The Bonzart Ampel is a modern flash to the past, falling in line behind other retro resurgences like the PT Cruiser, Marvel Superheroes and Leonardo DeCaprio's remake of the Great Gatsby. This TLR digital camera will transport you back to the good 'ole days, when gentlemen opened doors, families listened to nightly radio shows and dancing the twist was considered scandalous. It also makes a great Christmas gift idea.

The Ampel, which is German for traffic light, is a twin-lens reflex camera, or TLR. This means it has two separate lenses that produce different photo effects depending on which one you choose to use. The top lens is a normal lens that is used for taking general pictures. The bottom lens is a tilt-lens that creates a highlighted and vintage-looking photograph.

The view lens of the Bonzart Ampel is on the top of the camera. Flipping a small switch allows the protective top to pop open and, using mirrors and other modern digital technology, lets you see your objects through the top of the camera. If you are lucky enough to have had experience with a TLR camera in the past, it won't be a huge adjustment for you to start snapping photos with the Ampel. However, if you're only used to the high-tech digital cameras, it may take a while to get comfortable holding and positioning this camera for the best possible photograph.

The Ampel has some fun buttons and knobs to turn and press. Switching the knobs on the side of the camera lets you choose color effects, such as black and white or sepia, and toggle between the two lenses. They also determine which mode the camera is in: video, camera or file. The buttons on the back of the camera are used for the menu and control settings.

The photo and video quality isn't top notch, especially when shot in darkened rooms. This digital camera won't automatically adjust for the surrounding light conditions, either, so be sure you're snapping pictures and filming video in well-lit areas. It comes with a USB cable, so it is easy to transfer pictures from the camera to your PC. You will have to purchase three AA alkaline batteries and an SD memory card before you can use this camera.

The video mode automatically uses the normal, top lens. Attempting to switch lenses while in video mode will result in the camera becoming stagnant with a blank screen and unable to turn off using the on/off button. The only way we were able to turn off and reset the camera was to pop out and reinsert a battery, turn the camera back on and start from the beginning.

The Bonzart Ampel is a good Christmas present idea for Baby Boomers that are not too familiar with digital camera technology. While all of the instructions and product materials that come with this product are in Japanese, the step-by-step photographs make it easy to follow and learn the ins and outs of this digital camera. This camera is a great way to bring the wiser generation into sync with the newer generations, who will probably enjoy the opportunity to help grandpa learn a thing or two about his new toy.

The Bonzart Ampel is a fun TRL digital camera and a good idea to consider for a Christmas gift. Its retro style gives it a unique perspective that is both novel and functional. We're sure this digital camera will be a big hit   or at least a bigger hit than a resurgence of legwarmers, fanny packs or powdered wigs.

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