The BenQ G1 is a super slim camera with a tilt screen and bright f/1.8 aperture lens.
The 14 megapixel all black camera is a little boxy in design and the back and top are plastic, but it does not look like a budget model and has a solid construction. A leather screw-on camera pouch add a touch of class.
At 25.5 mm, it is one of the slimmest cameras in its price segment. The camera is also on the lighter side, weighing about 195 grams.
On the top are the stereo microphones, power button, springy shutter release encircled by a lever for zooming, plus a 10-option shooting mode dial. It has a dedicated video record and playback buttons.
Near the base of the camera back are a tiny menu button and a ‘Q’ button that provides a fast cut to changing ISO speed. There is also a three-inch, 4:3 aspect ratio back plate display with a 920,000-dot resolution LCD screen that is able to rotate 180 degrees.
Daylight photos taken are clear and crisp but the most interesting is the on-camera effect filter - High Dynamic Range (HDR) Art mode - that maintains foreground and background detail and boosts colour saturation. The camera also comes with a number of creative effects - background defocus, HDR-art, oil painting mode, sketch, colour select, handheld night-shot, multi-shot 16 (VGA, 30fps), as well as full manual controls.
The oil painting mode simulates the colour volume and texture achieved with an oil painting brush by reducing the layers of colours in a photo, so anyone can make a classic movie poster out of a great picture.
To create a sketch-style image, the G1 outlines your photos with highlighted details in the darker and brighter areas of the composition.
The disadvantage of G1 is that you can’t shoot in RAW mode, so you have to rely on JPEG-processing. The processing is undertaken at the time the image is captured, and there is almost seven second wait while the camera does this.
Switch on time is very slow at more than five seconds and shot-to-shot time is also tardy. On the other hand, there is quick six frames per second continuous shooting which lets you take 13 shots before slow down.
Video is recorded at full HD with stereo sound and it’s possible to use optical zoom while recording. It can shoot 1080p footage at 30fps and there’s also a slow motion mode which can capture 120fps at 640x480 and 60fps at HD 720p.
According to BenQ, battery life is rated at 260 shots but I was able to take 240 shots before the 1050mAh lithium ion battery went flat. It is priced at Dh999.
• Tilt and twist LCD screen
• Simple to use
• Leather pouch
• Bright f/1.8 lens
• 6fps continuous shooting
• Noisy zoom
• Design a tad boxy
• Priced at a slight premium
No RAW mode
• Slow focus and general operation