This review appears in the July issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.

Although not quite as pretty as the Canon Ixus range, the slim E520+ is a good-looking camera. It's a dream to use, needing only a single click to move between camera modes, and with a separate button to bring up shots you've already taken. These look superb displayed on the BenQ's 2.5in LCD.

We've tried out several inexpensive 5Mp (megapixel) compacts and the Pentax lens used here offers the best quality. It produces sharp, detailed shots, even at close quarters.

The E520+ isn't the fastest camera to start up, and it took a while to refocus between shots. This occurred even when using the dedicated sport mode that's accessible - along with portrait, landscape, auto and manual focus – at the press of the Menu button. Standard controls, such as the flash and macro modes, are situated on the handy four-way navipad.

When you take a shot it momentarily stays onscreen before disappearing stage left, leaving you to compose the next shot through the viewfinder. BenQ provides 20MB of internal memory and an SD card slot.

An important issue for digital-camera fans is how many snaps you can take before having to recharge the lithium-ion batteries. Cipa (the Camera and Imaging Product Association) rates many cameras as Cipa 100, indicating a staying power of 100 shots. The E520+ is Cipa 250. Another plus.

We liked the BenQ's better-than-average 30fps (frames per second) video mode. Captured at 640x480 VGA resolution, it's unable to zoom during recording, however.

BenQ E520+: Specs

  • 5Mp
  • max res 2,560x1,920
  • 20MB internal storage
  • SD card slot
  • lithium-ion battery with charger
  • 35-105mm focus
  • f2.6-4.8 aperture
  • 6cm macro
  • normal focus 40cm to infinity
  • ISO 100-400
  • shutter 1/2,000 sec
  • 2.5in LCD viewfinder
  • 640x480 Mpeg4 capture
  • 3fps continuous shooting
  • 89x58x23m
  • 136g
  • 5Mp
  • max res 2,560x1,920
  • 20MB internal storage
  • SD card slot
  • lithium-ion battery with charger
  • 35-105mm focus
  • f2.6-4.8 aperture
  • 6cm macro
  • normal focus 40cm to infinity
  • ISO 100-400
  • shutter 1/2,000 sec
  • 2.5in LCD viewfinder
  • 640x480 Mpeg4 capture
  • 3fps continuous shooting
  • 89x58x23m
  • 136g

OUR VERDICT

We were taken with the smooth and zippy zoom and the bright, clear 2.5in LCD viewfinder, as well as the E520+'s ability to take a couple of hundred photos before its batteries gave out. Less impressive were the daylight snaps taken indoors and the macro shots we took.

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