45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
A Pretty Smart Little Camera,
This review is from: Samsung ST200F SMART Compact Digital Camera - Black (16.1MP, 10x Optical Zoom) 3.0 LCD (Electronics)
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The Samsung ST200F SMART is just the latest in a long line of compact cameras I have owned over the years, from a Canon Ixus back in the days before digital to a Nikon Coolpix S3100 Digital Camera - Black (14MP, 5x Wide Optical Zoom) 2.7 inch LCD that I was given as a birthday present in March this year. Having now had the chance to give it a pretty decent workout in various environments I can say with total honesty that the Samsung is a pretty good unit.
For a start it feels nice and solid in the hand. The build quality and finish is good, with an anodized outer shell for the front, top and bottom and heavy duty plastic with a rough surface at the back and on one end to provide grip (and hark back to camera designs I remember from the 70's & 80's). The various control buttons are both sleek and high quality, and maintain the minimalist style of the whole product. There's no garish labelling (apart from a removable sticker on the front) and not one flash of colour anywhere on the camera.
Size and weight-wise its big and heavy enough for you to be aware of its presence in your pocket. Compared to my ultra-slim Nikon Coolpix it feels rather bulky and if you're looking for something to slip into your trouser pocket to take casual snaps on a whim this probably isn't what you're looking for. Still, it remains a compact unit and will not take up too much space in a bag or larger coat pocket.
Battery life is great if you're just taking pictures and okay if you use the WiFi connection heavily. Battery charging is via a USB cable and there is no mains adaptor included, so if you're out an about without a PC close at hand you may find recharging to be problematic. Also be warned that the ST200F uses micro-SD cards, so if you're upgrading from a camera that uses standard SD's you will need to purchase new memory at the same time. Finally there is imaging software included with the ST200F that can be downloaded onto your PC. With all the cameras I've owned I have skipped installing the supplied software and used my own pre-existing software and did the same here, so I can't comment on whether Samsung's is any good. However, I can confirm that the camera works fine without it.
Of course the key question is does it take decent pictures? The answer to that is a definite yes. Picture quality is uniformly good. Images are crisp and depth of colour is good. Both the optical and digital zoom functions work smoothly and when using the latter there's minimal image degradation. Image stabiliser and autofocus functions operate seamlessly.
As the name 'SMART' suggests, the camera also offers a wide range of functionalities. In terms of taking pictures these include everything from the key 'Smart' function to creating wacky frames for your pictures. I'm not going to review every option or this review would be even longer than it is, but I'll cover some key ones.
The Smart Function: This is one of the camera's key selling points and it works petty well. Rather than manually selecting the type of photo you wish to take (portrait, panorama, action, etc.) when in the 'Smart' setting the camera's software does this intuitively and adjusts the various settings accordingly. Having taken various different shots, including close-ups, landscapes and groups, all in different locations, environments and light conditions on the whole the assumptions the ST200F makes regarding the type of photo being taken are pretty accurate. You can tell what its thinking based on an icon in the corner of the screen that changes as you change subject matter, and you can override it if you feel its way off, but I haven't had to yet. Apart from a couple of issues with the use of flash in a dimly lit restaurant it selected the most appropriate shot type pretty much every time.
Panorama: The ST200F is the first camera I've had with this function, which allows you to take seamless 'ultra wide aspect' shots. Once upon a time to do this you'd have to take multiple exposures and then stitch them all together afterwards. With the ST200F you simple select Panoramic, hold down the shutter and move the camera across the scene you wish to photograph. Software adjusts for any image shake and a graphical display tells you when you've recorded the whole image. Its a great way to take scenic shots, even if there is a slight 'fish-eye' feel to the finished images.
Photo effects: These are fun rather than really practical, allowing you to play around with images. For example one allows you to covert photos into 'pencil drawings'. Another makes any photo you choose appear to be an advertising hoarding on a bus-stop. There are also various image manipulation options that allow you to stretch and distort people's faces for comic effect. They're entertaining to play around with and probably quite useful if you're planning to send photos straight from the camera using the wi-fi functionality, but I don't think I'll be making heavy use of them.
The menu for all these options and others is relatively easy to navigate. The various icons are big, colourful and for the most part self explanatory. Navigation is via a four-way cursor, which is okay until you need to type something, at which point it can become rather laborious and make you wish for a touch screen.
The phone's other big selling point is its inbuilt WiFi functionality. You can e-mail photos wirelessly, which works pretty well, and there are links to Facebook, Picasa (Google) and YouTube. As I'm not a Facebook user I can't tell you how well this link works but I can say that the Picasa link is pretty straightforward to work, with photos being sent to users on-line web-albums. There are also icons that allow you to pair the ST200F with your smartphone using Samsungs own 'MobileLink' and 'Remote Viewfinder' Apps. I have to admit that I was less than impressed with both of these. Having downloaded both Apps (for free) on to my Apple iPhone 4 I could could get MobileLink to work intermittently and Remote Viewfinder simply refused to connect. I've given up trying to use either.
WiFi also has one significant limitation; you need to be connected to a WiFi network to use it. If you're somewhere where there is a WiFi network which you can get the SSID code for then its quite nice to have, but without an inbuilt web browser there's no way to connect with Hotspots and if you're taking photos outside in the middle of the countryside for example, its completely pointless. If Samsung were hoping that adding WiFi to the ST200F would make it more competitive with Smart Phones and their increasingly more capable cameras then its gets part of the way to that goal but falls short without a 3G connection for when WiFi is unavailable
However, despite its shortcomings WiFi does make an already solid product that bit more enticing. It would be even more appealing if they'd also throw in a case and a Micro-SD card but as it stands this is still a very attractive compact camera.
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Initial post: 4 Dec 2012 17:01:08 GMT
Eric Parlatore says:
My camera came with charger u plug in wall dont know why you didnt get that.
Posted on 31 Jan 2013 01:00:01 GMT
So long as you have a smartphone to hand and a data connection on your phone you should be able to "tether" your phones data connection by creating a WiFi hotspot for your camera to connect to. Most smartphones have this function.
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