GE’S X5 Camera bridges the gap
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In appearance the GE X5 is just like a very small SLR and weighs under 500gm. As well as a 2.7inch screen it has an electronic viewfinder. The latter enables it to be held close to one’s face and thus more steadily -- so important when the 15X zoom lens is set anywhere near its 405mm (35mm equivalent) maximum telephoto even though the camera incorporates optical image stabilisation.
The camera is comfortable to hold and the controls are well laid out. The zoom lever is immediately in front of the shutter release which is on top of the hand grip. The various modes are selected by means of the rotary mode dial on top of the main body of the camera while on the rear of the camera, to the right of the screen, are the various menu and function controls.
As well as automatic modes, among the other options is aperture priority and shutter priority for the more advanced amateur. There is also Movie mode for video capture and Panorama mode which enables the user to take a sequence of shots and stitch them together into a panoramic photo. The menu and function buttons are clearly laid out to provide access to the various flash modes, the macro function and the self-timer.
To start with one is likely to use the auto modes where the camera’s intelligence is in charge to ensure one get reasonable results. In the Auto Scene Mode different scenarios such as landscape, night landscape, portrait, night portrait and Macro modes are detected automatically and appropriate settings selected automatically. Then, in due course, with experience, one can to adjust a number of parameters to obtain enhanced results or artistic effects. Face, smile and blink detection are incorporated all of which can help avoid a number of those near-miss snap shots.
One of the unusual, but useful, features is that when changing the image quality setting from the maximum 14.1Mpixel, there is guidance as to what size prints can be made from the various resolution settings. For example, it indicates that 5Mpixel is adequate for an A4 print.
Image files are stored on an SD/SDHC card (not supplied) and the camera runs on four AA batteries (supplied). However, if one intends to make heavy use of the camera, it may make sense to use rechargeable batteries.
With this camera GE is targeting those users who want to move on from point and press but are not prepared to go for the bigger, better and more expensive SLR option. Some may find that it all they need while others may feel that it is a stepping stone as they want to get more involved in photography. As a concession to the fashion conscious, it is available in white in addition to the more usual black. Even though the camera is obviously a compromise it will nevertheless tick a great many boxes and is good value at around £120 on Amazon.
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