Advantages Easy to use
Disadvantages Quite expensive, focussing facility could be better
|Range & Quality of Features|
|Ease of Use|
... well, that's what I was looking for and this camera comes pretty close. I've only had it for a few weeks and have only had a couple of sets of prints back, but basically I am so impressed that I thought I'd write a review now, and update it if necessary.First of all, many thanks to Scott: just to prove Ciao works both ways, it was partly his review of this camera that made me buy it. I checked Ciao because I know nothing about cameras, but needed something that could take pics of publishable quality. Thus, I needed to be able to make some ajustments to pics, which ruled out a fully automatic model, but also for it to do all the bits for me that I really couldn't understand, which ruled out a fully professional model. So. I went to a camera store - in Jakarta Indonesia, which meant the guy behind the counter couldn't be that helpful cos he didn't speak much English, and I had to figure most of it out on my own, and teach myself to use it from the instructions. Which, BTW, are pretty good - that's a gold star already, since too often these things are incomprehensible.
WHAT IT DOESSo, now to the nuts and bolts. Obviously, it takes pictures (duh). But it allows you to mess around with them a bit. It has an easily operable zoom, which is my favourite aspect - it's brilliant both for taking pics of things that are quite a long way away, the kind that normally don't come out at all and leave you with a print that looks like nothing, so you can't figure out why you took it at all, and also for close-ups. This is great for pics of people, especially, you can get great close-ups without sticking the thing in their faces. And it enables you to mess with composition without all that walking backwards and forwards. The other cool thing is that the zoom buttons are cleverly placed right next to the shutter button, so yoiu can ajust the zoom while looking through the lens easily. My favourite bit, definitely.
Other tricks: there's a special switch for taking panoramas, which is kinda cool, it makes your pics look like movies do on TV when they're wide-screen. There's also a little focussing dial by the lens which you can twiddle, I haven't quite got the hang of this yet as some of my pics have been a bit blurred, and it looks like you can only focus on one thing at a time - I've got pics where one person is in focus but the person slightly in front of them isn't - which is a bit irritating. Still, it's probably a matter of practiceThen there are all sorts of other bells and whistles. There's a little dial on the front of the camera with different settings you can use - these include portrait, which means the zoom operates automatically to frame your subject, sequence shooting, continuous shooting, snap - which means it operates just like an automatic camera, handy for parties or any other occasion where you're not really up to messing with knobs and dials, and even a special feature for shooting landscapes. Of these, the snap is my favourite, the portrait thing can be a bit irritating and I haven't had cause to use the others yet - so I'll update later when I do.
Even the ordinary stuff you can mess with. Take the flash: you can fix it to cut out red eye, to compensate for compositions with too much light in the background, to take interiors in the daytime etc etc, and any combination of these. Pretty cool. I'm having fun experimenting with these, but I can report that the red-eye gadget certainly works and all of my pics have been perfectly lit so far.And the overall quality of the pics is amazing. Really sharp and, as I hoped, of publishable quality - in a newspaper at least, if not quite up to glossy magazine standard. I'll report back if they do get published, as this is at least in part what I bought it for, but I'm very pleased.
So, what more to say? I paid about a hundred quid for this and I consider my money well spent. I like having the control this camera gives me, rather than relying totally on an automatic, and I like having a machine that does the really technical stuff at the same time. FOr the money, I don't think I could have done much better.
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