Unfortunately the E1000 has a major weakness, and that is its performance. It starts up in a leisurely four seconds, and in single shot mode it can manage only one shot every four seconds on average. It has a continuous mode, but it is virtually useless because after the initial press of the shutter button the monitor screen goes blank and there is no audio cue to let you know that further shots are being taken. In fact they are, but at a rate of only one shot every 1.6 seconds. It also has a high-speed burst mode which takes eleven shots in about a second, but this is limited to two megapixels. The AF system isn’t too bad, and focuses reasonably quickly in good light, but its low-light performance is rather poor, refusing to focus at all in a room lit with a 60-watt bulb despite the presence of an AF assist lamp. Flash performance is also variable; it has good range and frame coverage, but tends to over-expose at close range.
Picture quality is, on the whole, surprisingly good for a budget camera. Exposure, dynamic range and colour rendition are excellent, and the overall level of detail isn’t bad either. The lens quality is less than perfect, producing fairly massive barrel distortion at the wide end of the zoom range, and some chromatic aberration as well. It could also be a bit sharper. Another surprise is noise control, which is pretty good. Although there is some colour noise visible at ISO 200, image quality remains good up to ISO 800, although it does break down quite badly at ISO 1200 and 1600, with image noise and visible banding. All in all though a creditable performance from a brand that continues to make significant headway in the digital camera market.
With the launch of the DC E100, BenQ has proven that it is still a player in the digital camera market. It is a stylish, well made high-specification camera with a useful list of features and reasonably good image quality for the price. Performance is rather slow however, and it doesn’t work well in low light. Worth considering, but there are better alternatives.
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