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Another P&S With A Fast Lens From A Manufacturer From Whom We Would’ve Least Expected

by Felix L. Esser on 07/10/2012

Yes, that’s right. Almost as out-of-nowhere as the announcement of Samsung’s EX2F a few days ago, came the announcement of the BenQ G1, another contender in the category of the fast-lens-point-and-shoot. However, the BenQ announcement went by almost unnoticed, and we would probably have overlooked it ourselves if we hadn’t stumbled upon it by chance. Because, seriously, who in the world gets excited when BenQ announces a new camera? (Or should I rather ask: who even knows that BenQ actually makes cameras?) But this one is a little different and a little confusing.

This camera is different because so far, BenQ has been (un-)known for making cheap-and-cheerful p&s cameras for the entry-level consumer market, most of which come with your standard couple-x zoom with a slow initial aperture, and no specs to get excited about. The newly announced G1, however, comes with an f1.8 initial 4.6x zoom lens — and that’s what caught our attention. With a lens this fast, it seems almost as if BenQ were trying to attack the likes of the Canon S100, Panasonic LX5, Olympus XZ-1 and the aforementioned Samsung EX2F. However, what sets the G1 apart from these cameras — and this is where I am confused — is that the former are all so-called “photographer’s” cameras; i.e. they come with lots of dials and buttons that make gearheads happy, and offer RAW shooting for best possible image quality. The BenQ G1, however, comes with a pretty basic interface, no RAW mode and almost no bells and whistles.

Anyhow, I believe the fast f1.8 lens will attract many who are looking for a small, portable camera that you can actually use when light gets dim. Even with the now five choices (I exclude the Sony RX100 here for its oversized sensor), we still have to few of these serious compacts. With BenQ, an utter no-name in the camera industry, entering this part of the market, maybe we’ll generally see more fast-lens compacts in he future? Who knows? In the meantime, we shall try and get our hands on that little G1, because we’re really curious to see how it performs, and if it can actually hold a candle to its alleged contenders.

BenQ G1 Specifications

Sensor Panasonic 14 Mega Pixels, 1/2.3 inch CMOS
Picture Resolution 14M / 8M / 4M / 2M / 16:9 / VGA
Lens f = 4.5 (W) ~ 94.5 (T) mm
F = 1.8 (W) ~ 4.9 (T)
(f = 24 ~ 110 mm, 35 mm equivalent)
Zoom Optical: 4.6x
Digital: up to 6x (preview) / up to 12x (playback)
Focus Range Normal: W = 30 cm ~ Infinity; T = 60 cm ~ Infinity
Macro: W = 3 cm ~ Infinity
Shutter Speed Auto: 1/2000 ~ 2 sec.
Manual Mode: 1/2000 ~ 15 sec.
Display Size 3.0″ 920k pixels swivel LCD
ISO Equivalent Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Tungsten / Fluorescent H / Fluorescent L / Manual
Exposure -2.0 ~ +2.0 EV (0.3EV / step)
Flash Auto Flash, Auto Anti Red-eye, Force On, Slow Sync, Force Off
Drive Mode 10 sec. / 2 sec. / Smile Detection / Off
Movie Mode FHD 1080p (1920 x 1080) 30fps / HD 720p (1280 x 720) 30fps / VGA (640 x 480) 30fps
Continuous recording with sound
Slow Motion: VGA (640 x 480) 120fps / HD 720p (1280 x 720) 60fps
Fast Motion: Full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) 15fps
Storage Built-in Approx. 82MB (± 5%)
4GB SD / 32GB SDHC / SDXC (> 32GB) card compatible
Interface Digital Output: USB 2.0 compatible
Video / Audio Output (NTSC / PAL / HDMI)
PictBridge compatible Yes
Power Source CIPA approx 260 base on bundle Li-ion battery
Dimensions (W x H x D) 114 x 62.5 x 25.5 mm
Weight 195g (without battery & SD card)
Included accessories USB Cable / USB Adapter/ Li-ion Battery / Software & UM CD / Quick Guide / Neck Strap and Pouch (optional)
File format Still Image: JPEG (EXIF 2.3 compatible)
Video: MOV
Audio: WAV
Product Color Black / White

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