The Samsung SH100 comes equipped with a touchscreen LCD and Wi-Fi for internet sharing and connectivity. The What Digital Camera SH100 review…
Samsung SH100 review – Features
The Samsung SH100 is a compact camera towards the budget end of the market, but fills itself out with some key features – it has Wi-Fi connectivity as well as a 3in, 230k-dot LCD screen with touch-sensitivity for (literal) hands-on control.
As Samsung puts its oar into the Smartphone world with the well-received Galaxy series, the SH100 ties in some clever communicative features. Aimed squarely at Android phone users, the SH100’s Remote Viewfinder feature enables your Android phone to act as an additional screen away from the camera as well as control the zoom and even snap a picture remotely.
Ensuring up to date features are at the forefront of the SH100’s feature list, the camera also offers Wi-Fi technology. The camera is set up to make it easy to email or upload directly to Facebook, Picasa, YouTube or Samsung.com’s own site. DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) and PC Auto Backup mean quick sharing to other home devices, such as an HD TV, are also possible. Of course a network connection is required, though the number of remote connection points around towns and cities these days means connectivity on the go isn’t out of the question either.
Stills are catered for with a 14.6MP sensor capable of capturing ISO 80-3200 sensitivity, plus a 720p HD movie mode covers the moving image base. The 5x optical zoom lens ranges from a wideangle 26mm through to a mid-range 130mm equivalent.
A host of picture options includes Smart Filters for vignetting, soft focus, sketch and many others, plus Magic Frame mode that can add a variety of fun frames to your final image.
Samsung SH100 review – Design
The SH100 is small in form, and the touchscreen means there are few buttons to contend with. A ‘home’ button on the rear brings up the main options, while a zoom rocker on the top of the camera controls the zoom function.
Hands-on is the only way to work through the SH100’s settings, though the slow-to-respond touchscreen can make this a bit of a pain. The virtual buttons require a very firm press that takes some getting use to, while the Smartphone-like ‘sliding’ motion to move between pages can occasionally opt to select a menu option rather than moving from one screen to the next. Some buttons are also positioned too close to the screen edge and, as this is sunken into the camera, can make for trickier pressing.
When switched off the SH100’s lens retreats back into the camera body for a small and lean design. Despite the relatively low price point the camera also feels sturdy and well made, the black with silver-coloured trim in this particular test certainly looks the part.
Samsung SH100 review – Performance
In use the SH100’s autofocus isn’t the quickest off the mark, though it’s ample for most tasks and perfectly good for still subjects.
The zoom toggle is well-positioned and moves at a decent pace through the range. At 26mm the wideangle setting can fit plenty into the frame, and 130mm is a decent zoom to squeeze in a small-bodied compact such as this.
Point-and-shoot use is the order of the day, though Programme mode provides some additional control, and Night Mode provides full manual control over Shutter and Aperture (though this is from 1-16secs only, no faster).
The biggest drawback in performance is down to the touchscreen lacking the heightened level of response that you may expect. With so many sensitive touchscreen Smartphones and the like on the market, the SH100 feels a little alien and ill-responsive to many touch gestures.
The majority of performance interest comes from the variety of connectivity features. Direct uploads to various sites (including Facebook and Picasa) work seamlessly, though you will need a proper Wi-Fi connection. The same goes for auto-PC backup, a feature that will copy files from card to PC automatically when in the vicinity of a relevant Wi-Fi network. As the SH100 isn’t a mobile phone there’s no associated data tariff, hence the likes of roaming data and 3G not being available for uploading when Wi-Fi isn’t available. We wouldn’t deem this as a criticism, just a simple reality of a camera sticking firmly to its photo-taking purpose.
Image Quality & Value
Samsung SH100 review – Image Quality
The SH100’s images serve their purpose and are more than good enough for everyday snaps, but this isn’t the sort of camera to buy for critical work. Even in good light there are signs of processing that causes grainyness, soft edges and indistinct detail in areas. ISO 100-400 sensitivities produce acceptable images, while ISO 800-1600 images are far softer with visible colour noise, and ISO 3200 is far softer and colour-muted that it’s of little use.
In general colour is realistic and the Auto White Balance deals with a range of scenarios well. Some blue/purple fringing is visible towards subject edges, but if not used at full size then these finer diminished details are less prominent.
Overall image quality is acceptable and considering the SH100’s low cost price point the final pictures are a fair delivery that’ll serve well for day-to-day snaps.
Inside the camera there are also options to apply (either pre- or post-shoot) Vignetting, Soft Focus, Old Film and a number of other modes. The menus can obscure the image’s preview which is frustrating,
Samsung SH100 review – Value
The SH100’s original £200 RRP has been suitably squeezed down to a much more affordable £115 from a number of online stores. Certain colours even appear closer to the £100 mark – not bad for a well-equipped point-and-shoot compact.
Competition is rife at the low price end of the compact market, so there are innumerable other contenders available – though very few to offer both a touchscreen interface and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Samsung SH100 review – Verdict
The SH100 hold s a lot of promise just from browsing down its spec sheet. The Wi-Fi connectivity is a great thing to have at this price point and shows Samsung’s commitment to future technologies that few other manufacturers have in their camera ranges.
The biggest issue with the SH100 is that the touchscreen isn’t very responsive to the lighter touch, and this can hinder the shooting process. As there are few shooting buttons there’s no choice but to utilise the touchscreen technology.
The SH100’s images are acceptable and ideal for day-to-day snaps, but shouldn’t be thought of for more critical or fine detail use.
It’s when weighing up the low price point and all the technology that’s crammed into this small, stylish-looking compact that it’s hard to fault. For little over the £100 mark the SH100 has a lot more on offer than its competitors, if only its touch sensitivity was a little more practical.