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Purchased this camera before my long awaited trip to Thailand, I felt I needed a camera to take my pictures on as my phone would not suffice, how wrong I was! I begun using the camera as soon as I arrived, however I quickly found that the focus was very poor on photos and minimal shaking led to very low quality photos. This was frustrating considering I don't have the steadiest hands and didn't have ages to compose every photo.
My next gripe was the low range of the flash, personal photos up to around 2 metres seemed fine but any further and things seemed to fade into darkness very quickly in photos, a real shame when I reviewed photos next morning.
I ended up using my iPhone camera more than the Samsung. I found it was easier to focus, gave higher quality photos with its HDR option and was easier to carry around, a real shame after you buy a camera, which purpose is to take photos only!
The camera does have some positives however such as its zoom. The optical zoom is so much better than the digital zoom found on most cameras of a similar budget. f you took your time with a photo you could zoom and focus, which digital zoom, which simply enlarges the zoomed out version, cannot do. The battery life was also very good on the camera, its comforting knowing that your camera will last all day or a couple of days so you wont miss out on any photo opportunities!
Overall i'd definitely not buy this camera again or recommend to a friend. If I was to purchase another camera i'd buy a very high spec one as phone cameras are so good nowadays they rival, if not beat, many of these budget digital cameras.
The Samsung PL20 Digital Compact Camera
This camera belongs to my girlfriend and she picked it up because she wanted something lighter and more mobile as opposed to the bulky Olympus that she normally takes on holiday with her. Having seen me with my Casio digital camera, she felt she needed a small camera as well for convenience and short trips.
The Samsung PL20 fits the bill perfectly.
My girlfriend has her own jewellery site and is very creative, bubbly and colourful. So when it came to choosing the colour of the camera it was not really a difficult decision. She chose the 'Rose Pink' version and immediately purchased a red carry case with white polka dots. The camera did come with its own dull, grey and very standard carry case but that was soon overlooked. You can actually purchase other cases from Samsung for this very product but my girlfriend wanted to choose one off her own bat.
She picked this camera up for around 60 Euros, whcih is a bargain seeing as some sites have it for 80, 90, 120 or more.
The Camera and Setting up
On opening and emptying the box you are faced with several items. The camera itself, the camera charger, the battery, the manual, the startup disk and a small carry lead, which can be hooked to the camera to loop over your hand to carry and prevent the camera falling while you are taking pictures.
One of the first things my girlfriend did apart from buying a carry case was to obtain a memory card as like most cameras a memory card doesn't come with the camera.
The first thing to do is insert the battery. Follow the instructions from the manual and then insert the memory card, should you have one. The manual also shows you how to remove the battery and memory card. The battery is a Samsung BP70A and runs on 7 volts.
The very first function or use for your camera should be charging. Plug the charge lead into the camera and then plug in the plug into an electrical socket.
Once the camera has charged fully (overnight is best initially), then you are ready to turn the camera on for the first time.
Pressing the on button brings your camera to life and then the on screen prompts will help you to adjust the date and time to the correct settings. You also set up the country and language at this point. The time is set to your nearest time zone, in my girlfriend's case it was Amsterdam, so Berlin +1. You can then set the calendar for the date and the time to either a twelve or twenty-four hour clock.
Next the manual shows you how to capture and view a photograph. Nothing too laborious here, mainly just pressing the capture button, although it does tell you that pressing it lightly will give you a frame on the screen with which to centre someone's face. A second and heavier press will then take the picture.
Next in the manual is the recording and viewing of a video. Again, this is straight forward and once you have been through the set up process on the settings tab all you have to do is press the capture button to start recording and again to stop.
To transfer pictures or videos to your laptop or PC you can use the cable that is also the charger lead. It simply pulls out of the plug end of the lead. The end that you fit into your camera still acts the same but once the other end is taken from the plug it has a USB connector on it that slots into your PC's USB port. Then it is as simple as creating a folder to paste the copied files into.
Camera Modes and Settings
Pressing the 'Menu' button will bring up a screen of options, these are as follows:
This button enables you to switch to a photo help guide, a scene mode or movie mode. You can also program the camera from here.
Allows you to choose the size of the photo; such as 1m, 2m, 3m, 5m, 8m, 10m, 12m and 14 metres.
Handle all the camera's sound capabilities from here. Volume, starter sound, shutter sound, beep sound and AF or Auto Focus sound.
This changes and saves the screens display. The start-up image or desktop, if you prefer can be changed. The brightness and contrast of the screen can be adjusted. You can also set your camera's power saving functions here.
This is the main function button and allows you to change or modify your camera's language, time-zone, date and time, date type, files and Auto power functions. You can also reset the camera to its factory default of format it to clear any files or saves. You can set the video output to Pal or NTSC and determine whether the Auto Focus lamp is on or off.
The 'Zoom' button on this camera is a little different in the fact that it comes in the form of a small plastic part that sticks out a centimetre or so. You can push this up or down to zoom in or out respectively. The zoom is X3 and not the very best I have seen on a camera if I'' honest but it does do its job when called into use.
The lens itself is X5 and the camera does take pretty clear photographs of a decent quality. Of course as with any camera you can heighten the quality by adjusting the settings. You may be able to take less photographs but the quality will be better. My girlfriend has hers set on a decent quality and has 1100 pictures in reserve. She does this with the aid of a 4 GB memory card, which you can pick up for around eight pounds.
My girlfriend is very happy with this camera as it is light to carry, looks charming in its Rose Pink version and enables her to take pictures wherever she goes. People could argue that she has an iPhone, which probably takes a better quality picture, but at the end of the day she doesn't feel comfortable at say, for instance, a Blood Red Shoes gig, with an iPhone. The screen is bigger on an iPhone and it could get damaged. The PL20 is also cheaper than an iPhone by quite a way and a lot sturdier in the middle of a gig crowd. It's also not as heavy as an iPhone so can be looped around her wrist ready to take a picture on a whim.
The pictures are clear and of a good quality once loaded up to a PC.
It is not the cheapest camera around but it is not expensive either. She has had it for a couple of years now and there is minimal wear and tear. It's compact, convenient and capable. It does what it says on the tin and you cannot really go wrong for the money.
All in all I would give it four stars out of five on the back of its versatility. And for that reason I would recommend it to anyone who wants a no nonsense camera.