Samsung ST150F Preview
by Mike Tomkins
Intrigued by Samsung's Smart-badged camera lineup, but don't have a lot of money to spend? The Samsung ST150F is the most affordable to join the family so far this year, and it looks to have quite a bit in common with the DV150F, although it lacks that camera's secondary, front-panel DualView display.
The Samsung ST150F's imaging pipeline is very similar to that in the DV150F. Behind a 5x optical zoom lens sits a 16.1-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CCD image sensor that yields an ISO sensitivity range from 100 to 3,200 equivalents. The lens, meanwhile, provides 35mm-equivalent focal lengths from a useful 25mm wide angle to a modest 125mm telephoto. The maximum aperture starts off from a fairly bright f/2.5 at wide angle, but falls to a dim f/6.3 at telephoto. Sadly, there's no true optical image stabilization to help out in fighting camera shake-induced blur. Instead the ST150F relies on digital image stabilization, which simply raises sensitivity (and noise levels) to get a faster shutter speed.
Images are framed and reviewed on a 3.0-inch LCD panel, slightly larger than the 2.7-inch rear-panel display of the DualView camera. The Samsung ST150F's display has a total resolution of around 320 x 240 pixels. By way of comparison, assuming three dots per color, that's equivalent to 230,000 dots -- about the norm these days, although some cameras have much higher dot counts, and a rare few still offer lower resolution.
Of course, if you're intending to get your photos onto social networking sites, taking them is only half the battle. The other half is provided for by built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking connectivity, letting the ST150F share pictures to services like Facebook with a minimum of fuss. The ST150F includes the latest iteration of Samsung's Smart Camera system. Now dubbed Smart Camera 2.0, the system allows for quick one-click sharing of images with a smartphone. It also lets you remotely control the camera using a free Samsung Smart Camera app, available on either Android or iOS operating systems. This provides not only for remote shutter release, but also for remote viewfinder, impressive for a camera at this price point. A dedicated Direct Link button aims to make it quick and easy to get your Wi-Fi connection set up.
Samsung has included its Smart Filter 3.0 tool to let you tweak your photos before sharing them, and a magic frame function that lets you overlay a variety of picture frames on your photos. The ST150F also allows for high-def movie capture, with videos saved using Motion JPEG compression.
The Samsung ST150F stores images and movies on MicroSD cards, including MicroSDHC types. Connectivity includes standard-def composite video output and USB 2.0 High Speed data. Power comes from a proprietary BP70A lithium-ion rechargeable battery. No information on battery life was available at press time.
The Samsung ST150F ships in the first quarter of 2013, with pricing set at around US$130. Four body colors will be offered: black, white, silver, or pink.