Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Motorola L6i and Canon A530

Two buys this weekend - one was forced and the other planned. As my previous blog indicates, I finally bought a mobile phone (which was forced) and a digicam (which was planned). Both of them were bought after a lot of research and peer review. After couple of days of intense use, here I present a review on both.

Motorola L6i - Well, any mobile is defined by the requirements of the user along with the budget he has. My major requirement was phone along with a basic level of camera. FM and MP3 were not a priority as I already had a mp3 player. With my limited budget (of Rs. 5k), I went about searching for different models, reviews on Net and reviews from friends.
Now for my review. This model has excellent speaker quality along with an user interface which is comparable to higher end models of Motorola. The VGA camera is quite good with a functionality of exposure on the pic (-4 to +4), although the pics are not comparable to the ones in megapixel. However, this one is much better than VGA cameras of its competitors. With Bluetooth functionality added in, this one is helluva value-for-money. I hope it stands up on reliability for a long time. I guess there is only one hiccup however - the battery needs to be charged almost every day, which can be quite a pain. Other than that, with the sleekness, the looks and the functionalities, I would recommend this to anyone anyday, as long as they are a bit tolerant towards the battery life.

Canon A530 - This one involved a lot of research for over two months. Peer review almost universally recommended Canon over Sony (Sony, it seems are much better at handycams). Within Canon, I was looking for a bit of flexibility in terms of my snaps as well as good picture quality. Budget was not much of a constraint here, although I was very clear that I would not be going for a SLR.
A530 fit in almost all my requirements. After using it for more than 2 days now, should admit am completely satisfied with the product. With a 5 megapixel and 4X optical zoom along with the price tag of Rs 11k, it is brilliant. Some of the features which I love -
1) Stitch functionality - A landscape can be broken into different snaps and can be stitched later in the laptop. Although I used this functionality before in other cameras, the difference and disturbance used to be visible. Take a look at this stitched photograph of Infy campus from the terrace of my house - the difference is negligible (zero in fact). I should experiment on the number of snaps that can be stitched yet, but the first stitched photograph involving three pics is great.
Before Stitching -


After Stitching -

2) Manual Option - My best option in the camera. Although other cameras claim to have a manual option, 70% of it is already programmed. However, in this camera, almost every setting can be tweaked to suit the requirement. Right from Shutter speed, aperture, brightness, ISO, image quality and many others - the feature is outstanding; and the best part being after clicking a photograph it switches back to the initial setting, making every pic customizable.
3) Optical viewfinder - I am not sure, but then I saw a majority number of cameras without the viewfinder. I used to use this quite frequently in other cameras (my friend's :)) and am fairly comfortable. If anyone is low on batteries, this one is the best solution to save on batteries as well as have some snaps. Wonder what those digicam guys are thinking about removing this viewfinder from their digicams?
4) SCN option - This one is found in other cameras as well, but the range is excellent. From Colour Accent to Pets to Snow, it covers all. I guess more usage would let me fine tune it.
The major feature I did not like is the delay between one pic and another. 1 second - and this is the timeframe between a bird sitting on a porch and about to fly away - that crucial one second. Flash photography was never the claim, but a second is too long. Kodak has one digicam (I dont remember the brand though) where the delay was absolutely nil (though costed around 15k). Hopefully Canon would fix this in the future. All in all, a camera, 1GB card and soft case for 11k seems reasonable for a camera with multitude of features and great picture quality (unless prints are big, I dont think it wud make a difference between a 3.5 megapixel and a 7 megapixel camera).
More pics to come in the blog...and as usual only the best would be put up. Experimental pics would be the first one to be put up although my interest lies with landscapes. Smile please!! :)

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