Samsung ST1000 review
Performance & Image Quality
Samsung ST1000 review - Performance
A camera should primarily be for taking pictures and, with that in mind, depending on your stance, the ST1000 is choc-full of clever gadgets that don't actually assist in taking the pictures, moreso in the sharing of them after. To explain: the 35mm lens isn't nearly as wide as a lot of other lenses on the market, and is more the standard found in compacts some years older. Also the zoom in and out switch, which is awkwardly small, is very slow and not always responsive.
Of course there are a wide variety of other advanced features for the tech-savvy out there. The inclusion of Bluetooth means the ability to pair with nearby devices to share your images, and it's easy to use. DLNA - Digital Living Network Alliance - is a standardised format of sharing files across a home network. Currently not everyone will have such technology implemented in the home, but if you do then it means the click of a few buttons can quickly and easily display images on other devices such as your HDTV or computer. Certainly very cool if you have all the other necessary tech around your house. As more of us have become familiar with Wi-Fi, the ST1000 makes interesting use of it - the ability to quick email a photo from your phone (almost) wherever you are is great... except, actually, Wi-Fi hotspots in the UK aren't widely accessible and, more irritatingly so, the limitations to the advanced settings in the camera's menu system may cause you to hit a brick wall of an issue and be unable to connect. In this test I had no way of entering username and password to the local network to connect, meaning, in my case, only the non-password-protected home network was accessible.
On the upside, the touchscreen is responsive and suitably huge so that playback is big, bold and bright. Despite the lack of a wide lens, macro mode focuses very close to the lens and opens up another possibility to shooting.
It's more tweaks that need to be made to iron out smaller issues than any major changes needing to be made; a generally good performer.
Samsung ST1000 review - Image Quality
With so many technically brilliant specs squeezed into one camera body, the ST1000's picture quality, perhaps surprisingly, is one of its letdowns. Whether this is at the expense of the other quality items on the ST1000's specification is questionable. Part of the issue is the lens - occupying such a small area interior to the camera's body likely limits its potential to reproduce at optimum quality. Images aren't desperately sharp and corners are particularly soft, plus there is some light fall-off to the edges also. Given this is only a 35mm lens, not a wider-angle as found in many other standard compacts of today, this would suggest the image coverage of the sensor is very slight, even at this basic focal range.
Images are certainly fine in appearance, if not a little flat, and the auto white balance is an accurate neutral grey. The only faltering on this front is some inconsistency between various ISO sensitivities.
In terms of image-noise, the highest ISO 3200 setting does produce images at full size, albeit much softer than its lower-ISO counterparts due to noise-reduction processing (which can't be adjusted for). This softness is a little more prominent than expected throughout the range, bar ISO80-200 where images are better, if not excessively processed and sharpened in-camera. When you pay out almost £300 for a camera, there's an expectation for good image quality, and while the ST1000 is certainly acceptable, those hyper-image-conscious people may feel let down that it ticks all the very current techy boxes, but falters a little on its primary purpose - taking quality photographs.
Not to seem too scathing though as, overall, for your day to day images the ST1000 is a fine option that perhaps doesn't resolve image capture with as much clarity as some may expect.