A 10.2-megapixel compact
- Easy access to menu functions, wide angle lens, dedicated dial for colour modes
- Images are muddy, poor low light performance, some discolouration in dark grey tones
The Samsung NV24HD compact digital camera is a good option if you want a model that can capture decent still photos across a range of modes, average video, as well as providing direct access to most manual settings. It employs an innovative menu navigation, which we quickly became accustomed to using. For users who often like to fiddle with the image settings the NV24HD navigation makes this camera a very interesting proposition.
Price$ 629.00 (AUD)
Sitting towards the top end of Samsung's new line of digital still cameras is the NV24HD. Sporting a sleek design and an innovative control scheme this unit is certainly eye catching, and the 10.2-megapixel sensor captures fairly good quality images. The unit also boasts high definition video recording and some pretty cool features, making it an appealing high end compact.
Images produced by the NV24HD were, on the whole, pretty good although they did have a few flaws. For example while our shots were crisp and showed well rendered detail, Imatest did discover a bit of undersharpening that at times gave them a somewhat soft look. Fortunately chromatic aberration was well controlled with very little haloing on high contrast edges and minimal purple fringing outdoors.
Noise performance was reasonable and in line with our expectations. Shots at ISO 100 and 200 were clean and crisp. ISO 400 saw a vague blotchiness introduced but it wasn't serious. Once we hit ISO 800 however, the picture took on quite a warm cast and the noise began to result in a degradation in sharpness.
Colour balance was the NV24HD's weakest area. It offers a variety of colour options including standard, soft and vivid; we found vivid produced the best balance. It produced very strongly saturated shades that weren't entirely accurate, but this is to be expected. On the default setting reds looked quite good but yellows and blues were both washed out and pale. Imatest gave a fairly poor score using this configuration, however it improved somewhat when switching to vivid.
In our speed tests this camera was a solid performer. It started up in 1.8 seconds and exhibited 0.06 seconds of shutter lag, which is quite speedy. However shot to shot time was a mixed bag. On single shot mode it took about 2.5 seconds between snaps which is pretty sluggish, but switching to burst mode brought this down to a much more acceptable 1.5 seconds. Unfortunately we were disappointed by the burst mode itself, which only snapped 0.9 shots per second; a paltry effort by modern standards.
The feature set is fairly robust for a compact. While the lens is just a basic 3x zoom, it is backed up by both optical and digital image stabilisation. Face detect is also included, along with 14 scene modes and a fairly hefty host of colour and picture options (soft, vivid, retro, sepia, green, blue etc). One key feature is the high definition video recording, with resolutions up to 1280x720 on offer. However while it sounds impressive, the video quality was still fairly low, with a fair few artefacts and aberrations which obscured detail.
Another interesting feature of the NV24HD is its control scheme. We were a little confused when first getting our hands on the product, as there is no directional pad to speak of. Instead, navigation is handled by two rows of touch sensitive buttons that run along either side of the screen. These correspond to icons on the display itself and give access to all the key features. There is no menu; everything is done through these keys. We found they worked pretty well in some instances, but were also a little clunky in others. On the whole it's a nice touch, but we're not sure what they really bring to the party over a regular d-pad, style aside.
Aesthetically this is a pretty suave camera. With an all black, metal body that is both slim and sturdy, it is one of the better designed units on the market right now.
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