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This is the first of two camera reviews I'm about to do. One is for my previous camera which I've owned for years but have kept as a back-up (Olympus FE-100), and this Samsung one is the camera my partner and I bought a year or so into our relationship because the previous camera was lacking in quality and we felt we were missing out on photo opportunities on holidays etc. In addition to this, for the past few years I have been trying to build up a "portfolio" of celebration cakes for when I follow my dreams and launch a celebration cake business, so I wanted a decent camera which would capture and do justice to the cake masterpieces I have been known to spend hours on!
**Price & Availability**
I seem to remember trawling round a retail park for a good hour or so before choosing this one, but I can't remember where we ended up getting it from. Looking around online, the best place to pick this camera up is secondhand on the likes of Ebay and Amazon, where you can expect to pay between £60 and £75. I think we probably paid around £100 - £150 for it, but obviously it was a few years ago and everything becomes obsolete almost immediately these days. Although the camera itself is still perfectly adequate for our needs so if you can get hold of one at a reasonable price, I would recommend doing so.
As I write this review, I have the two cameras next to me side by side. This reminds me of the differences between the two cameras, and what it is that makes this one so good. Firstly, the size of the camera is perfect. It's small (I haven't measured but I would say a few inches high, about four inches long, and an inch deep). According to the product description, and for those of you who are modern enough to measure in centimetres rather than inches, the actual measurements are height 5.79cm, width 9.02cm, and depth 1.93cm. This makes it really easy to handle, and convenient to carry around, and it's not too heavy or bulky. I think it is the fact this camera is so thin which makes it stand out from some other models.
The camera has a decent enough weight to it to allow you to get a good grip on it, but as I said earlier, it's not bulky or heavy. Its weight is a mere 0.11kg, so you can happily carry this round in your handbag on holiday or at a wedding, and it won't give you a hunchback carrying it round all day. It also looks really smart. Ours is black with silver finishes, but it is also available in a lovely vibrant pink. The front of the camera is lovely and uncluttered, no fussiness, just the lens, the flash, and the logo and make in the corner. Although I believe in substance over style, this is aesthetically pleasing which is a bonus.
The back of the camera is fuss-free again, although it has a lot of features, it manages to pack all these features in without overloading or looking like a NASA control room. The back of the camera consists mainly of the screen, which is a very decent size, maybe 3 x 2 inches. This accounts for about 90% of the back of the camera, and allows you to see exactly what it is you're taking a photo of.
In terms of controls, the buttons are spread between the back of the camera, and the top of the camera. For example, at the top of the camera, the on/off button is placed as you would expect with a camera, and it is a decent size, but some of the other buttons such as the "play" button for videos are very very small, which could be an issue for anyone with little co-ordination or very large fingers!
**Features and Usage**
The camera produces excellent quality photographs, and with mega pixels of 12.2 this isn't overly surprising. It also has a few additional features such as the ability to take videos. My photography skills aren't great, so rather than faffing with the settings I tend to leave this camera on "Auto" and just point and shoot. This works well for me and still produces top quality results. Imagine what you could achieve if you knew when to use different flash options!! It has 3 x optical zoom, and 5 x digital zoom. I find it very helpful being able to zoom in or out when taking photos, especially when taking photographs of my cakes or sugar flowers, as these are all about detail and this is what I am trying to capture.
The camera has a rechargeable battery, so it comes with a charger similar to that of a mobile phone. This avoids the need to buy batteries every time you run the batteries down, but I also find it a bit annoying because I don't use the camera that often, I forget to charge it when it needs charging so when I next go to use it I have to wait for it to charge again. Battery life is good once it's been charged, but you will need to take the charger on holiday with you if you plan to use it a lot during a week's holiday.
We currently have a 4GB SD card in our camera, and this stores the photos so they can be uploaded to our laptops. This is all very easy to do, even for a technophobe like myself.
**Are there any downsides?**
I couldn't really fault this camera as it has fulfilled our needs, albeit basic needs. The picture quality is superb, it comes out really sharp once you've uploaded the photo, and the colour is also clear and sharp. The only little niggle is the size of some of the buttons on the back of the camera are a bit fiddly, but I guess this is the price you pay for having such a nifty slimline camera and it isn't really an issue for me personally. Another minor niggle is that the camera can be a bit slow once you've taken a picture to allow you to take the next one, as it takes a few seconds to capture the image. The only time this can be annoying is if you're trying to capture something in motion, such as a pet doing something amusing, and if you don't get it the first time you could miss the moment. I think it's just a case of being patient once you get used to this little niggle.
However, overall, this is a brilliant camera which is well worth keeping an eye out for if you can find one for less than £100, I would recommend snapping (no pun intended!) this one up.
(This review also appears on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)