Samsung ST5500 Review

4.5
July 28, 2010 | Mark Goldstein |

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.

The Samsung ST5500 produced images of good quality during the review period. Noise and loss of fine detail becomes obvious at the relatively slow speed of ISO 400 and then progressively worse at the faster settings of 800 and 1600. The fastest setting of 3200 is only to be used as a last resort.

Chromatic aberrations were fairly well controlled, with limited purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The 14.2 megapixel images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting and require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera sharpening level.

Macro performance is quite good, allowing you to focus as close as 5cms away from the subject. The built-in flash worked fairly well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate overall exposure.

Anti-shake works very well when hand-holding the ST5500 in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. The maximum shutter speed of 8 seconds allows the camera to capture enough light for most after-dark situations.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Samsung ST5500. 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)

 
 

Focal Range

The Samsung ST5500's 7x zoom lens offers a versatile, if not particularly wide-angle, focal range, as illustrated by these examples:

31mm

217mm

File Quality

The Samsung ST5500 has 3 different image quality settings available, with SuperFine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

14M SuperFine (5.67Mb) (100% Crop) 14M Fine (3.01Mb) (100% Crop)
   

14M Normal (2.09Mb) (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 ST5500 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 ST5500 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 ST5500 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 (31mm)

Auto - Wide Angle (31mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (217mm)

Auto - Telephoto (217mm)

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 ST5500'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 2 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)

Anti Shake

The Samsung ST5500 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/8th / 31mm
1/6th / 217mm

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, review, 720p, hdmi, wi-fi, wireless, 14 megapixel, 7x zoom, AMOLED, bluetooth, cl80, st5500, Samsung CL80 Review, Samsung ST5500 Review, dlna, 3.7 inch screen

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