The Uniden UDC-5M 5 megapixel digital camera offers slightly better performance than the recently reviewed UDC-7M. The lower price tag makes it is a reasonable but not outstanding value for money compact camera.
- Chromatic aberration issues, Colour accuracy
The UDC-5M is an improvement on Uniden's seven megapixel UDC-7M, but is still just an average camera, offering decent image quality at a reasonable price.
Price$ 229.00 (AUD)
The UDC-5M suffers the same chromatic aberration problems as the UDC-7M, although they are not as pronounced on this model. The UDC-5M scored .139% in Imatest's chromatic aberration test, which is a slightly worse score than we expect from a compact camera. Our shots showed some visible haloing in areas of high contrast, particularly around the edges of shots, but they weren't nearly as prominent as those we saw on Uniden's other model.
The sharpness score of 1312 was reasonable but not outstanding. It is a little below the result most cameras in this category score, but as the UDC-5M leans more towards the budget end of the price scale, this is not unexpected. Our shots exhibited reasonably clean edges, but there was a slight softness to some area and a little colour fringing and blurring. The shots will be more than adequate for 4 x 6in or 6 x 8in prints, but for anything more elaborate they will probably not satisfy.
Similarly, colour reproduction was reasonable, but a little behind the competition. Its score of 10.2 in Imatest's colour check doesn't compare favourably with other compact models. Most cameras score around 7, with the best producing results around 5, so anything in double digits is a little disappointing. Most of the primary colours exhibited some visible inaccuracy, although the greyscale spectrum was almost spot on.
Noise performance was the one area where the UDC-5M performed a little better. Scoring .68% in this test, it still wasn't outstanding, but with most cameras scoring around .5%, it was only slightly higher than normal. We saw some noticeable graininess in our shots which lead to some slight blurring and speckling along edges. It won't be visible at smaller magnifications, but if you want to make enlargements this camera may not be a good choice. It did however perform quite well at higher ISOs, with a score of 1.01% at ISO 400 and 1.50% at ISO 800. These results are reasonably favourable, and while shooting at these sensitivities did result in increased image noise it was no worse than we've seen on other cameras in this category.
Continuing the trend, our speed tests gave the UDC-5M average results in all areas. With a shutter lag of .08 of a second, 2.1 seconds shot-to-shot time and a 2.3 second power-up time, it isn't the speediest camera on the market, but it was fast enough to not be a problem.
It offers a rather basic feature set, in line with what we'd expect from a camera at this price point. ISO sensitivities are available up to 800, which is a little higher than usual, but there are only 14 scene modes and unlike the UDC-7M, burst mode is not included. The feature set is rounded out by white balance presets (but no manual option), two focus modes and exposure compensation. This will be enough for novice users, but more experienced photographers will be disappointed by the lack of options.
As expected, the UDC-5M sports a very basic design. Constructed entirely of dull silver plastic, with a slightly indented front, it doesn't look particularly good or bad; the overall aesthetic is extremely plain. This carries over to the control scheme which consists of a fairly standard menu button, directional pad and zoom keys. The keys are a little stiff for our liking, sometimes taking more pressure than normal to operate, but the interface is a simple and intuitive tiered menu that novice users should have no trouble grasping.
The quoted battery life is around 300 shots when running on standard AA batteries. We'd prefer if it ran off lithium ion batteries, which last longer and ultimately wind up cheaper, but as a budget model it makes sense as a cost cutting measure.
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