High Definition home-made movies are coming to a screen near you. That’s if the GE E1050TW is anything to go by. This is the first consumer compact camera that I know of which boasts HD video recording capability and the first ever camera that I’ve had a chance to try out from GE digital cameras.
One of the main selling points behind this camera is the build quality and features versus the price. At less than £150, you get a very well made digital camera that shoots images at 10.5 megapixels, has a 5x optical zoom and records video with a resolution of 1280 x 720 at 25fps.
With a stainless steel chassis, the body feels lightweight and strong. It doesn’t creak or flex like some of the plastic-rivals out there, and at the back you’ve got a 3-inch touch-screen display. Whilst I’m not a fan of touch-screens on small devices, the one on the GE works quite well. It’s accurate and responsive and fairly easy to hit the right buttons when you want them. However, the screen layout of the icons and visual information could be planned out better for easier identification of what’s a button and what isn’t.
Software features that can be set in the menu system includes an array of options that try and help you to shoot better photos. These give the camera the ability to detect faces in the shot, to wait for smiles. The blink detection is a little less useful as all it does is indicate that a person blinked when the shot was taken.
Another impress feature from GE is the 5x optical zoom. This is typically unheard of on compact digital cameras, so to find one on one that costs less £150 is quite surprising. The designers and engineers behind this camera have managed to tuck away a large zoom lens in to the body. You can see from my shots just how far the lens extends out of the body. This capability will no doubt prove useful in any situation that requires you to zoom in, whether it be on holiday or a day at the zoo.
One of the features I was most interested in is the high definition recording, and I’m sure many of you will also be curious about this as well. Unfortunately there is a slight catch. You can only record up to 30 minutes in the full HD resolution, despite what size memory card you have. Recording in any other resolution is limited only by the available memory on your card. It’s a relatively minor issue as 30 minutes per recording is quite reasonable and should suit most scenarios that this camera will find itself in.
Picture quality at 10 megapixels gives you a huge amount of detail and massive file sizes. Fortunately, this camera supports SDHC cards so you can up to 8GB of room for your videos and pictures. The GE won’t win any awards for its picture quality, however when comparing to my much more expensive PowerShot S3 IS, the higher resolution and greater detail does give it some room to breathe. However, my interest with this camera wasn’t for its ability to take pictures. But for its ability to record video. At first, I was a bit sceptical as to how good this camera would be at recording HD video, but having tested it out both indoors and out, I was able to get some really good results.
The GE E1050TW at £149 has features that are often reserved for higher end models. This includes the 5x optical zoom, 3-inch touchscreen and HD video recording, which some of the more expensive cameras don’t even have. Shots from this camera won’t blow you away, they’re reasonable and in-line with what you would expect to get from other cameras at this price range. What this camera is brilliant at is its ability to shoot high quality video that rivals if not beats out my much more expensive Canon.