I just bought a Polaroid a520 digital camera. After fiddling with it for a few hours, I can see why it got negative reviews.
I paid $30 for it, and it is a camera that my kids will play with. I will document my findings about the camera.
I purchased a 1GB SD card, and it works. The manual states that 1GB is the largest it will accept; therefore, that is what I used.
The pictures are much darker. When you take a picture, or record a video, everything is much darker through the camera. If you record a bright light source such as a light bulb, the darkness will be reduced, and it is noticeable.
The Polaroid A520 works much better outdoors in the sunshine. Pictures come out clear and bright. My kids carry it around and take pictures of the outdoors.
The camera works just like a hard drive. Connecting it to the computer using the USB cable provided will allow you to access the files on the camera. I use Windows XP on my computer.
Pictures taken will be too white when using the flash, and there is a solution. When the camera is on camera mode, click on the M button. You will be taken to the IMAGE SIZE screen. From there press the button below the OK button until you reach the EXPOSURE screen. Two presses. Press the button to the right of the OK button. From there set the EXPOSURE to -1.0 from AUTO. Press the OK button. If done correctly, you will see -1.0 on the right side of the LCD display. The EXPOSURE will have to be adjusted for every picture. If the picture is too dark, set EXPOSURE to a more positive number. If the picture is too bright, set EXPOSURE to a more negative number. Unfortunately, no matter what I do, the pictures still turn out too bright.
It seems that the Polaroid a515 and the Polaroid a520 digital camera and the manual has been deleted from http://www.polaroid.com. Therefore, the only way to get the manual is to download it from a website that has it. Fortunately, I have a copy of the manual which can be downloaded below.
In the end, this camera is good enough for a kid to play with. The pictures will most likely come out too dark or too bright, but you cannot expect much for $30. Furthermore, the pictures can be retrieved from the camera without any need of any additional special software. You only need the enclosed USB to camera cord.
The HP M425, which is discontinued, is a much better camera. The pictures come out bright and clear. It costs $150.
Therefore, I recommend paying more. The price usually is a good indicator of the quality.
The Polaroid A515 and Polaroid A520 instruction manual can be seen at a515_a520_ug_en.pdf