Samsung MV900F Technical Info
by Mike Tomkins
Last year, Samsung took the basic concept of its DualView camera series in a different direction, with the launch of its first MultiView model, the MV800. That camera featured a tilting display rather than a separate, secondary LCD on the front panel, catering to viewing from in front of the camera. The change meant greater simplicity compared to DualView models, and allowed a much larger portrait preview. It's a much more "normal" method of offering portrait framing, found in models from many manufacturers.
You might think that would have robbed the MV800 of its uniqueness, but it's still a little unusual. That unusual nature is retained for the followup, the Samsung MV900F, which also brings a subtle restyling. Unlike most cameras that tilt only the display itself, though, the MultiView cameras tilt the entire rear panel of the camera complete with controls. The top-mounted hinge is one of the more significantly restyled areas, with the large gap seen in the hinge of the MV800 largely eliminated in the new model. The MV900's tough-sensitive LCD itself is also slightly bigger, with a 3.3-inch diagonal, where the MV800 had a 3.0-inch display. That's made the camera body about 0.3 inches wider, and 0.2 inches taller.
The design still has some drawbacks, though. With the screen swiveled upwards on a relatively slim body, there's no easy way to reach the top-mounted shutter button, which is largely obscured by the screen itself. Samsung solves that problem with a secondary shutter button on the camera's rear, behind the LCD panel, as well as a touch shutter function for those who find the secondary button uncomfortable to reach. There's also no way to close the LCD panel facing inwards, for added protection, and perhaps more importantly no way to aim the LCD downwards for framing over the head.
Of course, there's a lot more to the Samsung MV900F than its tilting display, quite a bit of it new since the MV800, even if it's the display that will grab attention most immediately. Key among the changes is the addition of built-in WiFi connectivity, which allows for sharing and syncing with the impressive ecosystem of connected devices from Samsung, including smartphones, TVs, and more. Via an Internet-connected network, you can also upload from the camera to Facebook, Photobucket, Picasa, and YouTube, all without touching a cable.
An attention-grabbing new feature is perhaps going to make you feel a bit silly, but nevertheless could prove useful for self-portraits. The Samsung MV900F now recognizes two different hand gestures. Wave your hand in circles and you'll control the zoom mechanism, which steps in or out slightly for each complete circle your hand describes. (The direction in which you wave determines whether you zoom in or out.) You can also wave your hand up and down, which will trigger the self-timer. And perhaps has passers-by waving back at you--or just looking a bit confused. ;-)
The MV900F also brings a new sensor and lens to the table. The sensor has minutely higher resolution, but more significantly, is now a backside-illuminated CMOS type. This is likely to have better light-gathering and noise characteristics than the previous CCD sensor. The ISO sensitivity range is just slightly narrower, though, at 100 to 3,200 equivalents. (The MV800 provided for 80 to 3,200 equivalents.)
The lens, meanwhile, is ever so slightly wider-angle, while retaining the same 5x optical zoom range (and so, you lose just a little bit of telephoto). There's a worthwhile increase in brightness at wide angle, but this is unfortunately accompanied by the lens becoming even dimmer than it already was at telephoto. Also, the Schneider-Kreuznach branding of the MV800's lens is gone, replaced by Samsung branding on the MV900F's lens.
There are a handful of other notable changes. The MV800's pointless 10MB of internal memory is gone, leaving only the tiny Micro SD / Micro SDHC cards to cater for storage. Quite commonly used by smartphones, these cards allow MV900F owners to take their images and upload them immediately via their phone. The MV900F's movie mode has been boosted to allow for Full HD (1080p; 1,920 x 1,080 pixel) video, rather than just 720p. Unfortunately, the internal microphone has simultaneously been switched from a stereo to a monaural type.
Also worth noting is that the battery pack has been changed to a different type, offering about 19% more power. Samsung doesn't provide CIPA specs for either camera model, and so we can't compare battery life directly between the MV800 and MV900F.
Pricing for the Samsung MultiView MV900F is set at about US$350, about $70 more than the MV800. Availability is set for August 2012, and body colors will include black and white.