more expensive one which takes longer video clips.

    I’ll be getting a real digital for a present.

    The only downpoint with the cheapie cam is the viewfinder–wide shots are great, close-ups terrible.

  10. luba Says:

    can someome please email me the driver – the address is ltur@OPTONLINE.NET. Lost my CD

  11. Neillie Says:


    Lord and heavens above. MacBook, Leopard, Intel.

    Go and get the most recent Macam. Seems to be fine!

  12. Ron Says:

    posted by: Ron at august 24 10:28am I was uptight about my Philips Keychain Digital Camera driver for XP, because I lost the setup disk, then I found it! If anyone is interested in a copy. Send a SASE & moneyorder for $10.00 to Ron, 715 Littlewin, Spicewood, Tx. 78669, and I will send you a duplicate of the original setup disk.

  13. Brent Says:

    Ok if you are having the “driver open fail” thing all you have to do is get the cd image and burn it to a cd by using magiciso then enter it on your computer and open the add hardware setup and it will fix it.

  14. Mr Ariza Says:

    I have a GEMINI Keychain digital camera and need a driver or any software to use it. does anybody can help me? I don t know which one to download. It s like the one in the pic above just the make is different (gemini). thanks

  15. Steve Says:

    I bought this and was at first disappointed. Once I learned how to use it I love it. Only five bucks. The reviewer and some of you do not recognize the letter E has part of it removed and is a T for the self timer. St is close to how it looks but dummies think it is still an E with somthing missing. It is a t made from an E. The key to using this camera is plenty of light and holding it steady. The self timer will work to solve that if you place it in a stable position. The video is great. I could not get the CA or delete to work so I just remove the battery for a few seconds and it clears fine. I have one complaint and it is that I could not get it to work as a web cam with any software. I will keep trying. I think it is a cool little camera. Be patient and learn how to use it before coming off as a dummy that can’t innovate.

  16. Bell 007 Spy Camera Says:

    I have the same camera under the BELL brand. it also is under ARGUS, Minolta, and Philips (Blue casing too) Great little camera, if you get a failed msg plug it into the other USB port and it will work. Also works flawlessly with LINUX using F-Spot and will load your pics right into FLICKr, PICASA, etc. my BELL brand has the highest internal memory of all the brands and is marketed for car accident doc for insurance or just for fun. I have an expensive PENTAX 6megapix camera but find this little one just so much fun! One guy made a silent movie 1900’s style! really cool vid! IF anyone needs the software I can supply it free, or check our F-Spot for Linux (THE BOMB!) I have not been this creative with a camera since my fully manual PENTAX using B&W film, or FUJI colour film. If you can’t get the little camera to work for you, wait till Apple builds an idiot proof cam that anyone can use 😉 OH AND BATTERIES, buy 800-900 miliamp hrs Energizer rechargables (green and silver batteries) the little Philips/BELL cameras will take all the photos it can hold 4x over or 4X20highest res pic setting it can handle. THERE IS YOUR BATTERY ANSWER KIDS 😉

  17. Allen Ussher Says:

    I was just able to get my Vivitar Mini Digital Camera working in OS X by installing MacPorts and then using MacPorts to install gphoto2. This method may also work for this camera. My Vivitar looks just lik the Philips camera pictured here.

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