BenQ may not be the first company that springs to mind when thinking about digital cameras. You might even have difficulty tracking down some BenQ cameras in the shops or online.
But the BenQ DC C1050 has quietly sidled into the budget end of the market with a whopping 10-megapixel resolution. These 10-megapixel cameras are still far from the norm and usually command a premium price, yet the DC C1050 costs a paltry £95. Then what's the catch? If you want a simple point-and-shoot, there isn't one -- but you do have to consider how badly you want features.
The DC C1050 is a chunky beast. It feels pretty weighty, mainly due to the two AA batteries providing the juice. The right-hand side of the camera is flared to accommodate the batteries, and makes it easy to grip. The front of this flared area has a leather effect, which combines with the black and silver styling to give the DC C1050 a classy, slightly retro look.
The buttons are a tasteful matte silver. Functions are controlled by a squared clickpad with a slightly hollowed-out shape that's really satisfying to use. There's a menu button for changing settings, and a dedicated button for changing shooting modes.
The delete button doubles up as a shortcut key to alter your exposure settings or select aperture or shutter priority. This is a great feature, as it gives you a greater degree of manual control over your photographs than most compacts.
The screen is the standard 64mm (2.5-inch) size but feels bigger because of a black bezel surrounding it. We'd have preferred the space was filled with more screen, though.
The DC C1050 is fairly light on features. Only the bare essentials are included, so there's no face detection or optical image stabilisation. This camera takes photos and shoots video and that's about it.
There is a reasonable amount of manual control over photography: aperture and shutter-priority settings are easily accessed. You can choose from centre, multi or spot-weighted metering, and there are no less than five white balance presets, including a setting for cloudy days. Pictures are saved to SD cards.
Playback mode is similarly straightforward. The option to show your pictures in a slideshow is perfect for when the camera is connected to a television, with a range of flashy transitions to choose from. You can also set one of your own photos as the start-up image to replace the BenQ logo that appears when you turn the camera on.
On the plus side, the lack of features makes the DC C1050 easy to operate. There are only two menus, controlling shooting options and camera setup respectively, so you won't spend all your time hunting through the interface.
As well as two and 10-second self-timer options, the DC C1050 offers a double shot mode that counts down from 10 and then takes two pictures a couple of seconds apart. All the self-timer options include a cool onscreen countdown.