Sipix SC-2300 Review
The SiPix SC-2300 is the next step up from the 1.3 Megapixel SiPix SP-1300 to this 2.1 megapixel model. The SC-2300 is a
small (pocket-sized) digital camera that offers a combination of "OK" image quality with point-
n-shoot ease of use. It doesn't record movie clips and there's no advanced camera modes, this
is simply a snap shooter's camera. It also has no lens cap or covering yet the front element of
glass is well recessed from the front of the camera. The controls on the front and back of the
camera are well placed and ergonomic.
The start-up time from turning on the camera until the first picture can be set up is a little above average at 8 seconds and the gear noise of the lens focus system is excessive. It's shot- to- shot time is a little less than 4 seconds and with flash its about 10 seconds. It does have a continuous mode that allows you to hold down the shutter release and take 4 shots in as many seconds followed by 25 seconds of image processing time (non-flash and in Superfine quality setting.) It lacks a zoom lens but it does have a digital 2x zoom feature to double the focal length of it's wide angle, fixed focal length lens.
Small cameras also mean small LCD displays, the SC-2300 has a better than average 1.8-inch color display. The refresh rate when used as a viewfinder is very close to real time, there is no smearing or herky-jerky motion when panning. It is somewhat bright but I wouldn't say it's any easier to use in the bright sun than most other LCD displays that still have a highly reflective surface. The optical viewfinder is the best choice for most picture-taking tasks other than 7.8" minimum close-ups. It saves your battery power and allows the camera to be put up to your eye which is the way most of us are used to holding a camera. The optical viewfinder shows about 80% of the captured image but offers no viewfinder information other than a set of four corner image framing marks.
The SC-2300 is powered by four AA size batteries. I used the camera with a pair of 1600mAH NiMH type rechargeable NiMh batteries and was quite impressed with the runtime as long as the color LCD was not turned on too often. The AA alkaline batteries that come with the camera serve well as emergency back-ups. You could easily fill a 64MB size memory card with an all-day visit to your favorite park with the family using just a single set of NiMh batteries.
In THREE STAR (Superfine:1600x1200,low image compression) mode the average file size is 855KB, in TWO STAR (Fine 1600x1200, high compression) about 394KB and in ONE STAR (Economy:800x600) images are about 101KB. Another advantage was the removable Smart Media card capability. Many cameras in this price point do not have removable memory but force you to download to a computer when you fill the resident memory. The SC-2300 comes with an 16MB SM card and a great accessory to add would be a 64MB card.
Overall the image quality of the SiPix SP-1300(a 1280 x 960 camera) far out performed this 1600x1200 camera. Outdoors a wide angle lens will "see" a lot of bright sky and it tends to underexpose foreground objects. This was more than average with this camera. The Auto White Balance (AWB) is not accurate and doesn't compare to other cameras in this price point. Both of these problems are easily corrected when the image is imported into image manipulation software.
As to be expected with a wide angle lens there is certain amount of barrel distortion which becomes more pronounced with close up objects. The most annoying thing to me was the was the flash specifications state that its range is from .9m to 3 m (about 3ft to about 10ft). In fact the only distance that works well for flash is six feet and if you dig into the instruction manual (on Compact Disc) it tells you under "hints for better photos" to shoot flash from 6 feet only. For many an indoor snapshot it is not practical to get up and move across the room to take a picture. If you shoot the flash picture too close, the end result is the subject is "washed out" from excessive over - exposure. No Image software can help this as there is no image detail recorded and your image quality is lost.
If you want a $139(06/2002), no frills, no fuss digicam that is capable of making correctable 4x6" or 5x7" prints with a computer and fits in your pocket then the SC-2300 may be just what you are looking for. For a few dollars more, the Canon A10 would be a better choice if $199 is in the budget. If not, the SiPix SP-1300 would be the better choice at about the same price as the SC-2300.
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