Touch screen technology has been emerging here and there ““ it seems like everyone wants a gadget with the touch screen and user interface that is simple, functional and easy to use. There are success stories with smartphones and gadgets having the touch screen interface and I must say that a lot have been nothing short of impressive. Cameras have also joined the bandwagon when it comes to integrating this technology but I haven’t really come across one having an impressive user experience for me to completely give up on buttons.
I came across the Samsung ST5000 ““ It’s a compact point-and-shoot comprising of a 14.2 megapixel sensor, a high quality Schneider-Kreuznach f/3.3 ““ f/5.5 with a 7x zoom lens equivalent to 31-217mm, a big 3.5″ touch screen high-resolution active matrix LCD monitor (I was told it was the highest resolution so far for a compact camera) and a 720p HD video with stereo audio.
You’ve got to give it to Samsung for producing such sleek designs for their technologies. The camera unit I used was a matte black color ““ it really is very attractive, stylish and compact. It seems expensive and very well-made.
The large touch screen is the only thing you can find at the back of the camera, replacing all physical buttons.
You can find buttons at the top of the camera ““ Just the Power, Play, the Shutter and zoom controls. Very minimal.
The lens of the camera really stands out and it makes it appear like the lens is oversized for the compact body, stressing out that Samsung did not sacrifice anything in terms of quality and giving you your money’s worth.
The 3.5″ touch screen high-resolution LCD monitor would have to be the selling point of the camera. The resolution is 1,152,000 pixels ““ even bigger than a lot of DSLR cameras. Viewing photos is just so enjoyable with a screen that big. I must say though, that I’m not too impressed by the touch-screen interface.
You can tap the screen for previous and next photos, as well as slide your finger across the screen, but there is a bit of lag when doing so. I think that it could use an improvement on response time.
As for zooming, I’m limited to using on-screen arrow keys to move around the picture. It’s rather disappointing considering it’s a touch-screen ““ I found myself sliding my finger across the screen in hopes that the picture would move along with my finger. It gets a little frustrating, especially if you’ve experienced using an Apple iPhone/iTouch interface, which may be an unfair comparison. I can’t help to use it as a benchmark though because it may be something many of us have gotten used to.
Selecting through scene modes is easy and you can choose to set the white balance, flash and timer settings with no problem. If you’re unfamiliar with the icons and what function it does, just lay your finger over the icon for less than a second and the feature’s description is displayed as a form of help. User-friendly, don’t you think?
Here are some other features I liked from the camera:
- There is a picture timeline sorted by date. This way, you won’t have to keep on scrolling to look for a specific picture. Comes in pretty handy if you take a whole lot of photos like I do.
- You can play a Slideshow of your pictures with background music and transition effects.
- Customize your photo with effects such as vivid and retro, as well as filter them with vignetting and the fisheye effect. You can play around this and have some fun before you upload photos to your favorite social networking site.
The Samsung ST5000 produces good quality shots during the day and when the flash is turned on at low-lighting conditions. I’m a big fan of natural lighting though and most of the time I’d turn the flash off. I noticed that if I do so, the image tends to get grainy and there is a certain softness to the edges, especially if the ISO is increased. The softness could actually add character to your photos and I prefer it this way.
I would probably suggest to keep the ISO to 400 and below so as not to sacrifice the picture quality. Other than that, the camera produces good picture results and meets the requirements for a good point-and-shoot.
See some shots taken with the Samsung ST5000:
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try out its 720p HD video recording which is pretty handy for such a compact device.
The Samsung ST5000 has a sleek, stylish and compact design that makes it feel that it is expensive and well-made. The big 3.5″ touch screen LCD monitor would have to be its selling point because it makes viewing and editing photos very easy with just a tap of your finger. Pretty useful I might say if you’re wearing gloves somewhere cold and don’t want to fumble with knobs and dials.
The picture quality can become soft and grainy on low-lighting conditions but it’s all a matter of preference to the owner and can have work-arounds to achieve less grain and softness to the edges.
All in all, the Samsung ST5000 meets the requirements for a good, attractive, touch-screen point-and-shoot digital camera with the capacity to do HD video recording ““ all your money’s worth.
- 14.2 mega-pixels
- 1/2.3″ CCD
- 7x Optical Zoom
- 3.5in TFT LCD Touch-Screen
- 720p HD video recording @ 30fps
- built-in HDMI
- Dual Image Stabilisation: Optical IS + Digital IS
- Smart Face Recognition (up to 20 faces)
Editor’s note: This post is contributed by Liane Ng with some slight revisions by the editor. Li is a girl with immense luck who loves to take photos of everything. In fact, she owns a handful of cameras”¦ all are analogue except for her trusty 4-megapixel shooter.