With a 5x optical zoom, HD movie recording a 3in touchscreen, how does this upper entry-level compact fare against its peers? The Samsung ST95 review finds out...
Performance & Image Quality
Panasonic Lumix FS22 Review – Performance
The camera’s design issues are unfortunate, as it impresses in a number of other areas. The home screen which houses all scene and exposure options is well designed and makes good use of both colour and space, while the screen used in Program shooting may be customised to offer instant access to functions of the user’s choosing. Start-up and power down times are also swift, and while focusing speed is fairly average on the whole, the one-touch capture option makes light work of quickly identifying, focusing and capturing a subject through the display. The responsiveness of the zoom collar, however, could be improved, as it can be difficult to adjust the focal length with the expected precision.
Panasonic Lumix FS22 Review – Image Quality
The Samsung ST95’s image quality is a mixed bag. The camera does well to expose consistently in both balanced and trickier lighting, only losing a touch of highlight details in high-contrast situations in order to expose for the main subject. Flash performance is also good and the camera is capable of capturing a reasonable amount of detail, although the effects of image noise and noise reduction processing can be witnessed in images on all sensitivities, which rob them of fine details.
Distortions are also minimal, even at the 26mm wideangle of the camera’s lens. The slight unevenness which can be seen – either a result of aspherical elements in the lens or in-camera processing – is perfectly acceptable for a model priced this aggressively. There’s also almost no sign of any chromatic aberrations where they may normally be expected, which may not be quite as vital as other aspects of image quality, but it’s impressive nonetheless.
Elsewhere, there’s less to get excited about. The main bugbear is the ST95 ‘s Auto White Balance system, which does well around 80 per cent of the time but otherwise fails to capture the colours and tones originally present. As an example of this, the two images above were captured using the camera’s Smart Auto mode within seconds of each other. There’s so little colour in the second that it almost appears as a black and white capture, while the other appears to have been taken on a gorgeously sunny day, despite both being shot under the same cloudy conditions. Considering these are different subjects we should expect some difference, but certainly not to this degree.
Another issue is with corner sharpness, which is decidedly poor. Part of this stems from the camera’s automated settings which often choose the lens’s widest aperture of f/3.3 where possible, where this is at its worst. Results improve at smaller apertures, although there’s no way for the user to regulate this themselves.