There's nothing particularly exciting about the camera's front. There's the lens, auto focus assist lamp, and flash placed in a prime location to get blocked by your fingers.
That flash is just asking for trouble.
All off the controls on the back of the camera are olocated on a slightly recessed strip to the right of the LCD. The buttons were very small, and required nimble fingers to operate properly. The four-way pad alters display information when pressing up, macro mode when pressed downward, flash mode on the left and self-timer on the right. The sliding switch near the top moves between still photography and video.
Controls are a bit on the small side.
The left side is completely bare, while the right houses a loop for the wrist strap, and a rather flimsy port cover.
Not much exciting on the sides.
In addition to the power and shutter controls, there's another button on the top of the camera. It has the word 'manual' written next to it, but glows with the text 'smart' while the camera is powered up. This button is used to switch between Manual mode (read Program) and Smart (which is an intelligent scene mode).
The top, and the top lit up
As you would expect, the bottom has a tripod port, and a cover for the battery and memory card slot.
In this case, the tripod mount is covered with a sticker
The LCD screen on the TL100 is 2.7' with 230,000-pixel resolution. It seemed to resist solarization from just about any angle.* The LCD is unremarkable.* **Flash The flash is small, and placed where it can get easily blocked. It can be set to on, off, auto, red eye reduction, red eye fix (which post-processes the image to remove red eye) and slow sync. **
The flash is small and easily blocked.
The lens is a 3x zoom version, and very sleek. It has an aperture range of f/3.0 to f/5.6.
The TL100's 3x zoom lens.
The TL100 uses a proprietary port for all connections, which means replacing cables will be expensive and time-consuming if you happen to lose one. The cover for the sole port feels quite flimsy, but this may be due to the pre-production build we were using.
The TL100's sole proprietary port
The camera uses a slim rectangular rechargeable lithium ion battery.
The compartment for battery and memory card**Memory**
The TL100 takes SD and SDHC cards, which are high in capacity and low in cost.
Model Design / Appearance
While the layout or design of the TL100 won't win any awards, it's wonderfully thin, brightly colored, and quite intuitive to use. It's a familiar look in a tiny package.
Size and Handling
The TL100 is svelte and sleek, and will easily slide into the tightest of pockets at 3.7' wide x 2.2' high x 0.67' deep (94mm x 56mm x 17mm). One downside of this tiny size is that the buttons are incredibly cramped; we could cover ever control on the camera's back with one joint of our thumb.
The TL100 is definitely on the small side.
The TL100 menu system is very simple, with a well-designed list of options clearly presented.In Smart mode, the menu is simplified slightly, but your options are still handsomely laid out, and have enough visual flair to differentiate them from more run-of-the-mill menu systems.
Ease of Use
As mentioned above, the menus are clearly laid out with razor sharp fonts, which makes them very easy to use. The camera itself is pretty easy to use too, due to the familiar button layout and good body quality.
The Auto mode is limted to Smart Mode, which is an intelligent scene selection system. While in this mode, the user can only control image size, flash and timer. At the present time, we are not sure of what scene modes the Smart mode will be able to identify.
Movie mode was not working on the pre-production camera we were using. According to the press release information, the camera shoots 800x592 resolution at 20fps.
Drive / Burst Mode
Drive modes for this camera are single, continuous, motion capture (high speed at 640x480 resolution) and auto exposure bracketing.
In Playback you can zoom in 10.2x times, and trim the picture down to the area on screen at any level. Zooming out takes you to 3, 9 or 25 thumbnail images which can be sorted by a variety of criteria. You can organize your photo display by type, timeline, color or week. Color is the most interesting, as it displays your images according to what hues appear in the photos.
Custom Image Presets
The TL100 actually has a number of color style tweaks which slightly alter the way your pictures look. You can set the color style to normal, soft, vivid, forest, retro, cool, calm, classic, negative or custom (which lets you adjust the hue for red green and blue). You can also tweak contrast, sharpness and saturation to five levels each.
Manual Control Options
There isn't much in the way of manual control, even in program mode. While you do get to change ISO, white balance, and focus types, it's still not exactly a fully featured camera in this regard.
The auto focus modes are Center, Multi or Trace (which tracks a certain point as it moves).
The ISO range runs from 80 to 1600, with 3200 available at reduced 3MP resolution.
In addition to auto white balance, manual presets are provided for sunlight, cloud, fluorescentH, fluorescentL and tungsten. A manual white balance reading can also be taken.
The standard range of metering options are here: Multi, Spot and Center-weighted.**
****Shutter Speed and Aperture**
Neither of these is controllable, and without a spec sheet we weren't able to ascertain the limits of either setting.
Picture Quality / Size Options
Images can be set 12MP, 11MP, 9MP, 8MP, 5MP, 3MP and 1MP, and three quality levels, SuperFine, Fine and Normal.
It's a bit hard to get a proper read on this camera based only on a pre-production model, but we were impressed by the high resolution and tiny size, as well as its good looking menu system. The aperture range isn't great, but we'll wait till we get our grubby little paws on a production model before rendering any final judgment.
Meet the tester
Checking our work.
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