We all want a decent shot of ourselves in front of the Egyptian pyramids, but no-one wants to pester a man in a fez until he agrees to take a shot of you. With a flip-out screen, the Vivitar iTwist F536 hopes to provide the answer to this problem. At around just £80, it could be a very cheap way to put yourself in the picture.
Twist and shoot
Vivitar is an American company known mainly for producing lenses, flash guns and other photographic accessories. Recently, the company's tried to move into the digital camera market, and the F536 is typical of the kind of populist cameras that the company makes.
The F536 is available in a veritable rainbow of colours, including black, blue, silver, pink, purple and red. From the front, the device looks like many other family-friendly cameras.
The iTwist's unique selling point is its screen. Unlike most compact cameras, the F536 features a fold-out LCD panel, similar to that which you might see on a camcorder.
This screen appears to serve no purpose other than enabling you to see yourself when taking self-portraits. The screen doesn't even rotate upwards or downwards, which would have helped when taking high- or low-angle shots. The hinged panel also makes the camera feel large, adding a good half inch to the thickness of the unit.
The screen itself is of a pretty poor quality. It's almost like something you might have seen on a digital camera from around five years ago. It's also fairly small, measuring just 2.4 inches diagonally. It's pretty low-res too, producing smeary visuals and wholly inaccurate colours.
The build quality of the F536 is poor. The buttons feel cheap and plasticky and the door to the battery and memory-card compartment feels flimsy. In fact, the spring-loaded SD card slot on our review model started to show signs of malfunctioning within just a couple of days of regular use.
As well as a 5x optical zoom, there are a number of other features available, including a somewhat ineffectual anti-shake mechanism, and the usual face-detection and red-eye-reduction capabilities.