So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Samsung NV 100 HD
14.7-megapixel compact camera with a touch-screen interface
- Touch screen works quite well, 14.7-megapixel sensor, quite speedy at times
- High levels of chromatic aberration, some blotchiness, occasional menu slowdown
A good, high-end compact camera, the Samsung NV 100 HD has a few image quality issues but they can be overlooked. The manual shooting modes combined with the touch-screen interface will be enough to attract some users. Its price tag is perhaps a little high, but touch screens don't come cheap.
Price$ 579.00 (AUD)
Clearly trying to stand out from the crowd of 10-megapixel, 3x optical zoom compacts flooding the market at the moment, Samsung has gone to extra effort with its flagship camera the NV 100 HD. Not only does it sport a massive 14.7-megapixel sensor but it has a touch-screen interface. The images it produces have a few issues, but overall its performance in our tests was above average.
This camera's sensor has about the highest resolution we've seen from a compact camera and we weren't entirely sure what to expect. Its pictures were definitely quite crisp and there was only a little over-sharpening. They weren't that much better than those produced by many 10-megapixel units but there was some difference and the level of detail means they should be fine for even large prints.
Unfortunately, it still suffers from the Achilles heel of many other Samsung cameras: chromatic aberration. There was some hefty purple fringing in our outdoor shots and a decent amount of detail loss towards the corners of the frame.
Colour balance is skewed towards vibrancy, with everything looking strongly saturated. We were a little displeased with the skin tones, which looked somewhat orange, but if you're a fan of lively, strongly saturated images you might find what you're looking for here. There are some on-camera tweaking options if you want to play around a little.
Noise performance was interesting. Our shots looked a little blotchy even at lower sensitivities, but it wasn't too severe. At ISO 100 through 400 the unit produces useable shots. At ISO 800 noise ramps up pretty significantly, and beyond that photos are pretty much a write-off.
The standout feature of the NV 100 HD is its touch-screen interface. Unlike many other cameras, its implementation is quite good and we found the camera easy to navigate. The display is responsive and we didn't find ourselves making many errors, even with the relatively small icons. It was somewhat slow to react at times but this only happened occasionally; overall this is one of the best touch-screen interfaces on a camera to date.
Apart from the occasional bout of slowdown in the menus the NV 100 HD performed quickly. Its shutter lag was about 0.1 of a second; this is a touch slow but nothing noteworthy. It more than made up for this in other areas, with a speedy 1.5 second start-up time and a 1.6 second shot-to-shot time. The burst mode snapped 2.1 frames per second.
Another cool thing about this unit is that it sports a full manual mode, so enthusiasts can tweak shutter speed and aperture if necessary. It isn't as in-depth as most advanced compact cameras, but it's a nifty inclusion nonetheless. Other features include dual image stabilisation (optical and digital) as well as face detection and the usual array of scene and exposure/metering modes. It can also record 720p video, which is becoming more and more popular for compact cameras. It does a good job and the footage looks better than standard-definition footage recorded by other units but it still doesn't match up to a proper high-definition camcorder.
The design is fairly stylish. It is built almost entirely from metal and is slim and sleek. It looks good, feels sturdy and should suit most users looking for a relatively petite yet powerful compact. It also has a rather large 3in display, so framing shots is easy.
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