Review: Veo SD Photo Traveler
By: Jon Zaring
December 3, 2002

Veo SD Photo Traveler ReviewThe VEO SD Photo Traveler is a camera for PalmOS handhelds that interfaces through the SDIO port.  It supports Palm OS versions 4.x and 5.0.  Pictures are either 320x240 or 640x480 in resolution and stored in 24 bit color JPGs.  The pictures can be stored in low, medium, and high quality which adjusts the amount of space each picture occupies on the handheld.  The camera lens has an adjustable focus that allows macro (close-up) photography to regular landscape shots.  In full macro, the focusing distance is about 1 inch!  The lens also rotates 180 degrees, so you can take pictures pointing forward, or at yourself.  Though this is considered a feature, it was probably due to the reversal of the SD slots between the Tungsten-T and the M5xx.  Finally, the camera boasts a countdown timer and, for the photography buffs out there, a manual mode where the exposure time can be adjusted. 


Installing the software was simple, just put in the accompanying CD and answer the prompts.  Sync the handheld and you’re done.  The associated camera program takes up approximately 150K of space on the handheld.

Hooking up the camera, however, is where my first complaint arises.  The card part of the camera seems thicker than it should be, and it gives an unpleasant scraping sensation when inserting it into the SD slot.  This added friction and the weight of the camera also makes it difficult to determine if the camera is seated properly.  Unlike an SD card that pops up when you press on it, the camera doesn’t really move.  To tell if it is inserted properly, you have to slightly tug on the camera to make sure it is latched.  The VEO program will also show an alert if the camera is not seated properly.


Step 1:

Once the camera is installed, tap on the VEO icon and the screen on the right will appear.  Using the icons on the bottom, you can take a picture, change the VEO settings, beam a picture, or discard a picture.

Step 2:

If you tap on the camera of the preceding screen, the camera view window appears as shown on the right.  To take a picture, tap the camera icon again, or press either the datebook or the notepad button.  The other two icons allow you to go back to the thumbnail screen (shown previously) or set a timer for a delayed picture.  The number on the far right shows an estimate of how many more pictures you can take at the current quality settings.

Step 3:

Once you take a picture, by tapping on the camera shown on the preceding frame, or by pressing the datebook or notepad buttons, the following screen will appear allowing you to save or delete the picture.

At first, I was dismayed that the view screen for the camera was about the size of a postage stamp (see Step 2, above).  Pretty difficult to see what you’re pointing at let alone trying to focus the camera.  Luckily, the VEO guys had already thought of this so, by tapping on the view screen, the viewing area doubles in size.  The unfortunate side effect of the increase in size is that it takes longer to update.  The larger view screens lags behind what is actually seen by the camera much like the original PalmPix.  In the small mode, the screen update is almost real-time.  The speed of updates where fairly consistent between the M505 and the Tungsten-T, so I expect the delays are due to speed of the SDIO port.

Focusing the camera is a little tricky as you have to twist the lens through two complete revolutions to go from macro focus to infinity.  At each end, the lens doesn’t just stop, but kind of “snugs” up.  It feels like twisting just a little too hard will strip the threads.  In the middle of the two rotations, the lens is quite loose and it is very easy to accidentally knock it out of focus.


Notice that the viewing window on the above screens seem to be muddy or washed out.  This is usually not the case, but it does show one of my complaints about the camera.  Though not specified, the VEO seems to be set at an ASA of 100.  This means that it takes adequate pictures in office lighting, does great outdoors and in the shade, but doesn’t perform very well under household lighting.  The pictures I took in my home, unless right by a window, turned out as shown above.  The following pictures were taken under office lighting and outside.

Bright Sunlight Shade Office Lighting

Overall, I can’t say this was much of a disappointment since the PalmPix was set up the same way.  It amazes me that the handheld camera makers did not offer an ASA of 400 as it would be much more versatile in terms of lighting conditions.  Maybe someone here at PIC can tell me why.

I have mixed feelings about the pictures being stored in JPG format.  For storage on the handheld, JPGs take considerably less space than bitmaps.  At the same time, JPGs use a “lossy” type compression which reduces picture fidelity.  I think VEO did a fairly good job at compromise by allowing the user to select the quality of the pictures.  At low quality, the camera uses the highest compression algorithm allowing the pictures to be stored in the smallest space possible.  At high quality, there is not as much compression so the files are much larger, but less fidelity is sacrificed.  On my test pictures, a 640 x 480 picture of low quality occupied 96K of space, while a high quality picture occupied 280K.  

Click on picture to see full size image.

Low Quality - 96K Medium Quality - 146K High Quality - 280K


Hotsyncing the the pictures is fairly easy.  If the default is selected during installation, the pictures from the handheld are stored in "c:\Palm\Veo Photos".  The pictures are indexed by the first 4 characters of the hotsync name followed by month, day, year, then a sequence number for the day.  For instance the first picture for December 02, 2002 would be jzar_120202_001.jpg.  The second picture would end with _002.jpg, etc.

Along with the hotsync conduit, Veo supplies a multimedia toolkit to edit the pictures as well as create movies ¯ no, you cannot record movies with the Veo camera, ¯  homepage design, and e-Cards.  Overall, the tool has quite a bit of capability and is very professionally done ¯  to cover it all, there needs to be a separate review. 

I will say, however, that the picture editing has much to be desired.  The brightness and contrast controls work well, and it does allow normal features such as rotate, resize and crop.  Unfortunately, the hue control is way too granular, so a single step in the control radically alters the colors.  The editor, itself, only shows a reduced size of the picture and will not allow viewing at a full 640x480.  No other controls are available aside from saving the image and re-editing the original.


All in all, Veo did a fairly good job with this camera.  Personally, I would have increased the light sensitivity for better low light capabilities and I would have gone with a switched or fixed focus capability, as focusing is slightly difficult.  Aside from those two items, I am pleased with the camera.  If you are trying to decide on whether or not to buy, here are my suggestions:

  • If you liked the PalmPix, you will love this camera.  It is small, easy to use, and fairly capable.
  • If you like gadgets, the Veo is really cool!
  • If you are looking for a “good” digital camera, do not look here.

PIC Bottom Line

  • Small, Easy to use, Really cool!
  • Focusing is slightly difficult
  • Light sensitivity could be better

RATING: 7 / 10
Usability: 4
Utility: 5
Value: 4
The Veo Photo Traveler is available now from for $99 USD.

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Jpeg Format

timewaster77 @ 12/3/2002 3:37:00 PM #
Almost every single camera captures pictures in Jpeg format. The size of a Tiff file or Bitmap file would be incredibly large. On a PDA Jpeg is the only practical format.

Happy Sony Clie User
RE: Jpeg Format
jlc @ 12/4/2002 11:06:45 AM #
Most mid-range and above digital cameras support saving image files other than jpeq - my Oly2020 can save TIFF Files - they're hugh, but that's why I have a 128meg SM card.

Excellent Review

Gekko @ 12/3/2002 4:00:47 PM #
Thanks for the details. I was going to ask for this for Christmas, but because of the crappy resolution and the poor connection, I will pass. p.s. Please do yourself a favor and shave that bad moustache - they went out in the 70's.

RE: Excellent Review
Du @ 12/3/2002 4:43:29 PM #
Remember this is a digital camera mounted atop an SD Card camera that fits in your hand. It's purpose is NOT to rival full digital camera's (like the Canon Powershot G3). This camera is designed to enable it's user to capture quick and dirty photos of a subject. When you consider how far we've come in the past few years, I regard this camera as a good step forward. Of course, as evidenced by the Sony NR70 series and forth coming Samsung Pocket PC PDA's, integrated digital cameras will become commonplace in future high-end PDA's. But for the low-end PDA users, this camera is a great accessory.

What separates a great review from an ordinary review is that in a great reveiw, the reviewer presents the item of interest in such a way that the reader feels as if they were actually using the device. This was accomplished very well in this review and for that I commend the reviewer.

What's the ultimate PDA??? -- Your Brain -- Don't Abuse It!!!

RE: Excellent Review
crd_Alameda @ 12/3/2002 4:56:12 PM #
I am still on the fence about the VEO, but keep the mustache!


RE: Excellent Review
I.M Anonymous @ 12/3/2002 5:29:31 PM #
The only real problem here is that if you use the camera, you can't store your photos on a SD card. They should have built in at least 16MB of memory into the camera (which would've added what, like $20 to the price?).

RE: Excellent Review
jzaring @ 12/3/2002 10:15:46 PM #
I have the mustache because my wife likes it! That's the only opinion that really matters.

Jon C. Zaring
RE: Excellent Review
gfunkmagic @ 12/4/2002 3:22:29 AM #

"The only real problem here is that if you use the camera, you can't store your photos on a SD card. They should have built in at least 16MB of memory into the camera (which would've added what, like $20 to the price?)."

I absolutely agree here. It makes no sense to have a camera if you have no ability to save the image.

RE: Excellent Review
Gurn @ 12/4/2002 4:04:06 PM #
Never post a picture of yourself (with or without moustache) you'll just get beat up. But a picture of a Schnauzer, that's OK.
RE: Excellent Review
Fly-By-Night @ 12/5/2002 4:56:55 AM #
Isn't that a Schnauzer under his nose?


Mac compatability?

Kesh @ 12/3/2002 5:00:46 PM #
Does the included software at least allow you to Hotsync the photos back to a Macintosh? I'm sure the editing software isn't Mac compatible, but I'd at least like a way to get the photos off my handheld.

RE: Mac compatability?
Wollombi @ 12/6/2002 3:08:38 PM #
Worst case scenario, store the pics to the handheld, then when you are done with the camera insert you SD card and use a program like McFile to move the pics to the card, and use a USB card reader on the MAC to transfer the pics there. It's a bit convoluted, but if you can't sync them this may be an answer.


It is not very comfortable to have the gift of being amused at one's own absurdity.
-Somerset Maugham-

RE: Mac compatability?
Wollombi @ 12/6/2002 3:19:53 PM #
Uh, scratch that. I forgot about Palm's file system requirements. Doh! =(


It is not very comfortable to have the gift of being amused at one's own absurdity.
-Somerset Maugham-

Where to buy

Nosmat @ 12/3/2002 5:10:13 PM #
This looks like a good unit for fast and dirty work. The thing is set up for email – I’m up for it.

So does anyone know where you can buy this online as an international sale?

I an in New Zealand and getting stuff here can be a problem…

RE: Where to buy
perrotta @ 12/3/2002 7:56:42 PM #
Got mine at

I have no idea if they ship overseas.

Not JPG on Palm

perrotta @ 12/3/2002 5:25:54 PM #
I have one. Key comments:

1) Very difficult to focus.

2) Although hotsync creates a JPG on desktop, it appears that on the Palm itself, the format is not anything standard. I have been unable to mail pics from the Palm directly w/o a hotsync. To me, that would be the advantage of the camera, i.e., take pics on the field and email them out immediately w/o need to go back home and hotsync.

RE: Not JPG on Palm
hurshtx @ 12/4/2002 12:48:16 AM #
From other reviews and sources of infomation I understand also that the format is not JPG on the palm. I also agree the ability to take a picture and then email it to someone without ever needing to go to a desktop PC and hotsync would have been what really made this device attractive to me. Without that capability, I will pass on this. I refuse to use programs that create islands of data unto themselves, and that is what this device and program does without a desktop PC. I use a Plam to be portable and free me from a desktop PC

RE: Not JPG on Palm
Altema @ 12/4/2002 11:36:23 AM #
That was my intention also; to email photos directly from the Palm. I was just looking at a $99 digital camera which uses SD/MMC and also records movies, but has no audio. This would work out better, as I could snap the shot, pop the card in the Palm and send it via SnapperMail. I may just go with the little Kodak (forget the model#) which does photos and movies with sound directly to SD/MMC.

Not JPG on Palm
perrotta @ 12/4/2002 11:48:42 AM #
Pls let me know if you find a cheap & small camera using MMC/SD. Thanks.
RE: Not JPG on Palm
jzaring @ 12/4/2002 1:53:13 PM #
The Kodak CS4200 uses SD cards and cost $149 at

Jon C. Zaring
RE: Not JPG on Palm
jzaring @ 12/4/2002 2:08:51 PM #
How about Aiptek PenCam SD 1.3-Megapixel Digital Camera for $79 at BestBuy. SD Slot and movies.

Jon C. Zaring

RE: Not JPG on Palm
Wollombi @ 12/6/2002 3:12:09 PM #
You're right. Any file save on the palm must be in a PalmOS compatible format (generally .prc or .pdb). If it is going to save as a JPG, it would have to have a removable memory card (like the SD card whose slot this device occupies) to write to.

Incidentally, the voice recorder on the Tungsten works this way. If it is saving to the Palm's RAM, it saves in .pdb format. If you tell it to save automatically to the memory card, then it will save it as a .wav file. I don't remember for sure, but I think the Handera 300's voice recorder was the same way. Now that my curiosity is up I'll have to get mine out again and check.


It is not very comfortable to have the gift of being amused at one's own absurdity.
-Somerset Maugham-

For Quick and Dirty Photos

HandAble @ 12/3/2002 5:43:54 PM #
I think for quick and dirty photos, I'm going to buy a Pen Camera instead of eating up memory on my Palm.. what an incredible mistake to not include memory on the camera's card.

Critical differences

robman @ 12/3/2002 5:19:51 PM #
There's a critical difference between the Veo and the (sadly discontinued) Kodak PalmPix. The PalmPix used the Universal Connector (and before that, the Palm III serial interface) while the Veo uses the SDIO slot.

I can understand Veo's rationale---develop a camera using SDIO and you can potentially stick it in Pocket PC's and Palms, not to mention upcoming devices. But this is the purpose of the UC---add on devices. The SD slot is for memory cards.

This is why I prefer the Pitch ( over the Presenter-to-Go (, and why I'll continue to use my Xircom/Intel Wi-Fi sled ( even after someone releases a SD Wi-Fi card.

If you want a camera, buy the JamCam for about $25.00 (almost identical specs, but you can store as many pictures as you're willing to put on an MMC card.) Or buy any one of various SD-based cameras available today.

The biggest concern I have is that repeated use of this camera will destroy your SD slot, as described in the article. This seems like the final nail in the design coffin for this camera.

Palm Researcher at the University of Texas at Austin

RE: Critical differences
Nosmat @ 12/3/2002 6:33:33 PM #
Thanks. I get it.

RE: Critical differences
Fly-By-Night @ 12/4/2002 7:02:21 AM #
No need to use UC or SDIO when you have Bluetooth. When I buy my Clie T-Series OS5 PDA with built in Bluetooth (hint, hint Sony), I will be using the camera on my T68i (similar specs to Veo, though quality looks a bit better) to take pictures. These are native JPEG and can be emailed from the phone. Or, more importantly, I can upload the ones I want from the camera to the Palm via Bluetooth.

RE: Critical differences
janchan @ 2/28/2003 11:31:29 PM #
AFter some "research" I finally purchased and have used the Presenter-to-Go. Unlike iGo, this one has a wireless remote! The beauty is it loads up the slideshow from the SD Card (you load the show and remove the SD) and thereafter, you have nothing to worry about. I would rather view the large overhead than squint at a 2 inch Palm screen. The distance of the remote is amazing. I do agree re the Veo - there is no such cache system. So, my search for an ideal unit is back on!

RE: Wireless remote?
Cutting Crew 2 @ 3/5/2003 9:53:55 AM #
The iGo Pitch Solo device allows your handheld itself to be the 'wireless remote'...after all, if you're giving a presentation, and referring to notes on your handheld, you're already holding it, eh?
You download the presentation to Pitch, and 'pitch away'...

Mike Compeau
sony t68i
Wanlu @ 4/7/2003 2:24:48 PM #
pls tell me how you do it...i tried but pictures taken from the t68i are rejected when beamed to the tungsten cos the photos are gif. not jpg.

The Comedy and Magic of Wanlu
Enhance your Palms usefulness
Wanlu @ 4/9/2003 12:13:27 PM #
I guess if you have extra money and want to enhance the functions of your palm...the Veo Camera is ok. Personally,I prefer a Kodak or Panasonic Digi Cam but I definitely wont mind having a veo cam in my car in case I need it and my digicam is not with me. I mean, ill leave my digicam at home but never my palm..

The Comedy and Magic of Wanlu Surfing the net via Palm Tungsten, Sony Ericsson T68i and Globe GPRS

Lens quality

Kaptain Korolev @ 12/4/2002 12:20:34 PM #
I have a Kodak Palmpix (original) for the Palm IIIc and find it pretty useful for quick photos.
The one issue I do have with it though and other small add on cameras is the quality of the lens. I know these are cheap cameras and you're not going to get Carl Zeiss standard optics but the lens on the Palmpix is optically appalling. Although the images are reasonably sharp in the middle they are soft are the edge of the frame, okay for portraits but not landscape style shots. I'm sure most people would pay a small amount more for better slightly better optics.

My 2c

RE: Lens quality
jzaring @ 12/4/2002 1:22:06 PM #
I agree. The PalmPix for the M5xx series was especially bad. I bought two of them and both had soft focus problems at different points in the lens. My PalmPix for the IIIc was fairly decent. The VEO lens seems to be at par with it.

Jon C. Zaring

Returning new Veo

Navamske @ 12/6/2002 12:57:24 PM #
The promotional material for this product and the packaging all say, in one form or another, "Captures standard JPEG pictures." I'll give people the benefit of the doubt, but if this is not a falsehood, it is certainly misleading. As a couple of other posters noted, the camera stores "images" in some proprietary format (.pdb extension); they become JPGs *only* when you do a HotSync. For me, this is at best inconvenient, and at worst it defeats the purpose of having such a device.

As David Pogue noted in the New York Times this week, "As a general rule, trying to create a new hit product by combining two older ones is a recipe for failure. This year saw the debut of phone cameras, music-player palmtops and even Internet camcorders - but you can probably count the number of friends who own them on the fingers of one closed fist." I already have a nice digital camera, a 4-megapixel Sony CyberShot. I don't want to take it everywhere but I'd like to have the option of taking a photograph on the spur of the moment -- even if it's not of the quality Ansel Adams or my late father (a professional photographer) would like -- and this was the appeal of the Veo. If I were at the office or on a trip and had only the Veo with me, I couldn't do anything with the pictures until I HotSync'd. This makes the camera worthless to me if I can't simply stick the SD card in my office computer, in my laptop computer (with which I do not HotSync), in my Palm, or even in Grandma's computer at her 100th-birthday party at the nursing home. I could get a teeny Aiptek digital camera and get actual JPGs on an SD card and then use a program like JPEG View to look at them on my Palm, but then I'm carrying another device, albeit a tiny one.

The only way the Veo would work for me would be if someone devised a standalone program capable of converting the .pdb files into JPGs on the fly (preferably on the Palm not on the PC, without having to HotSync.

Also, the thing is pretty cheesy. It feels like a toy. The pictures are decent, though, especially in macro mode. Fortunately for me, I bought it from the Palm Store, which means I can return it within 30 days.

Why no jpeg file on palm

ray00pal @ 12/6/2002 3:29:38 PM #
Many people like to get jpeg file immediately but forget that it takes a lot of computing power to do so. Most of the palms are too slow.

By the way, the palm in the picture with keyboard like pattern in the VG area looks strange to me. Anyone kowns what model is that?


RE: Why no jpeg file on palm
mv @ 12/8/2002 1:30:47 PM #
It´s just a m5x5 with a fitaly sticker. Is not VG.


mail4cobb @ 12/15/2002 3:16:20 PM #
I use my palm pix with my palm 3c and a magnifier to make it near sided to help me read labels. I took it apart and discovered the camera can be refocused for near or far.

Conversion of pictures

blue_quartz @ 12/20/2002 3:40:19 AM #
Anyone tried used Photobase (or other image viewers) to open the *.pdb images that's created by the Veo software?

Photo Storage on SD Card

cinemattoc @ 2/19/2003 1:44:53 PM #
Couldn't you hot-synch the photos to the PC and
then store the pictures on a SD Card later to free up space on the handheld? The storage issue only would come up if your handheld ran out of space while taking photos way from your PC.

Sending photos from palm and Mac compatibility

afoxson @ 5/28/2003 4:33:08 AM #
The veo camera is indeed compatible with Macs. Visit Additionally, you can send photos taken with the camera directly from the palm to any email address with Pixer:
RE: Sending photos from palm and Mac compatibility
afoxson @ 5/28/2003 4:38:41 AM #
Apparently, this bulletin board software isn't handling links correctly when a link appears at the end of a sentence (i.e., before a period). The links are: and
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