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.
BenQ LM100 Features
The LM100 has a 14 megapixel sensor and 4x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 25-100mm and has a minimum focusing distance of just 1cm in Super Macro mode. It is waterproof to 5m (for 2 hours), freezeproof to -10°C, shockproof to 1.5m as well as being dustproof.
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
1cm minimum focusing distance
HDR and Panorama modes
BenQ LM100 Handling
The LM100 has a similar look and feel to some of the tough Olympus and Panasonic cameras available, particularly the budget versions. It has a plastic body with a groove on the rear for your right thumb, to aid grip. By default there is a horrible beeping noise when cycling through the menus, the first option you're likely to look for is how to turn it off!
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.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot (without flash)
Shot to Shot with Flash
Speedy burst mode
Burst mode records at full 14 megapixel resolution, with speedy burst limited to VGA sized images.
BenQ LM100 Performance
Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review and product ratings.
BenQ LM100 Sample Photos
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
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
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
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
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
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.
For a camera which is waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof and dustproof the LM100 is decent value for money at £117.99. It's image quality is where it is let down, particularly when shooting from ISO 400 upwards. It's unpredictable battery life doesn't help either - if you're out shooting for a long time you'll certainly want to carry a spare. But the LM100 does impress with its range of shooting modes, filters and colour reproduction. Images will look fine if they are for sharing with friends and family on the web, as long as you're in good light.
BenQ LM100 Pros
Waterproof, 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 Cons
Poor battery life expectancy
Image quality isn't good enough for large prints
Noise hinders image quality from ISO 400 upwards