Samsung SH100 £200

12th Aug 2011 | 16:06

Samsung SH100

A tech-riddled camera with a 3-inch touch-screen and built-in Wi-Fi

TechRadar rating:

3 stars

Like:

Responsive touchscreen; Wi-Fi capability; Slick design; Sharp pictures

Dislike:

Narrow dynamic range; Touchscreen needs to be improved; Over exposes pictures at balanced exposure values

Samsung SH100: Overview

As part of the Cutting Edge range in Samsung's line-up, the SH100 shouldn't really be into looks. It should be all about the technology, but what Samsung has produced is a snazzy little unit stuffed with features.

With an oversized lens barrel to hold the 5x optical zoom this gives a range of 26 – 130mm in 35mm terms. On the back is a 3-inch touch sensitive LCD screen with 320,000 dots (106,666 pixels) with all the features and modes accessed directly from it.

Within the menu, there are four pages of things to do ranging from Smart Auto shooting mode, to Video, Email, Set-up menu, Photo Editor and Remote Viewfinder.

Herein lies one of the problems with the SH100. All these modes are pretty impressive in their own right, but there's no semblance of order to them. If you want to use the Program mode, it's on the first page but if you want to use the Macro mode, it's on the third page. This well used mode comes after more obscure options such as Vignetting and All Share.

The SH100 features Wi-Fi capability, The camera will upload automatically to Facebook, Photobucket or Picasa web albums, YouTube and the Samsung community website. It also features PC Back Up which will automatically detect a computer with Wi-Fi and will download the pictures you've taken from the camera straight onto the computer.

We uploaded a picture from the camera to Facebook. A full resolution picture took less than a minute to get onto the site with minimal fuss at a low broadband connection speed. If a Wi-Fi connection requires a pass key, it will only let you use it once the key is entered. After that, the camera will remember it though.

Samsung sh100

If you also own a Samsung Galaxy S smart phone, the SH100 will link up to the phone using the Wi-Fi and allow you to remotely control the camera which is great for self portraits or group shots. It's also DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) enabled to allow you to view pictures on any HD television regardless of its manufacturer.

The touchscreen can be used a bit like a smart phone and you have to wipe the pages to move from one to the next. We found that it's best to use the small stylus that comes in the box because the camera is more receptive to it than a finger press.

Thanks to the touchscreen, the SH100 has four AF options, two of which are touch related. The standard modes are centre spot AF and Multi AF, while the touchscreen versions are One touch shooting and Smart touch AF, the latter of which locks onto a subject and keeps focus on them until the picture is taken or they leave the frame.

Samsung SH100: Build quality and handling

The metal body of the SH100 is covered in a mottled paint that is textured, but not uncomfortable to hold. The camera has a minimalist design thanks to the touchscreen .

The only issue we have with any part of the design is the location of the flash. It's positioned directly under the shutter release button and while this shouldn't pose too much of a problem, fingers could slip over the edge and cover it up.

The rest of the buttons are nicely spaced around the camera at points that are easy to get to, but they're not all grouped together. We like the flush design of the power button with its slight indentation in the centre to identify it against the body.

Samsung sh100

There's a Menu button on the screen of the camera and while it's very responsive, it's easy to fly past the option you want to use, or enter a mode you don't want at all.

With all that in mind, the camera is easy to use. Once we got our head around the mismatched options in the Home menu, we found it was easy to navigate. Initially, we lost our patience a couple of times with the main menu and entering into features we didn't want to use, but after a while we got used to it.

Samsung SH100: Performance

While we were satisfied with how the Samsung SH100 recorded pictures, there were issues that we discovered.

As is common with a small sensor and high resolution, we found noise getting into the picture at anything over ISO200 in everyday conditions. In controlled light, we found that the camera will show salt and pepper noise even at ISO80 but doesn't interfere with the picture too much. In fact, it's a running theme throughout the pictures until around ISO800 where colour noise starts to appear in shadow areas.

Edge detail starts to break down at ISO1600 and at the highest ISO3200 setting, the pictures take on a slight cast and edge definition breaks down even more.

On the plus side, we found the auto white balance works well in most situations, while the preset white balance options also showed a good performance.

Metering and focusing are pretty accurate and the calibration of the touchscreen AF makes precision focusing easy. Fine details can be focused on when you use the provided pen. In complex lighting, we found that the Samsung does work well and it coped to provide a balanced exposure.

The SH100 features three metering modes: Multi, Centre-Weighted and Spot. The Multi metering option divides the picture up into sections, analyses each section and selects and appropriate exposure from the results. Generally, the Multi metering works well, but if the scene contains a the ground sometime ends up underexposed.

Centre-Weighted metering gives priority to the centre of the frame and less towards the edges which is good for centred subjects such as portraits as it will ignore more of the background. Spot metering takes an exposure reading from the centre of the frame and ignores the rest of the frame completely. We found that all the modes work well in real life situations.

Samsung sh100

The wide-angle lens of the SH100 doesn't suffer from any worse barrel distortion than other digital compact cameras in the same price range. However, we discovered elements of chromatic aberration on the pictures, but only along high contrasting edges.

For an everyday compact camera, the pictures the SH100 produces are pleasing with rich colours and sharp subjects. Noise is a bit of an issue but nothing to worry about at lower ISO settings. If you need to go higher, try using flash first because the built-in flash works great for filling in darker subjects which may be backlit.

Samsung SH100: Sample photos

Samsung sh100 sample image

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Samsung sh100 sample image

Click here to see hi-res version

Samsung sh100 sample image

Click here to see hi-res version

Samsung sh100 sample image

Click here to see hi-res version

Samsung sh100 sample image

Click here to see hi-res version

Samsung sh100 sample image

Click here to see hi-res version

ISO performance

Samsung sh100 review

ISO 80

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Samsung sh100 review

ISO 100

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Samsung sh100 review

ISO 200

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Samsung sh100 review

ISO 400

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Samsung sh100

ISO 800

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Samsung sh100 review

ISO 1600

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Samsung sh100

ISO 3200

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Samsung SH100: Specification

Sensor:
1/2.33 inch CCD

Lens:
26 – 130mm f/3.3

Memory:
MicroSD card

Viewfinder:
No

LCD Screen:

3 inch TFT LCD touchscreen, 230,000 dots

Video resolution:
1280 x 720 (HQ)

ISO range:
ISO 80 - 3200

Focus modes:
Centre, Multi, One touch AF, Smart touch AF

Shutter speeds:
1sec – 1/2000 sec (8 sec max in night mode)

Weight:
110.2g

Dimensions:
93x53.9x18.9mm

Power supply:
Rechargeable Lithium Ion battery

Samsung SH100: Verdict

There's no denying that the features of the SH100 are interesting. Samsung have exploited the opportunity to use the feature for sharing, expanding it from the most popular Facebook and YouTube to include Picasa and Photobucket.

Picture quality of the SH100 is good. We like the colours that are reproduced and the camera handles exposure well.

Samsung sh100

We liked

We love the exploitation of the Wi-Fi. Not just the expanded websites to upload to but also remote control use with a Galaxy phone and the DLNA compliance. As long as the touchscreen pen is used, the screen is very responsive.

We disliked

Digital noise is an issue right down at the lowest setting, which is annoying, but unless it's viewed at full size, it's unlikely that it'll be noticed.

Verdict

With prices starting at just over £100, the Samsung SH100 has plenty to offer. It's suitable for most users but people going travelling will find it especially useful thanks to the Wi-Fi capability. If you need a pocket camera to take on holiday or you're a social networker that needs immediate connection for your pictures, then this is the camera for you.

Samsung Compact cameras
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