The Samsung Digimax S500 combines a five megapixel CCD imager and a Samsung SHD-branded 3x optical zoom lens with a fairly standard 35 - 105mm equivalent focal range. For framing images, the S500 forgoes any form of optical viewfinder - increasingly rare on digicams these days - in favor of a large 2.4" LCD display with 112,000 pixels. The lack of an optical viewfinder, while not unusual, is a shame since they add a good degree of versatility - letting you get the shot when you can't make out the LCD in bright sunlight, or save battery life by disabling the LCD when accurate framing isn't vital. Images are stored on Secure Digital / MultiMediaCards, or in 20MB of internal memory.
The Samsung S500 has ten scene modes to help beginners achieve the results they're looking for without the need to understand subtleties like shutter speeds, apertures and the like. The S500 determines exposures with multi or spot metering, and offers 2.0EV of exposure compensation in 1/2EV increments. Seven white balance settings are available including an auto mode, five presets and the ability to measure a custom white balance. ISO sensitivity is controlled automatically or manually, ranging from 50 to 400. The Digimax S500 also offers a movie mode, capturing clips at up to VGA resolution with audio, using MotionJPEG compression. Power comes from two AA batteries - either Alkaline disposable, or NiMH rechargeable.