GE Create Preview Digital Camera Review

Finding a gap in today's crowded compact camera market can be difficult, but GE feel they have with their Create camera, designed by Jason Wu. Gary Wolstenhome was at the launch event to see if style can go hand in hand with substance.

| GE GE CREATE Leather Preview in Compact Cameras
ePHOTOzine verdict and ratings

GE CREATE Leather: Click on the thumbnail for the larger image.
 GE Create Preview Digital Camera Review: GE Create Camera plus accessories at press launch

GE's latest launch is aimed squarely at those who value simplicity and convenience over features and customisability. Billed as a 'fashion camera' the design of the exterior is by renowned designer, Jason Wu, and they chose to coincide the launch with London's student fashion event.

At a quick glance, this unassuming compact camera doesn't look all that different from the bulk of competing models priced at around £169, but with a closer look the differences start to become apparent. At the launch event, GE said the camera is aimed mainly at those who value simplicity and convenience over technical specifications and features. Obviously image quality is important, but the camera is aimed more at capturing the moment rather than being customisable.

GE CREATE Leather: Features
The only menu on the camera can be accessed by holding the 'OK' button while starting up the camera. Here you'll find settings for resolution, date, time, etc. One thing I found strange is that out of the box, the camera is set to the recommended resolution of 6Mp, which is labelled as suitable for 7x5inch prints, whereas the camera houses a 12MP sensor. Six megapixels should be plenty enough resolution for most people snapshots on holiday and on nights out, which is where this camera is aimed.

In use, the camera really is point and shoot. There are very few options available to get in the way of just taking pictures. By pressing left on the directional pad you can cycle through the flash settings, if say for example it needs to be disabled for taking pictures in a library or museum.

There is no need to worry about memory cards, GE have taken care of that for you. 4GB of memory is built into the camera and no slot is provided for any memory format, not even SD. The 4GB of memory is good for over 1000 photos at the recommended setting, or about 700 at the maximum resolution.

Have you ever lost the special cable that came with your camera to connect it to your computer, only to find it's a cable that is hard to get hold of and you have pictures stuck in your camera's internal memory? GE have taken care of that too. A retractable USB connector is built into the camera, which allows the camera to be connected to any computer like an over-sized USB flash drive. In fact, I transferred the pictures for this preview simply by connecting the camera to my laptop and using Window's own image import wizard.

Apparently with the camera's dedicated software installed, all the images will transfer automatically too, giving you one less thing to worry about. The software also includes a direct Facebook sharing feature so you can instantly publish all your pictures for all your friends to see without having to faff around sorting through files and folders to find and upload your images.

GE CREATE Leather Key features: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
GE Create Preview Digital Camera Review: GE Creat Leather Camera
The design of the Create camera is very smart. The front of the camera is finished off with a high-quality leather trim, which also helps provide a good grip.

GE Create Preview Digital Camera Review: GE Create Leatehr Camera USB Connector
A retractable USB connector means no more lost USB cables.
GE Create Preview Digital Camera Review: GE CREATE Leather Rear
The screen is bright and quite easy to see, even in bright daylight.
GE Create Preview Digital Camera Review: GE CREATE Leather controls
The controls are very straightforward and clearly labelled. The camera really is point and shoot.

Another interesting aspect of the design is that there is no removable battery in the Create camera. A LI-Ion cell is built into the camera body, chargeable via USB, just like an iPod, or a mains socket adapter is also provided just in case you're on holiday or away from your computer. A USB extension cable is also provided as part of the kit, just in case connecting the camera via the built-in USB will be difficult on your particular computer.

Having worked in retail in the past I know how people baulk at having to buy accessories necessary to protect the camera and to make it function correctly at the time of purchase. The Create comes with a matching leather case (also designed by James Wu), leather hand strap, software, cables and the memory and battery are already built in. The way the camera is packaged is also interesting. Rather than a functional cardboard case that will get the camera from warehouse to home, the Create is packed and presented like jewellery, which should earn you a few extra brownie points if bought as a gift for a special birthday or even Christmas.

GE CREATE Leather: Handling
The exterior is coated in light grey leather, which adds to the quality feel of the camera, as well as providing a secure grip. Apparently this is Jason Wu's signature grey, but unfortunately he wasn't on hand to confirm this.

With their intended market in mind, the controls of the Create camera are very simple indeed. There are no endless menus of scene modes, no manual functions and no unnecessary bells and whistles at all, just a bezel to control the zoom, a shutter release to take still pictures and a video button for taking movie clips. The rear of the camera is sparsely filled too. A button for playback, a directional control for skipping through pictures and a delete button are all provided, clearly labelled and well spaced for ultimate ease of use.

GE CREATE Leather: Performance
There is actually no way of telling what ISO setting was used during shooting though, the option simply doesn't exist on this camera. Looking at the EXIF data afterwards reveals this camera is quite conservative with its auto ISO settings, the highest I managed to force out of it in a dark room was ISO400, meaning that pictures will tend to have less noise and more clarity. This will definitely suit those who wish to point and shoot perfectly as its emphasis does seem to lean towards capturing the moment adequately, rather than trying to do anything fancy or ground breaking.

In the dark the camera seems to perform quite well, striking a good balance between flash and ambient exposure levels when using the flash, although I did notice that pictures taken in dark conditions without the flash were at quite long exposures and tended to have lots of motion blur in them.

Colours are vibrant and images are contrasty, but not overly so. The camera strikes a good balance between creating punchy looking images and not overcooking the look too much. This should mean that you could quite happily nip down to your high street lab and order a batch of prints and get good results straight from the camera. The white balance seems to cope well indoors and out, leaving a slight warm tone under incandescent light and daylight.

Overall, from my brief experience of the camera, it seems to perform well, especially when the target audience for this camera is taken into account.

GE CREATE Leather Performance: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
GE Create Preview Digital Camera Review: GE CREATE Leather Flash Shot
A good balance between flash and ambient exposures is achieved.
GE Create Preview Digital Camera Review: GE Create Leather Detail Shot
Plenty of detail is recorded by the 3x zoom lens.
GE Create Preview Digital Camera Review: GE Create Lather Metering
The Auto metering has coped well with this contrasty scene.
GE Create Preview Digital Camera Review: GE Create Leather Colours
Vibrant colours are recorded well by the GE Create Leather.

GE CREATE Leather: Verdict
With the brief time I had with GE's Create camera, I could see where they got there concept from and that it makes a lot of sense. Not everyone wants or needs a camera with 3000 customisable scene modes, in fact most people after a simple point and shoot want just that. The RRP of £169 sounds very reasonable considering the exterior quality of the finish applied to the camera and its intended market.

Sometimes it's the basics that matter the most, and if GE have got those right then this camera could be a winner. We'll be able to say for sure when we get a camera in for in depth testing.

GE CREATE Leather: Pros
Incredibly simple to use
Attractive design
Built in USB interface
Charges from USB
Perfectly suited to target audience
Includes everything you need to get going

GE CREATE Leather: Cons
Not a camera for everyone, some may find the basic nature of the camera limiting
No way to carry a spare battery

GE CREATE Leather: Specification
Price £169
What comes in the box Designer Gift Box, Leather Carrying Case, Jason Wu Premium Wrist Strap, Jason Wu Premium Neck Strap, USB extension cable, Mains adapter, Software
Lens 3x zoom lens
Resolution 12Mp
Aspect ratio 4:3
File types JPEG
White-balance Auto
Exposure compensation N/A
Movie mode Yes
Media type 4GB built in memory
Interface Built in retractable USB connector
Power Built in Li-Ion battery
MPB Start Shopping

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