The Samsung ST100 is a 14 megapixel point and shoot camera with a unique twist - it has a 1.8 inch LCD screen on the front which makes it easier to take self-portrait pictures. In addition to this innovative feature, the Dual View ST100 offers a 3.5 inch, 1,152k touch-screen LCD with built-in Haptic vibration effect for extra feedback and a Smart Gesture user interface with built-in Acceleration Sensor that responds to finger commands. The ST100 also has a 5x optical inner zoom lens with a focal range of 35-175mm, Smart Auto mode which automatically chooses from 16 different settings ranging from landscape to portrait, and 720p video recording at 30fps. The Samsung ST100 is available for $215.99.
Ease of Use
Why put up with just the one when everything goes better with two? We're talking LCD screens. The latest glossy addition to Samsung's burgeoning range of so far unique '2View' cameras, coming after the ST500 and ST600, the 14.2 megapixel ST100 features not only a comparatively huge 3.5-inch, high resolution 1152k dot resolution version with a widescreen aspect ratio at the back, but additionally a small 4:3 ratio 1.8-inch screen at the front.
Face Detection can now detect up to 20 faces in the one frame and once again we have the Samsung regulars of colour adjusting Photo Style Selector modes and digital effects courtesy of its Smart Filters options. The regulars of the tilt and shift lens ape-ing Miniature and perspective warping Fisheye are here, alongside defog and sketch options. Apply these and a new image is created and saved alongside your original. Once again while they probably won't influence your purchase decision one way or the other, they're fun extras.
Paring things down to the essentials, no separate charger is provided with this Samsung as its battery is charged in-camera. One end of a short USB cable plugs into an unprotected port at the camera's base, the other end into a provided mains plug, or directly into a vacant USB port on your laptop for main-free recharging. Whilst that offers some convenience and saves on long snaking cabling, it also means that even if investing in a spare battery the camera is tied up every time you need to re-charge it.
It's also worth mentioning that the camera's large backscreen swallows up all the real estate at the ST100's rear, edging out any physical buttons whatsoever, except for a dedicated playback control that sits half atop the screen surround and half atop the top plate proper. Good to have this for one-touch playback rather than having to otherwise locate a dedicated playback mode from among the screen icons. The 3.5-inch screen is large for a reason as it offers touch panel operation - so there's plenty of space for jabbing fingers this way and that, the trade off being that there's nothing resembling a grip at the back, nor front of this camera.
Like the WP10 its glossy surface means that it's tricky to hold this one rock steady and avoid camera shake, despite built in optical (and digital) image stabilization. Also, as the fingers of your right hand snake around its front searching for something to grip, they part obscure the front LCD, which is ranged toward the left hand edge if looking at the ST100 lens on. So, as usual, this isn't a camera without certain compromises, even if Samsung has furnished this camera with its slightly backwards-slanting design - the lens therefore pointing marginally skywards - which it claims makes for a natural shooting angle.
Samsung ST100 key features include:
* 14.2 Megapixels
* Internal Schneider KREUZNACH 5x Optical Zoom Lens
* 3.5-inch TFT Touchscreen LCD
* 1.8-inch Front LCD screen
* High Sensitivity) up to ISO 3200
* 720p HD video capture (30 fps, H.264 format)
* Smart Gesture User Interface (UI)
* Smart Face Recognition (Up to 6 people manually and 14 people automatically)
* Dual Image Stabilization system (OIS + DIS)
* HDMI output
* Stereo Microphone
* microSD/SDHC memory card slot
* Li-ion battery pack
The Samsung ST100 will be available in December 2010 for a suggested retail price of $215.99. Look for our in-depth review in the weeks to come.