Samsung ST1000 Review
The Samsung ST1000 (also known as the CL65) is a 12 megapixel point-and-shoot compact camera complete with built-in geo-tagging, Bluetooth 2.0 and Wi-Fi connectivity. You can send and post pictures almost as quickly as you take them, whilst the GPS capabilities will keep track of exactly where each picture was shot. The ST1000 also offers a clever 3.5 inch, 1,152k touch-screen LCD, a Smart Gesture user interface with built-in Acceleration Sensor that responds to finger commands, and a One Touch Auto Focus feature that allows you to focus on a specific part of the frame simply by touching the desired area. A 5x 35-175mm lens, Smart Auto shooting mode which automatically chooses from 16 different settings ranging from landscape to portrait, and 720p video recording at 30fps complete the headline specs. The Samsung ST1000 / CL65 comes in silver/red, black/black, red/black, black/gold and blue/grey colours priced at £349.99 / $399.99.
Ease of Use
The Samsung ST1000 is constructed out of robust plastic with a glossy finish on the front and matt on the back, resulting in quite a stylish and slim compact camera. The 5x optical lens extends to provide a 35-175mm focal length, versatile enough for anything from moderately wide landscapes to candid head and shoulder portraits, although there are other similarly-sized models that offer a bigger zoom and/or wider-angle focal length.
A non-extending folded-optics lens is employed by the ST1000, tucked away in the top-right corner of the front of the camera and protected by a plastic cover when not in use. On the left of the lens is a small porthole-style window for the AF assist/self timer lamp and the built-in flash bulb. There's no hand-grip at all on the glossy front of the ST1000 or on the rear, which makes the camera more difficult to hold steady when shooting handheld at the extremities of the zoom.
Looking down on the ST1000's top plate we find 7 controls. Starting at the left when viewed from the rear, there are the very prominent GPS module, a Power button that's a little too small and recessed for easy operation, a tactile shutter button, and a rather plasticky but responsive rocker switch for operating the zoom. Controlled by a protruding lip that falls naturally under the forefinger, the zoom takes around three seconds to travel from maximum wide angle to full telephoto - which is pretty much par for the course for its focal range. We did find on occasion that the zoom took a moment or two to 'wake up' - and that its transitions are sound-tracked by a low mechanical blur - but it's low enough to avoid being off-putting. A small activity LED for the built-in WiFi, holes for the microphone and the self-explanatory Play button complete the top of the ST1000.
The ST1000 joins the small but growing number of compact cameras to offer built-in WiFi connectivity. This lets you transfer your photos to a computer or website such as Facebook, Picasa, or YouTube via any accessible Wi-Fi network or to another camera with similar functionality. You can't setup the camera to automatically transfer your photos whenever you're in range of a trusted network, instead having to go through the menu options every time, but it worked well in practice without affecting the battery life too badly. Alternatively the ST1000 also offers Bluetooth 2.0 technology, making it easy to send images to compatible mobile phones at an automatically reduced size that they can accept and display. Completing the ST1000's extensive range of connection options is its DNLA compliance (Digital Living Network Alliance), allowing wireless connection to other DNLA-certified devices like HDTVs and digital picture frames.
GPS is another feature that has slowly but surely been finding its way into digital cameras as the technology has got smaller and cheaper to implement. This potentially allows you to seamlessly geo-tag your photos (co-ordinates are stored in the EXIF data) and then sort and display them using the Intelli-Studio software that is embedded in the camera itself and which cleverly installs onto your computer when you connect your camera to it via the supplied USB cable. You can then use this software to view your photos on geo-friendly websites such as Google Earth and Google Maps.
The GPS is turned on by default (although it doesn't work for movies), with no requirement to manually switch it on as on other cameras. Unfortunately the ST1000 seems to have a weak receiver, with less than half of our test shots having any GPS info saved with them. Admittedly we used the ST1000 almost exclusively in central London, presumably causing the ST1000 to lose the position entirely when moving between high-rise buildings, or simply stepping indoors. It only consistently worked in areas of clear space - not great for all the urban photographers out there, which is arguably when it's most useful. On the upside it didn't seem to drain the battery too severely when enabled, with the camera still capable of a full-day's shooting, so it's safe to leave it enabled - just don't expect all of your shots to magically appear in the right location on Google Earth.
Once you've zoomed in and got your composition how you want, with a half press of the shutter button the Samsung ST1000 is commendably swift to determine focus and exposure, the AF point highlighted in green and an operational 'beep' confirming you're good to go on and take the shot. There's the traditional central AF point and Multi AF lotions, plus One Touch Shooting, which as mentioned in the introduction allows you to interactively set the focus point by tapping the touchscreen LCD (more on that below), and Smart Touch AF, which both focuses and takes the shot simply by holding down on the LCD screen. With little noticeable shutter lag, at highest resolution setting an image is committed to memory in just under two seconds, the screen blanking out briefly, which isn't bad at all.
The rear of the ST1000 is dominated by the very large 3.5-inch LCD screen, which in the absence of an optical viewfinder is the only way of composing your images. The excellent LCD has a very high resolution of 1,152k dots, a real treat for the eyes during both image composition and playback. We didn't have too many problems viewing the ST1000's screen in all but the brightest sunlight conditions. The ST1000 incorporates some clever touch-screen technology, with virtually all of the camera's functions activated and controlled via its LCD. It offers one of the best interactive experience of any digital camera that we've reviewed, thanks to a winning combination of high-resolution, intuitive menu layout, and quick responses.
In addition, you can do certain things, like scroll through your images or delete a picture, simply by performing a specific gesture, although often it proved quicker just to press the appropriate on-screen icon. If you're especially lazy, the ST1000's Smart Gesture feature goes even further by using the camera's built-in acceleration sensor to allow you to use gestures to perform certain actions. Flick the camera left or right to scroll through images, for example, or draw a cross to delete an image - although again it's usually quicker just to use the icons.
An ever-present icon in the top-left of the screen provides quick access to the shooting modes. On offer are the expected Auto and Program settings, plus Samsung's own 'Smart Auto' mode. As it sounds, this is the manufacturer's equivalent of the intelligent auto modes on competitors from Panasonic (its Lumix range), Sony (the latest T-series Cyber-shots) and Canon (Digital IXUS family). Namely you point the ST1000 at a scene or subject that hopefully the camera recognizes, automatically adjusting its settings to deliver optimum results. This means that it's not necessary for the user to manually delve into scene modes to call up the likes of 'landscape' or 'flower'; the ST1000's operation is merely a case of point and shoot.
There's also a 'Dual IS' mode, which offers both optical image stabilization and the ISO boosting digital variety. In terms of light sensitivity the Samsung ST1000 offers a very respectable range, stretching from ISO 80 up to ISO 3200. We'll of course be examining how well it does at its higher settings in the 'Image Quality' section of our review. Samsung's 'Beauty Shot' mode, useful for both acne-d adolescents and those of us who have over-indulged by automatically retouching out spots and blemishes, is the first Scene mode. Spotlighting the ST1000's intended audience as the family, Samsung clearly wants its users to have to spend as little time post-processing images as possible - if any. In addition to Beauty Shot, there are 12 other scene modes on offer.
Also useful is the omnipresent Function menu which can be quickly accessed by pressing the bottom of the LCD screen, which allows quick access to some of the ST1000's key settings. As expected the amount of information and options accessed via a press of 'Fn' varies dependant on which shooting mode is selected. For example in regular auto mode the user merely has the ability to adjust image size and resolution. Choose program mode however and there's the ability to change the EV, choose metering modes, change from single shot to continuous capture, choose from the range of ISO settings, adjust white balance, set the photo style or turn the ubiquitous face detection mode on or off. Like its rivals, Samsung also allows user access to blink detection and smile shot in this mode.
Finally, the full menu of options can be opened via the Menu icon in the bottom-right corner. Depending on the particular mode that the user is in, an icon illustrated vertical list provides access to four menus - Functions, Sound, Display and Settings. These include the ability to tweak operational sounds, LCD display, plus access to a setting menu, enabling memory to be formatted or previously selected functions reset. The ST1000 also has its very own Recycle Bin, with every deleted shot automatically stored in a temporary folder just in case you change your mind.
Although it hasn't got an 'HD' suffix in the model name, the Samsung ST1000 nevertheless offers High Definition video clips, though at 1280x720 pixels rather than the Full HD 1920x1080. In what Samsung is claiming as a first for digital compacts in its class, these can be paused mid-recording then re-started. The user can therefore perform rudimentary 'editing' as they shoot, a clever idea that hasn't yet been picked-up by other manufacturers. Fortunately the full extent of the optical zoom is also accessible when shooting movies. The video mode provides the opportunity to either shoot at top resolution, a less memory hungry 640x480 pixels, or 320x240 pixels; choice dependant on intended use (whether playing back on an HDTV or merely posting on the Internet). Maximum frame rate at 1280x720 resolution is 30fps, with a reduced 15fps rate also selectable. Should users however plump for the very lowest picture quality, a faster frame rate of 60fps is selectable.
There is a very small camera strap eyelet on the right side of the ST1000, with no controls positioned on the left side of the camera. On the bottom we find an included HDMI port for hooking the camera up to an HDTV. Increasingly common for DSLRs that also shoot movies, it's still a comparative rarity to find such on a digital compact, even if it does shoot HD video. The required HDMI cable is an optional extra though, so bear in mind if you're on a budget. The HDMI port also doubles up as the means of re-charging the camera, with the battery left in the camera itself, either from an electrical socket or or alternatively straight from a USB port connected to your computer. Also in the box is a quick-start guide as a hard copy, the full manual on CD ROM, plus a wrist strap.
Completing the bottom of the ST1000 is a plastic screw thread for attaching a tripod and a sliding cover for protecting the compartment that jointly houses the removable SD Micro media plus the provided battery. Battery life is good for approximately 200 shots from a full charge, so you'll definitely need a second battery for longer trips. More annoying is the tiny SD Micro format, which makes sense in Samsung's extensive range of mobile phones, but not in a larger camera. It's much too easy to lose in a pocket or bag, requires investment in yet another format, doesn't offer as much capacity or speed as SD / SDHC, and also needs the supplied adapter to be used in most external memory card readers. There's also 100Mb of built-in storage, enough for about 18 photos.
All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.
The Samsung ST1000 produced images of average quality during the review period. Noise is by far the main problem, being obvious at the relatively slow speed of ISO 100 and then becoming progressively worse at the faster settings of 200 and 400. By ISO 800 the images have become almost unusable, and it's best just to diregard the 1600-3200 settings completely.
Chromatic aberrations were fairly well controlled, with some purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The 12 megapixel images were a little soft straight out of the camera and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can increase the in-camera sharpening level.
Macro performance is a standout highlight, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject. The built-in flash was somewhat under-powered indoors, but there was no red-eye to speak of.
Anti-shake works very well when hand-holding the ST1000 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 some if not all after-dark situations.
There are 7 ISO settings available on the Samsung ST1000. 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)
The Samsung ST1000's 5x zoom lens offers a fairly versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:
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 soft at the default sharpening setting and 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)
The Samsung ST1000 has 3 different JPEG image quality settings available, with Super Fine 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.
|12M Super Fine (5Mb) (100% Crop)
|12M Fine (2.6Mb) (100% Crop)
|12M Normal (1.8Mb) (100% Crop)
The Samsung ST1000 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)
The Samsung ST1000 offers a Super Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is just 1cm 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.
The flash settings on the Samsung ST1000 are Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash off, Red eye fix. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.
Off - Wide Angle (35mm)
Fill-in - Wide Angle (35mm)
Off - Telephoto (175mm)
Fill-in - Telephoto (175mm)
And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Fill-in or the Red eye fix settings caused any red-eye.
|Fill-in (100% Crop)
Red-eye Fix (100% Crop)
The Samsung ST1000's maximum shutter speed is 8 seconds in the Night scene mode, which is fairly good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 6 seconds at ISO 80.
The Samsung ST1000 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 / 35mm
|1/6th sec / 175mm
This is a selection of sample images from the Samsung ST1000 camera, which were all taken using the 12 megapixel Super Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.
Sample Movie & Video
Front of the Camera
Front of the Camera / Lens Open
Rear of the Camera
Rear of the Camera / Turned On
Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed
Rear of the Camera / Main Menu
Rear of the Camera / Wi-Fi Menu
Bottom of the Camera
Top of the Camera
Side of the Camera
Side of the Camera
Front of the Camera
Front of the Camera
As with most recent Samsung cameras, the ST1000 certainly delivers a lot of bang for your buck, but poor GPS performance and image quality ultimately let the side down.
The ST1000 is intuitive to use, with the combination of the well thought-out touch-sensiitve user interface and the high-resolution screen producing a camera that doesn't send us rushing back to a button-based control system. Only the gesture-based controls, which have you wildly waving the ST1000 in all directions, feel like an unnecessary extra.
Equally pleasing are the array of connectivity options, with the ability to easily transfer your images via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth proving a real attraction. Unfortunately the even more appealing GPS feature doesn't work as advertised in the one place where it's really necessary - cities - with many photos simply not being tagged at all. When the GPS tracking works, it does so without any input required from the user, but the downside is that you can't check on the camera if it's actually opertaing correctly.
And just like the WB5000 model that we reviewed earlier this week, the ST1000's image quality is also below par. There's unwanted noise in evidence even at the relatively slow speed of ISO 100, and by 400 and faster the degradation in image quality is plain for all to see. In most other regards the ST1000 delivers good if not outstanding results, but the noise is simply too obvious to get away from.
Our final complaint is that he ST1000 certainly doesn't have price on its side, with Samsung charging a rather high £349.99 / $399.99 for all that cutting-edge technology. There are plenty of cameras with more impressive image quality available for less money than the ST550, so you really need to be certain that you'll use all of its features before buying.
|Ratings (out of 5)
|Value for money
Reviews of the Samsung ST1000 from around the web.
The Samsung ST1000 is what you get when you combine a super-slim camera with the latest wireless-connectivity and touchscreen technology. Samsung's experience in mobile-phone design surely plays a part here. We've seen wireless cameras before, but this, at last, is how it should be done.
Read the full review »
However it is the ST1000's extra features that set it apart, because it combines a range of high-tech gizmos that are more usually found in advanced mobile phones. The most obvious is the big 230k 3.5-inch touch-screen monitor which occupies almost the entire back of the camera, but it also features a built-in GPS receiver for automatic location tagging, high-speed Wireless internet and Bluetooth connectivity, and DNLA home network compatibility, used for viewing photos on TVs and other devices that support this standard.
Read the full review »
|1/2.3" (1.10cm) CCD
|Approx. 12x Mega-pixel
|Approx. 12x Mega-pixel
|Schneider Lens 6.3mm ~ 31.5mm (35mm film Equivalent: f 35mm ~ 175mm)
|F3.6 (W) ~ F4.8 (T)
|Still Image mode: 1.0x ~ 5.0x Play mode: 1.0x ~ 12.0x (depends on image size)
|TTL auto focus (Multi AF, Center AF, Face Detection AF, Smart Touch AF, Face Recognition AF, Touch AF)
|Normal: 80cm ~ infinity Macro: 10cm ~ 80cm (Wide), 50cm ~ 80cm (Tele) Auto Macro : 10cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 50cm ~ Infinity (Tele) Super Macro: 1cm ~ 5cm (Wide, only) (TBD)
|±2EV (1/3EV steps)
|Program AE, Shutter AE, Aperture Priority AE or Manual ExposureAE Lock (TBD)
|Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
|Multi, Spot, Center Weighted, Face Detection AE
|Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash off, Red eye fix
|Approx. under 4 sec.
|Wide : 0.3m ~ 5.0m, Tele : 0.5m ~ 3.0m (ISO AUTO) (TBD)
|Internal Memory: About 100 MB
External Memory (Optional): Micro SD™ (up to 4 GB guaranteed) Micro SDHC (up to 4 GB guaranteed) (1)
|Still Image: JPEG (DCF), EXIF 2.21, DPOF 1.1, PictBridge 1.0
Movie Clip: MP4 (H.264 (MPEG4.AVC))
|12M: 3968 x 2976 pixels, 8M: 3264 x 2448 pixels (TBD) 5M : 2560 x 1920 pixels, 3M: 2048 x 1536 pixels 1M: 1024x 768 pixels, 9M W: 3840 x 2160 pixels, 2M W 1920 x 1080 (1792 x 1008 TBD) pixels 10M P: 3984 x 2656 pixels Resize 4:35M: 2560 x 1920, 3M: 2048 x 1536, 1M: 102
|Microphone: StereoInternal Speaker: Mono
|Digital output connector
|AV: NTSC, PAL (user selectable) HDMI 1.2: NTSC, PAL (user selectable) (2)
|DC power input
|99.8 x 60.8 x 18.9mm
|TBD (without battery and card)
|0 ~ 40°C
|5 ~ 85%
|3.5" Wide over h VGA w / Full Touch Screen Panel
|With Audio or without Audio (Max Recording time: 20min) Size: 1280 x 720 (30fps & 15fps) High Quality, 1280 x 720 (30fps & 15fps) Standard Quality, 640 x 480 (30fps & 15fps), 320 x 240 (60fps & 30fps), For Share(320 x 240, 30fps) (5x Optical Zoom)
|Color : Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, Custom
|Pause during recording, Still Image Capture, Time Trimming
|Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) Bluetooth 2.0GPS for Geotagging and Location Name
|Smart Recognition, Auto, Program, Dual IS, SceneScene: Portrait, Children, Landscape, Text, Close-up, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight, Fireworks, Beach & Snow, Angle Guide
|Photo Style Selector: Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, Custom RGB Image Adjust: Sharpness (Soft+, Soft, Normal, Vivid, Vivid+), Contrast (Hight+,High, Normal, Low, Low+) , Saturation(++, +, Normal, -, --)
|Image Edit: Resize, Rotate, Trimming Photo Style Selector: Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, Custom RGB Special Effect: Color Filter, Elegant, Add NoiseImage Adjust: Face Retouch, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Red Eye Fix, ACB Funny Face: Face Retouch (Level 1,2,3), Red eye fix, Snow, Mosaic
|1. Wirless Connectivity w / internal Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Module - DLNA based on Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 b/g) - DSC to DSC, DSC to TV, DSC to Cell Phone - Online File Sharing 2. Geo-tagging w/ internal GPS Module - Location Name (OSD) - Google Map Link
|System Requirement in general
|PC with processor better than Pentium III 500MHz (Pentium III 800MHz recommended) Windows 2000 / XP / Vista 250MB of available hard-disk space (Over 1GB recommend) Minimum 256MB RAM (Over 512MB recommended) USB port CD-ROM drive 1024 x 768 pixels, 16-bit color display compatible monitor (24-bit color display recommended) Microsoft DirectX 9.0 or later
|Power Mac G3 or laterMac OS 10.3 or higher Minimum 256MB RAM 110MB of available hard-disk space USB port CD-ROM drive
|System Requirement for 720P H.264 Movie
|Intel Pentium 4, 3.2GHz or higher / AMD Athlin 64FX, 2.6GHz or higher Windows XP service pack2 / Vista Minimum 512MB RAM (1GB and above recommended) 64MB or greater video card (nVIDIA Geforce 7600GT or higher / ATI X1600 series or higher recommended)
|1.8GHz Power Mac G5 or 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo or faster Macintosh computer At least 256MB of RAM 64MB or greater video card