The BenQ DC T700 has a touchscreen and men have to touch everything, but it is also slim and stylish so appears to be designed for women. Is the T700 the most ironic camera ever made?
BenQ DC T700 Specifications
- Sensor: 7.2 Mp
- Image size: 3072 x 2304
- Lens: 3x optical
- Shutter Speed: 1/2000 - 1sec
- Flash: Auto/Red-eye reduction/Forced on/Slow sync/Forced off
- Movie mode: Yes
- Storage: 12Mb Internal, MMC/SD
- Batteries: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery
- LCD: 3.0in. touch-screen
- Weight: 120g (without battery)
- Dimensions: 91mm x 59mm x 16.9mm (14.9 slimmest)
The T700 is priced at £175 and competition comes from Casio in the form of the slim Exilim EX-S770 at £199 which also has 7.2Mp, a slightly smaller screen at 2.8in and only 6Mb internal memory. Another closely matched rival is the Samsung Digimax i7 with 7Mp, a 3in touchscreen but with a whopping 512Mb internal memory priced at £199.
BenQ DC T700 Modes and features
Housed in a slim metal case, the T700 is stylish and looks good on first inspection. The touchscreen is accompanied by a chic, clear plastic stylus. The top of the camera has the power button with a light to illustrate when it is on and the shutter release. The back of the camera has the gargantuan screen with the zoom on a simple rocker which seems to only let the zoom work when it is not doing anything else. So if the camera is zoomed in too much, the camera has to focus before it will zoom back out again. There are only four or five stops to the zoom. Another interesting feature with the zoom is that if the T button is held down and the camera reaches maximum zoom, it will start to zoom back out to wideangle without having to press the W button.
Because of the touchscreen capability of the camera, there are only two more buttons on the camera and they are Menu and Playback. The Menu button will bring the options up on screen in a thumbnail version allowing the stylus to be used but are big enough to use fingers if the stylus is lost or are too idle to use it. On the Menu are two record modes and the first one offers to change the pixels , compression quality, White balance, AF settings, AE metering which has three options of what looks like Zone, Centre weighted and Spot. However, there is no explanation of the modes and which ones they are. The final option in Record 1 is to change the ISO ratings. Record 2 has Exposure compensation, Review time to change the amount of time the camera shows the picture just taken, Sharpness of the image, Saturation and Contrast. The options are kind of like an in-house editing program and like all other cameras, they are pretty basic, but a nice touch nonetheless. The Movie option allows changes to the Video mode. Options are the Pixels used, the quality level of those pixels and the frame rate. Normal TV running speed is 25fps, so to go lower to the 15fps mode will give a jerky movement like a webcam. The Common mode allows changes to the Digital zoom, the Memory button allows and the Hotkey option is for when the menu on the screen is accessed so certain options can be quickly accessed. The Sound option allows changes to the Operating volume and the Playback volume for Video. The Setting button gives choices of Formatting the card, Changing the Date, World time, Language, Folder names and the USB connection for computer or Pictbridge. Lower down the screen, the Video out can be changed from PAL to NTSC, Brightness of the LCD, Power save adjustment, Auto power off, Guide display for when the Scenes are being chosen, the camera will give a brief description of the setting and the option to move back to the Scene options if necessary.
The Screen has access to some options too and these are accessed by touching the icons at the top of the screen. Touching the band is all that is needed as the same options will be opened despite touching the Scene option or the Flash for instance. From this point, The Scenes, Flash options, Drive which is either single shot, Self timer or Continuous shooting and the Focus modes can be set. The Focus modes have Standard AF, Macro, Pan focus, Landscape and Manual focus. The manual focus is changed by a Left or Right arrow to adjust the focal distance and is not overly responsive.
BenQ DC T700 Build and handling
As said previously, the body is metal and is also fitted with a Pentax SMC lens. EXIF data does show the camera as originating from BenQ though, so it's not like Pentax have made the camera for them. The touchscreen is responsive and sensitive enough for a regular tap which is good as it means the camera will not start accessing stuff just by brushing against it. Start up time is fast, but could be faster if the manufacturer name didn't come up before the screen started. Focusing is standard at roughly a second, but doesn't seem to stick to any particular place which can be frustrating especially on Macro mode and the screen has a horrid purple band when pointed directly at a window. Whilst this is a problem with most screens, I have never seen it so bad as on this camera.
BenQ DC T700 Flash options
The modes available on the T700 in the Flash area are Auto, Flash off, Flash on, Auto with Red-eye, Flash on with Red-eye and Soft flash for portraits.
BenQ DC T700 Performance
Focusing is relatively slow and the camera seems to not be able to do anything else whilst it is doing this. Tapping the zoom will do nothing and only firm presses will get a response from it. This can then cause the camera to zoom in too much which is not an attractive feature.
The camera managed a burst rate of four pictures in the 10sec test. Frankly, there is not much point in having a continuous shooting option with this kind of performance.
The camera has few options except the basic stuff which is good for who the camera is aimed at. The menu is well laid out and easy to understand and is easier to use with the touchscreen facility.
The Portrait shot was well balanced in the exposure, but gave a slightly yellow tinge to the skin tones and the portrait shot on Auto had the Vivid colour option set and has under exposed on the shadows to give more contrast and saturation.
The landscape gave decent colours despite a horrid day on the verge of raining and the Macro mode is not very good as it has a tendency to miss the main point of focus and go for something in the background. Even on the image illustrated, the camera focused on the furthest flower away from the lens which I think is down to the focusing not setting to the centre of the screen, but judging what it thinks is the best thing to focus on. This is good in other modes, but not on a mode that has a specific focal point like macro or Portrait mode.
The colour chart gave saturated primary colours and a very shallow depth of field.
The Macro prefers to focus on objects a more comfortable distance away.
Portrait mode gave a slight yellow cast but exposure was good.
Normal mode over exposed, but colours were more balanced.
The wide shot reproduced colours well on an overcast day.
The zoomed in shot gave a more balanced image due to less sky.
As with the landscape, good colours if not a little overexposed probably from the sky.
BenQ DC T700 Noise test
The noise test has some unusual results. ISO 80 gives the usual noiseless image, but the detail is still lost to a smoother, softer result. ISO160 is the same with a slight change to the orange of the petal with ISO200 beginning to show light noise on the grey card but also gives more detail on the petal. ISO400 has distinct noise and the petals seem to get a brighter orange which then drops off and a more noisy than usual ISO800 has the petals the same colour and the noise has changed the colour of the grey card to a more yellow tone.
The ISO80 test.
The ISO160 test.
The ISO200 test.
The ISO400 test.
The ISO800 test.
BenQ DC T700 Verdict
In terms of basic camera performance, the DC T700 is lower down on the scale like having a decent continuous shooting burst rate, good noise reduction, a Macro mode that focuses on the subject in the middle of the lens instead of what can comfortably focus on and a focus that tells you if something cannot be focused on. The camera gives a satisfying beep when it is focused, yet does nothing when not focused.
The features are great, the touchscreen works well, it has a nice lens, is easy to use and has good colour reproduction. I don't like the fact that the zoom is unresponsive or the buttons have to be pressed a little longer than is really necessary. It is a great camera for the happy snapping type who wants to look cool with a touchscreen.
BenQ DC T700 Plus points
Touchscreen is responsive
Good Pentax SMC lens fitted
Colour reproduction is good
BenQ DC T700 Minus points
Zoom is unresponsive
Macro doesn't work properly
The BenQ DC T700 costs around £175 and is available from BenQ website.