Samsung 12MP Digital Camera with 15x Optical Zoom & Schneider Lens

Previous Woot

Wow. That sure is a lot of camera. Does it do short video clips as well? How does the Schnieder lens compare with the Zeiss?

Product Website

Video review

Review #2

unboxing

Bought it last time out, a month or two ago. I think it’s a great camera, full of features and most important it takes an excellent picture in any lighting conditions.

Bought it last time. My first impression was a bit disappointed, but went back and looked at pictures later, and was quite impressed. At this price point, with all the features, and with video recording (don’t need a flip), I’d recommend it.

Test Freaks

ZDnet review links

I recently bought a Samsung camera with the Schneider Lens. The pictures are so crisp. The colors come out so vivid and deep. The zoom on this camera is pretty sweet at 15x optical. Samsung is the only name brand I would trust with cameras.

I missed buying this when it was on sale at Woot, so I’m happy to see it here. IIRC my local Costco has it for sale new for over $200.

I don’t get what is so special about the lens.

http://bigbadblog.weei.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/schneider.jpg

I bought one on the last woot…

So far, it has worked out fine. The UI works well, the zoom is awesome. This really isn’t the camera for you if you’re planning to take shots indoors - after years of blurry pictures in poor lighting conditions, we recently bought a Canon S90 for those conditions.

One excellent feature of this camera is that the batteries charge IN the camera - no more external battery chargers, and constantly swapping batteries in and out to make sure you have a fresh one, like our old Sony or the Canon. I just leave the camera plugged in, and I know it’s ready to go when I am.

One bad feature of this camera is that it uses a proprietary cable to charge/connect to the USB port on your computer. Why don’t manufacturers just use a standard USB cable? Of course, Apple has sold a bazillion devices with proprietary connectors, so other people in the world must not share my abhorrence of this practice.

Anyway, it’s really hard to beat this camera, especially at this price.

Anyone know if it can zoom in/out while recording video?

I don’t consider the proprietary cable a bad “feature.”

Most people remove the SD card and use a card reader to access the pics and video.

To be sure, notice that all notebooks, netbooks and desktops now come with built-in card readers. It’s kind of outdated now to connect cameras directly to computers.

That concept is kind of going the way of viewfinders. Manufacturers stopped putting those on digital cameras because people don’t use them, cameras can be made smaller without an optical viewfinder and cameras can be sold for less because that feature is left out.

This is a good deal, so I am in for one.

Amazon has refurbs for $155, so this Woot is a good price.

I already have a Canon S90, SX10IS, and others so I really don’t need another camera, BUT… and this is a BIG difference, as nice as my other cameras are, they don’t record in 720p HD, this one does. So I want that feature.

Here is a 720p video made with this camera that shows zooming (so yes to your question): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRYejzNzz-k

My question: Does anyone know if it can shoot stills while taking video?

I like this Amazon member’s review. He is very detailed and touches on all the important points to consider:


*At the very outset I need to make it clear that this camera is only a Compact Point & Shoot as classified by the manufacturer.

Hence, it is only fair to judge its features and performance in this light. We cannot expect its performance to be on par with any DSLR or even Advance point & shoot cameras.

  1. The body, size and shape are very suitable for a compact camera. The weight is also fair enough to handle it easily.

  2. The function keys and navigator are suitably positioned and easy to operate, except the zoom switch which is hard and takes a little bit more effort to operate.

  3. The mics are placed on the upper side of the body but these are very sensitive and have no problem for capturing the sound signals.

  4. The housing for the battery and the SD memory card is designed in a common compartment. It is not a significant issue. The covering door is easy to operate.

  5. The USB cable is dual purpose; works both for charging the battery inside the camera and also for connecting to the computer for uploading pictures and videos.

The main complaint about this is it is VERY SHORT. Perhaps it has been designed for laptops.

The battery can be charged inside the camera even while it is connected to the computer or laptop. It takes more than 2 hours to charge completely.

  1. The battery is capable of taking 350 snaps in one charge, if FLASH IS NOT USED.

If FLASH IS USED it is sufficient for almost 200 shots.

  1. The most important part of this camera is the 24 mm lens. It is very rare for a compact camera.

It is very good for large groups and parties and for landscapes. The motor for protracting and detracting the lens, at powering on/off and while zooming in/out works effectively.

  1. The LCD is very bright and clear. The 3"Display is very good. The brightness of the screen is adjustable as per the sunlight for outside shots. The LCD is scratch proof.

  2. The FLASH is strong enough, though for some big hands and fingers may cover it inadvertently while shooting.

  3. The Auto & Smart Auto modes work perfectly well. These modes are suitable for people who do not want to go into the drudgery of manual adjustments and going through 3 different sets of menus.

  4. The BEAUTY SHOT program also is fantastic. It softens the skin tone and removes scars and blemishes. But the images are not sharp. For aesthetic purposes it is a good program if not for technical and quality purposes. One may feel a need to have this at times.

  5. The dual image stabilization is very effective, while the subject is moving or the photographer is moving.

13.The Program Mode is also effective in controlling many functional aspects, almost as manual control.

  1. The Manual Mode provides full control of the functional attributes of this camera.

This provision is also very rare in compact cameras. Only some of the compact Canons have. The manipulation of manual adjustments is a little time consuming as one has to take three steps to reach to the specific attribute to be changed.

  1. Apparently there is no Burst mode; but in menu go to Drive Mode and select CONTINUOUS.

  2. Face detection program is very effective. It can detect about 6 faces at a time. If the focusing area is Multi, then more faces can be detected.

  3. The fascinating program is the Smile & Wink modes. It is a real fun. The camera takes the snaps automatically. The shutter button need not be pressed.

  4. There is a CHILD mode. It is good for moving subjects and children.

19.The Night Mode is also good; But it raises the ISO value and pictures may get lot of noise and become grainy.

Instead it is better to go to Manual mode and adjust the Aperture and Shutter Speed, Exposure compensation, keeping the ISO as low as possible. A tripod is always necessary.

20.The Zoom!!! The camera has an Optical Zoom of 15X. The function of zoom is related to the focal lengths of the lenses. Hence, 24x15 is much less than my Canon S5IS, 36x12.

For such a small compact camera the provided zoom is very nice. You cannot find this much zoom in compact cameras of 24mm.

  1. The camera is capable of focusing the subject very fast in sufficient ambient light. For low light condition it better to have a focus lock.

  2. VIDEO: Though there is a dedicated button for shooting video clips, one has to first select the Movie Mode on the Mode Dial.

The videos are HD quality and very good in low light also. The sound is also very good and clear.

The zoom works during video.

23.PICTURE QUALITY: AS LONG AS YOU WANT TO PRINT LETTER SIZE AND BELOW, THE PICTURES ARE VERY SHARP,RICH AND VIVID.

THE PRINTING PROPERTY OF THE IMAGES PRODUCED BY THIS CAMERA IS 96 DPI AS AGAINST MY CANON S5IS WHICH HAS 180 DPI.

THIS IS NOT A MAJOR ISSUE AS FOR MANY PURPOSES THE LETTER SIZE AND 4X6 PRINTS ARE MORE THAN SUFFICIENT.

THE ISO IS GOOD UP TO 400.OVER AND ABOVE PRODUCE GRAINY IMAGES.

  1. The Intelli.Studio program is also very good. It also provides all the basic editing software.

  2. Occasionally the pictures seem to be over processed. The colors are true and vivid. In my photos I have not found any color fringing or vignetting.

At the widest angle there may be some distortion of both horizontal and vertical aspects. It is normal for wide angles.

  1. This camera LACKS PANORAMA MODE AND STITCH ASSIST PROGRAM IN INTELLI-STUDIO SOFTWARE.*

There is an option that you can change, it is under menu-movie-voice. You can either choose record a video with audio, record a video without audio while zooming, or record a video without any audio at all.

I got this last time, but admittedly I haven’t had much time to play with it. I took a few photos indoors and was not impressed with the results. straight edges came out muddy, and there are some noticeable noise reduction artifacts in low light.

I’m sure it performs fine outdoors- what camera doesn’t these days? The zoom range is also very impressive, almost covering the entire breadth of my 3 DSLR lenses, which cost about $1000 altogether.

My mother borrowed it a few weeks ago and used in in lieu of her Powershot, for what that’s worth.

I would imagine that it’s less expensive to use a standard USB port. Even if the cost of the actual port is the same, the included cable would almost certainly be cheaper as a standard USB cable.

If the camera requires proprietary software to access its storage media, that’s another expense (and inconvenience for consumers).

If memory serves, the connector used on this thing is actually significantly bulkier than a standard USB, also. The only advantage I can think of is maybe having a video-out cable that connects to the same port.

From what I’ve seen, most camera manufacturers have migrated to mini-USB because there’s really not much reason not to. Samsung does seem to like their silly proprietary connectors, though- my two Samsung cameras have two different non-standard connectors. :\

I’d say that for this particular camera, the proprietary cable is definitely a bad feature, exacerbated by the fact that the included cable is stupidly short and can’t be swapped for a different one. Also, a good deal of consumers still prefer to plug in the camera, rather than removing (and potentially losing/breaking) the SD card.

Another reason I got this is because I can take it where I will want to use it in movie mode when that 15X OPTICAL zoom can get shots that even my dedicated camcorders can’t do.

From all the reviews people say the 720p HD video is very good. So to me I am getting not only a great camera, but also a great camcorder.

Even my Canon S90 (considered by many as a G11 prosumer in a compact form factor) and its replacement, the S95, have “only” 3.8X optical zoom.

IMHO the camera’s 15X optical zoom is a major reason to get this camera.

Here is DPreview’s announcement of it, in January 2010.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/1001/10011903hz35whz30w.asp