The Samsung ST1000 has a wealth of features many of which are similar to many other digital cameras available today. It does, however, have a few tricks up its sleeve that are likely to become more and more popular on compact digital cameras in the next few years. GPS location, wireless connectivity and built-in Facebook uploads are just three features to set the ST1000 apart.
The other features are all fairly standard: a 12.2-megapixel sensor, 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen, still and video recording are all squeezed into the ST1000's compact body. The ST1000 is capable of shooting HD video, at 1280 x 720 pixels at 30fps maximum.
There's a 5x zoom Schnieder lens housed in the slimline body too, offering a focal range of 35-175mm in 35mm terms. Samsung has chosen microSD for the storage format, which seems strange given that the body is certainly large enough (99.8 x 60.8 x 18.9mm) to accommodate a full-size SD card. It may well be the memory format of the future, but it's still a puzzling choice. There is an internal memory of about 100MB to get you going.
The Samsung has a host of useful features, face recognition being one, allowing you to know that the camera is focusing on the right person. It can remember up to 20 people and when it senses them will devote its focus and exposure attention to that area. There are 16 automatic modes to help point you in the right direction and the Smart Auto system will choose the right mode if you're unsure what settings to use. As well as the Wi-Fi connection it has Bluetooth built-in too.
The Samsung's touchscreen is responsive, but we did find the menu system a bit confusing to get to grips with. Once we'd had some time to play around it became clearer, but it wasn’t immediately obvious. For basic photography the ST1000 is a breeze to use and getting quick snaps is simple, as it should be. When viewing a slide show you can swipe through images iPhone-style and it automatically sorts out orientation with a built-in accelerometer.
Uploading images to Facebook over a Wi-Fi network might seem like a trivial feature, but it's interestingly addictive. If you have a Facebook account and use it you'll really appreciate the capability. It's hard to describe the frisson of excitement as you take a shot and almost instantaneously send it to Facebook for the world to see. You can also upload to other online services like Picasa, Flickr, Photobox for still images and YouTube for video.
Video sharing is, however, limited to 30 seconds of 320 x 240 resolution, okay for some candid clips, but it doesn't quite reach the standards that some mobile phones will. Setting up a Wi-Fi network is simple and it happily connected to the two Wi-Fi networks on our house, with no need to type in the password every time after the initial set-up.
Image quality is more than acceptable for a 12-megapixel compact. It's not flawless, but unless you're looking for perfection then the Samsung is more than capable. Sometimes colours were a bit over-saturated for our liking, but not to a wholly detrimental level. Our only real gripe with the ST1000 was a slightly sluggish focus that struggled from time to time.
The extra features of the Samsung and the overall quality of its construction and performance really impressed us. Available online for about £180, it is decent value too. The Samsung is by no means perfect, but it does have some really useful features that should appeal to the fans of photo sharing out there.
Though there are some niggles with the Samsung it is a very good camera and the Wi-Fi connectivity is anything but gimmicky.
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