Setup & General Usage
When you first get the camera you are probably going to want to charge up the battery. You can just use the USB cable to charge the camera or you can use the AC power adapter that has a USB connector on it. You are also going to want to get a SD card to use, the 64MB on-board memory will only give you a few photos. I decided to use the 8GB SDHC card that came with the Kingston MobileLite G2 that we just reviewed.
When you first turn the camera on it will most likely be in the smart capture mode, this mode will automatically choose the shooting mode for you based on the conditions around you. It does work pretty well in our testing. If I was pretty close to something it would switch to close up mode etc. When you first press down on the shutter button it will focus the camera, then when you press harder it will shoot the photo.
When you go to select different scene modes, there are quite a few, they include: portrait, sport, landscape, close-up, night portrait, night landscape, snow, beach, text/document, fireworks, flower, museum/manner, self-portrait, high-ISO, children, backlight, panning, candlelight, sunset, panorama (right-left), panorama (left-right), blur reduction, and program. So you are able to shoot quite a few different types of shots with this camera. I did notice when moving the camera around I heard a sort of clicking noise coming from the lens. I’m not sure if this is the lens adjusting and trying to focus, but I’ve never heard another camera make a noise like this.
Shooting video is also very easy with this camera. Just push the slider over to video capture and you are good to go. The M420 will shoot continuous VGA video (640 x 480) at 30 fps and QVGA video (320 x 240) at 30 fps. I’m not sure how new this camera is, but 640 x 480 video is pretty weak for a 10-megapixel camera. You are able to playback video on the 3-inch LCD and there is a small speaker to hear the video as well.
I took the camera with me to a few places and as I said earlier it is small enough that it fits right in my pocket and is easy enough to take out and start shooting. You are also able to shoot in 16:9, 4:3, and even 3:2 modes depending on the picture size you select. The capture modes are listed on the first page of the review.