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Home > Hardware Reviews > Digital Cameras

Tuesday, September 14, 2004
BenQ DC C-50

3. Design

DESIGN

The DC C50's simple but elegant design is up to my liking with its rectangular, round edged silver body and nickel-plated details. The company used aluminium sheet and plastic to shape the outer body, which feels rather sturdy and solid in your hand. Overall, BenQ convinces you that this is a good quality camera, although it cannot reach the feel of magnesium bodies many prosumer level cameras use.


Side by side

Here you can see the DC C50 next to an average sized 3MP compact camera, the Canon Powershot A70 which also uses a 3x zoom lens of similar brightness. Due to the lack of a hand grip and its slimmer design, the DC C50 is noticably smaller. It will fit into a pocket much easier.

In your hand

Without a defined handgrip, the camera sits in your hand rather nicely, though people with big hands could find it difficult to hold it comfortably. The camera's controls are located to the right, thus making it easy to both shoot and preview pictures single-handed, provided that you are right handed that is.

Body Elements

LCD Monitor
The average sized 1.5" LCD monitor, given that many models utilize 2" displays nowadays, is rather bright and sharp. Though its brightness can be increased (or decreased), viewing under strong sunlight is poor. Nothing different from most cameras in this department.
Lens
Nothing fancy about the lens. A typical 3x optical zoom ( 37.5 - 112.5 mm equiv.) of average brightness. Maximum aperture ranges from F2.8 to F4.7 (wide to telephoto zoom end), which is rather slow compared to most current 5MP cameras. A lens thread for mounting filters is not included, and any kind of adapter for them was not predicted. So expandability of the current optical system is out of the question.
Memory and Battery Compartment

The memory and the battery share the same compartment, accessible through a plastic door located at the bottom right of the camera. The metal, spring loaded hinge seems sturdy and its slide-lock operation is positive, though I believe it could be better.

Optical Viewfinder

The optical viewfinder is a typical - real image - tunnel type design. It is equipped with diopter adjustment and is quite accurate. The possibility of using the optical viewfinder for your average shot is slim, though it could help in occasions of intense sunlight, which can make the images in the LCD monitor too hard to see. You could also be using it to save on battery power. The Viewfinder AF and activity LED serves as a status indicator in shooting mode, when charging the battery and when the camera is connected to a PC.

Flash and AF assist lamp
The built in flash has a given range of 0.5 to 3 meters at Auto ISO, an average but not disappointing value for DC C50's class. Though it is not located far from the lens' optical center, red-eye reduction appears to be working with consistency in our tests. Nonetheless, you cannot control flash exposure compensation and items closer than 1-1,5m tend to come out overexposed or even burned because of the strong flashes. Fill in performance is adequate.

The built in assist lamp is rather effective and helps the camera to achieve focus even in complete darkness, as long as your subject is located within 5 meters or so. Many prosumer digital cameras would like to have its performance.

Camera base and Tripod Mount
The metal tripod mount is nicely placed where it seams to be aligned with the lens' center - a nice feature when taking panoramas using a non-specialized tripod. The rest of the camera's base is quite simple in design, as is the rest of the camera.
Connections
On the left side of the camera are its sole two connection sockets: a 5V DC-IN socket and the combined USB 1.1 and AV terminal. The designers haven't utilized any kind of protection over the terminals. Thus caution should be taken in order to protect them from dirt, fine sand or even light rain, which could cause malfunction or even damage the device.
Battery, Charger and AC Adapter
BenQ includes a 3.7 V - 1035 mAh Li-Ion battery to power the DC C50. The included charger also doubles as an AC adapter for using the camera indoors without the need to worry about battery duration, which is rather good by the way. Nicely done in the power department.
Camera Pouch
BenQ also includes a nice camera pouch made out of leather and synthetic fabric. The camera fits tightly into the pouch, which also utilizes a safety tie for the hand strap, a strap for mounting the pouch on your belt and even a small cleaning tissue for the camera and lens! Inside the pouch you can find a small pocket containing the cleaning tissue, which could also be used for storing a couple of SD memory cards. The pouch uses a magnet to hold its cover closed. Such a stylish accessory should cost a lot of money to buy, so thanks BenQ for showing the way.
Box contents
  • DC C50 Digital Camera
  • Lithium-ion Battery
  • SD Memory Card
  • AC power adapter - Output 5.0 V ~ 2.0 A
  • Camera Pouch
  • Hand Strap
  • AV Cable
  • USB Cable
  • User's manual
  • DC C50 Software CD-ROM




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