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The first thing which strikes you about this camera is its looks. You are confronted with a completely retro design - chunky, heavy, single lens reflex - surely a backwards step? Furthermore, they have opted for digital images of only 2.24 mega pixels, when the move seems to be towards 3 mega-pixel images at the moment. However, it is the variety and quality of the extra functions and features which are the camera’s main selling point. 1600x1280 images are reproduced with the greatest of ease through partnership with Hewlett Packard’s Imaging technology. Focus is achieved through twisting he zoom lens as on an ordinary SLR camera. You can get six pictures on the 8Mb CompactFlash card on the ‘Best’ setting, 28 on the ‘Good’ setting or only one uncompressed .tiff file which is of superior quality, although only one card is supplied with the camera. Downloading files is via the USB port which means that this is pretty fast, but unfortunately each file must be downloaded individually which is a nuisance. The extra features which come with this camera are superb, offering an autofocus system for wide or spot focusing, Macro shooting for close-ups of upto 20mm, 3 TTL metering levels to set correct exposure levels, 5 picture modes(standard, portrait, landscape, motion and night scene) and continuous/timelapse shooting modes amongst other things. You also get a pop-up flash(retro again) and a colour LCD screen to preview your shots and you can also add upto 45 seconds of sound to each picture should you so wish although video capture is not supported. I am not an expert on photography, so I can’t really go into the ins and outs of these things, but suffice to say, they are all pretty darn impressive on a digital camera. Overall, this is a fine piece of equipment although the design make put some people off. A few million more pixels would have been better too, but I suppose you can’t have eve
rything at this price. A good performer, with a variety of extra functions, which should satisfy the amateur photographer.