Author Archive: Dao

Apple iPhone 5c Smartphone Camera Review

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Specifications 

  • Resolution of the primary camera/iSight: 8 MPs
  • Resolution of secondary camera/FaceTime: 1.2 MPs
  • Dimensions: 4.90 x 2.33 x 0.35 inches
  • Maximum image size: 2448 x 3264 pixels
  • Optical zoom: None
  • Display: 4-inch touch screen, resolution 1136 x 640 resolution (HD)
  • Battery: Rechargeable Li-Ion
  • Weight: 4.65 ounces
  • Movie mode: HD 1080 pixels (30 frames per seconds – fps)

The Bottom Line

In comparison with other smartphones, no high-end feature is provided with The Apple iPhone 5c. The resolution as well as the quality of photos are at the average level, compared to that of other smartphone cameras.

The manufacturer of this smartphone provides you with a pretty easy interface to make full use of the camera features. Even some of you who may be more familiar with other kinds of smartphone interface do not find this interface difficult to use.

However, manual control options are not provided in the Apple 5c, which make users a little bit disappointing. This is why you should not expect the iPhone 5c’s camera to give you images that can replace you your standard digital camera. The iPhone 5c’s image quality is not as good as an average point and shoot camera. The images from this smartphones are good enough for being shared on social networks, but not for large prints.

The full HD touch screen is also not supported. This is another weakness of this smartphone in comparison with other smartphones on the market. Certainly, the Apple iPhone 5c is still considered a good smartphone camera, but it is too far to become a great model.

(NOTE: Because some point and shoot cameras are being replaced by smartphone cameras more and more now, on the Cameras site, sometimes reviews of smartphones cameras appear. However, this doesn’t mean all the features, such as calling, texting, apps, or other features. It only focuses on the camera features of a smartphone. Consequently, people give the star rating for a smartphone camera in comparison with digital cameras, not with other smartphones, or smartphone cameras alone).

Apple iPhone 5c Review for Camera

Apple iPhone 5c Review for Camera

Touch screen display is not as large as average and, the resolution is lower than average.

Under the low light condition, a bit of noise appears in your photos

Image Quality

The resolution of the Apple iPhone 5c is 8 megapixels, which performs a little bit above average compared to other smartphone cameras. In adequate light conditions, the image quality is good enough for you to share on social networking sites. However, you should not expect to have large, sharp prints with this smartphone’s camera.

The Apple iPhone 5c support an LED in cases when a flash is required. This LED works quite well to help you obtain the light for the nearby area. Without using the LED light, there will be some noise in your low light images.

The aperture lens of the iPhone 5c is f/2.4, which performs pretty well for a lens in a smartphone camera. However, images are not as sharp as I often see with this lens.

The 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera is not a good model, which is just useful for quick snapshots.

Performance

The shutter lag of the iPhone 5c is just very little, which helps users take photos very quickly. If you don’t use the LED flash, you don’t have to worry about shot to shot delays. They are just at the minimal level. A quick full resolution continuous shot mode is supported with this smartphone camera, something that is included in almost all smartphone models.

Limited to fully automatic shooting options, you cannot utilize the photography with manual control options. You even cannot make basic changes to the smartphone camera settings, which makes the iPhone 5c similar to nearly all point and shoot cameras in terms of image quality in tough photography situations. The ISO or shutter speed also cannot be adjusted with this smartphone camera.

Certainly, no optical zoom capability is included in iPhone 5c, though this is the most basic function of point and shoot cameras.

However, you are able to make full HD video clips thanks to the good video quality. In terms of video quality, the iPhone 5c, with still image quality, is better than many other smartphone cameras. But because the screen of the 5c is a full HD display screen, when you watch your videos on the smartphone’s screen, it may not look as good as they could. In comparison with most newer smartphones with full HD display resolution, the Iphone 5c is not good in this aspect. The touch screen LCD is a bit small with a 4 inches screen only. The still images recorded in videos are nice.

Design

Like almost other product of Apple, the interface of the iPhone 5c is easy to use. This is easy, even for those who are not familiar with the iPhone’s operation. You just pick it up and use it successfully almost right away.

The buttons and icons on the interface, both in shooting mode and Playback mode is kept at the basic level. That’s why you find it very easy to use this smartphone camera. The on-screen icons are also not difficult to understand.

One interesting feature of iPhone 5c is fun photography features. There are eight filters to your photographs and the special effects are easy to be applied on photos.  The panoramic feature is also a great thing for this model, in which you can produce great images even you are a beginer on photograph practice.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Review

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Specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom

  • Resolution: 16 MPs for the primary camera and 1.9 MPs for secondary camera
  • Image sensor: 1/2.3 inch CMOS
  • Optical zoom: 10X
  • LCD: 4.3-inch, 518,400 pixels, touchscreen
  • Battery: Rechargeable Li-Ion
  • Dimensions: 4.94 x 2.52 x 0.61
  • Weight: 7.34 ounces
  • Movie mode: HD 1080 pixelsPros
    • The combination of smartphone and mid-level camera is great
    • The 10X optical zoom is better than that of other smartphones
    • The camera can work with both Wi-Fi and cellular networks
    • In-camera special effects and editing options bring fun to users
    • Touch screen and smart menus are great

    Cons

    • Starting price is very high compared to cameras with similar features
    • Start-up takes a lot of time
    • Movie quality could be quite a bit better
    • S4 Zoom is much larger and thicker than most smartphones
    • Not worth purchasing for the separate camera option; to deserve the cost if you want the smartphone capabilities of the S4 Zoom too
Review-Samsung-Galaxy S4 Zoom camera smartphone combination

Review-Samsung-Galaxy S4 Zoom camera smartphone combination

The Bottom Line

If you are interested in Samsung’s products, you will know that the manufacture of this camera tend to combine the features with beautiful designs. Among the latest products, the S4 Zoom is the most outstanding model. It is the combination between camera and a cellphone. In this article, I will review mainly about the photography capabilities, not about functions of smartphone, despite the fact that it is a good smartphones with enough necessary functions.

Two of the strongest points of this smartphone camera is that the optical zoom lens is up to 10X and the resolution of the camera is up to 16 megapixels, which are not included in many other smartphone cameras. Other features are still ok for a smartphone. For example, it can work with 4G networks or Wi-Fi as well. You will find it easy to use the camera with its LCD touch screen – a quite big screen, up to 4.3 inches.

However, because it is a little bigger in comparison to many other smartphones, this is also a hindrance. It will be inconvenient for putting this device into your pocket. Especially, in an urgent call, it will be quite frustrated to take the call.

Besides, the Galaxy S4 Zoom is quite expensive. With the price suggested by retailers at about $800, it will not really make you satisfied when you compare its ability to take photos with those of a standalone digital camera at the same price range.

But you know that the suggested price is not the fixed price. It is just a suggestion, right? This price can be less than the suggested price, not more than $200 only if you buy it separately. Now, when I write this review, it is only available in a cellular network contract. If the price is lower and you feel ok with some inconvenience I have listed, you should consider this a potential option. Instead of bringing a camera and a smartphone separately, you just need one device only.

Image Quality

The image quality of the S4 Zoom is quite good. It can be good among point and shoot cameras in comparison with other standalone digital cameras. Although the image sensor is not large and this makes it difficult for you to have large prints at good quality, the strong point is that the available zoom lens is supported, up to a 10X.

For most users now, it does not matter much with the inability to create large prints. You can find it easy to share your photos online with the available Wi-Fi and 4G networks of the S4 Zoom.

The S4 Zoom’s camera has more advantages than other smartphone cameras. Its image quality is much better than that of other ones. It is a strong player among camera smartphone thanks to including the optical zoom lens and the support of built-in flash. You can easily capture self-portraits thanks to the resolution up to 1.9 megapixels. The time required for pointing and shooting images is very quick.

However, the movie recording function is not really good when you compare it with other cameras of the same class. Don’t expect too much on the functions for recording movies. Even the S4 Zoom has 10X zoom lens, using it for shooting movies is very terrible.

Performance

You can control the settings manually and just use automatic settings without making any effort to adjust them in the Galaxy S4 Zoom. There are many modes offered in this camera. You are able to make manual adjustments through the LCD touchscreen. Besides, you can make your photos more and more interesting with many available special effects.

Response times is also a good point of this device. The shutter lag or shot to shot delays is very little. Both the shutter lag and shot to shot delays are less than those of other cameras with similar features. In regards of those aspects, this model outperforms the Samsung Galaxy Camera, which has been reviewed for some months.

One area that Samsung makes it similar to the Galaxy Camera is the time for starting up. It requires not less than 40 seconds for taking another photo since the time you shut down you camera. You still have to wait some seconds from the sleep mode before shooting a photo. Due to this a bit low starting-up time, sometimes, some interesting moments may be missed while you are trying to operate the camera.

While it allows just about a couple of hours before you need to recharge a camera of a basic class, the time for continuous operation of the S4 Zoom is up to several hours. The Battery life of the S4 Zoom is really good.

Design

With the appearance similar to other cameras of the point and shoot type, the S4 Zoom includes the S4 Zoom with the shutter button on the top panel. For most of smartphone cameras, it is typically easier to shoot in the vertical direction, the S4 Zoom is different. The camera was designed for use in horizontal direction, which is similar to many digital cameras, allowing it to capture wide field images. The back of the S4 Zoom is covered almost entirely with a large 4.3-inch LCD, making it look like any other smartphone.

The design of the touchscreen is a strong point of Samsung, with creating menus and functions  to take the best advantage of the touchscreen. The camera is run by the operating system Android 4.2. Basically, the manufacturer integrates a lot of functions of a smartphone into the Galaxy S4 Zoom. That is why you will find no difficulty in using this smartphone. Unlike Samsung, more camera makers tend to bring the design of a smartphone interface into cameras in which the menus are arranged on touchscreen LCDS and more graphical elements are added.

Because you have to use the right hand to grip the camera and the lens is part of the camera, the thicker and larger size is the biggest drawback to the Galaxy S4 Zoom’s design. Although the thickness is publicized to be 0.61 inches, the actual thickness may be a little bit more than that. It may cause some inconvenience if you want to put in into your medium-size pockets. You will find it inconvenient as well to get it out of the pocket in cases of urgent calls.

The last good point of the Galaxy S4 Zoom is that both the basic functions of a camera and a smartphone are integrated in this device. However, to make the best use of this combination, you cannot take full advantage of functions of both a camera and a smartphone separately. Just a few models on the market can do this. Despite not being a perfect one if you separate the two functions apart, it is a perfect combination.

Haier DC-A20 Review

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The Bottom Line

The DC-A20 is one of the first underwater camera models of Haier America, which have appeared for the first time in US this year. There are many nice features that you may be interested in. However, compared to cameras in the same class and at the similar price range, the Haier DC-A20 is not an exceptionally strong player. However, it is one of the best choice if you just want to buy a camera for general use.

There are some old features and styles that still remain on this camera while they have been removed from other brands and models. The first drawback is that you cannot find any optical zoom lens in the camera. The second drawback is about the low resolution, just limited to 9 MP. Despite the low price, the value it brings you may be not as expected when you decide to spend that money amount on buying it.

Haier DC-A20 Camera Review Buy

Haier DC-A20 Camera Review Buy

Specification

  • Resolution: 9.0 MPs (however, it can simulate 12MP with FW interpolation)
  • LCD: 2.5-inch, 230x400p
  • Image sensor: 1/2.3-inch CMOS
  • Optical zoom: none (6X digital zoom)
  • Dimensions: 3.7×2.5×0.96″
  • Battery: Two AAA
  • Movie mode: AVI

Pros

  • Can be used underwater, a great option for enthusiasts.
  • Camera requires the popular AAA batteries.
  • DC-A20 has great ease of use.
  • Camera has excellent performance in highlight condition.

Cons

  • The overall focus is quite soft.
  • The display of the Haier DC-A20 has glare in sunlight, making it difficult to see.
  • The LCD screen is small.
  • quite long shot-to-shot delay if flash is on.
  • No optical zoom.

Guide Review – Haier DC-A20 Review

Image Quality

The performance of the DC-A20 is quite good in normal situations with adequate lighting and the close distance of a subject that you want to take a photo of. The image quality of those photos is good with sharp quality and pretty accurate colors. Although sometimes, you get out of focus which makes the photos become a little bit soft, in general, it is okay with the performance of this camera. In comparison with the cameras of the same price range, it is pretty good.

However, it is not often ok for difficult shooting situations, for example, under low light conditions. In those conditions, you may find the photos blur or even missing. You will have to delete most of those photos if you take them in those situations.

Despite the fact that this camera suppors the 9.0 MP resolution, it is not as good as others that you have seen in the market currently. The image quality of photos in general is ok, except the case that you want to print those photos at a large size. Maybe it is this resolution that affects the photo quality.

One weakness of this camera is that there is no optical zoom. This affects the image quality a little bit. The digital zoom support can be applied, but it does not guarantee the good image quality. Most of the photos captured by this 6X digital zoom cannot be used because of its bad quality. You almost can make no use of this digital zoom. (To find more details of those two types of zoom lens, please see my Understand Camera Zoom Lenses article.)

Performance

If you are used to using optical zoom lenses, it will be not convenient for you to take advantage of the available digital zoom. Then, there is a bit disappointment when you have to switch this zoom lens in distinct “steps”, not with a smooth performance.

The DC-A20 is not a good photographic option for most photos of a near distance because they are easy to get out of the focus. There are just basic modes in this camera. You will see no macro mode beside landscape and sport modes.

The good point is that you can initialize the device very fast. This is convenient for not missing spontaneous photos. Shot to shot delays are not the same for all photos. With photos taken near your camera, you don’t have to worry much about the delays. But this duration may be longer for other photos.

The screen of the DC-A20 is an LCD screen, limited to just a 2.5-inch. This screen is not as large as that of other point and shoots cameras in the current market. One weakness of this screen is that sometimes, some glare from the sun draws you back from using the LCD. As a consequence, because you just can use the LCD as the only viewfinder to frame photos outdoors and this may take you a big effort.

Design

The DC-A20 is quite thin, just 0.96 inches. With this thickness, it is considered a quite small model among the models that can be used under the water. The whole lens is inside the camera. The cover is designed with the red and black color. This is nice for such a small camera.

It suggested price is $129.99. When you hold it inside your hand, you may feel it firm and well-built. AAA batteries are used well for this camera.  Those batteries are also handy. The battery part and the memory card part is firmly located in the camera.

The maximum distance for this camera to operate underwater is 10 feet. This is really good for a model among this price range. However, the DC-A20 is still not recommended when you compare the money spent and the value you get. There are some other better cameras, for example the FinePix XP10. Despite being a little more expensive, but you find far more values with it.

Olympus SZ-30MR Review

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The Bottom Line

The Olympus SZ-30MR camera has a stylish and beautiful look with an extremely large zoom. Taking a glance at it, you will see it quite slight and not heavy at all. The optical zoom lens is very large, up to 24X. All of these things make it a very good device that many people will not regret buying it.

However, the price is quite high, about under $400 and there still remain some quirks. Therefore, I don’t really recommend you to purchase this one. It is great, but for sure, it is not the perfect one for all people.

When you use the zoom at the maximum level, it may take a bit time to switch from the previous to the photo later. The time for shutting a photo in this case is slow. This is popular for cameras with an extremely large zoom. Sometimes, you still find it not convenient to use this camera. Its dial labeling mode is a little crazy.

Yet, this camera is still good enough to be taken into consideration. If the price is not exceeding $100, it can make up for all the flaws and I think it is good enough to be introduced to you. In comparison with the Nikon P500 ultra-zoom, this model is not highly recommended over. Except the case that you just need a light camera with the good zoom ability, this is a good option.

Olympus SZ_30Z

Olympus SZ-30MR ultra-zoom Camera Review Buy

Image Quality

One feature that surprised me a lot was its excellent ability in shooting wonderful photos when you are at a far distance. It performed well, even in conditions that required a flash. The powerful flash is a great point of this camera. To increase the exposure of the photos, you could also take advantage of adjusting its ISO settings. In general, I found the photo quality of this camera very satisfying.

Most impressive images created by this camera will very extremely sharp, except some cases. For example, when the camera shake occurs, some blurriness happens as well. In this case, a tripod is the best solution for this camera, especially when the photographing conditions are indoor or without enough light.

For outdoor conditions, you will never have to worry about the exposure or autofocus. Both of the features are great with the SZ-30MR. However, despite the good image quality in general, you may still encounter some little disappointment when some blurriness happens due to a camera shake.

There are something you can do to make fun with the SZ-30MR. You can take advantage of them to make your photos more interesting, for example, making the photos become amazing with art effects or adjusting the colors after taking photos. They work well and bring fun when you are using them. The MR mode is also supported. With this mode, you can take two pictures at exactly the same time, one with the special effect and the other still in the original format.

What a pity that you cannot take advantage of the zoom lens for shooting movies. Instead, there is no way beside using a digital zoom which is often small. The quality of movies can be acceptable.

Performance

“The response times of the SZ-30MR is very quick, but it is not for all the cases. One of these cases is when the zoom lens is needed” – that is what I want to tell you about this camera.

This is just a joke, you know, right? Without using the zoom, what is the reason for buying a camera with such a large zoom lens? However, if you are being concerned about shooting photos  with a good ability to catch the light, this camera is not the best choice. The reason is that unlike other ultra-zoom cameras, there remains some delays.

The zoom lens on the SZ-30MR is quite good. It is better than that of other similar cameras thanks to the fast and smooth moving among different distances. You can take advantage of this large 24X zoom to take many photos of various distances.

Shot to shot delays sometimes happen the SZ-30MR. Especially, those delays increase under low light conditions or when you adjust the zoom to the maximum level. That’s the reason why “busy” notification appears sometimes. The more you extend the zoom lens, the more shutter lag you encounter. It is common for most cameras with extremely large zoom lens. And this shutter lag becomes a bigger problem as well in conditions without enough light. Because of the shutter lag, you will not able to catch the photos of moving subject, which is a sorrow of using this camera.

It is common for most cameras with extremely large zoom lends that the autofocus speed of this camera is quite fast. However, the closer you come to the maximum zoom, the slower this speed is. You can apply a solution to reduce this slow speed by trying to pre-focus. You just need to touch and press the shutter button slightly before going to capture images.  

You cannot change the time of reviewing your photos because it is already a fixed amount. Therefore, it is not comfortable to capture a lot of photos continously. Despite being able to return to shooting mode when you press the shutter button but obviously, this process takes time. Due to this, you may feel disappointed with missing one or two photos.

The arrangement of the options of this camera is nice. However, there still remain some hassles in using it if you don’t have any experiences with cameras. Actually, what I mean is not about recommending beginners to take this camera out of consideration, but if you are a beginner, it does take time to read the user guide carefully before you want to understand all the features of the camera. It is not that easy for beginners.

Design

Unlike boring, larger DSLR cameras, the SZ-30MR is a little bit more beautiful look compared to other cameras of similar types. The design of this camera is very nice. There are some great points in the design of The SZ-30MR. For example, it has a glistening style; it is thinner and lighter than many other cameras of the same class. All of those things create its difference.

Despite having an extremely large zoom lens, it is very light. You will be surprised to find it not difficult at all and especially convenient to use this camera.

The flash of the camera is located right next to the lens housing. Except extending the flash, you will not have to worry about its firing.

Despite all the good aspects of this design, a nice combination between the style and the colors, there is one drawback. The labeling on the mode dial is not really convenient for the usage. Because of the gleaming silver cover and the white color of the text labels, you will find it hard to see the dial labels if the sun shines on these dial labels. When this happens, you may feel annoyed after some moments.

You cannot separate the battery charging from the camera. This is a little bit inconvenient. Both the battery and the memory cart part are included with a sturdy cover. One improvement is that SD memory cards are accepted for the camera. In the old models, only xD memory cards Olympus’ own brand could be used.

Olympus SZ-15 Review

201839

The Bottom Line

The 24X optical zoom lens is a great feature integrated in the Olympus SZ-15 camera body and it measures just 1.5 inches when you turn off the camera. That is one of the reason why the Olympus SZ-15 ultra-zoom model is a model that few competitors can beat.

Despite all above impressive features, one of the weakness of the SZ-15 is its image quality. A pretty small image sensor is one hindrance that makes it impossible to create extremely sharp photos that can be used into large prints. Moreover, if you are not using the flash, low light conditions also make it difficult to use the SZ-15.

Despite the impression on having such a large zoom lens in the sub-$200 price range, the SZ-15 camera should be recommended only for certain circumstances. You will not find its image quality good enough as for your high end needs and you also may feel a little frustrated because of one or two second lag time.

But, if a large zoom lens is what you can carry in your pocket, the Olympus SZ-15 with a 24X zoom lens will be your good choice among few cameras with similar types of lens, especially with such a low price.

Olympus SZ-15 Camera Review Buy

Olympus SZ-15 Camera Review Buy

Specifications

  • Resolution: 16 MPs
  • Largest image size: 4608×3456 pixels
  • Optical zoom: 24X (25-600mm)
  • Dimensions: 2.7×4.2×1.5 “
  • LCD: 3.0-inch which includes 460 thousands pixels
  • Battery: Rechargeable Li-Ion
  • Weight: 7.8 ounces (battery and memory card are excluded)
  • Image sensor: CCD 1/2.3 “
  • Movie mode: 720 pixels (HD quality)

Pros

  • 24X optical zoom lens packed in this small and light camera.
  • The Olympus SZ-15 can move its zoom lens quickly.
  • Popup flash helps have good angle over extended lens.
  • Plenty of special effect and fun features.
  • Long battery life.

Cons

  • Image quality is not very good.
  • No ISO above 1600
  • Most shooting features are basic
  • Shot to shot delays, similar to other ultra-zoom cameras
  • Video: 720 pixel (HD quality)

Detail review for the Olympus SZ-15

Image Quality

The camera is going to make you disappointed with the overall image quality. You will find a slight blur with most of this model’s photos when viewing them at large sizes, because the autofocus system with the SZ-15 is not really as exact as you expect. Sharp large prints are almost impossible with this camera. When I test this model, the results on exposure are not that accurate as expected.

You will have to use the flash unit if you want to shoot photos under low light conditions. Without using the flash, the image quality is very bad, and the ISO setting is just up to 1600 at maximum, that’s why it cannot help much in low light conditions. Even when you set the ISO up to 1600, you will see too much noise in photos.

Lastly, movie options of the SZ-15 are also much under the average level. The video quality is limited to not exceed 720p HD and there are not many movie controls in this camera., The duration of movies is just 8 minutes at the maximum resolution, which make you terribly disappointing.

Performance

There are some issues with the slow performance of the Olympus SZ-15 as you might expect when you think about a camera with a sub-$200 price tag. Shot to shot delays especially causes a lot of frustration, which draws you back form shooting spontaneous photos. Before you want to take the next photos, it really takes time to save the previous photo. Burst mode is also bad with the Olympus SZ-15 as well..

Despite the sluggish manner of the SZ-15 in general, its zoom lens motor is one of the things beyond this manner. The time for moving through the entire 24X zoom range is just about 2 second, which makes the very good impression for a camera in this price range.

In comparison with other inexpensive cameras, the performance of the autofocus is pretty quick at the wide angle setting despite not being completely accurate every time. A bit of a sluggish autofocus happens for most large zoom cameras, and there is no exception for the SZ-15

Finally, when you are trying to move through various menus, the sluggish responses does happen, which make you more frustrated in the time of using the SZ-15.

This model possesses a 3.0-inch LCD screen with a pretty high quality. This is very nice. At the same time, the battery life is slightly better than other thin ultra zoom cameras.

Design

The Olympus SZ-15 camera looks nice, and because the design is thin, you will find it easy to use right hand grip. Thanks to this thin look, you even don’t think that you are carrying a 24X optical zoom lens.

A popup flash unit is a nice function of the Olympus SZ-15, which other inexpensive cameras don’t include. This popup flash is useful for avoiding vignetting (or shadows) from the lens in your images that are caused by the large zoom lens of this model.

The design of the Olympus SZ-15 looks like other point and shoot cameras. There are very few manual control features, which some photographers may find it frustrated because they cannot control the settings much. For beginners, this model is easy to use, but don’t expect to improve your photography skills much with this camera. You will nearly face no challenge with manual control settings

For such an easy-to-use camera, there are a very limited number of options on the menus. The menu of this camera is quite similar to that of other common types of cameras, for example, the amount of time for each photo to be displayed on the screen for review can be changed.

Olympus chooses to include a minimum number of buttons, which helps beginners easier to use the camera. The button labels, for some reasons, are engraved on the silver buttons; therefore, it is almost impossible to see the labels in cases of any glare or reflection on the buttons. This requires you to memorize the button layout if you don’t want to rely on the ability to see the labels when you’re shooting and you’re in a hurry.

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