By GABEY GOHbytz@thestar.com.my
The Samsung MV800 is a compact model with a flip-out screen and more features than one can count.
SAMSUNG probably had me in mind when it was developing the MV800 digital camera.
Why? Well despite being a horrific photographer with shaky hands, it hasn't stopped me from exposing the world to awful photos via Facebook and Twitter.
The MV800 with its 180° flip-out 3in screen is the spiritual successor to the Samsung 2View, which launched in 2009 with a 1.5in screen in the front.
I credit that particular model with unleashing my inner "camwhore" and sparing friends from self-portraits with half a head (or none at all). For the uninitiated, camwhores are people who love to take pictures of themselves for posting on social media sites.
In a market climate where smartphone cameras are ruling the scene and giving the compact point-and-shoot category a run for its money, how does the MV800 hold up? Read on to find out.
This is a camera built for and emphatically aimed at the casual photographer looking for an easy, less-technical method to get those fun photos destined for social media or a scrapbook.
The ones who zone out when phrases like ISO, white light and Photoshop enter the conversation yet cringe in frustration when that carefully-posed shot turns out to be nothing but a blurry blob.
With the MV800 housing a 16.15-megapixel Schneider-Kreuznach 26mm wide-angle lens with 5x optical zoom, the pictures you get from this little unit won't match up to the high-performance models but they are still pretty good.
When you flip out the screen for that Next Top Model shot, the textured back offers some grip and the dedicated Back camera button also lessens any fear for those with butterfingers.
The 3in touchscreen is certainly a boon. In the case of the old 2View, one had to squint to check if all three of you made it into the frame. With the MV800, it's much easier to get a larger group of friends into the picture - literally.
But it's not so much the camera's unique form factor that should be highlighted; it's the software inside.
Samsung has packed every conceivable feature it could think of for playing around with photos into this little thing.
The user interface on this is startlingly easy to understand and would pose no real challenge to even those that know absolutely nothing about photography, or technology for that matter. I believe I spent more time trying out all the crazy and interesting things I could do once I took a picture than actually thinking about what to take a picture of (hello 25 shots of messy desk and half-finished coffee).
On top of the Smart Auto options, the MV800 also offers a built in photo editor, picture-in-picture mode and Storyboard feature which combines selected photos into preset frames with the option to switch them around.
For the more adventurous, there is a Magic Frame option that allows new or existing photos to be laid on top of each other and given a frame (among the many options you can choose shapes such as square, heart or circle). The live panoramic shots were quite fun to attempt, and a test of steady hands.
For those in the mood for some entertainment, try the Funny Face mode, which uses facial recognition technology to distort your face in weird ways. Much like those fun mirrors at carnivals and theme parks. Surprisingly, the battery life is quite good despite constant fiddling with the functions and multiple flash shots. It wouldn't be a big stretch to expect it to last an entire day of shooting.
For the most part the MV800 is a lot of fun but it's not without its flaws. The 3D photo options proved a little tricky as you could only really see how effective it is on a compatible 3D TV as the preview on the camera's screen does not really help.
The Pose Guide was the most redundant feature, where a sketch outline from a gallery of "professional poses" is superimposed onto the screen for you to mimic. Personally, I don't think I need help with posing for photos (it was awkward to try the feature anyway), just need help taking them that's all.
The response rate for the touchscreen when navigating through the myriad of options is quite laggy and requires some patience for it to register what you want from it.
There is also a slight delay when pressing the shutter button down to take shots, and there were many instances where I wondered whether I had pressed it hard enough (and whether I had eaten enough rice for lunch), only to have it take a snap while the camera's in motion.
The fact that it uses a microSD slot was also a point of contention, especially since there is only 10MB of memory onboard (hello 10 photos) and I only had regular SD cards to my name.
All in all, this is one compact and fun piece of hardware that allows its user to edit photos, add effects or borders and print them out, all without ever touching a computer.
The Samsung MV800 will be a great item for your photo loving but hopeless photographer friend or relative come the holiday season.
Pros: Packed with fun features; great for self-portraits; compact design.
Cons: Uses a microSD instead of SD; a bit laggy; touchscreen is a fingerprint magnet.
SENSOR: 16.15-megapixels CCD
VIEWFINDER: 3in touchscreen (288,000 pixels)
LENS: 4.7-23.5mm f/3.3 (wide) - f/5.6 (telephoto)
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/8 - 1/2,000 sec
ISO RANGE: 400 to 3,200
VIDEO MODE FORMAT: H.264 (1,280 x 720-pixels)
BATTERY: Lithium-ion battery
STORAGE: 10MB internal memory, microSD/microSDHC slot
INTERFACE: USB 2.0
OTHER FEATURES: Image stabilisation, face detection, Sketch, Miniature, Picture-in-Picture, Frames, Vignetting, Fisheye, Funny Face
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D): 92.0 x 56.2 x 18.3mm
WEIGHT: 130g (without battery and memory card)
Review unit courtesy of Samsung Malaysia Electronics Sdn Bhd, 1-800-88-9999