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There’s no denying that the V1073 and V1273 are great looking cameras. Both models come in either matt grey or matt black, with gunmetal and black details. Both share the same all-metal bodyshell, a rather minimalist rectangular slab shape with rounded corners. It is quite small at just 93.3 × 57.9 × 21 mm, although at 148g minus battery or card it is heavier than it looks.
The top plate carries the illuminated on/off switch and the shutter button, which is flat, smooth and mounted almost flush with the body, making it difficult to feel with your shooting finger. On the back of the camera are only three buttons, for playback mode, display mode and menu, and the zoom control, which is thin up-down rocker switch. Those three buttons are also mounted flush with the surface, and have to be pressed in with the edge of your thumbnail.
Everything else on the camera is controlled via the touch screen interface. As with most cameras employing this technology, I found that even on a three-inch screen the buttons and menu selections were just a little bit too small and fiddly for my large fingers and I was constantly finding myself in the wrong menu, however someone who didn’t have a blacksmith for a grandfather would probably find it easier. The interface uses lots of gradient shading and animations, and looks very slick, but I found it a little slow at times.
One thing I also found slightly annoying was that the camera always starts in the default “Smart” mode, a fully automatic setting with no manual options. I far prefer cameras that remember how you had them set up, so that if the camera switches itself off you don’t have to spend time putting it back into program mode and turning the flash off.
All of these small niggles pale into insignificance however, when compared to the major problem with both of these cameras. Outdoors in daylight, even on a cloudy day, the image on the monitor is almost invisible. I think the problem is that the touch-sensitive surface of the screen is slightly opaque, and reflects the ambient light more brightly than it transmits the light from the monitor behind it. Indoors or at night this isn’t a problem, but outdoors it renders the monitor almost useless.