Samsung previews 15x zoom and ultra-slim digicams (UPDATED)|
(Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - 13:26 EDT)
An article from the Chinese website PCOnline.com.cn reports on a new digital camera from Tianjin Samsung Opto-Electronics Co. Ltd. shown at the 2005 Shanghai Imaging Expo.
The Samsung Digimax Pro 815 is grabbing quite a bit of attention, thanks to its Schneider-Kreuznach Varioplan lens, which features a whopping 7.2 - 108mm 15x optical zoom. The widest focal length of 28mm equivalent should prove very useful, but we'll reserve judgement on how useable the lens is at its 420mm equivalent telephoto, since the company has not mentioned image stabilisation, and we don't currently know the maximum ISO sensitivity. Other websites have speculated that the camera features an eight megapixel imager (based on the model number), and we can confirm based on information direct from Samsung that this is indeed the case. We believe the sensor is a 2/3" CCD type. Other features include a 3.5" TFT LCD display - said by Samsung to be the biggest on a digital camera - as well as what Samsung says is the highest capacity proprietary battery, a 1900mAh 7.4v type.
The new model is apparently fairly speedy, with a 1 second start-up time, 1-second shot-to-shot time, and 2.5 frames per second burst mode. The lens is said to have both zoom and focusing rings, as well as a rather unusual idea - an EV compensation ring. Shutter and aperture control should be possible with what Samsung is calling a "2Jog system". Flash photography is catered for via a pop-up flash above the lens barrel, and a flash hot shoe.
One detail we're unclear on is that Samsung describes the camera as the world's first with a "TOP LCD" for low-level viewing; we're not sure what Samsung means by this, honestly. We've not yet seen a clear photo of the top of the camera, but it does appear to have some kind of a screen on the top; if this is in LCD info display it is obviously not a world's first. Perhaps they're referring to the viewing angle of the rear LCD display, which doesn't appear to tilt or swivel - or perhaps there's a color LCD on the top of the camera as well. The viewfinder appears to be an electronic type, which is what you'd expect given the long zoom lens. PCOnline.com.cn predicts that the camera will go on sale in July or August of this year; our own information from Samsung suggests the camera should be officially announced by the end of May.
Samsung is also showing its upcoming Digimax i5 digital camera at the show, a five megapixel model with 3x optical zoom lens in a 17.3mm-thick all-metal body. This camera is said to have a VGA 30 frames per second movie mode using MPEG4 compression, and apparently offers a range of photography effects. As with the Digimax Pro 815, the i5 should be officially announced next month.
UPDATED 2004-04-26 02:16ET: According to the Chinese DPNet website, it appears the Digimax i5 may also be known as the SL1 in some markets. The cameras on display at the show are labelled SL1, although the information provided by Samsung stated the i5 name.
Meanwhile, many more photos of the Digimax Pro 815 can be seen on a Korean forum. The individual who posted the photos was apparently told that the maximum aperture of the Schneider Kreuznach lens varies from F2.2 to F4.6 across the zoom range. It can also be seen from the photos (and is mentioned in the Korean text) that when set to Macro mode, the lens range is limited to 50 - 100mm equivalent only. You can also see a switch for single / continuous AF, AF-auto, AF-lock, AE-lock and playback zoom buttons (the AE-lock button looks to double as the "zoom out / thumbnail index" button. There's a four-way controller with central OK button, and dials on both the front and rear of the camera (presumably what Samsung means by a 2Jog system).
UPDATED 2005-04-26 14:48ET: Still more photos can be seen on the Chinese website Zol.com.cn. Their photos include a better view of what looks to be a top info LCD (the aspect ratio looks wrong for it to be a second color LCD for image framing). Along the sides of the LCD you can see buttons for ISO, Burst, Timer, and what looks to be Metering. There's also the power button alongside the mode dial, which does include Program, Aperture-Priority, Shutter-Priority, and Manual modes, as well as Scene, MySet and Movie modes.