I got this camera as a gift about 3 years ago and it was my first digital camera.
Despite it being my first I found out how to use it rather quickly. It's not too bulky a camera and is nice and sleek.
The only thing which annoyed me at first was you need to use 2 X AA batteries. I bought some rechargable ones though so I wouldn't have to keep buying new ones. However, if for some reason or other I can't wait to recharge them and I put a different brand of AA batteries in my camera... the camera won't work! It will only now accept the brand of batteries that my rechargable ones are! I'm not sure why this happens, but as long as it's working when I'm using my rechargable ones then this isn't too much of a problem for me.
This camera takes nice sharp pictures, however the anti-shake feature will only kick in when you uise the flash. This was very annoying for me at night at the top of the Eiffel tower as I couldn't get any good pictures of the sceneary. If the flash was on, nothing would show up, and if the flash was off I'd have to stand impossible still to take a blur free photo. This will be a main feature I'll be looking for in my next camera!
If it's quite light, and you have your camera on auto, it will sometimes use the flash because it thinks it's too dark. However pictures look better in natural light especially with this camera, so I turn the flash off but I have to try and hold the camera really still or the picture blurs. Which most of the time it does. But if you're happy with using the flash and don't want an expensive premium camera then this is for you.
It came with a cable to connect up to my PC, however this stopped working after a while. I would plug my camera in and my PC simply did not recognise anything as being connected. I bought a cheap USB card reader instead to upload my photos to my PC.
The camera also doesn't come with a case so you might one to buy one to prevent scratching to the screen!
Isnt it startling how quickly you can go from being a complete ignoramus about something to feeling something of an expert? In my case Im talking about Digital Cameras and specifically Samsung Digimax. No, Im not running a camera shop all of a sudden, Ive just had quite an unlucky year when it comes to cameras, and am now on my third Samsung. The first was stolen last November, (along with my handbag); the second was chucked on the floor by my one-year-old daughter in June. I was very pleased with the overall performance of both these cameras (different models), so I opted for another Digimax, (plus I knew Id be able to find my way round the menus easily, unless there were any big changes in there.)
One of the things that really attracts me to the Digimax series is the size of the screen. Some people say that size isnt everything, and while Id agree up to a point I think youd be a fool to say size doesnt matter at all. In my personal experience of digital cameras, most of the pictures are viewed solely on the camera itself. You take a few snaps of a night out, and the next day you pass your camera round set on slideshow and everyone has a nice giggle. Then you delete all but that rather artistic pic of the sunset which might make a nice wallpaper. This screen is a chunky 2.5, which makes it quite easy to see whats going on even in bright sunlight, (which is a bonus since there is no view-finder). My previous Samsung cameras had screens that were quite opaque, but this one has quite a shiny/glass look to it, which I dont like as much.
The camera is slightly less bulbous than my previous model, but still sports a weird kind of rotund bit at the side. Although this looks like the kind of spot where a ye-oldy fashioned roll of film might reside, in fact this bit is where you pop your 2 AA batteries. Be warned- buy rechargeable, or youll be tearing your hair out. Buy 4 AAs so that you can always have 2 on recharge, ready to go.
The camera is very easy to use and an hour or so of mucking around with the menus will help you teach yourself about most of the cameras capabilities. Thats fortunate, since the instruction manual is a very slim offering. Once youve been guided through the set-up process using the CD provided, youre pretty much left on your own. The CD does nothing except install the relevant drivers etc on your computer, so that you can upload your photos. There is no photo editing software, which is a shame, since I did get a package (albeit basic) with my very first Digimax, even though it was much cheaper and a much lower spec. Obviously Samsung are looking to cut a few costs.
Taking photos or shooting videos is simplicity itself. Theres a dial on the top of the camera which you use to select the mode you want: either video, or photo, with various setting options. You can choose from Auto (by far the most useful), Prog(ram) which lets you use pre-saved personal settings, ASR (which stands for Advanced Shake Reduction), which takes pretty nice pictures of sunsets, M(etre), which allows you to manually adjust the metering, if you know about such things, Scene, which lets you pick from pre-sets for children, landscape, close up, text, sunset and dawn (I dont think they make a huge amount of difference to what you get with Auto, personally, Portrait and Night. Auto works well enough for the majority of pics I want to take, although I do use the ASR quite often too, as it does produce quite different results particularly at night. With ASR you have to hold the camera slightly longer than normal while the picture is taken, and the ASR technology supposedly helps get rid of any unwanted wobbles that result. This works most of the time, but I find if Ive had one or two glasses of wine the technology cant do much about my wobbling!
Your photos are easy to view on the large screen- you can browse though or use the slide-show function, as you would expect. There is the usual array of tacky picture frames you can add and you can put speech bubbles on which is quite fun. You can record a snippet of audio to accompany each photo- useful if you want to remember exactly where you were when you took the photo, but I have never found myself using this function. You can use the audio recorder like a dictaphone too, but again I just dont seem to have the need. The sound quality is acceptable- tinny, just loud enough, but nothing special. You can of course do all the normal stuff with sepia effects and rotating to your hearts content.
Deleting photos can be done by pressing the little trash can button, or by selecting delete via the menu. The second method gives you more options, like deleting all or protecting cherished pics so that you dont delete them by accident.
There are 3 choices of quality of photo, and 5 of size. The zoom while youre taking a photo is up to 5x, and then you get a further 12x zoom in when youre viewing. This I have found pretty useful as a spying aid. I can take a photo of a house opposite, zoom in to find the bathroom window, then zoom a bit further to watch that hunky guy taking a shower, if I want, not that I do of course.
The video option works nicely and is easy to use. The video begins to record on pressing the normal camera shutter, and can be paused midway if your pet poodle stops performing for a minute or two in order to scratch his butt. The zoom works while your videoing, which means you can produce some pretty awesome movies. Really. You can capture a frame of your vid and use it as a still, which is a good trick. This is particularly good if you want a nice unposed pic of kids, and you also never get red-eye when you obtain pictures this way. The length of video you can record depends, of course, on the size of your memory card. The camera comes with an internal memory of ½ a goldfish, so you would be wise to invest in a card if you intend to use your camera for anything other than display purposes. My card is 512 MB, which gives me about 7 minutes on super-Waitrose quality, or a staggering 23 minutes on crappo-Woolworths quality. This means I could record an entire episode of Neighbours using my Digimax, if I could afford to pay for the plywood sets.
My one big criticism of this camera is that I cant hook it up to my TV to view my handiwork. My previous camera has this function, and was cheaper, so that rattles me a bit. I was hoping that Id be able to use the lead I still have from my old camera and coax this one into performing, but those nice techies at Samsung have made the leads completely different. Toads. The camera does have the function to be hooked up directly to your printer (as long as your printer knows what to do with a camera), and when you connect up with your USB lead (provided) you are asked which medium you want to connect to computer or printer. I find this slightly irritating, as it asks me every time, and Im sure the technology is sophisticated enough to know whether the other end of the USB is in a PC or a printer?! Perhaps I am overestimating technology. If you have a Windows PC you will get that little box that appears when you put a CD in, asking you what you want to do with these photos. You can copy to your computer (this opens a wizard and is straightforward), and the photos are plonked in your MyPictures folder, unless you specify otherwise.
Its a little on the chunky side and wont fit into your pocket, which doesnt bother me, but I know some people care about these things. It comes with a little wrist-strap, but you need to use a proper case, because little bits of dust and grit clog up the dial on the top in no time, and they are not easy to remove.
My general feelings about this camera are that its ok but its not as good as Samsungs previous models. This goes for the overall design, the extras offered and most importantly, the quality of the pictures. These are ok, but just ok. I nearly always have to run my pictures through Photoshop to improve the colours, which I didnt use to have to do. The camera has played up on me once- while I was on holiday it just suddenly stopped saving any pictures and I was unable to access photos that Id already taken. I solved the problem before I got back home by using the reset function and reformatting the memory card (there is a menu function for this), but I lost a whole load of irreplaceable moments, which rattled me again. So, I feel that Samsung is not putting the effort in that it used to and I wont risk getting an even crapper model when I purchase my next camera (scheduled for next Christmas, after the cat chews this one up or something, probably). Dont get me wrong, its not a bad budget camera, Im just disappointed after being mightily pleased with my previous models.
Currently available at Tesco for just under £80. A quick net search gave me a general price range of £90-£120. So go to Tescos.
7.2 mega pixels
3x optical zoom
2.5 TFT Colour LCD
ASR (Advanced Shake Reduction)
High sensitivity ISO 1000
Ergonomic Grip for Steady Shooting