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Samsung DualView ST700 Overview

Posted 01/05/2011

The Samsung ST700 features a 16.1 megapixel CCD image sensor behind a Schneider-Kreuznach Varioplan branded 5x optical zoom lens. The ST700's lens has 35mm-equivalent focal lengths from a useful 26mm wide angle to a moderate 130mm telephoto. The ST700'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 3.0-inch, wide-screen, touch panel LCD. A particularly unusual feature of the Samsung ST700 is that in addition to the main, rear-panel LCD monitor, 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. Though large for its kind, the front-panel display is also significantly smaller than the main panel, at just 1.8-inch diagonal. Samsung has given the ST700 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. A new "Easy Self Shot" mode powers down the main LCD for added privacy.

The Samsung ST700 has the ability to record standard or high definition movies with sound at 30 frames per second, 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 ST700 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 programmed to recognize 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. The Samsung ST700 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 2.0 mode which automatically selects from 16 scene modes for stills and 4 for movies. Smart Filters 2.0 such as "soft focus", "half-tone dot", "cinema", "fish-eye", "miniature" and "sketch" add some interesting effects. The newly added "Magic Frame" feature instantly creates formatted postcards or posters using built-in templates.

The Samsung ST700 ships from March, priced at around US$280.