Monday, January 4, 2010

Vanity: Now easier with Samsung Dual LCD

Starting 2010 with a bang! Thanks to Art Samaniego who gave me an opportunity to review the Samsung 2View ST550. An impossible dream has came true. The photo below is the scanned copy of my very first article/review that got published in one of the Philippines' top national dailies, Manila BulletinClick the photo for a larger view, or visit this link.

"Admit it or not, many people purchase cameras to take self-portraits other than just use it to capture memories of their loved ones. The Samsung 2View ST550 precisely makes it easier for consumers to do this by introducing the world’s first digital camera with dual LCDs – a 1.5-inch display in front and a 3.5-inch touchscreen on the rear.

Unboxing the ST550 saw the basic inclusions a digital camera is usually packaged with. Aside from of course the camera is the battery and its charger; USB cable used to relinquish the battery’s life and transfer photos from the camera to the computer or printer; audio and video cables; a strap; multi-lingual quick start guide and user manual guide contained in a CD. Perhaps due to the camera having an internal memory of approximately 55MB, Samsung chose not to include a microSD card.

At first glance, the ST550’s design looks classy and simple, with its mostly-black surface and colored side trimmings (orange, gold or purple). The front side featuring the self-portrait LCD has a glossy texture that easily attracts fingerprints and thumb marks. Meanwhile, due to the matte-finished rear side being occupied mostly by the touchscreen LCD, it leaves the camera with noticeably very few buttons.

Located on top are the power and zoom buttons, alongside a microphone and a miniature zoom lever, as well as a playback button positioned below it on a slightly sloped surface. Considering the simple design, I find the camera quite heavy – perhaps brought about by the hardware that enables touchscreen.

Aside from the fact that ST550 sports two LCDs and 12.2 Megapixels for taking pictures, it really is packed with a lot of amazing features that I myself instantly got hooked into. The 27mm Schneider-KREUZNACH wide angle lens allows up to 4.6x optical zoom, which enables a photographer to shoot images in a wider shooting range from a shorter distance. The LCD touchscreen shows sharp-colored images brought by the 1,152k high resolution pixels. It has a built-in accelerometer and Gesture UI technology that enables you to select options by just tilting the camera or using gestures to control it.

It also uses Samsung’s Haptic vibration and audio feedback that notifies you if an option has been selected on screen. The touchscreen might be quite confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will just be a breeze. From my experience, I can say that it is very easy to use and is responsive most of the time.

Different occasions and situations may need different types of shot. By entering the menu interface of ST550, you would be given six modes of shooting that would depend on which settings or options you would like to use.

If you’re having difficulty in taking photos of your young, the Children Mode will make it easier for you, as it shows kiddie animations in front that will surely get your children’s attention and make them smile; once they do, the Smile Shot option will take care of capturing them automatically, without the need of pressing the shutter button. Though the animations may be limited, Samsung has made a way for moms and dads alike to download more from their website.

On the other hand, if your pictures end up blurry due to unstable hands, you can use the Dual Image Stabilization function to help reduce camera shake optically when shooting. Furthermore, the Beauty Shot option can help enhance the image of people with scars and pimple marks by automatically fixing the blemishes – just like what graphic editors do, this time no need for a computer software.

The breathtaking camera also allows the use of Smart Auto mode that automatically adjusts the photo compositions (e.g. exposure, white balance, etc.) as it sees fit. With the Smart Face Recognition feature, the camera automatically recognizes registered faces and sets appropriate focus and exposure. Very intelligent, isn’t it? Let’s not forget that the ST550 is capable of recording videos with a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720 that can be played on High Definition TV.

Need I mention that there are still more features amidst the many I have mentioned above? Although there are lag reactions on some functions and battery life is short at 60-90 minutes of continuous use, the Samsung 2View ST550 is definitely a good buy.

For the price of approximately Php 14,000, this one-of-a-kind digital camera has all the features an amateur, point-and-shoot photographer desires. Now, are you one of those who often take self-portraits? This might be for you.

Also posted in Technorati with TL220 as the model name for America.


wooohooo! congrats Glenn!! an amazing review! no grammar error like me hahaha. happy for u :D

Glenn you are AWESOME! and very persuasive, i think i want to buy one of those! great article. =)

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