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Samsung TL500 Overview

Posted: 02/20/2010

Samsung's TL500 is a compact camera clearly aimed at enthusiast use, with some features not typical of most point-and-shoots such as an external flash hot shoe, a tilt/swivel LCD display, and an exceptionally wide and bright lens. The Samsung TL500 design is based around a 1/1.7"-type CCD image sensor with an effective resolution of ten megapixels. This sensor lies behind a Schneider Kreuznach Varioplan-branded 3x optical zoom lens which offers the range from a 5.2mm wide angle to a 15.6mm telephoto. In 35mm equivalents, that's everything from a very generous 24mm wide angle to a modest 72mm telephoto. Maximum aperture varies from f/1.8 to f/2.4 across the zoom range. The TL500 also includes Samsung's Dual Image Stabilization technology, which couples both true optical image stabilization, and software-based anti blur techniques.

The rear panel of the Samsung TL500 is dominated by a 3.0-inch AMOLED display, mounted on a tilt / swivel mechanism that allows viewing from a wide range of angles. Compared to traditional LCD displays, AMOLED panels generally offer lower power consumption (and hence better battery life), greater viewing angles, greater contrast, and more vivid color. As well as a built-in flash strobe, the TL500 also provides a hot shoe connection for external flash strobes.

The Samsung TL500's relatively large image sensor in concert with its DRIMeIII image processor combine to offer sensitivity to a maximum of ISO 3200 equivalent. As you'd expect of a camera aimed at enthusiasts, the TL500 sports not just aperture- and shutter-priority auto shooting, but also a fully manual mode that allows the photographer to control both variables. For those times when you just want a quick snapshot, the TL500 also offers Samsung's Smart Auto 2 scene recognition function, which works with both still image and video shooting.

Another feature aimed at enthusiasts is the Samsung TL500's file format choice - not only JPEG still images, but also Raw shooting for when the maximum versatility in post-capture processing is desired. Surprisingly, the TL500's video capability lags well behind the current crop of 720p / 1080i high-def digicams on the market though, with only a modest VGA (640 x 480 pixel) standard definition mode on offer. The TL500's standard-def movies are captured with H.264 compression, and a frame rate of 30fps.

The Samsung TL500 ships in a black body color only, from Spring 2010. Pricing is set at around US$450.