Stylish high-end compacts from Samsung at PMA 2010
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Not content with unveiling plans for five more lenses to boost its NX hybrid system, Sigma has also revealed two rather attractive looking compacts, the TL500 (EX1) and TL350 (WB2000) to woo photographers away from the Panasonic LX3 or the Canon Powershot G11 or S90, and the like.
First of all there is the Samsung TL500, which will be known as the EX1 in Europe and some other markets outside of the USA. Priced at $449, this is not a cheap compact and its specification explains why. First of all there is an f/1.8 3x 24-72mm (equivalent) Schneider Kreuznach branded lens. Samsung has also reined in the pixel count to just ten megapixels in favour of lower noise and increased dynamic range. The 1/1.7 inch CCD sensor is also larger than average for a compact.
Samsung also employs its DRIMell image processor to maximise image quality and performance. There is also RAW support, an articulating 3 inch AMOLED screen, dual image stabilisation, and a very suave on-screen user interface. Underlining the more serious stills aspiration of the TL500/EX1, there is no HD video support, although there is standard definition movie capability.
A look at the TL500/WB2000
The dimpled hand grip and retro-esque lens add up to a good looking camera. The knurled ring at the base of the lens barrel is removable and reveals a screw thread for attaching accessory lenses.
As we have come to expect from Samsung the AMOLED screen is impressively bright and detailed, from almost any angle, and the icing on the cake is that it's a fully articulating screen.
(Above) You can see just how large the AMOLED screen is in relation to the camera body.
Samsung employs a vertically moving pop-up flash for the TL500/EX1.
Here is a closer view of the TL500/EX1 showing the top plate controls, with the traditional PASM modes dominating.
From the back, you can see the swanky new menus on the huge screen, plus the rotary adjust control that complements the front adjustment wheel. There is also a dedicated video record red button.
On to the TL350/WB2000
Smaller and lighter than the TL500/WB2000, the price tag is smaller, too at $349. It's trick feature is a high-speed CMOS sensor. You can shoot stills at up to 10 frames per second, or video - at reduced resolution admittedly - at up to 1,000 frames per second. At more normal frame rates, the TL350/WB2000 can record 1080p video, and there is HDMI connectivity onboard.
The lens is a 5x zoom, and there is full manual control of aperture and shutter speed if required. RAW support is featured, and there is a plethora of scene and smart detection modes. Despite its compact dimensions, there is also a 3 inch VGA AMOLED display.
This view shows the return of Samsung's analogue battery and memory gauges from earlier TL/WB models back in 2008.
Both the TL500/EX1 and the TL350/WB2000 are scheduled to be available in the Spring.
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PMA 2010: Samsung springs high-spec enhusiast compacts
DPNow PMA 2010: Samsung springs high-spec enhusiast compacts
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