Top critical review
237 people found this helpful
Not Fully Functional
on June 23, 2012
Note: Please take this review with a grain (or tablespoon) of salt. I am a complete novice to photography, both in technique and in hardware. With that said, let's begin.
Prior to purchasing this camera, I tried to do my due diligence in researching it, as well as its competitors. My target was a feature-packed bridge/"superzoom" camera with a few advanced/manual options, and built-in flash. The desired price point was $200 or less. When all was said and done, it appeared to be a great choice.
This camera offered a laundry list of features and shooting modes, built-in. Panorama, backlit portrait, night portrait, etc; a lot of nice presets for someone not particularly knowledgeable or skilled in photography. Add in a popup flash, 24x zoom, image stabilization, and other goodies, and you have the makings of a very nice device.
Even though it boasted a 16 megapixel resolution, the images produced were very grainy. This was true at different zoom distances, lighting conditions, and image capture stability situations (free hand, tripod, standing, kneeling, etc). Of course with the sensor being CCD (as opposed to CMOS), low light performance was tragic, at best. Even fiddling with settings (white balance, ISO, fstop, etc) made virtually no difference when it came to capturing a crisp, clear image.
The Ugly, and Unforgivable:
There was no flash, period. The built-in flash on this unit was the popup kind. Unlike most cameras, however, opening the flash was manual, rather than automatic (i.e. when the shutter button is pressed). Oddly enough, the flash would never fire, even in modes where it could be used. I discovered via the internet and the extended user's manual (read: not the little mini-manual that comes in the box) that not all shooting modes employ the flash. With the flash option set to auto, it would not fire (no matter how dark the area was where I shot. Furthermore, even with the flash mode set to fire on every shot, it would never do so. The last straw was, even where you set the camera so it had no choice but to use the flash, it seemed to disable the shutter! In short: flash on, shutter doesn't work; flash off, shutter works fine. After doing some more research after encountering this issue, I discovered that a number of others had the exact same experience. Wish I had known that sooner...
Again, please take this review with a grain of salt. I am fully aware that there exists a possibility that my difficulties with this camera could have been purely the result of my own ineptitude. However, shortly after returning this item, I picked up another camera of a different brand (which I will not name here, as I'm not reviewing that device or trying to steer buyers toward it). I unboxed it, popped in some batteries and a memory card, and took some pictures. Cleaner pictures, less grain and image noise, and the kicker: the flash just plain worked! That said, I'm inclined to believe that it was the product that couldn't cut the mustard. However, for the possibility that my potential misuse may have resulted in poor performance, I gave it two stars instead of one.