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The controls are also a bit of a nightmare. The main Mode button is simple enough; it brings up a rotary menu on the monitor from which you can select Shooting, Hi-ISO, Scene, Sound recording, Movie, Setup or Wireless LAN modes. Selecting these modes is done using the D-pad, which has a rotating ring, as well as four directional functions and a central OK button. I found the rotating ring part of this control to be fiddly, over-sensitive and generally irritating to use, while the directional elements were stiff and unresponsive. A simple conventional D-pad would have done just as well and been a lot easier to use.
If Scene mode is selected, the individual programs are then selected via the Menu button. The main modes (Portrait, Landscape, Sports and Night Portrait) have sub-menus of their own for different shooting conditions. The camera lacks what is called “shooting priority”, which means that to turn off the menu you have to press the menu button again, rather than just tapping the shutter button.
The result is that to get from standard Shooting mode to Portrait mode can take as many as five button presses and three turns of the rotary bezel. Compare this with the Smart Touch system on Samsung’s NV10. I really should have given that a higher mark.
The top panel controls are also very small. The power button is tiny and recessed, but while a bit fiddly it works well enough. However the zoom control is absolutely horrible. It’s a tiny little slider switch which manages to be both awkwardly placed and over-sensitive. There are only six zoom steps between wide angle (35mm) and telephoto (105mm) but it’s almost impossible to hit the right one first time.
In terms of performance at least the S7c shows its class. It starts up in under 2 seconds, and in continuous shooting mode it can manage approximately one frame a second, apparently until the card is full. With image quality set to maximum the saved JPEG files average around 2MB each, quite small for a 7 megapixel camera. This means that a 1GB SD card can hold about 282 images, but it does present the possibility of compression artefacts.
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