Samsung ST100 Review

November 24, 2010 | Gavin Stoker | Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Samsung ST100 is a 14 megapixel point and shoot camera with a unique twist - it has a 1.8 inch LCD screen on the front which makes it easier to take self-portrait pictures. In addition to this innovative feature, the Dual View ST100 offers a 3.5 inch, 1,152k touch-screen LCD with built-in Haptic vibration effect for extra feedback and a Smart Gesture user interface with built-in Acceleration Sensor that responds to finger commands. The ST100 also has a 5x optical inner zoom lens with a focal range of 35-175mm, Smart Auto mode which automatically chooses from 16 different settings ranging from landscape to portrait, and 720p video recording at 30fps. The Samsung ST100 is available for $349.99 / £299.

Ease of Use

Why put up with just the one when everything goes better with two? We're talking LCD screens. The latest glossy addition to Samsung's burgeoning range of so far unique '2View' cameras, coming after the ST500 and ST600, the 14.2 megapixel ST100 features not only a comparatively huge 3.5-inch, high resolution 1152k dot resolution version with a widescreen aspect ratio at the back, but additionally a small 4:3 ratio 1.8-inch screen at the front.

It's the same size and ratio of LCD we were used to finding adorning the rear of digital cameras at the dawn of the millennium. The second smaller screen is not only potentially useful for lining up self-portraits with greater accuracy, by displaying the image before the lens or a cutesy animation it could also distract never-stay-still pets and kids long enough for you to get that quick snap. Other key spec includes High Definition video capture - here the usual 1280x720 pixels at 30 frames per second (with additional 15fps option) - plus a broader than average light sensitivity range stretching from ISO80 to ISO3200, should you want to risk low light shooting without flash.

Face Detection can now detect up to 20 faces in the one frame and once again we have the Samsung regulars of colour adjusting Photo Style Selector modes and digital effects courtesy of its Smart Filters options. The regulars of the tilt and shift lens ape-ing Miniature and perspective warping Fisheye are here, alongside defog and sketch options. Apply these and a new image is created and saved alongside your original. Once again while they probably won't influence your purchase decision one way or the other, they're fun extras.

The ST100 is further newsworthy for being Samsung's first dual view camera to feature an internally folded zoom lens - here a 5x optical variety equivalent to 35-175mm in 35mm film terms - that at no point protrudes from the body. This helps to maintain clean design lines and compact proportions at all times. Indeed the camera rather closely resembles the waterproof WP10 from the same maker's range, whilst lacking its moisture resistance. With a UK asking price around the £300 mark however, the ST100 is priced at a premium. It's towards the top end of what we'd expect to pay for a snapshot camera - albeit one without the extra screen. And that said we just get the standard quick start manual in the camera box, with the full manual less usefully included on CD only.

Samsung ST100 Samsung ST100
Front Rear

Paring things down to the essentials, no separate charger is provided with this Samsung as its battery is charged in-camera. One end of a short USB cable plugs into an unprotected port at the camera's base, the other end into a provided mains plug, or directly into a vacant USB port on your laptop for main-free recharging. Whilst that offers some convenience and saves on long snaking cabling, it also means that even if investing in a spare battery the camera is tied up every time you need to re-charge it.

It's also worth mentioning that the camera's large backscreen swallows up all the real estate at the ST100's rear, edging out any physical buttons whatsoever, except for a dedicated playback control that sits half atop the screen surround and half atop the top plate proper. Good to have this for one-touch playback rather than having to otherwise locate a dedicated playback mode from among the screen icons. The 3.5-inch screen is large for a reason as it offers touch panel operation - so there's plenty of space for jabbing fingers this way and that, the trade off being that there's nothing resembling a grip at the back, nor front of this camera.

Like the WP10 its glossy surface means that it's tricky to hold this one rock steady and avoid camera shake, despite built in optical (and digital) image stabilization. Also, as the fingers of your right hand snake around its front searching for something to grip, they part obscure the front LCD, which is ranged toward the left hand edge if looking at the ST100 lens on. So, as usual, this isn't a camera without certain compromises, even if Samsung has furnished this camera with its slightly backwards-slanting design - the lens therefore pointing marginally skywards - which it claims makes for a natural shooting angle.

For those looking for an unobtrusive, lightweight point and shoot for occasional use however it will fit neatly into any pocket or purse. Dimensions are 100x60x20mm and it weighs a manageable 135g without battery or card - here, typically of Samsung's latest batch of compacts, compatibility is offered with the less well-loved microSD only, and up to 2GB at that. And, although the outer construction may be mostly plastic - where competitors offer a greater degree of visible metal at this price - the ST100 feels reasonably sturdy - at least strong enough to withstand the odd knock and drop (though it isn't shockproof).

Samsung ST100 Samsung ST100
Top Front LCD Screen

From the front the ST100 would look fairly plain if it weren't for that screen tucked into the left hand corner, blending in with the all-black bodywork of our review sample very well. The lens sits top right of the faceplate where it would be prey to stray fingertips obscuring the lens if it weren't for a slightly raised lens surround that, deliberately or otherwise, your fingers gently butt up against should they come too close. Alongside this is a small porthole housing the AF assist/self timer lamp, and next to this again we find a narrow lozenge-shaped flash.

The ST100's slender strip of a top plate most prominently features its shutter release button, which has a smaller power button inset alongside, next to which is a dedicated button for switching the front LCD on or off - though it can also be brought into play with a couple of finger taps direct to the screen. Unusually for a compact camera these days, a rocker switch for operating the zoom lens sits adjacent to the shutter release at the right hand edge of the top plate rather than ergonomically encircling it; not that in practice this makes much of a difference at all in terms of speed and user friendliness. Both built-in microphone and speaker are also incorporated into the top strip, not that this should concern any aspect of the Samsung's operation.

Press the power button and the camera readies itself for the first shot in just over a second - a commendably swift response given the ST100's humble point and shoot status. Nudge the zoom lever next to it and the camera takes around three seconds to travel slowly yet surely from maximum wideangle to extreme telephoto. The optical zoom is quieter than most in operation - you have to press your ear to the camera to actually hear anything - with the result that it can be deployed when shooting video clips, which isn't always the case with competing compacts in its class.

With the camera ready for action the user has the choice of seven shooting modes, including two video options, selected via an icon located top left of the screen. Incidentally, if shooting in regular 4:3 mode, black bands crop the otherwise 16:9 ratio LCD left and right, and it's on these borders that the icons mostly sit. Opt to shoot widescreen format however video and said crop naturally disappears to provide access to the screen's full width. Furthermore, should the 'hide info' mode have been previously selected, with a half press of the shutter button the icons disappear from the screen edges to present a clear view. A subsequent tap of the screen retrieves them from the void.

Tap the shooting mode icon - denoted by the familiar stills camera shape, or movie camera if you have previously selected the latter instead - and a virtual mode wheel of choices is presented centre of screen, overlaying the image so photographers can still see their intended subject through it. It's here we find not only Samsung's scene and subject recognizing Smart Auto option, but regular auto mode and program option as well. Moving round the dial we are also given a dedicated dual anti shake option, standard video mode and Smart Auto video mode. Select an option and the virtual shooting dial disappears, your choice displayed top left of screen.

Samsung ST100 Samsung ST100
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

So far so intuitive, with response times nigh instantaneous and so it continues. A half press of the shutter button and focus/exposure is determined after the briefest of pauses whilst the camera adjusts, AF point/s highlighted in green with the usual beep of affirmation that the user is ready to depress the button fully and take their shot. Do so, and a full resolution, Super Fine quality JPEG is committed to memory in a couple of seconds, the screen briefly blacking out and displaying a frozen version of your shot before returning to real time image relay.

Tap the screen in one of the shooting modes and in addition to the relevant shooting mode icon we also get one tap access to flash options, focus options (normal AF or macro AF), self timer options (two seconds, ten seconds etc), and the aforementioned ability to hide the display information, or not. In addition, in auto and program shooting modes a tap of the bottom centre of the screen reveals a toolbar from which further operational functions are selected. It's here we find the Photo Style Selector options, with the likes of vivid or cool colours selectable, as well as ISO, white balance, multi zone or centre-weighted AF, exposure compensation (+/- 2EV) and their ilk.

A 'menu' button lurks in the bottom right hand of the screen. Press this and we're presented with four further folders of options for, from the top, camera functions, sound adjustments, screen adjustments and finally, regular set up menu options, such as the ability to format the card in use or reset all settings. The camera functions options within menu are the same as those presented along the bottom of the screen as previously mentioned.

The left and right hand flanks of the camera are devoid of any controls or ports whatsoever, with only a small lug for attaching a wrist strap tucked near the base at one side. The base of the camera is where we find the uncovered output connection that hooks up to the USB/recharging cable, nuzzling next to an off-centre screw thread for attaching a tripod. As usual the battery compartment is shared with that for a microSD card. We found ourselves having to recharge the provided battery every other day, so you'll want to have some means of doing so when you're in transit.

So, while the Samsung's touch screen operation is quick and responsive and its dual screen setup works well - if you don't forget all about the one at the front, as we occasionally did - the feature set here is pretty much that of your £150-£199 point and shoot camera. Will the pictures it produces therefore justify the extra spend? Read on to find out…

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.


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)



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)


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


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 (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)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Samsung ST100 camera, which were all taken using the 14.2 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample video from the Samsung ST100 camera at the highest quality setting of 1280x720 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 36 second movie is 41.5Mb in size.

Product Images

Samsung ST100

Front of the Camera

Samsung ST100

Front of the Camera / Front LCD Screen

Samsung ST100

Isometric View

Samsung ST100

Isometric View

Samsung ST100

Rear of the Camera

Samsung ST100

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Samsung ST100

Top of the Camera

Samsung ST100

Bottom of the Camera

Samsung ST100

Side of the Camera


Samsung ST100

Side of the Camera

Samsung ST100

Memory Card Slot

Samsung ST100

Battery Compartment


An internet search at the time of writing found the Samsung ST100 still selling for an average £295 online which feels high for a snapshot camera, considering just £50 more could snag you an entry level DSLR these days. And yes, in fairness that's a totally different market; the ST100 instead feels best suited to mums (and dads) who want to take keepsake snaps of their little ones without having to fiddle around with a myriad settings before being able to do so. Moreover it's fun and user-friendly, the two screens set up transpiring to be slightly more than just a gimmick (when you remember you have actually got that second one at the front).

Our biggest disappointment with the Samsung ST100 was the difficulty with which camera shake can be avoided, however, and since we're not big fans of using the flash all the time, the result was our fair share of soft images. Use of a touch screen is also either love it, or hate it, but now the feature is becoming an intrinsic part of most daily gadgets it seems that we'll witness the technology's appearance on digital cameras for some time to come yet. The one here is at least fast and responsive as well as being physically large, controls and buttons legible and also sufficiently spaced to avoid accidental activation of adjacent settings, so is one of the better implementations we've used so far. Our only grumble is that the individual icons could do with being a tad larger, as on Panasonic models.

At the end of the day though the biggest cloud hanging over the Samsung ST100 is that we're not convinced it's worth the premium being asked on launch.

3.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 3
Value for money 3

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Samsung ST100 from around the web. »

The sleek and stylish ST100 is the latest 2View camera from Samsung, these being cameras that have the usual large 3.5 inch screen on the rear, but also a small screen on the front of the camera. This is primarily used when composing a self-portrait, so will be useful for the casual user on a night out or someone wanting to change their online image regularly, but can also be used to keep the attention of a small child whilst you get their portrait or used for getting yourself into position for a group shot you want to be in.
Read the full review »


Information displayed is accurate at time of launch

Usage note
(1) Remarks : HDMI function is available when connected to the HDMI Cable (optional).
(2) Due to the noise while optical zooming, user can select to record sound or not.

Image sensor Type 1 / 2.3″ (appox 7.763mm) CCD
Effective Pixel Approx. 14.20 Mega-pixel
Total Pixel Approx. 14.48 Mega-pixel
Lens Focal Length Schneider Lens 6.3mm ~ 31.5mm (35mm film Equivalent : f 35mm ~ 175mm)
F No. F3.6 (W) ~ F4.8 (T)
Digital Zoom Still Image mode : 1.0x ~ 5.0x Play mode : 1.0x ~ 13.5x (depends on image size)
Focusing Type TTL auto focus (Multi AF, Centre AF, Face Detection AF, Smart Touch AF, Smart Face Recognition AF, One Touch Shooting)
Range Normal : 80cm ~ infinity Macro : 5cm ~ 80cm (Wide), 50cm ~ 80cm (Tele) Auto Macro : 5cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 50cm ~ Infinity (Tele)
Exposure Compensation ±2EV (1 / 3EV steps)
Control Program AE
ISO Equivalent Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Metering Multi, Spot, Centre Weighted, Face Detection AE
Flash Modes Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash off, Red eye fix
Recharging Time Approx. 4 sec.
Range Wide : 0.3m ~ 3.1m, Tele : 0.5m ~ 2.3m (ISO AUTO)
Storage Media Internal Memory : 30MB External Memory (Optional) : Micro SD™ (up to 2GB guaranteed) Micro SDHC (up to 8GB guaranteed)
File format Still Image : JPEG (DCF), EXIF 2.21, DPOF 1.1, PictBridge 1.0 Movie Clip : H.264 (MPEG4.AVC) Audio : AAC
Image Size 14M : 4320 x 3240 pixels 12MP : 4320 x 2880 pixels 12M : 4000 x 3000 pixels 10MW : 4320 x 2432 pixels 8M : 33264 x 2448 pixels 5M : 2560 x 1920 pixels 3M : 2048 x 1536 pixels 2MW : 1920 x 1080 pixels 1M : 1024 x 768 pixels
Interface Audio Microphone : MonoInternal Speaker : Mono
Digital output connector USB 2.0
Video Out AV : NTSC, PAL (user selectable) SCC-AV34 HDMI 1.4 : NTSC, PAL (user selectable) (1)
DC power input 4.2V 34Pin
Physical Specification Dimensions (WxHxD) 100 x 60 x 20mm
Weight 135g (without battery and card)
Operating Temperature 0 ~ 40 °C
Operationg Humidity 5 ~ 85%
Display Type TFT LCD
Feature Main Display : 3.5" (8.9cm) Wide 1152K Full Touch LCD Front Display : 1.8" (4.6cm) 116K TFT LCD
Movie Clip Recording With Audio or without Audio (Max Recording time : 20min) Size : 1280 x 720 (30 / 15fps) High Quality, 1280 x 720 (30 / 15fps) Standard Quality, 640 x 480 (30 / 15fps), 320 x 240 (30 / 15 fps) (2)
Effect Colour Style : Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, Custom
Edit Pause during recording, Still Image Capture, Time Trimming
Still Image Shooting Smart Auto, Auto, Smart Movie, Movie, Program, Dual IS, Scene * Smart Auto : Portrait, Night Portrait, Backlight Portrait, Macro Portrait, Night, Backlight, Landscape, White, NaturalGreen, BlueSky, Sunset, Macro, Macro Text, Macro Colour, Tripod, Action, Fireworks * Smart Movie : Landscape, BlueSky, NaturalGreen, Sunset * Scene : Beauty, Frame Guide, Night, Portrait, Landscape, Close up, Text, Sunset, Dawn, Back Light, Fireworks, Beach&Snow * Front LCD button : Self portrait (Still &Movie), Couple shot, Children Animation (Still &Movie), Jump shot, Function info, Shutter info * Drive : Single, Continuous, AEB, Motion Capture
Effect Photo Style Selector : Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, Custom RGB Image Adjust : Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, ACBSmart Filter : Normal, Miniature, Vignetting, Fish Eye1, Fish Eye2, Sketch, DeFog Effect
Edit Image Edit : Resize, Rotate, Trimming Photo Style Selector : Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, Custom RGB Smart Filter : Normal, Miniature, Vignetting, Fish Eye1, Fish Eye2, Sketch, DeFog EffectImage Adjust : Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Red Eye Fix, ACB Special Effect : Colour Filter, Elegant, Add Noise, Face Retouch (Level 1, 2, 3)
Special Feature   • Front LCD ON - Tap or Front LCD Hot Key Button • Front Display (Self Shot, Self Timer, Jump Shot, Shutter Info, Funtion Info, Children mode, Couple shot) (User can change the flash file of children mode by downloading new file from Samsung Website) • Gamefying User Interface : Smart Gesture UI (Tap, Air Button & Tilting) • Touch Lock Function • Smart Face Recognition (Register 6 people manullaly and 14 people automatically / My Star : 6 people who are registered manually) • Smart Touch AF (Object Tracking) • One Touch Shooting (AF→ Shooting : Keep pressing for 2 seconds for shooting) • Smart Auto 2.0 (Movie & Still) • Smart Album (Smart Album Category : Type, Date, Colour, Week, Face, Favourite) • Beauty Shot (1, 2, 3 Steps) • High Definition Movie Recording : - 720p Resolution @30fps / H.264 Movie File • HDMI CEC (Optional HDMI cable and Connector needed) • Built In SW (Intelli-Studio) • Multi Slide Show • High Sensitivity ISO3200 (Full Size)
System Requirement in general For Windows Intel Pentium 4, 3.2GHz or later / AMD Athelon 64FX, 2.6GHz or laterOver Minimum 512MB RAM (Over 1GB recommanded) Windows XP / VISTA / 7250MB (Over 1GB recommanded) CD-ROM Drive USB 2.0 Microsoft 9.0c or later Over 1024 x 768 pixels, 16 bit color monitor or later (1280 x 1024 pixels, 32 bit colour recommanded) Over 64MB video card (nVIDIA Geforce 7600GT or later / ATI x 1600 series or later)
For Macintosh Power Mac G3 or later, Mac 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 For Windows Windows 2000 / XP / Vista
For Macintosh Mac OS x 10.3 or higher

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