The monitor is fairly low resolution, around 115K although this is not stated in the specifications, and has a rather slow refresh rate, but it is at least quite bright and has a good anti-reflective surface. The viewfinder is small, tunnel-like and a bit murky, with eye-watering distortion at the wide-angle end, but as such it’s no worse than the viewfinders on a lot of other digital cameras.
Unsurprisingly, £90 doesn’t buy you a particularly long list of features, but even by the standards of other budget cameras the C743 is rather meagrely equipped. Shooting modes are full auto, macro or landscape modes, or one of ten scene modes. Menu options are limited to exposure bracketing, exposure compensation, image size, white balance, ISO setting (80-400, or 800 in the frankly useless 0.8MP mode), focus zone (multi-zone or centre-weighted only, no spot focusing), colour mode (colour, B&W or sepia) and, er, that’s all. The movie mode is at least adequate, shooting at VGA resolution and 30fps, and the flash is also pretty good, easily exceeding its stated maximum range of 3.6m with good frame coverage.
Performance is another matter altogether though. The camera takes over four seconds to start up and nearly three seconds to shut down again. In continuous mode it fires a burst of up to three shots in just under three seconds, but in single shot mode, after the first few shots fill up the buffer, the shooting rate slows to one shot every four seconds. The autofocus system is painfully slow, taking around two seconds to achieve focus in good light, but it is its low-light performance, or rather lack of it, that is the most damning problem. I found that in a well-lit room the C743 was unable to focus on anything other than the lampshade. There is, of course, no AF assist lamp. I haven’t seen such an inept focusing system in years.