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Samsung ST50 Review

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Samsung ST50

Samsung ST50

The Samsung ST50 is a Point-and-Shoot digital camera that is ultra slim (16.6mm) and easily slips into a jeans pocket, shirt pocket or small fashion purse. It is a beautiful camera with a brushed stainless steel body that comes in 4 different colors: Black, Silver, Red or Blue.

Performance is snappy with approx. 1.5 sec. startup and no practical shutter lag. Auto focus is fast and precise when focusing on contrasty subjects in good lighting.

A large 2.7-in. LCD monitor with 230,000 pixels resolution makes viewing very comfortable. Construction and build is very good.

Image quality is good at ISO 80, with low noise and good image detail. As is often the case for models in this category, images tend to suffer from noise and loss of detail at the higher ISOs.

The Smart Auto mode works quite well, selecting the appropriate scene mode and exposure settings.

The Samsung ST50 will please point-and-shoot beginner photographers desiring an easy-to-use stylish and ultra slim digital camera.

IMAGE QUALITY

Samsung ST50

Samsung ST50

The Samsung ST50 is a digital camera targeted to point-and-shoot photographers. It has 12.2 megapixel resolution on a 1/2.33 in. CCD image sensor, and a 6.3-18.9mm (35-105mm, 35 mm equivalent) 4x optical zoom lens, with a maximum aperture of F3.0(W)-F5.6(T).

We find the overall image quality of the Samsung ST50 at ISO 80 to be good with good detail and low noise. As is usual with cameras in this category, images at higher ISOs suffer from noise and detail loss.

3x Optical Zoom
Wide-angle 35mm Telephoto 105mm
Wide-angle 6.3mm
(35mm, 35mm equivalent)
Telephoto 18.9mm
(105mm, 35mm equivalent)

The Samsung ST50 has a 3x optical zoom lens. In the above pictures, we show the coverage for 35mm and 105mm.

The ST50 is a camera for mostly sunny situations, enabling you to capture nice shots with good colors at ISO 80. Note that it does not have mechanical image stabilization (either optical or sensor-shift) but has Digital Image Stabilization that uses a high ISO so the camera can select a fast enough shutter speed to help eliminate blur due to camera shake and subject movement. Of course, the problem with using a high ISO is the unwanted presence of noise in the final pictures.

Macro
Macro
6.3mm [35mm], Programmed Auto, Multi-Pattern, 1/181 sec., F3, ISO 80
Macro

Macro can be as close as 10 cm at wide-angle.

White Balance Indoors
AWB Custom WB
AWB Custom WB

As the above two pictures show, the Auto White Balance (AWB) is not quite accurate indoors under artificial lighting [I have two energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs on the ceiling]. A bonus is that the ST50 has manual WB so you can measure white balance precisely. AWB works well in natural light, but not at the high ISOs (see image samples below of ISO 400, 800 and 1600).

ISO Comparisons
ISO 80
ISO 80
ISO 100 ISO 200
ISO 100 ISO 200
ISO 400 ISO 800
ISO 400 ISO 800
ISO 1600 ISO 3200
ISO 1600 ISO 3200 (3M or less)

You can set the sensitivity on the Samsung ST50 from ISO 80 to 3200. The 100% crops above (area delimited by the white square) demonstrate that noise at ISO 80 is under control. At ISO 400 and above, the presence of noise is clearly visible at full image size and with visible loss of detail. ISO 3200 looks very noisy and splotchy when the image is viewed at full resolution. If you care only to print 4×6 in. or display for Web use, as in your blog, see below when the image is resized 450×338 pixels.

ISO 3200 – Resized 450×338 Pixels
ISO 3200
ISO3200

Note that the above ISO image samples were shot in daylight since the ST50 underexposed low-light shots at the low ISOs.

Chromatic Aberrations
CA

CA is not really a problem in everyday shots. In the above photo, the area delimited by the red square, and reproduced at 100% crop at bottom left, shows negligible purple fringing.

Long Shutter Speed
Long Exposure
11.7mm [62mm], Program AE, Multi-Pattern, 1 sec., F4.2, ISO 400
Self-timer 10 sec., Tripod Used

The Samsung ST50 allows the use of a long shutter speed of up to 8 sec. in Smart Auto mode (1 sec. only in P). This allows you to take Night Shots. Generally, with image sensors, noise becomes more prominent at slow shutter speeds.

For our low-light indoors shot, we were unable to use Smart Auto because you cannot set WB, Macro mode (our subject is quite close to the camera), and the camera could not lock focus (camera too close). Set to P, the camera used a shutter speed of 1 sec. and had absolutely no problem locking focus in macro mode with the use of the AF-assist Lamp.

There is no Histogram either Live or in Playback.

Overall, good image quality for this category of entry-level point-and-shoot digicams.

IMAGE SAMPLES

HANDLING & FEEL

Samsung ST50 Back View

Samsung ST50 Back View

The Samsung ST50 is a stylish and ultra compact digital camera that can be easily slipped in a shirt pocket, jeans pocket or small fashion purse. It uses the Secure Digital (SD) and high capacity (SDHC) memory card.

The ST50 is available in 4 different colors: black, silver, blue or red. My review camera has the navy blue color. The build is very good with a clean design. There is no grip but the “Samsung” logo on the front is slightly raised to provide somewhat of a “finger grip.”

The lens is flush with the body when the camera is off, but powered on, the lens extends approx. 14mm.

Startup time is about 1.5 sec., shot to shot times about 3 sec., and there is no practical shutter lag.

STYLE
Colors: black, silver, blue or red
Looks: clean and elegant design
   
FEEL
Well-built; Slippery
Controls are small but easy to press and use
   
DIMENSIONS &
WEIGHT
Ultra Compact
Dimensions: 94.2 x 55.7 x 16.6mm
Weight: 121.4 g
Takes 1 rechargeable Li-ion battery
SLB-07A 3.7V 720mAh (2.6Wh)
   
SPEED OF OPERATION
Startup with lens extension and LCD turning on in approx. 1.5 sec.
Shot to shot time approx. 3 sec.
No practical shutter lag
   

Included in the box is a rechargeable Li-ion battery that can take about 200 shots with LCD on (CIPA standard) on a fresh charge and an AC Adaptor that will recharge a new battery in approx. 120 min. The USB cable plugs into the AC Adaptor. You plug the other end of the USB cable into the camera and the AC Adaptor into the wall electrical socket.

Intelligent LCD automatically adjusts the screen’s brightness based on the ambient light.

Because the camera is so thin, you need to be careful when you put it on a flat surface or it might tilt and fall backward.

Samsung ST50 Top View

Samsung ST50 Top View

The top of the camera has, from left to right, the Smart AUTO button, the Power ON/OFF button, the Shutter Release Button (with the Zoom Lever around it). It takes about 2 sec. to zoom from wide to tele. I counted 7 intermediate steps. To engage digital zoom (5x), you zoom up to the max. optical zoom, press the shutter release button half way to lock focus and continue into digital zooming.

You can record movies with sound. A clip can be max. 20 minutes long at either 800 x 592 (20fps) or 640 x 480 (30fps). You can zoom (optical only) during movie recording and focus is continuous.

USER’S EXPERIENCE

Here’s what I receive in the box:

  • Samsung ST50 (Blue color)
  • USB Cable (no A/V cable)
  • Travel Adapter (uses USB cable to recharge the battery in camera)
  • CD-ROM (Samsung Master and pdf User Manual)

The Samsung ST50 is an entry-level digital camera with a Smart Auto mode that works quite well in determining the scene and exposure. I like the solid construction, ultra slim design and ease-of-use.

Image quality at ISO 80 is good with good image detail. ISO goes as high as 3200 and, if you limit yourself to 4×6 in. prints and for Web display uses, you might be able to use the ST50 in low-light situations without the issue of noise and image detail loss being too apparent. Of course, better high ISO noise performance would be welcomed.

Samsung Master v1.1

Samsung Master v1.1

Samsung Master (v1.1) allows you to transfer your pictures from camera to PC.

Samsung Master v1.1 - Edit Image

Samsung Master v1.1 - Edit Image

It also provides a fairly comprehensive set of editing features: resize, crop, rotate/flip, make a wallpaper, add a frame, add edges, create a calendar; Auto Image Quality, Autoclean, Lightness, Hue/saturation, Auto Exposure, Variations, Red Eye, Sharpness, Blur, Clone; Deformations, Artistic Effects, Textures, Rubber, Warp.

QUICKFACT SHEET

Samsung ST50
Mouseover image for back view

Category: Point-and-Shoot

The Samsung ST50 is an ultra slim point-and-shoot digital camera featuring 12.2MP resolution, 3x optical zoom (35 – 105 mm, 35mm equivalent), and a large 2.7-in. LCD (230K dots). Face Detection technology helps the camera focus and expose for the face of your subject.

Smart Auto automatically analyzes the scene and selects from 11 scene modes. Beauty Shot automatically retouches imperfections such as blemishes and dark circles. Smile and Blink Detection detects when a subject’s eyes are open and smiles are at their peak.

The Samsung ST50 will record SVGA 800×592 MPEG-4 movies with sound @ 20fps. For beginner photographers, the Function Description provides clear and easy to understand descriptions of each setting when they scroll through the camera’s menus.

The Samsung ST50 will appeal to point-and-shoot photographers desiring a stylish ultra compact and easy-to-use digital camera they can carry anywhere. Available in Silver, Black, Blue or Red.

  • QuickFact Sheet / Buy
  • Specifications
  • 12.2 MP (1/2.33-in. CCD image sensor)
  • 3x optical zoom (35-105mm equiv.)
  • F3.0(W) – F5.6(T)
  • 2.7-in. LCD (230K dots)
  • Smart Auto : 8 ~ 1/1,500 sec., Program : 1 ~ 1/1,500 sec., (AEB, Continuous : 1/4 ~ 1/1,500 sec.)
  • Smart AUTO, Program AE, Scene Modes
  • Multi, Spot, Center Weighted, Face Detection AE
  • WB: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent_H, Fluorescent_L, Tungsten, Custom
  • ISO 80-1600, 3200 (3M)
  • Movie 800×592 (20fps)
  • Face Detection & Self Portrait, Smart Album, Blink Detection & Smile Detection, Beauty Shot (Playback Retouch), Frame Guide
  • SD (up to 4GB guaranteed), SDHC (up to 8GB guaranteed)
  • Body, Li-ion battery SLB-07A, AC Adapter / USB Cable SAC-47, AV Cable, Camera Strap, Samsung Master CD, User Manual (on CD)
  • 94.2×55.7×16.6mm (excluding protrusions)
  • 121.4 g (without battery and card)

B&H Photo VideoYou can buy the Samsung ST50 from our Trusted Sponsor B&H Photo-Video, the Professional’s Source, satisfying millions of customers for over 35 years:

 

Amazon
Samsung ST50
UK
Black Red Silver
Samsung ST50  
Samsung ST50US | CAN | UK | Story
Image Sensor Type 1/2.33″ (Approx. 1.09cm) CCD
Effective Pixel Approx. 12.2 Mega-pixels
Total Pixel Approx.12.4 Mega-pixel
Lens Focal Length Samsung Lens f = 6.3 ~ 18.9mm
(35mm film equivalent : 35~105 mm)
F No. F3.0(W) ~ 5.6(T)
Digital Zoom Still Image mode : 1.0X ~ 5.0X
Play mode : 1.0X ~ 10.2X (depends on image size)
Image Stabilization DIS (Digital Image Stabilization)
Display Type TFT LCD
Feature 2.7" (6.9cm), QVGA (230,000 pixels)
Viewfinder N/A
Focusing Type TTL auto focus (Multi AF, Center AF, Face Detection AF)
Range Normal : 80cm ~ infinity
Macro :10cm ~ 80cm (Wide), 50cm ~ 80cm (Tele)
Auto Macro : 10cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 50cm ~ Infinity (Tele)
Shutter Speed Smart Auto : 8 ~ 1/1,500 sec.
Program : 1 ~ 1/1,500 sec.
(AEB, continuous : 1/4 ~ 1/1,500 sec.)
Exposure Control Program AE
Metering Multi, Spot, Center Weighted, Face Detection AE
Compensation ±2EV (1/3EV steps)
ISO Equivalent Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (Up to 3M Size)
Sharpness Soft+, Soft, Normal, Vivid, Vivid+
White Balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent_H, Fluorescent_L, Tungsten, Custom
Still Image Shooting Mode : Smart Auto, Program
Scene Recognition : Portrait, Night Portrait, Night, Backlight Portrait, Backlight, Landscape, White, Macro, Macro Text, Tripod, Action
Continuous: Single, Continuous, AEB, Motion Capture
Self-timer : 2 sec., 10 sec., Double, Motion Timer
Effect Color Style : Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, Custom
Image Adjust : Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation (5 steps), Beauty shot
Edit Image Edit : Resize, Rotate, Trimming
Color Style : Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, Custom
Image Adjust : Face Retouch, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Red Eye Fix, ACB
Image Play Single image, Thumbnails, Advanced Slide show, Movie Clip, Smart Album
* Slide show : Slide show with Effect & Music
Voice Recording Voice Recording (max. 10 hours)
Voice Memo in Still Image (max. 10 sec.)
Date Imprinting Date&Time, Date, Off (user selectable)
Movie Clip Recording With Audio or without Audio (Max Recording time : 20 Min.)
Size : 800×592(20fps), 640×480(30fps & 15fps) , 320×240 (30fps & 15fps)
(3X Optical Zoom, Mute during zoom operation, sound recording on/ off selectable)
Effect Color Style : Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, Custom
Edit Movie Stabilization, Pause during recording, Still Image Capture, Time Trimming
Storage Media Internal Memory : About 31MB
External Memory(Optional) : MMCplus(up to 2GB guaranteed 4bit 20MHz)
SD (up to 4GB guaranteed)
SDHC (up to 8GB guaranteed)
* Internal memory capacity is subject to change without prior notice.
File Format Still Image : JPEG (DCF), EXIF 2.21, DPOF 1.1, PictBridge 1.0
Movie Clip :AVI (MPEG-4)
Audio : WAV
Image Size 12M: 4000×3000 pixels
10MP: 3984 x 2656 pixels
9MW: 3968 x 2232 pixels
8M: 3264×2448 pixels
5M : 2592×1944 pixels
3M : 2048×1536 pixels
1M: 1024×768 pixels
Interface Digital output connector USB 2.0
Audio Microphone : Mono
Internal Speaker : Mono
Video Out NTSC, PAL (user selectable)
DC power input 4.2V
Cradle N/A
Power Source Rechargeable battery : SLB-07A, 3.7V(720mah)
Adaptor : SAC-47, SUC-C3
Connector Type : 20pin
* Included battery may vary depending on sales region.
Physical Specification Dimensions (WxHxD) 94.2×55.7×16.6mm (excluding protrusions)
94.2×55.7×14.2mm (Minimum thinness)
Weight 121.4 g (without battery and card)
Operating Temperature 0 ~ 40°C
Operating Humidity 5 ~ 85%
Software Samsung Master
Special Features – Smart : Auto & Scene Recognition
– Slim Body Design
·12Mege Pixels
·DIS( Digital Image Stabilization)
·2.7" LCD (230K)
·MPEG-4 SVGA 20fps
·ISO 3200 (3M)
·Face Detection & Self Portrait
·Smart Album
·Blink Detection & Smile Detection
·Beauty Shot (Playback Retouch)
·Frame Guide
·Function Description
System
Requirement
For Windows PC with processor better than PentiumⅢ 500MHz (Pentiumlll 800MHz recommended)
Windows 2000/XP/Vista
250 MB of available hard-disk space (Over 1GB recommend)
Minimum 256MB RAM (Over 512MB recommended)
USB port
CD-ROM drive
1024×768 pixels, 16-bit color display compatible monitor
(24-bit color display recommended)
Microsoft DirectX 9.0C or later
For Macintosh Power Mac G3 or later
Mac OS 10.3 or higher
Minimum 256MB RAM
110MB of available hard-disk space
USB port
CD-ROM drive
Box Contents Body, Li-ion battery SLB-07A, AC Adapter / USB Cable SAC-47, AV Cable, Camera Strap, Samsung Master CD, User Manual (on CD)
Optional Accessories Camera Case

*Specifications and design are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer. All trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective holder.

2 Comments

  • I would just like to ask something, How do i rotate a video clip using this camera?

  • I don’t have this camera so can only give you a general answer: While you may be able to rotate a still picture or perhaps even one picture out of a movie clip, I don’t believe you can rotate a whole movie clip.

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