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BenQ announced the launch of the LM100 in July 2012. It is a compact camera which is waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof and has a 14 megapixel Panasonic CCD sensor. It is available in blue for £117.99.
As well as auto mode, there are full manual controls (aperture priority, shutter priority and manual). Other shooting modes include HDR, Colour Accent, Panorama, Lomo, Fisheye Mode and Web Auction mode with creates a collage from four selected images. Videos are recorded at 720p HD at 30 fps.
- 14 megapixel CCD sensor
- 4x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 25-100mm)
- 2.7 inch 240k dot LCD screen
- Waterproof to 5m (for 2 hours), freezeproof to -10°C, shockproof to 1.5m and dustproof
- 720p HD video recording
- ISO 100-6400
- 1cm minimum focusing distance
- HDR and Panorama modes
The menus system is easy enough to understand and navigate, although all the modes are listed under one option meaning it can take a little while to find the one you want. The 2.7 inch LCD screen is a decent enough size and is bright and colourful.
The battery has a CIPA rating of 180 shots, the first couple of charges yielded less than 100 shots, but after a third charge it did manage around 400 shots. We tested the 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.
|Shutter Response||0.2 seconds|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.7 seconds|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.8 seconds|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||3.4 seconds|
|Shot to Shot (without flash)||1.7 seconds|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||3.8 seconds|
|Burst mode||0.3 fps|
|Speedy burst mode||30 fps|
Burst mode records at full 14 megapixel resolution, with speedy burst limited to VGA sized images.
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BenQ LM100 Sample Photos
Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/5.2 | 12.7 mm | ISO 100
Landscape | 1/430 sec | f/6.5 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
HDR | 1/430 sec | f/6.5 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Pet | 1/76 sec | f/5.2 | 12.7 mm | ISO 100
Sample Photos - Images are generally well exposed, although there is little detail in the shadows. Colour reproduction is good, with fairly decent skin tones when shooting portraits which are free of red-eye.
BenQ LM100 Lens test images
Wide Angle | 1/317 sec | f/6.5 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Full Optical Zoom | 1/430 sec | f/5.9 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Benq Lm100 Digital Zoom | 1/152 sec | f/5.9 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/11 sec | f/3.5 | 5.7 mm | ISO 100
Lens Performance - At both ends of the lens, detail is nothing to get excited about, suitable for sharing on the web, not great for printing large, particularly at higher ISO settings (see ISO noise performance below). There is also purple fringing in contrasting areas of the image. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm, which does allow for a fairly decent macro shot.
BenQ LM100 ISO test images
ISO100 | 1/6 sec | f/5.4 | 14.3 mm
ISO200 | 1/11 sec | f/5.4 | 14.3 mm
ISO400 | 1/23 sec | f/5.4 | 14.3 mm
ISO800 | 1/47 sec | f/5.4 | 14.3 mm
ISO1600 | 1/94 sec | f/5.4 | 14.3 mm
ISO3200 | 1/189 sec | f/5.4 | 14.3 mm
ISO6400 | 1/378 sec | f/5.4 | 14.3 mm
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 100 and 200, but starts to reduce image quality at ISO 400, with images appearing soft as well as white dots. Pictures at ISO 800 and ISO 1600 have plenty of detail missing. There is also ISO 3200 and 6400, image size is reduced to 3 megapixels, which is good given the loss of detail. Unless you can consistently shoot at ISO 100 and 200, images aren't going to be great for printing large, being more suited for sharing on the web.
BenQ LM100 White-balance test images
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/30 sec | f/4.2 | 8.0 mm | ISO 200
Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/30 sec | f/4.2 | 8.0 mm | ISO 200
AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/15 sec | f/4.2 | 8.0 mm | ISO 400
Fluorescent preset L - fluorescent lighting | 1/15 sec | f/4.2 | 8.0 mm | ISO 400
Fluorescent preset H - fluorescent lighting | 1/15 sec | f/4.2 | 8.0 mm | ISO 400
White Balance Performance - The auto white balance (AWB) preset copes really well under our studio lights. Under the incandescent lights, the incandescent preset also does well, with the slightest of green casts. There are two fluorescent presets, both of which produced a picture with a colour cast.
Panorama | 1/412 sec | f/6.5 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Panorama mode - Panorama images are OK, although there isn't lots of detail, they are stitched together well and look good when shared on the web.
BenQ LM100 Other sample images
Underwater | 1/8 sec | f/3.5 | 5.7 mm | ISO 800
Low Light | 1/5 sec | f/5.2 | 12.7 mm | ISO 800
Fisheye | 1/30 sec | f/3.5 | 5.7 mm | ISO 400
Text | 1/30 sec | f/3.5 | 5.7 mm | ISO 200
The first image above has been taken underwater, using super macro mode. The second shot has been taken with our studio lights really low, testing the cameras low-light ability. The final two pictures have used a couple of the many scene modes available.
BenQ LM100 Digital filters
Black And White | 0.4 sec | f/5.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100
Colour Accent Blue | 0.4 sec | f/5.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100
Colour Accent Green | 0.4 sec | f/5.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100
Colour Accent Red | 0.4 sec | f/5.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100
Normal | 0.4 sec | f/5.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100
Sepia | 0.4 sec | f/5.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100
Vivid | 0.4 sec | f/5.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100
Vivid Blue | 0.4 sec | f/5.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100
Vivid Green | 0.4 sec | f/5.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100
Vivid Red | 0.4 sec | f/5.7 | 16.0 mm | ISO 100
Digital Filters - There are a number of filters available when shooting, with examples above.
Video - Below is a video recorded at 720p HD, quality is OK for a budget camera. You can use optical zoom during recording, optical zoom is available, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube Page. One thing to note is that when operating the zoom, the camera automatically stops recording sound.
Value For MoneyThe BenQ LM100 is priced at £117.99. If you want the most waterproof and shockproof camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4 ticks the box, as does the Olympus Tough TG-1.
|Nikon Coolpix S30||3m||0.8m||-||£69.95|
|Olympus Tough TG-320||3m||1.5m||-10°C||£110.00|
|Fujifilm FinePix XP50||5m||1.5m||-10°C||£114.95|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT20||5m||1.5m||-10°C||£124.95|
|Pentax Optio WG-1 / (GPS)||10m||1.5m||-10°C||£156.00 / (194.00)|
|Fujifilm FinePix XP150 GPS||10m||2m||-10°C||£168.00|
|Olympus Tough TG-620||5m||1.5m||-10°C||£183.99|
|Canon PowerShot D10||10m||1.2m||-10°C||£209.00|
|Fujifilm FinePix XP170||10m||2m||-10°C||£219.00|
|Olympus Tough TG-820||10m||2m||-10°C||£219.00|
|Nikon Coolpix AW100||10m||1.5m||-10°C||£219.00|
|Pentax Optio WG-2 / (GPS)||12m||1.5m||-10°C||£212.00 / (£241.00)|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4||12m||2m||-10°C||£239.00|
|Canon PowerShot D20||10m||1.5m||-10°C||£262.95|
|Sony Cyber-shot TX20||5m||1.5m||-10°C||£278.00|
|Olympus Tough TG-1||12m||2m||-10°C||£299.00|
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
BenQ LM100 ProsWaterproof, freezeproof, shockproof
1cm in Super Macro mode
Ample number of scene modes including HDR and panorama
Images have decent colours
Good AWB performance
Panoramas are well stitched together
Good range of filters
Comes with a case
BenQ LM100 ConsPoor battery life expectancy
Image quality isn't good enough for large prints
Noise hinders image quality from ISO 400 upwards
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
BenQ LM100 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.1 - f/5.9|
|35mm equivalent||25mm - 100mm|
|CCD pixels||14Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Screen resolution||230,000 dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/2000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||15sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 6400|
|Continuous shooting||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Image Stabilisation||No Data|
|Battery Type||Lithium Ion NP-45 Battery|
|Box Contents||User manual, quick guide, USB cable, battery, hand strap, software & user manual CD, pouch, AC power adapter|