Samsung TL100: so slim it is anorexic

January 16, 2009

Samsung TL100: so slim it is anorexicThe Samsung TL100 camera which will be here later this year — say March — is so slim as to be positively anorexic. It is only 16.6mm thick excluding the lens and is the ultimate lightweight camera to carry in your top pocket.

It is easy to forget the basic truth about cameras which is if you do not have it with you, then you will not get the picture.

This camera is so small, slim and, yes, sexy  (magically it looks likes stainless steel although it is available in colors) that you would never want to leave home without it.

Yet, for all of its good look it has 12.2 mega-pixel  which means that although it is a sophisticated point-and-shoot digital camera you can, using your artistic intelligence, take pictures to make the angels weep with envy. It is 3.7″ wide x 2.2″ high x 0.67″ deep (94mm x 56mm x 17mm) which means it slips in your pocket. The downside of this is the buttons are dashed small and you have to practice a little so that your fingers can automatically use them. Too much can be made of this. It just needs practice.

The camera has a 3X optical zoom which is all you want but has a large 2.7 inch LCD screen for framing shots and reviewing images and video anywhere except on Bondi Beach at high noon.

This camera does the thinking for you in that it has a new Smart Auto feature (if a camera maker incorporates a Smart Auto feature could that be taken to mean the maker thinks the user is dumb? There is a suggestion of that.

Smart Auto will automatically select one of the TL100’s 11 scene modes which best suits the picture you are about to take.

It will set the camera to its Landscape scene mode if you are taking a picture of Tryfan in Snowdonia, in Wales in the UK.

smasung-tl100It will then quickly change to Portrait if you are taking a picture of your wife who you intend to encourage to climb that most difficult mountain.

What happens if you have Tryfan in the background and your significant other, laden down with climbing gear, standing  in the middle distance? The probability is the camera will have a nervous breakdown and quite right to.

When it comes to taking a shot which is betwixt and between you over-ride the Smart Auto and tell the Samsung TL100 that you are a lot smarter than it’is Smart Auto. Images can be set 12MP, 11MP, 9MP, 8MP, 5MP, 3MP and 1MP, and three quality levels, SuperFine, Fine and Normal. Stay on Fine which would cover most of your needs.

The Samsung TL100 has all of the gubbins including  Face Detection, Smile Shot, Blink Detection, and Beauty Shot technology which you may care to use just to see what difference it makes.

Not for me although I am fascinated by the TL100’s Beauty Shot mode which is an option that will automatically retouch imperfections on a subject’s face to help improve and even out skin tones. If it ever takes a picture of me it will be working away for a week of Sundays just to get rid of the basic imperfections leave alone the scar where I was hit on the head by a mortar bomb.

Samsung has incorporated in the TL100 Digital Image Stabilization  technology which is a real thing which will help reduce the blur found in images as a result of vibrations or  hand shake. Not, you understand, that you can wave the camera around. But slight vibrations are dealt with. Which is a good thing.

If you are eye-witness to a bank robbery you can also record video with the new SamsungTL100. This is  MPEG-4 video recording at a maximum resolution of 800×592 SVGA at 20fps so it is good for bank robberies and, possibly, just possibly, good enough for YouTube. But that is stretching it somewhat. My guess is it would be better to forget the video and just concentrate on it as a still camera.

One bad point. All connections are proprietary. Do not lose the connecting bits of wire. Replacing them will not be a cheap hobby.

The Samsung TL100 should be  available about the spring of 2009 with no word yet on the price but, at a guess, a little less than US$200.

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