Acer spinoff Benq is a relative newcomer to the digital camera market, yet that still hasn’t stopped it creating a five mega pixel digicam in a stylish casing. However looks aren’t everything.
Designed with a chunky retro style the Benq camera has opted for a turndial on the top of the camera to access the majority of its settings. They range from playback to shooting modes making for an easy control mechanism and resembles the Early Canon cameras.
Benq claims that this has been done so as not to confuse users with multiple menu screens, but the likelihood is judging by the size of the screen, Benq were worried people would have a hard time seeing things. The screen is very small for your average digital camera - a mere 1.5” - and as the majority of manufacturers increase the size of this screen almost month on month Benq lags behind in this area. Those not wanting to rely on the screen can use the optical viewfinder - another rarity these days and there is even a diopter correction dial.
Inside, the camera offers a 12x overall zoom (3x optical and 4x digital) that all records onto a 5.1 mega pixel 1/1.8” CCD chip. Images can be saved in four different sizes and three different quality grades offering maximum options to saving space if need be. The camera comes with a 32Mb SD Card and the unit’s power derives from a lithium-ion battery.
Picture quality overall was very good and the camera coped well with strong contrasting colours - see the test shots including the pink and yellow coats. Automatic white balance managed to cope well with the snow in our test shots also, although the shutter lag did cause some problems when trying to capture action.
Overall this is a good camera let down really by the small LCD display. It proves that you don't have to be one of the elite five camera manufacturers to make a good camera and the retro styling makes this okay to be seen with. Additionally the styling also seems to elevate the overall look of the product making it look like you have something a lot better than you do if you're obsessed with design. There are some niggles here, but nothing that you can't live with.