The Z700’s touch-screen interface is well thought-out, with large easy-to-use button areas and smooth and responsive performance. When shooting the buttons controlling the main functions are lined up down either side of the screen, while in menu mode options are selected via a panel of large well-labelled buttons that cover most of the screen. Like most touch-screens, the touch sensitive layer is quite reflective in strong sunlight, but it’s not as bad as some that I’ve seen, and the screen is generally bright enough to overcome this problem. The camera has a tilt sensor, and in playback mode with the camera held vertically this is used to activate a very nice thumbnail browser interface.
The Z700 is a point-and-shoot camera, so its creative options are a bit limited. It has eight main shooting modes, the default option being the EXR Auto mode. The results in this mode are usually so good that there won’t be much need to explore the others, but it also has a standard program auto mode, a Touch-and-Shoot mode in which the focus point is selected and the shutter fired by touching the screen.
It has a Scene Mode option with 15 fairly typical scene programs, Natural Light and Natural Light with Flash modes, the video recording mode and a “Manual” mode, which is really just an auto mode but with more menu options, such as autofocus settings, white balance, image size and quality and face detection. The only colour control is the film simulation mode, which mimics the colour balance of Fuji Provia or Velvia colour films, plus monochrome and sepia.
The video recording mode is pretty average for a modern pocket compact. It shoots in 1280 x 720 resolution at 24fps (arguably more sensible than 30fps), with mono audio captured by an internal microphone. Video is recorded in Motion JPEG format, and to be honest the quality isn’t brilliant. There is no optical zoom available while recording, and the audio quality is pretty poor, with lots of hiss and background noise. Recording time is good though, limited only by card capacity, with a 1GB card providing 5 mins 14 secs of video footage.
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