Samsung ST100 Review

3.5
November 24, 2010 | Gavin Stoker |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 14.2 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

Camera wobble and resultant blurred pictures were a problem for us during our test period with the Samsung ST100, as was any subject that deigned to move as we pointed the lens at it. Other than that, its day-to-day performance was for us nigh identical to that of the £130 PL90, despite the fact that the ST100 has thrown a couple of extra million pixels into the mix. Thus again the latter delivers its best under bright, clear blue skies. And we were able to achieve a more dramatic look than the rather dreary November days we were faced with could provide courtesy of the vivid setting among the camera's Photo Style Selector options.

The lens is not the best suited on the block for shooting landscapes, only going as wide as a 35mm equivalent, but the 175mm telephoto reach is handy for pulling relatively close subjects even closer, though partly because of said dull conditions images looked a little soft to our eyes at this setting. In terms of low light shooting, again we were taken back to the performance given by the PL90. That's to say that with a steady surface we were able to get decent results up to and including ISO 800. As would be the case with any snapshot camera in this price bracket, approach ISO 1600 and/or ISO 3200 settings at your peril, where loss of detail and the encroachment of image noise really don't make the options worthwhile, specially at maximum IS O3200 setting where images, with smudged/softened detail, take on a painterly rather than photographic aspect.

Whilst our gripes would feel slightly churlish if we were aiming them at a £150 camera, here they're slightly more irritating because the Samsung ST100 retails for twice that. Still, as we noted at the outset you can get decent images under the right conditions - but, then again, how often do we have those in the UK? So, to sum up, it's a hit and miss performance from this Samsung, camera wobble being for us its biggest, most frustrating bugbear.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Samsung ST100. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
 

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft and ideally benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Samsung ST100 handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Samsung ST100 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 5cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Samsung ST100 are Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash off, and Red eye fix. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (35mm)

Auto - Wide Angle (35mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (175mm)

Auto - Telephoto (175mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Auto setting or the Red eye fix option caused any red-eye.

Auto

Auto (100% Crop)
   

Red eye fix

Red eye fix (100% Crop)

Night Shot

The Samsung ST100's maximum shutter speed is 8 seconds in the Night scene mode, which is good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 8 seconds at ISO 80. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

compact, review, beginner, 5x zoom, 14 megapixel, touch-screen, touch screen, touchscreen, 3.5 inch LCD, 5x, 5x lens, dual view, dualview, st100, Samsung ST100 Review, 2 view, 2view, st100 review

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