As has been the case with previous BenQ cameras, overall performance is rather slow. It takes nearly four seconds to start up, and shuts down again in just under three. In single-shot mode the shot-to-shot cycle time is almost five seconds, which is extremely slow even by budget camera standards. It does have a continuous shooting mode which can take a shot approximately every 1.2 seconds, but it doesn’t focus between shots, and the LCD monitor is also turned off while shooting in this mode, so aiming the camera is a problem. One reason for the poor performance is the very slow AF system, which takes over a second to focus even in good light. It is also not terribly reliable, often failing to focus on well-lit high contrast targets, which is a big problem because the camera will take a picture even if the AF system has failed to focus. Low light performance is also very poor, failing to focus most of the time in a room lit by a couple of 60-watt lamps. It has no AF assist light, so it won’t focus at all in the dark.
On the bright side, image quality is not too bad for a sub-£100 camera. The lens produces a good sharp image with only slight blurring in the far corners of the fame, and although it does produce quite bad barrel distortion at wide angle, the telephoto end is distortion-free. Colour reproduction is generally a bit under-saturated, and exposure is sometimes also a bit off, under or over exposing by about half a stop on high-contrast shots. Image noise is quite well handled, with little visible noise until 400 ISO, and more-or-less usable picture quality even at 800 ISO. The file size at maximum quality averages around 2.8MB, which is quite small for a 10MP camera, indicating a high degree of file compression, but even so there were no obvious problems with JPEG artefacts. Flash exposure is also good, avoiding the usual problem of over-exposure at close range.
Considering its price of under £100, the BenQ DC C1050 is really not at all bad. It has a limited but useful set of features, good handling and build quality, and produces acceptable results in most normal conditions. Its only real problems are its extremely slow shot-to-shot time and its very poor low-light performance, but on the whole not bad value for the price.
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