Samsung has a foot in both camera and phone markets, so why not bring the two closer together, operationally at least? That’s the thinking behind the 14MP SH100, which offers wireless connectivity and image transfer, touch screen operation and a control layout resembling phone-style apps spread across successive screens accessed with a swipe of the finger. Anyone trading up from a smartphone should feel at home. Indeed, there is even a software patch to allow the camera to be controlled via a smartphone, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S.
Samsung SH100 Controls (ease of use)
Since here the touch screen is all, controls mainly exist in the virtual realm, save for a physical ‘home’ button alongside to retrace your steps if you end up about to make an unintentional selection. Uploading images to Facebook or YouTube or emailing images to addresses are specified with the aid of a virtual keyboard on the camera; these are then beamed wireless to your suitably equipped PC or Mac. Images can also be sent to or from other wireless devices, such as another camera. Of course, if you like you can ignore the wireless features and just point and shoot as normal via scene and subject recognising Smart Auto mode, which is a reliable fallback.
Samsung SH100 Screen
The Samsung SH100’s screen is the regulation 3-inches and with a 230k dot resolution; however it’s presented in widescreen aspect ratio and nearly swallows up the entire back of the just slightly larger than credit card sized camera. This means that it only really comes into its own when shooting 1280x720 pixels video, black bands otherwise cropping the 4:3 ratio stills image left and right for day-to-day shooting. We also get a virtual video record button on screen, which is neat.
Samsung SH100 Speed
The camera powers up ready for the first shot (or video) in around two seconds, while the LCD screen responds nigh instantly to each finger tap or swipe so no complaints there. With Smart Auto mode selected the Samsung SH100 is reliably quick to respond to each new subject framed, automatically adjusting the likes of focus and exposure as the user pans with the camera, unusually switching modes without the shutter release button having to first be squeezed halfway.
Samsung SH100 Battery
Samsung is coy about how many shots can be achieved with a full charge of its BP85A lithium ion battery, but we estimated around 200 images before we were down to one bar on the on-screen power icon. However we did also notice the battery compartment getting quite warm with prolonged use, not that this affected our camera’s performance at all.
Samsung SH100 Pictures and video
Picture quality is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the SH100. It suffers from the usual pocket camera ailments of purple pixel fringing between areas of high contrast and focus fall off at the corners of the frame when shooting at maximum wideangle. In addition, even in bright light we lost detail shooting handheld at maximum telephoto. Moving through the manually selectable ISO range, we noticed noise/grain intruding into shadow areas as low as ISO200 when studying enlargements, which is unusually bad. We’d recommend steering clear of ISO1600 and ISO3200 entirely therefore as picture quality is really quite indistinct.
Samsung SH100 Verdict
Those who like the concept of taking a better quality picture than your typical smartphone and sending it as an email attachment without seconds without having to connect the camera to a PC or insert the card into a reader in the usual way will find much to enjoy about the SH100, although if picture quality is your chief concern a Nikon S8100, Canon IXUS 310 HS or Sony WX10 would be a better bet. The SH100 is gimmicky for sure, but it’s also useful and apart from the usual image quality bugbears the Samsung is an interesting product at a reasonable sub £200 price.
Samsung SH100 launch date: Out now
Samsung SH100 price: £179.99 online