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Focusing is also something of a weak point. It is quite slow, taking just over a second to focus in good light. In normal mode the closest focus distance is 80cm, which is rather a long way away. The macro mode is supposed to be 5cm, but I found that the camera had real problems locking on at this range. It seemed to work a lot better at about 10cm.
It also has major problems focusing in low light. In fact as I’m sitting here at a little after 5pm on a sunny afternoon with the curtains open, about half the room is apparently too dark for the DC-C1000 to focus. It has no AF illuminator lamp, so you can forget using it to take photos in most social settings. Which is probably a good thing since the flash is underpowered and doesn’t fully cover the frame at wide angle.
Fortunately the camera has several other strong points, including a good video mode capable of shooting VGA quality at 30 frames per second with audio. It records straight onto the SD card, with a 1GB card providing enough space for 17 minutes at full resolution.
In still mode, the highest quality setting produces JPEG files of roughly 4.5MB, so the same 1GB card is enough for 169 shots at maximum size and quality. This is actually a larger files size than the Casio Z1000, and slightly larger even than the files produced by the excellent Samsung NV10, so at least image compression shouldn’t be a problem.
And indeed it isn’t. In fact picture quality is the DC C1000’s main strength and saving grace. It may lack the crisp sharpness of the NV10, but it has plenty of detail, good colour rendition and surprisingly little lens distortion. Since it has a maximum ISO setting of only 200, image noise isn’t really a problem either.
Exposure is also very good under most circumstances, however I found that the exposure system had an annoying habit of selecting a much smaller aperture than was really necessary, producing longer shutter times and consequently a lot of camera shake. It also lacked dynamic range, but then that is also a problem on several of the current 10.1MP cameras.
All in all though, the BenQ DC C1000 is a good camera for the money, and as long as you can put up with its limitations it will provide you with high quality photographs at a bargain price.
The BenQ DC C1000 is a well made and stylish camera, with acceptable performance and good picture quality at a bargain price. If you really have to have a 10MP compact camera and haven’t got a lot to spend on it, then it’s certainly worthy of serious consideration.
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