Agfa’s digital camera range used to consist mainly of rather large, clunky devices with good imaging quality but no style. Now the company has come out with this, the ePhoto CL30, which should go some way towards raising the ‘pub cred’ of its camera range.
First impressions are good – this is considerably cuter than its predecessors. Running on the usual quota of four AA batteries, the new design is, for the pedantic, 127.5 x 80.3 x 37 mm in size, and weighs 265g without the batteries. It has an optical viewfinder, which some of the other ePhoto products lack, and a 1.8-inch LCD panel on the back. You don’t have to use the latter; the optical viewfinder works just as well and has a dramatically beneficial effect on battery life.
Some of the plastic on the rear of the camera feels a little bit cheap, but the buttons and switches all work well. There’s a 2x digital zoom (an optical zoom would be infinitely preferable), and the flash has four modes, including fill in and red-eye reduction. Top resolution is 1152 x 864, and the images produced are pretty respectable, with good colour balance and detail both indoors and out.
One bonus on this device is the availability of a USB connection. You can connect to the host PC via the serial port if you wish, but the USB port is quicker and, in most cases, more convenient. Alternatively, you can display images on a television, or record them to video, using the NTSC/PAL video output.
Along with the camera, Agfa supplies the latest incarnation of its PhotoWise software, which communicates with the camera and also offers some image manipulation features. It’s not PhotoShop, but it’s not bad. Images are downloaded from the camera as JPEGs and, depending on the compression level selected, you’ll get between 6 and 36 images on the supplied 4MB CompactFlash card.
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