The AgfaPhoto AP15 is a good-looking camera, even hidden behind a cube of plexiglass. It looks like Agfa is planning to release red, silver, and black models—all of which will come with a totally sweet red shutter button. The most exciting design element is probably the dual strap anchors, which hint at a full neck strap for the camera, rather than some flimsy and useless wrist strap. Two thumbs up to Agfa.
Right next to the info button is a dedicated "function menu" button. On most cameras (including the AgfaPhoto Selecta 16), the function button brings up a small menu that gives the user access to the most commonly used operations. Without a separate menu button, we would guess that one of the options in the function menu is to bring up the full main menu for more detailed options. Since the AP15 was behind glass (and not turned on), we have no way of knowing whether Agfa has undergone a redesign of its menu design or is relying on the same menus seen on previous models.
The "info" button on the back of the AP15 looks like a new addition, which could serve one of two purposes: either offering helpful advice or explanations of camera functions or displaying camera info such as remaining battery life or memory card capacity. Either way, it's interesting to note that AgfaPhoto decided to devote valuable real estate to providing a dedicated button for this purpose. We can only hope that it will have a significant impact on ease of use.
Unfortunately, the AP15 was safely encased in a glass box at CP+, so we weren't able to get our hands on the camera. The combination of a small-ish LCD and directional pad suggests that the camera does not feature a touch screen. The traditional directional pad from previous Agfa cameras has been replaced by what appears to be a scroll wheel control, which should make menu navigation and manual control operation a bit more streamlined.
The back of the camera features a textured thumb rest, while the edge of the LCD forms a convenient ridge to also help with gripping the camera. Based on the placement of the scroll wheel, it looks like one-handed operation might be a little tricky for anything other than releasing the shutter, but we can't say for sure until we've gotten the camera in our hot little hands. The front of the camera offers a contoured lip, similar to what you'll find on AgfaPhoto's Compact series.
A small tether on either side of the camera suggests that it will ship with an actual neck strap—rather than the flimsy wrist strap that conventionally comes with compact cameras. If this is true, we heartily approve.
The AgfaPhoto AP15 has a physical mode dial on the top of the camera, which gives us a sneak peek into some of the modes that will be available on the camera. For manual control users, you have manual and shutter priority modes, but not aperture priority mode. There's also a Program mode, auto mode, scene mode, panorama mode, and movie mode. We aren't sure how to decipher the little diamond symbol, but our marginally informed guess is that this represents some kind of creative mode, art filters, or other picture effects.
The mode dial up top features a dedicated auto mode, which has been brought back from the company's earlier models. There is also a scene mode available, though no "auto scene" mode, as we saw on the Selecta 16. (Presumably, scene mode requires you to set the scene manually.) For somewhat savvier users, the Program Auto mode will give you access to all control options except for shutter speed and aperture.
The front of the camera sports a "full HD" label, which suggests that the camera will record 1920x1080 video at an undisclosed framerate. (Based on industry trends and previous Agfa models, we would guess that the video will be 1080/30p.) The AP15 represents the company's first entry into the full HD digital market, with previous models offering only VGA or 720p video recording.
There is a dedicated button on the back of the camera, which can probably be used to capture video in any mode (including auto mode, manual mode, etc.). There's also a movie mode on the mode dial up top, which would presumably give you some more control over video recording options.
Two tiny built-in microphones are labelled for the left and right channels, indicating that audio will be recorded in stereo—also a first for Agfa.
A button on the top of the camera indicates that the AgfaPhoto AP15 will have some kind of burst mode or continuous shot. (We might even speculate that the prominence of the button suggests that the burst mode is pretty good—but that might also be wishful thinking.) Previous Agfa cameras have had nothing much to boast of in continuous shooting.
The bottom button on the directional pad shares time between playback delete and self-timer options. Two-second and ten-second timers are virtually industry requirements, but we'll have to see whether Agfa has thrown in any neat bonus options. The large AF assist lamp on the front of the camera probably doubles as a self-timer indicator light.
As might be expected, the AP15 boasts a dedicated button for playback mode, which is conveniently nestled right next to the display button. Since we couldn't turn the camera on, we have no way of knowing what playback mode looks like—or what info/histogram options might be available by hitting the display button. The zoom lever on the top of the camera is labeled with traditional icons for thumbnail and playback zoom, which suggests that there will be some variety in how closely you can examine your photos while in playback mode.
A panorama mode on the top dial indicates that the AP15 will carry a similar panorama option, as featured on the company's earlier models.
Pressing up on the directional pad presumably brings up the camera's autofocus options. This option does not appear on previous Agfa models, but we assume it's a way to access single versus multi-AF, face detections, etc. It might also be the quickest way to select different autofocus points—assuming that option is available. Pressing left on the directional pad enables the user to activate the camera's macro mode. Since the lens is similar to that found on the AgfaPhoto Selecta 16, the minimum shooting distance for macro is probably somewhere around 5cm.
A prominent AF assist lamp on the front of the camera can probably be turned on and off to help with autofocus in low light.
The mode dial proclaims both a Shutter Priority and Manual mode, but no Aperture Priority mode. For a compact camera with a relatively small lens, this choice certainly makes some sense. Most compact cameras could offer users shutter speed control, but simply choose not to. The AP15 seems to be giving users as much control as reasonably makes sense given the hardware.
An exposure compensation button on the top of the camera suggests that the AP15 will follow a somewhat traditional model of having users press this button while operating the scroll wheel to adjust exposure compensation—particularly while in Manual or Shutter Priority modes.
The back of the AP15 bears the significant words "Image Stabilization," though we don't know for sure what type of stabilization that will be and whether the company has done anything to improve its technology. We would guess that the camera will carry AgfaPhoto's optical image stabilization, since that's what you'll find on most of the company's 2011 cameras.
This is only speculation, but we think that the special symbol on the top control dial indicates some kind of creative mode with special filters or digital effects. There's also a scene mode, which promises the usual array of environment-specific shooting.
We can't see inside the AgfaPhoto AF15, so we can only speculate about the 14.4-megapixel sensor. It may be the same as the 14MP sensor on the company's Optima 3, but it's more likely a new CMOS sensor (CMOS is quickly becoming the prevalent technology in digital cameras), which has an effective pixel count of 14.4MP and a slightly higher gross pixel count.
The lens is certainly new for Agfa. Though the Selecta 16 also featured a 15x optical zoom lens, that lens was significantly larger and featured different specifications for focal length and aperture. The "AgfaPhoto Aspheric All-Glass Lens" has a 15x optical zoom, with a focal length of 5mm–75mm and a maximum aperture of f/3.9–f/5.6.
We don't have official specs on the size or resolution of the LCD, but it looks like the same screen that you'll find on the Agfa Selecta 16, which is a 2.7-inch screen with a resolution of 234k. Judging from the size/design of the LCD, it is probably not a touch screen.
A button on the back of the camera suggests that you'll be able to alter the amount of information displayed on the LCD, which will help free up some valuable real estate when you're trying to frame your shot or look at image controls in live view.
A relatively large pop-up flash is nestled behind the AgfaPhoto logo on the top of the camera. A nearby switch allows users to manually release the flash.
A flash button on the right side of the directional pad can (presumably) be used to select between the camera's flash options, which might include things like auto, red-eye reduction, forced flash, no flash, slow synchro, red-eye reduction + slow. (Those are the flash options on the Selecta 16.) Though the flash looks much like that of the Selecta camera, we'll have to wait to learn more about the flash range specifications and recycle time.
A small port cover on the right side of the camera seems to be hiding an AV/USB output and HDMI port. Given the size of the port, we would guess that's a miniHDMI (not necessarily microHDMI) and some kind of proprietary AV/USB port.
Once a prominent manufacturer of film and film cameras, Agfa has struggled to find a place in the digital imaging market. Partnering now with General Imaging (GE) and RedDot Imaging, this once mighty brand might just get a little more visibility in the camera industry. The new AP15, which was hidden in a plexiglass enclosure on the show floor, shows promise of attracting the photography enthusiasts that once made the company's film brand so popular.
The lens isn't all we hoped for (with a maximum aperture of just F3.9), but its 15x optical zoom will make it an interesting entry in the world of compact travel zoom cameras. We definitely are intrigued by the promise of full HD video and the ability to access manual exposure—a feature often missing from compact cameras. The design is sleek and modern too, with hints of greatness that will have AgfaPhoto fans reminiscing... and probably praying as well.
We can't say much more without getting the camera free from its plexi prison, but we'll certainly await the camera's arrival with interest in our Boston labs.
Meet the tester
Vice President, Editorial Management@WhyKaitlyn
Vice President of Editorial Management, Kaitlyn oversees the editorial departments of Reviewed.com’s various sites. She has been writing about technology since the turn of the century. Outside of her Reviewed.com home, Kaitlyn is also a theatre director and avid gamer.
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