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The 3027 has a sliding lens cover on the front, but unlike most other cameras with this feature it does not double as a power switch. There is a separate on/off button on the top plate which must be pressed and held for a second or so to switch the camera on, yielding a start-up time of approximately three seconds. The lens - always the most important part of any camera - is extremely small, just 3mm in diameter. I have seen mobile phone cameras with bigger lenses that this. The maximum aperture is apparently F3.0. There is no autofocus, instead a three-position slider switch on the left side of the camera selects between macro mode, normal shooting and landscape, which is presumably an infinity setting.
Above the lens is the smallest built-in flash that I have ever seen. Its maximum range is not stated in the specification listed in the manual, but practical use revealed that it was ineffective at ranges greater than about one metre. The default flash mode is off, and it resets to this every time the camera is turned off or switched to playback mode, which can be very annoying.
On the back is a small 1.5in LCD monitor screen, which is described as “High resolution”, so obviously someone at Goodmans has a sense of humour. The screen is very dark in shooting mode, and has no brightness control. In low light it proved to be impossible to see anything at all, while in bright sunlight there is so much reflected glare that it is very difficult to use.
The controls, although well mounted, are unpleasant and fiddly. The main menu control is a particularly nasty joystick-type device which is awkward and uncomfortable. A small three-position slider switch above the screen chooses between shooting, playback and movie mode, and three small buttons control flash mode, display mode and activate the main menu. The labels on the controls are tiny and indistinct to the point of being virtually illegible. The grey-on-silver colour scheme means that the labels are completely invisible in dim light, so it’s just as well there are so few of them to remember.
For a budget camera the 3027 has what looks at first glance like a surprisingly complete menu, which leads me to think that it has probably been borrowed from a different camera with a higher specification. There is an option to set the ISO, but the only choices are Auto and 100 ISO, which is obviously pointless. White balance can be altered, but there are only five settings. There is a selection of scene modes, including portrait, scenery, sunset, “old day” (sepia) and black and white, but they are very crude and produce quite unpleasant results. The sunset option just adds a nasty red colour cast to everything.
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