Top critical review
7 of 7 people found this helpful
Nice, but fiddly
on 24 May 2012
The camera is roughly the size of a credit card and the thickness of a TV remote control. It has few external controls, those being the zoom lever on the top right shoulder of the camera, on/off switch and shutter along the top right and next to it the record button. All other controls are built in and accessed via the touchscreen on the rear. The top half of the front of the camera is protected by a slide-down cover which needs only gentle pressure to move but this must be in just the right place (near the top on both sides). Sliding the cover turns the camera on and off. It can be recharged via mains or computer.
The built-in memory is only 19MB which means there's room for about 4 photo's before it's full, so a memory card (class 4 or higher) must be purchased for any meaningful usage. Video recording is one-touch - hit the red button to start and again to stop. This function however seems heavy on the battery, eg, a 4-min recording used up 20% of battery life. Video quality however is quite high, camera size considered.
The display is hard to see in daylight but brightness can be adjusted. Zoom is pretty good - zoom in on maximum and then zoom in again on any part of the pic to maximum. There is some loss of quality as one would expect but few cameras will not have the same issue. It has no viewfinder.
Handling the camera is fiddly because it's so small. While the size is good for slipping into a pocket or evening purse there's not enough of it to get a good grip on and fingers need to be carefully placed to avoid obscuring the lens or triggering the on-screen menu. The latter can be disabled during use to avoid inadvertent triggering but this means more pre-shoot faffing about, so if you expect to be whipping this out for impulsive snaps you might be thwarted. Small fingers will fare better on the touchscreen - which at times simply does not respond - but any sausage-fingered folk will find themselves hitting several items in one go. The camera is equipped with a touch-stylus for menu selection, but often this doesn't work. The stylus can be used for drawing on images but it's shaky and lines drawn are offset to the right by quite a few millimeters. So if you want to black out a few of Auntie Gladys' teeth on her 80th birthday snaps, you may end up blacking out her ear.
Colour balance was disappointing. Hue and lighting balance can be altered but within limited settings. Tungsten balance is largely ineffective and using the normal balance leaves colours over-saturated. So far I've been unable to get an accurate colour match either indoor or outdoor. Outdoor is pretty good but still not correct, though indoor is a long way off. For example, regardless of colour balance, white skin and brown hair come out tinted orange and auburn respectively, with or without flash. Pale orange becomes deep orange, so there appear to red balance issues.
So far haven't been able to do a complete panorama pic. This is a potentially nifty application but the last third of the sweep is always greyed out. However it copes well with camera shake and movement. Snaps seem unaffected by inadvertent camera movement.
Overall it has lots of bells and whistles - the manual is available free online for download which will give an indication of what it has - but much of the help content is built in, so buyers will be in the dark until they purchase it. The help files however are good enough to be useful and contain about the right amount of info.
It's a nice looking item and has a quality feel to it but it remains to be seen if buyers will be put off by the fiddliness of its functions due to its size, compared with the better handling of a full-size equivalent. It doesn't seem to quite fit the requirements of either the keen photographer or the snapshot enthusiast.