In a market that is crowded with superzooms from various brands, BenQ is trying to carve a niche for itself with the GH800. While BenQ might not feature on your list of top three brand, if you are on the market for a superzoom camera, the GH800 might just change your outlook about the brand and the product. The GH800 is a superzoom that comes with 36X optical zoom, offers a resolution of 18-megapixels, and packs in Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) technology.
Though the GH800 might look a bit bulky to some, holding it feels right, when shooting at longer zoom lengths. Adding a seal of sophistication, BenQ has encircled the GH800’s lens ring with gold detailing. The camera comes bundled with a clip-on plastic lens cap, shoulder strap and, more usually these days, a pouch-like carry case with Velcro fastening.
The BenQ GH800 appears thoroughly conventional and generic in regard of what we expect a bridge model should look like. So we get the familiar hump of a pop-up flash positioned above the lens barrel. Here the flash has its own manual activation lever to one side. Give this a press and the spring-loaded flash instantly leaps to attention.
The camera’s rubber-textured handgrip helps with keeping steady hands while taking photos. The camera also accompanies an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) and a spacious three-inch Tilt-View – so you choose between to two to start snapping away. The GH800 is packed with 19 scene modes, P/Av/Tv/M modes, and nine aperture choices. You can choose any of the modes using the all-in-one mode dial.
The GH800 shoots high-quality 1080p Full HD videos at 30 frames per second with a full zoom, wind-cutting function and stereo sound support. The camera also has a Handheld Night Shot Mode for crisp night photos, in addition to the high-speed Continuous Shooting Mode that capture every move. The HDR image enhancement feature meanwhile aspires to solve high-contrast lighting challenges.
For testing out the image quality, all of the sample images in this review were taken using the 18 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5MB. We took our first shots with the BenQ GH800 indoors under tungsten lighting at the GITEX Shopper exhibition, which is always a cruel test for any camera. Surprisingly, the results were quite good, with nice colour balance.
Once out of the GITEX Shopper exhibition halls, we took shots under clear skies of Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road skyline. We managed to achieve sharper results generally and we had great fun in particular trying out the HDR mode, which gave a welcome boost to the colour and exposure of certain images without delivering a result that was massively unrealistic.
At a price tag of AED 1299 for a bridge camera with a decent zoom range stretching up to 36X optical zoom, the GH800 might seem like a fair deal. The build quality is pretty good and it doesn’t feel overly plastic-y. The image quality delivered by the BenQ GH800 is good, while the feature sets offered, impress. Though the GH800 might seem like a very fair deal for those who won’t overly scrutinize image quality, or aren’t bothered about much in the way of manual control, it does manage to break that misconception.
Price: AED 1299
Camera Type: Digital, SuperZoom
Pixels: 18 Megapixels
Optical zoom: 36x
Digital zoom: Up to 5x (Preview) / Up to 10x (Playback)
Sensor Type: BSI-CMOS
Display Size: 3-inches, TFT LCD
Connectivity: USB 2.0, HDMI, PictBridge compatible
Video Format: MOV
Image Format: JPEG
Weight: 530gm (without battery and SD card)
Battery Type: Li-ion battery