The Samsung HZ15W is closely related to the HZ10W, a camera that preceded its launch by a month. Like the '10W, the HZ15W is aimed at fans of wide-angle photography. It boosts the resolution slightly from 10.2 to 12.0 effective megapixels, while retaining the Schneider-branded 4.2 to 42mm 10x optical zoom lens. These focal lengths equate to 24 - 240mm equivalent on a 35mm camera, a generous wide angle to a useful telephoto. As you'd expect on a camera with a lens of this reach, there's no optical viewfinder, but the Samsung HZ15W offers a more generous 3.0" LCD display in place of the HZ10W's 2.7" type, still with 230,000 dot resolution. Body size is almost identical, with height and width being the same, but the depth increases by a scant 0.03" (0.7mm).
The Samsung HZ15W includes face detection function with both smile shot and blink detection functions, which can be used to prevent capture of a photo if somebody blinks, and to automatically trigger the shutter when your subject is smiling. The Samsung HZ15W has a range of scene modes aimed at keeping things approachable for beginner photographers while still offering a degree of control over images, as well as a Smart Auto mode which automatically selects the appropriate scene mode from among these. More experienced photographers will appreciate the ability to select their aperture, shutter speed, and ISO sensitivity manually, for full control over the look of photos. There's also a "Smart Album" function in playback mode to help organize images, and a "Beauty Shot" mode which enhances skin tones.
Usefully given the telephoto range available, the Samsung HZ15W includes true mechanical image stabilization, as part of what Samsung terms "Dual Image Stabilization". The other part of the function is Digital Image Stabilization, which combats blur using the camera's firmware, automatically raising the camera's ISO sensitivity (and noise levels) as needed. The Samsung HZ15W has the ability to record movies in MPEG-4 H.264 format, with a maximum resolution of 720p (1280 x 720 pixels). Connectivity options include HDMI video with no cradle required, allowing the camera to be directly connected to the latest high-definition displays.
The Samsung HZ15W ships from March 2009, with pricing set at about $330 - a modest $30 premium over the HZ10W's pricetag.