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As well as the excellent 3x optical zoom lens, the C360 has 5x digital zoom. With a camera this size it is impossible to produce a picture at what is effectively a focal length of 500mm without major motion blur, and as always the pixilated results look dreadful. See the example in the pictures accompanying this review. At least the zoom control pauses at the end of the optical zoom range before heading on into digital zoom, and the indicator does turn red once you progress beyond the point where it can produce an acceptable 6 x 4 print, but an option to disable digital zoom would be much simpler.
Fortunately, the camera does offer a lot more to make up for this lapse. As well as main modes including portrait, action, landscape and macro, it has a movie mode that can shoot in 640 x 480 resolution at 24fps, a speed which gives around 25 per cent more shooting time per MB than 30fps with no significant reduction in smoothness.
There is also a scene mode option, which provides 12 additional programs for shooting in special circumstances, including photographing children, parties, the beach, snow, fireworks, flowers, self-portraits, backlight, night portraits, night landscapes, museums and text copying. Other shooting options include 2-second and 10-second self timers, and a first burst mode that can shoot five frames at 2fps, and a last burst mode that shoots up to 30 frames at 2 fps but only saves the last 4. The camera has a decent built-in flash, with a maximum useful range of about 3.5 metres, and this too is very simple. It has only four modes, auto, fill-in, red-eye reduction and off.
The C360’s menu system is the very model of simplicity, with large easy-to-read lettering and icons. It has a minimum of options, but still manages to include nearly all the useful ones. Oddly, exposure bracketing is at the top of the list, with exposure compensation, usually a far more frequently used option, in at number two. Other options include picture size, white balance, ISO, metering pattern, AF type and focus zone, colour mode (B&W, sepia, low colour), sharpness, and a useful option that allows long time exposures of up to eight seconds. Additional options include a choice of saving pictures to the memory card or the 32MB of internal memory, as well as putting them into a special album.
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