Samsung MV800 review
Review Date : Tue, 1 Nov 2011
Author : Phil Hall
- Sample Photos: Samsung MV800 review sample images gallery
See what we think of the Samsung MV800 MultiView in the What Digital Camera review...
|Pros:||Great touchscreen, intuitive interface and stylish design|
|Cons:||High ISO performance can struggle, AF can be a touch slow|
The Samsung MV800 takes a unique approach to compact camera design, offering a rear screen that can be pulled away from the body to aid a range of shooting angles, including self-portraits. Is this just a gimmick or a breakthrough in compact camera design?
Samsung MV800 review - Features
We'll take a look at the screen in a moment, but lets see what else the MV800 has to offer. The MV800 sports a 16.1MP CCD sensor with an ISO range of 100-3200. There's a relatively wide 5x optical zoom that runs from 26-130mm. There's also Samsung's OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) technology to counteract the risk of camera shake.
So, let's take a closer look at the unique selling point of the MV800 - the rear screen. The 3in display features a resolution of 288k-pixels and uses touchscreen technology. The screen is hinged on the top of the body, allowing the screen to be pulled outwards 180 degrees should you wish. Because the shutter button is obscured in this position, there's a secondary shutter release on the rear of the body behind the screen.
There are three metering modes to choose from (multi, centre-weighted and spot) and as far as exposure control goes, you'll find Program, Smart Auto and a host of Scene modes. But this is just for starters, as there's also other modes that include Live Panorama, Self Shot, Picture in a Picture (shooting two pictures, with the second one positioned in the first), Funny Face (distorts portraits), Photo Filter (there are 13 to choose from), Vignetting (which is controllable), Beauty Shot (that offers controllable levels of retouching) and a Pose guide (a collection of poses are overlaid on the screen).
The MV800 can capture video at 720p, with a maximum record time of 20mins, while a host of movie filters can be applied at the time of capture.
Rather than accepting the more universal used SD card format for storage, the MV800 uses the much small MicroSD format that's more commonly used by mobile phones.
Samsung MV800 review - Design
The Samsung MV800 is a very sleek looking product and is finished to a high standard. The front of the camera is cloaked with a brushed metal finish, while the rest of the exterior is plastic. It's nice and pocket sized too, and even with the fold-out screen, only has a depth of 18.3mm.
Because of the touchscreen interface, external buttons are kept to the bare minimum, with only five buttons dotted round the body.
Samsung MV800 review - Performance
Thanks to the touchscreen, the MV800 is very easy to use. The ‘Home' button next to the rear screen instantly gets you to the main menu, and for users of smart phones, the method of navigation is very similar. The screen is responsive, with a single swipe navigates you to the next section of the menu, while only a single press of the icon is required.
The fold-out screen can be handy when shooting at low angles or if you want to compose a shot or yourself - you can find yourself looking at the screen and not the lens when you take the shot, though this may not be an issue over time. Also, while holding the camera facing you, the natural way to hold it means that the thumb can often cover the flash. That aside, it's a handy feature, though whether it's a massive deal-breaker will depend on you.
Autofocus is accurate, though not lighting fast, and taking advantage of the touchscreen, there's also the ability for one touch shooting.
Samsung MV800 review - Image quality
The MV800 delivered nice, neutral results in auto white balance mode, and for more precise control there's also Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent H, Fluorescent L, Tungsten and Custom presets.
Detail at low ISOs is good, but at ISO 800 and above, in-camera processing softens the JPEG files in an effort to suppress image noise, so is best avoided. At higher ISOs, saturation and colour also degrade, making shooting at high sensitivities undesirable.
Samsung MV800 review - Value & Verdict
Under a snip under £250, there's some tough competition out there for a similar price, more often than not offering a broader zoom range and more manual control. But that's not necessarily what everyone bodies looking for in a compact.
If you're after a slim-line, nicely made and very easy to use compact, then the MV800 is definitely worth a look. The touchscreen is one of the best we've used - it works to a similar standard to smartphone, rather than some of the clunky offerings we've seen in the past on some cameras, while there are a host of fun modes to keep you entertained when out with friends. And that's where we see the fold-out screen coming into it's own - it's perfect for social occasions, while also having a place when it comes to grabbing shots at tricky angles.
Image quality is fine at low ISOs, but as is the case with these large resolution, small sensors, it struggles to deliver the goods at higher ISOs.
While it may not worry more serious, feature-laden cameras, the Samsung MV800 is a great camera for snaps and using with friends.