The BenQ GH200 is a new compat pocket zoom camera featuring a wide angle 12.5x optical zoom lens, with optical image stabilisation, 1cm super macro mode, and 14.1 megapixel sensor. It is available in black or red directly from BenQ for £105.
BenQ GH200 Features
Main features includes a wide angle 12.5x optical zoom lens, 2.7 inch screen, metal body available in black or red. Optical image stabilisation, 1cm super macro mode, 720p video recording - with optical zoom and a compact lithium ion battery.
Sony 14.1 megapixel CCD sensor
12.5x optical zoom lens 24-300mm equivalent
Optical Image Stabilisation
2.7inch screen, 230k dots
720p video, 30fps
ISO64 - 1600
1cm super macro mode
Other features: MagiQ Filter
Available in red or black
BenQ GH200 Handling
Handling - The BenQ GH200 is a slim metal bodied camera with a plastic grip on the front as well as a dotted area on the back for your thumb to grip. The buttons on the back and large and clear although the 4-way controller isn't labelled for the left and right buttons, as these can be customised in the menu for quicker access. With a metal body and various textures it has decent build quality, particularly for the price. The rear buttons look somewhat identical to the Casio Exilim ZR100.
Menus – The menus look almost identical to the Casio Exilim ZR100, although the colour has been changed and some of the scene modes renamed or changed. Unfortunately some of the options are in the menu system and can't be customised to the left and right keys, for example, to choose macro mode, you have to go into the menu system. The camera also has a simple mode that limits the number of options available as well as making the text and icons larger.
Battery life - CIPA battery life is rated as 200 shots. We were able to take over 250 shots before the battery went flat. The camera uses an "NP45" lithium-ion Nokia mobile phone style battery, so third party replacements should be readily available and very cheap.
Speed – We tested each camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.
Focus speed is slow at the wide end of the zoom, with slow shutter response. Focus at full optical zoom can be very slow. Shot to shot is slow with or without with flash and continuous shooting is also slow taking 1.3 seconds between each shot. The switch on time is also slow. Image review can't be switched off, however playback is very quick scrolling through photos.
BenQ GH200 Performance
Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
BenQ GH200 Sample Photos
Sample Photos - There is little red-eye in the portrait photo taken with flash, however the image is a little under-exposed. Colour outdoors is excellent with reasonable detail in photos.
BenQ GH200 Lens test images
Lens Performance - Centre and edge quality is reasonable, with the camera showing reasonable levels of detail although not spectacular. There is noticeable barrel and pincushion distortion at each end of the lens, however these aren't particularly noticeable in general shooting conditions. Purple fringing and chromatic abberations are well controlled. Exposure is generally very good although dynamic range isn't particularly impressive - the D-lighting option can help. Super macro mode is very good, you have to zoom to a set position to get the 1cm focus to work, the closest focus distance is displayed on screen making it easier.
BenQ GH200 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is visible at ISO64 in the darker shades and increases as the ISO setting is increased, but it's not until ISO400 until detail reduces. ISO800 is where noise increases more, colour is lost and detail is further reduced. ISO1600 shows the highest level of noise and is best avoided unless images are going to be resized for use on the web.
BenQ GH200 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten or fluorescent lighting. The tungsten preset gives a more neutral result compared with AWB which is slightly warm. The fluorescent presets give a slight magenta cast. In low light the image has a strong yellow cast.
BenQ GH200 Digital filters
Digital Filters - D-Lighting does a good job of brightening the shadows as well as keeping some more colour in bright areas. There are a limited number of effects, with MagiQ filter being a little like an over the top HDR art effect.
Video - Video doesn't appear to have very good image stabilisation and struggles to keep up with fast moving objects at full zoom. The only options available for video are 1280x720 or 640x480.
The BenQ GH200 offers good value for money, with a 2 year warranty and free case however with the cameras slow performance, average image quality, and nothing really noteworthy about the camera (except perhaps the 24mm wide angle 12.5x lens and low price), you would be better off investing in an alternative camera such as the Panasonic Lumix SZ1 or Olympus SH-21.
BenQ GH200 Pros
24mm wide angle 12.5x optical zoom lens
Compact metal body
2 year warranty
1cm macro mode
BenQ GH200 Cons
Low resolution screen
Short battery life
Easy to cover flash
Lacks panoramic mode
Slow at everything