Samsung PL101 Digital Camera Review

Did you ever have to take a self-taken shot the second time around just because it was wrongly positioned? I bet a lot of people had experienced that kind of problem especially when taking a self-portrait. This has always been my problem with self-taken photos and at times, it becomes so frustrating that I just tend to settle for the mediocre photos.

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After having tested the Samsung PL 101, I can safely say that self-taken photos will never be a problem again thanks to its front LCD.

The Samsung PL 101 is a point-and-shoot camera that features 12.2 megapixels, 6.3-18.9 mm in size and its main selling point, which is the 1.5″ front LCD. On first impressions, it will give you a fun feel as a playing animation (more on this later) automatically appears on the front LCD when you turn the power on.

It is very light and the shell is made of glossy plastic like a toy. In fact, I think it’s even the lightest camera I’ve ever carried.

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The buttons are very easy to locate. Like most Samsung cameras, you’ll find the shutter and power buttons on top plus another button to activate the front LCD in case you’d like to shift screens.

The good stuff

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Remember, the animation I was talking about? You can choose to display it on the front LCD when taking a shot? And why would you do this you ask? Samsung created this cute feature to keep babies preoccupied while you take their photo. Clever huh?

I like how the camera adjusts well to the lighting conditions like in the photo below. Nice auto white balance.

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This photo was taken at home at around 5 pm. Notice how bright it looked like using this camera.

The fun feel in the camera is not only experienced through its front LCD. It also features a Smile Shot which will trigger the camera once smile is detected. It’s like talking to you and saying that it will only shoot happy memories so better give it your best smile.

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There’s also the Blink Detection. Because you don’t want taking photos of people blinking right when the shutter clicks, what the Samsung PL101 does is to take two consecutive shots automatically.

One of the best features of the Samsung PL 101 is the beauty shot, which I admittedly enjoyed while playing with the unit. You have the option to set the level of Face Tone (to brighten your face) and apply the Face Retouch to remove all your blemishes and make you look like an instant star.

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Here’s a photo I took with the Face Tone set to level 2 and Face Retouch set to level 1. Using the normal settings, you’d still see a pimple just right above my left eyebrow. In this photo, it is almost invisible.

The Samsung PL101 has a variety of film effects that controls the colors of your shot just like any point-and-shoot digital cameras nowadays. Effects like Vivid, Cool, Negative, Forest, Retro, etc.

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Here’s a sample shot of a scene taken with the Retro effect.

The not so good stuff

Despite the playful and fun image it projects, I believe it lacked some features that would have added in making the Samsung PL 101 the perfect camera of its kind. It does not have a lot of special photo effects I was initially looking for like, fisheye, film grain, sketch, different choices of backgrounds, borders and frames and what have you. Some Samsung cameras even have features where you can actually put in thought bubbles and apply text to the photo for an instant comic event.

The quality of the shots is acceptable for a P&S especially when natural lighting condition is good. I noticed, however, a certain degree of graininess in the photos (which is not at all bad but obviously won’t work for people who are nitpicky when it comes to picture quality).

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There’s a degree of graininess in this photo especially with more intricate details like dog furs.

I also found its Digital Image Stabilization (DIS) feature poor. Unless I am able to really hold the camera steadily, most pictures come out blurry. Don’t expect this model to be able to capture motion well. I can only recommend this for still shots but not for anything moving. Otherwise, you won’t get your desired photo.

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I took this photo of our errand boys using the DIS feature and still it didn’t come out right.

I was also able to try its video feature and was disappointed because the lens kept on focusing on the wrong subject. As a result, the video quality was good but the subject was a bit blurry especially when it gets too close.

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I couldn’t understand why most photos came out like this. I doubt that it’s my hand because this doesn’t happen with other cameras.

Here are some more sample shots taken with the Samsung PL101:

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Conclusion

In conclusion, the Samsung PL 101 can be highly recommended for the younger population. Those who like taking self-taken photos will surely enjoy it. It is very user-friendly but on the other hand, it has fewer features than most mid-range point-and-shoot cameras. This fun and playful camera produces better portraits with its Beauty Shot feature and takes the best candid photos of you with its Smile Detector feature.

I am not a very techie person, which is why I am not really too keen on the camera specs. But I do love taking photos so I really want a user-friendly and fun camera like the Samsung PL101 for myself.

Specs:

  • 12.2 Megapixels
  • 3x optical zoom
  • 2.7″ TFT LCD Screen
  • Dual Image Display – 1.5″ Front LCD
  • Scene: Frame Guide, Portrait,Landscape,Close up Text, Sunset, Dawn, Back Light, Fireworks, Beach& Snow
  • Effect: Photo Style Selector : Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative

Editor’s note: This post is contributed by Kristel Serra with some slight revisions by the editor. Kristel is not used to handling cameras. She prefers to be on the other end of the camera lens that’s why the Samsung PL101 appeals to her. She’s also multilingual and can out-burp any guy.

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  • salamoon

    sorry mate, but this camera (altogether with its sister’s model samsung PL150) just can’t get the job done, it’s a good thing that you’ve got some cool features but when it comes to crucial things such as picture quality and video quality, this camera really struggles … picture quality while using maximum zoom is terrible, unacceptable, so in low light and high ISO, this is a problem of most samsung cheaper cameras … it’s got quite good auto white balance and pictures in daylight or low ISO are good, also continuos shooting performance for movement capturing is weak, battery life is frustrating, and the camera I had just kept freezing from time to time … the pictures seem to look good on camera screen but in your PC is a different story though, grainy and noisy … also this samsung lens is nothing to stand out … i wanted to like the PL100/PL150 but left disapointed …moreover i have found out that other samsung cameras under 300 euros have the same problem … including wb600/650

    • thanks for your comment man. yeah, samsung has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to delivering quality photos on their compact shooters.

      • salamoon

        the funny thing is … about a couple of years ago i bought the Samsung PL60 model, as a birthday gift for someone, and this camera had better picture quality than these new models, i can’t really understand why they stubbornly try to pack those small ‘gadgets’ with so many megapixels on such a small sensor … since the Fuji F30/31 times i haven’t tried a small cheap compact camera I’d really like when it comes to overall picture quality (apart from some more expensive models), anyways samsung hasn’t got just there yet in this ‘small compact’ category despite some usefull features, but what’s worse, ongoing troubles with overall reliability seem to be an issue as well … it’s shame, they would be the excellent cheap compact cameras if samsung can cope more successfully with some of the above mentioned issues … actually, all of them 🙂

  • can i ask somthing how much is this camera cuz i want 2 by this camera it’s da new camera on of our website….

    • it is 9,990.00 pesos trixie

    • chynaeyes

      Hi Trixie,

      I’m selling PL101 for P8,000 only. Brand New, sealed box. you can check it if you want just leave a messege here

      • Gerry Acosta

        do you have extra battery of your cam?

  • landun

    I’ve continuously felt that you just recuperate photos out of a “normal size camera” as opposition these small ones that slot in your pocket. whereas I still feel that means, i have to say that up to now i’m happy with this Coolpix L2

  • Nowadays there are so many Digital Camera like this one but one thing is for sure Canon is still the best brand that i like to have.

  • Gerry Acosta

    saan po pwede maka bili ng battery ng samsung pl101 salamat po paki Txt na lang po ako salamat tlga need it badly 🙂

    • try samsung shops? or where you bought your samsung camera.

  • sean

    does any1 know how to remove the flash?? i’ve been searching all over!!

    • Mehehe

      There’s a lightning with an arrow head on the left of the circle. Try pressing that…

  • Danansuriya

    This camera is not good. After 1.5 years using it now I see horizontal lines in the screen. Very poor quality as well. I recommend not to buy this camera.

    • rhodora

      mine too!….I got it in december 2009 and when i used it last may 23, 2012 there were horizontal lines in the screen.

      • france

        mine too, i bought this samsung PL101 last 2010, and now it has HORIZONTAL Line, the Picture city where i bought the camera charge me 397 for check up and 2900 for the lens, guys,better not to buy this product, i also find tne video, while u are in video mode then u want to zoom the subject the sounds tends to jump,not worth for 8k, better buy LG or Canon Cameras etc as ive tried…

        • kuting

          I also had the same problem. Is it realy necessary to change the lens?

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    Plz reply as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know where u got this from.
    thanks a lot