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Samsung DualView ST600 Overview

Posted: 07/21/2010

The Samsung ST600 features a 14.2 megapixel CCD image sensor behind a Schneider-Kreuznach Varioplan branded 5x optical zoom lens. The ST600's lens has 35mm-equivalent focal lengths from a useful 27mm wide angle to a moderate 135mm telephoto. The ST600's lens includes optical image stabilization, which should help reduce the likelihood of blur caused by camera shake, 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.

There's no optical viewfinder, with images being framed on a 3.5-inch LCD display. A particularly unusual feature of the Samsung ST600 is that in addition to the main, rear-panel LCD display, it also includes a secondary color LCD on the camera's front surface adjacent to the lens. It serves as an alternative to the articulated displays found on some cameras, which can often be tilted and/or swiveled so as to allow them to be seen from in front of the lens - useful for self portraits and group shots using a timer. The dual-display approach offers an advantage over such designs in that there's no need for a potentially fragile tilt/swivel mechanism. On the other hand though, it doesn't allow the LCD screen to be protected from damage by folding it inwards as can be done with a tilt/swivel display - and indeed, there's now twice as many displays risking damage from a knock or scrape. It also can't be seen from other directions such as above or below the camera. Although its size has been increased somewhat from the 1.5-inch screens of predecessor models, the front-panel display is also significantly smaller than the main panel, at just 1.8-inch diagonal. Samsung has given the ST600 the ability for the front-panel display to frame self-portraits using the timer, as well as for a countdown display during timer operation (ensuring everybody knows when to smile), and to show a brief animation when the camera is in Children mode, intended to catch your child's attention so they look directly at the camera while their photo is taken. In addition, it is possible to frame videos using the front LCD, and the Children mode animation is now accompanied by a short musical clip to further grab a child's attention.

The Samsung ST600 has the ability to record standard or high definition movies with sound at 30 frames per second in H.264 format, with a maximum resolution of 720p (1,280 x 720 pixels). Connectivity options include HDMI video with Consumer Electronics Control support, allowing the camera to be connected to, and remotely controlled via, the latest high-definition displays. The ST600 also includes face detection capability with a smile detection functions, which can be used to automatically capture a photo when everyone's smiling. It can also be manually programmed to recognize six people's faces, and prioritize them when recognized in a scene. There's also a "Beauty Shot" mode which smooths skin tones on detected faces, and a couples mode which automatically captures an image when it detects two faces tilted towards each other. Perhaps most unusually, a "Jump Shot" mode prompts subjects when to jump in the air, and then snaps three shots in succession to try and get the exact moment everybody jumped. The Samsung ST600 also has a selection of scene modes aimed at keeping things approachable for beginner photographers while still offering a degree of control over images, plus a Smart Auto mode which automatically selects a scene mode as appropriate -- even for movies.

The Samsung ST600 ships from September 2010, priced at $330.