l'espion camera


The l'espion was introduced to the UK in about 2002.  It is an extremely small and very simple digital camera using a one third of an inch CMOS sensor which can manage 20 shots at 352 x 288 or 80 at 176 x 144 pixels into its internal memory.  Clearly, the high resolution images at just 352 x 288 pixels are not likely to be of stunning quality and are certainly not helped by the very simple single element lens however, if the camera is used within its limitations it can produce some very interesting pictures.  There is a great deal that one can do to images in Photoshop or some other picture editing software so why not make the most of the pictures that you create.  I use a combination of a very old edition of Photoimpact, the free picture viewer software XNview and the very useful free program PhotoScape.

One limitation of the camera is that it uses a single AAA battery but this needs to be fresh in order to get the best quality images that the camera is capable of producing.  The battery also needs to have a good state of charge otherwise the photographs that have been taken will be lost.  In my experience the battery tends to run down pretty quickly and typically I only get a few hours of operation.

Sometimes I use a magnifying glass lens or slide loupe in front of the taking lens on the camera to create close focus images.  It doesn't seem to matter too much what the lens is or how far away from the subject one is.  Creating images with a l'espion is very much an adventure and one can't guarantee any particular result.  But I suppose that is where the fun is!

The picture quality and resolution of the l'espion are definitely not as good as almost any mobile telephone camera available these days so why not try taking photographs with your telephone and see if you can create interesting images?

Good luck and have fun.




Camera Type

miniature digital camera

Film Format

20 shots at 352 x 288 or 80 at 176 x 144 pixels


a rather basic single element

Filter Size


Focusing Range

1 m to infinity-- fixed focus

Shutter Speeds


Exposure Meter Type

built into the chip

Film Speed Range

no idea!

Viewfinder Information

a pop-up frame, No parallax correction mark

Focusing System

fixed focus lens

Synchronization & Flash

none possible

Loading Film

digital -- inbuilt memory (not very much)

Advance Film

none required

Self Timer 



one AAA


51 x 37 x 15 mm



Some photos taken with my l'espion, by Dominic Fontana


"An Audi" by Dominic Fontana


"Shadows" by Dominic Fontana


"Ship's propeller" by Dominic Fontana


"Sunflower" by Dominic Fontana

tower block

"The Tower Block" by Dominic Fontana


"Flower" by Dominic Fontana

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