The DC C1050 is the upgrade model to the DC C1000 released in 2006, including an extra inch of screen, 5x rather than 3x zoom and 9Mb of internal memory instead of 24Mb.
At £99, the DC C1050 is aimed at those wanting a simple, non-fussy budget price camera. For the same price tag you can also buy a Canon PowerShot A550 (7.1Mp), Fuji FinePix Z10fd (7Mp) or Nikon Coolpix L18 (8Mp).
BenQ DC C1050: Specifications
- Sensor: CCD - 10.1Mp
- Zoom: 3x optical, 4 x digital
- Image Size: 3648 x 2736
- Lens: f/7.94 - 22.71
- Focus: TTL Auto
- Focus range: Normal: 40cm - infinity, Macro: 10cm
- Metering: Center, Multi, Spot
- ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1000
- White Balance: Auto, Sunny, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent_H, Fluorescent_L, MWB
- Scene Modes: Landscape, Backlight, Night Scene, Snow, Fireworks, Building, High ISO Portrait, Food, Text, Kids, Sunset.
- Macro: 10cm
- Monitor: 2.4in TFT LCD
- Movie Mode: Yes
- Storage: 9Mb Internal, SD
- Batteries: 2 x AA
- Video Output: Yes
- Size/Weight: 91.5 x 61.5 x 26mm – 140g
- Transfer: USB 2.0
BenQ DC C1050: Modes and Features
The program mode of the DC C1050 offers quite a lot of control allowing the user to change the aperture and shutter speed of the camera, resolution, image quality, metering mode, white balance, ISO, exposure drive mode, AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing), highlight areas, sharpness and effect (phew!).
Then there is a movie mode as well as a Shake Free setting which works to reduce blur caused by camera movement by selecting a higher ISO setting in low light conditions.
Scene modes offered here include Landscape, Backlight (changes metering for backlit subjects), Night Scene, Snow, Fireworks, Building, High ISO Portrait, Food, Text, Kids, Sunset and a Voice Recording option.
One thing I did find slightly odd was that there was no 'regular' portrait mode, just a high ISO portrait mode for use in low light conditions. When I actually took a shot with this function the camera selected an ISO of 100 - hardly high at all.
Available white balance options include Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Florescent_H, Florescent_L, and a custom white balance for accurate settings when light source cannot be specified.
I found this to be a good feature as white balance presets are not always accurate. Metering modes offered are the regular Centre, Multi and Spot and the ISO settings range from 50 to 1000 and of course an auto ISO option.
Another thing I found very strange here is that the EXIF data of the shot taken at ISO1000 actually shows ISO1030. The sharpness menu allows the user to select from Hard, Normal or Soft when in Program Mode, and there is a macro mode offered here but this only focuses from within 10cm, which I found quite disappointing judging by the fact that macro photography is supposed to be close-up.
BenQ DC C1050: Build and Handling
The DC C1050 is very basic in design, with square features, a plastic outer casing and mock-leather strip down the left hand side.
The lens is chunky and very prominent giving the camera a slightly retro feel. The camera feels extremely lightweight and slightly on the cheap and plasticky side.
On the top of the camera is a small on/off button and a large chunky shutter release. On the back is a small zoom rocker, playback button, menu button, control joypad, delete function and mode selection.
Menus and controls are very simple to use and the camera would be ideal for a first time digital camera user, although menus have to be backed out of completely before returning to the shooting screen, which can be time consuming and slightly annoying. The zoom rocker is easy to use and provides a smooth zoom movement between telephoto and wide-angle shots.
BenQ DC C1050: Flash Options
Flash options offered by the DC C1050 include Auto, Red Eye Reduction -which fires strobes of light before the actual flash to close down the pupils, Force On - which fires every time a shot is taken, Slow Sync for uses with slow shutter speeds and Always Off.
BenQ DC C1050: Performance
In the colour chart test most of the colours were extremely accurate, with the red and green mixes matching the original colour chart. The only colours that did differ slightly were the blues, which appeared lighter and brighter than they were originally.
When using the macro function the camera struggled to focus on anything closer than 10cm, as stated in the manual. Having said that, good results were achieved in the mode, with sharp detail in the petals and stamen.
Portraits taken in program mode using flash were disappointingly out of focus and quite dark, while portrait mode with flash has produced a good result. Selecting an aperture of f/5.3 and shutter speed of 1/60s, this mode has warmed the skin tones and provided a good amount of detail in the hair, eyebrows and skin.
The landscape shot has selected an aperture of f/7.1 and shutter speed of 1/131s and, as is often the problem with landscape modes in compact cameras, the aperture selected is not wide enough, and the only part of the image that is truly sharp is the winch and the areas at the forefront of the picture.
Purple fringing is also evident around the wooden post, white steps and any areas where there is a dark/light contrast.
When put into burst mode, the DC C1050 managed eight shots within a 10 second period, which is a fairly impressive amount and the buffer was able to clear quickly between shots.
The landscape shot brings only the forefront of the picture into sharp focus and there is very obvious purple fringing in many areas.
BenQ DC C1050: Noise Tests
In the noise tests ISO50 and ISO100 were super clear, with lots of detail and no evidence of noise or grainy patches. ISO200 is also clear but in ISO400 noise is starting to appear very slightly.
At ISO800 noise is very evident wth coloured artefacts appearing in the grey card area, and by ISO1000 there is a lot of pixelation with only a small amount of detail left in the petal areas.
The ISO50 test.
The ISO100 test.
The ISO200 test.
The ISO400 test.
The ISO800 test.
The ISO1000 test.
BenQ DC C1050: Verdict
Some aspects of the C1050 appeared strange to me - for example - why have a high ISO portrait mode and not a regular one, why does the ISO1000 setting actually use an ISO of 1030?
While it was impressive in some aspects, for example a program mode which allows the user to select aperture and shutter speed settings, it was a let down in other areas. At best, the DC C1050 was average.
BenQ DC C1050 Plus Points:
Program mode offers lots of user control
Good results in portrait mode
Accurate colour rendition
BenQ DC C1050 Negative Points:
Uninspiring and outdated design
ISO test gave poor results
Colour fringing in landscape shot
Sometimes struggles to focus
The BenQ DC C1050 costs £99.00 (RRP). For a list of retailers please visit the BenQ website.