Samsung CL80 Review

 
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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Samsung CL80
Resolution: 14.20 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.3"
Lens: 7.00x zoom
(31-217mm eq.)
Viewfinder: LCD
ISO: 80-6400
Shutter: 16-1/2000
Max Aperture: 3.3
Dimensions: 4.1 x 2.3 x 0.8 in.
(104 x 59 x 20 mm)
Weight: 5.3 oz (150 g)
MSRP: $248
Availability: 04/2010
Manufacturer: Samsung
Full specs: Samsung CL80 specifications
14.20
Megapixels
7.00x zoom
1/2.3"
size sensor
image of Samsung CL80
Front side of Samsung CL80 digital camera Back side of Samsung CL80 digital camera Top side of Samsung CL80 digital camera    
Untitled Document

The Samsung CL80 features a 14.2 megapixel 1/2.3" CCD image sensor behind a Schneider Kreuznach-branded 7x optical zoom lens. The CL80'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. Interestingly, Samsung is describing the CL80 and its sibling, the TL240, as the first consumer electronic products ever to be manufactured using hydro-forming technology, a technique that's become relatively common in automotive manufacture. Hydro-forming allows stiffer and more complex shapes to be formed, and Samsung says the techology has allowed them to produce higher quality surfaces with smoother silhouettes.

There's no optical viewfinder, with images being framed on a roomy 3.7-inch wide screen WVGA AMOLED display. This unusually high-res display dominates most of the camera's rear surface, and also features a touch panel through which most control is achieved. The Samsung CL80 offers what Samsung calls a "Smart Gesture" user interface; when specific gestures are traced with a fingertip on the touch panel, the camera recognizes and responds appropriately. For example, tracing your finger in a cross mark on the screen will delete the current photo, while tracing a circle will instead rotate it. To switch between photos, you simply drag your finger to one side across the panel. The LCD touch panel is also used in record mode, with a tap of the finger on your subject being all that's needed to manually set the focus point. The CL80 includes subject tracking capability, and once focus is locked, will attempt to follow the subject as it moves around the frame, adjusting focus as necessary. Holding your finger over the subject for two seconds will set focus and then trigger the shutter; alternatively you can press the shutter button immediately after focus lock is achieved.

Despite its slim 0.8-inch thick body, the Samsung CL80 is unusually feature-rich, including built-in wireless LAN and Bluetooth connectivity. We don't currently have details on the network types with which the wireless LAN connectivity is compatible, but do know that the camera can't connect to networks that require verification using a web browser before data can be transferred - something that's common with free wifi in hotels, airports, convention centers and the like. Once connected, CL80 users can send reduced-resolution versions of photos and movies by email, including a short text to accompany the images. Alternatively, images can be uploaded to certain websites including Facebook, Picasa, YouTube, and SamsungImaging.com. Images transferred by WiFi are automatically resized to a reduced resolution of two megapixels - good for speed of transfer, but it would perhaps have been preferable to let the user decide whether to upload a full-res version as desired. Email addresses for recipients can be stored in the camera's address book, and new addresses can be entered using an on-screen QWERTY keyboard. Finally, the Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity allows for transfer of images wirelessly to other Bluetooth devices such as cellphones. The CL80 will automatically resize images to 1,024 x 768 pixel resolution for transfer via Bluetooth, and again this apparently can't be changed.

The Samsung CL80 includes face detection capability with both smile and blink detection functions, which can be used to automatically capture a photo when everyone's smiling, and then retake the image if anybody blinks. There's also a "Beauty Shot" mode which smooths skin tones on detected faces. The face detection is also used to offer a Red-Eye Fix function which automatically locates and corrects for this common image defect. In addition, the CL80 includes Smart Face Recognition technology, which allows twenty individuals' faces to be registered in-camera and then recognized in subsequent shots. Once identified, those individuals' faces will be given priority over unrecognized faces in the scene when determining exposure variables, and can also be searched for in the Smart Album playback mode. The Samsung CL80 also has a variety 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 a scene mode as appropriate.

The Samsung CL80 has the ability to record standard or high definition movies with sound at 30 frames per second in H.264 format, with a maximum resolution of 720p (1280 x 720 pixels). Connectivity options include HDMI video allowing the camera to be connected to the latest high-definition displays.

The Samsung CL80 ships from Spring 2010. Pricing information was not available at press time.

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