Samsung SMX-C20 Review

Build and design

Samsung SMX-C20 is one of Samsung’s newest digital camcorder in the market today. It has a compact and lightweight design which makes it easy to carry around and fit in your pocket.

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The Samsung SMX-C20 uses SDHC or SD memory card and supports 512MB up to 32GB memory. It has a 2.7 inches LCD viewfinder and a 10x optical zoom and up to 1,200x zoom.

The design and colour blend is stylish and it is available in four variants: black, red, blue and purple.

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The memory cam’s lens is slanted at 25° which sets it apart from the conventional camcorders. The LCD screen can also be rotated up to 180° toward the lens and up to 90° backward. You can also fold it back to the body.

There are two Recoding buttons – one on the left side of the LCD screen and the other on the rear side of the camcorder. The Photo button is located beside the Zoom lever at the top of the camcorder.

Also on the left side of the LCD screen are the Menu button and joystick control which can be used to select menu items. The Power button can be found on the right of the LCD screen together with some other buttons e.g. Share, Display, Mode and Smart Auto buttons.

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The USB, AV, DC IN jacks, memory and battery slots can be exposed by sliding the cover which also houses the rear Recording button.

The box comes with the battery pack, user manual, ac power adaptor, a/v cable, usb cable, user manual cd and quickstart guide. It also comes with a free carrying case, handstrap and memory card.

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Features

The Samsung SMX-C20 memory camcorder is compatible with H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format, the same format used in some high definition systems such as Blu-ray and HDTV and also in a number of portable devices.

It has five modes divided in two resolutions: TV and Web. TV Super Fine  720×480 (60i), TV Fine  720×480 (60i),  TV Normal  720×480 (60i),  Web Fine  640×480 (30p) and Web Normal  640×480 (30p)

There are four photo resolutions: 16:9 (1696×960), 16:9 (848×480), 4:3 (1600×1200) and 4:3 (800×400)

The camcorder has a Smart Auto feature which automatically selects a scene e.g. auto, sports, portrait, spotlight, beach, etc. depending on the recording condition. It also has an Anti-Shake (HDIS) to provide better stability.

Aside from the iScene which allows you to select modes depending on the conditions or recording environment, it has a lot of other features such as:  setting the exposure manually, adding digital effect (blk & wht, negative, sepia, etc.), fader which fades in and fades out in the beginning and end of videos, wind cut to reduce wind noise when recording ,time lapse recording , guidelines , divide/combine videos and ability to upload videos and photos on YouTube, Facebook and Flickr

Charging the battery can be done via ac power adaptor or usb cable.

Ease of Use and Performance

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The ergonomic design was quite new and it required me some practice to get used to shooting videos with the camcorder angled down at 25°.

Having two Recording buttons allowed me to use either hand to start/stop the recording.

Using the Zoom Lever to zoom in/out can be done easily with the index finger, so as with capturing photos with the Photo button. It could have been better though if they placed the Photo button beside the rear Record button.

Moreover, you cannot take photos while recording videos. Quality of videos recorded in low light was subpar. Photo quality is also below average.

The optical zoom was somewhat decent. The digital zoom provided more power but it gets too shaky when maximized.

Closing the battery/memory card cover can sometimes be demanding. I need to make sure that I have to slide/close it gently worrying that I might break it when putting pressure on it.

The features of the camcorder were quite useful and entertaining at the same time. I tried playing around with the different iScene settings and Digital Effects and found the Fader to be one of my favourite. I was not able to take Time Lapse videos though.

Some other practical features are the Divide/Combine videos, Wind Cut and Guidelines which display straight patterns in the LCD screen that really helps when recording horizons.

The Samsung SMX-C20 also provides great playback options for viewing videos and photo onscreen and on the PC. It has a slideshow viewer and iView which provides a storyboard so you don’t have to review the entire videos.

Moreover, the camcorder has a built in software called the Intelli-Studio which allows you to import, edit or share videos/photos in YouTube, Facebook and Flickr.

Below are a couple of photos that i took with the Samsung SMX-C20:

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Here’s a sample video that I took:

Conclusion

The Samsung SMX-C20 is an entry-level, compact camera which you can simply carry around in your purse or in your pocket. It is easy to use although it requires a little familiarization on handling in order for you to shoot videos at 25° angle.

The video quality and zoom quality is average and it does not record HD videos. Photo quality is below average since it can only shoot still photos at 1.9 megapixels.

The camcorder provides many features for recording, editing and playback of videos and photos which are not mostly available in most camcorders.

The Samsung SMX-C20 can be useful for taking every day videos, home videos or videos for the web.

Priced at around Php 13,000, it is a great option for those looking for an entry-level, compact camcorder. But with lots of ultra-compact High Definition pocket camcorders available in the market you might want to think twice before buying this device.

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