A few months ago, my purse was stolen while I was at an anniversary party for one popular semi-underground indie bar. Now I didn’t mind that my wallet or even my banged up 3-year old phone with all of my contacts was in that purse. What hurt the most was to lose the camera my husband had given me two Christmases ago: a Samsung IT100. He’d gotten it for me after he learned that it was a camera I really enjoyed using (after having reviewed it earlier that year). Not only did I love that camera, my own sisters loved it too that they decided to make me the “official photographer” of all our nights-out. My one sister was so envious; she went off and bought herself a Samsung TL205.
So when I was given the chance to review the Samsung ST700, I was absolutely excited to see what it could do. Being pleased with the results and performance of my last camera, I immediately (and perhaps, haphazardly) had high hopes for this model.
Now you couldn’t exactly hold that against me especially once you open the box and see this incredibly chic and shiny camera sitting in it. As it is a DualView camera, the camera face is a mirror—one clear enough for you to check your own makeup with—and where you can find a 1.8-inch front LCD screen and comes with a 5x optical zoom lens starting at 26mm equivalent and a 16-megapixel sensor. At the back is a 3-inch LCD touchscreen with one home button at the bottom right-hand corner. On top is your Playback button, Power button, shutter with zoom, and F.LCD button to activate the front LCD for more accurate self-portraits. Hidden behind a right-hand side compartment is a USB slot for the charger and the AV as well as a slot for an HDMI cable. The bottom latch is for the lithium-ion battery and the 4GB microSD card (which the camera already comes with).
But that’s as far as it goes when it comes to anything external. Everything else you can find inside the 3-inch LCD touchscreen. Press the Home button and you’ll find an array of features and functions, separated into four pages, if you will, which you slide to the left. The first page includes: Smart Auto, Program, Smart Movie, Self Shot, Children, Pose Guide, Album and Settings. The second page: Jump Shot, Movie, Scene, Vignetting, Beauty Shot, Magic Frame, Photo Editor, Photo Filter. The third: Movie Filter, Night, Palette Effect, Close Up, Simple Shot, DUAL IS, Slide Show, Voice Recorder. On the fourth is Magazine View.
All these can be activated with just one touch. And with all of these intuitive features to fiddle with, you’re sure to be entertained and amused with all the kinds of shots you can take and how you want to present them. Of course, I went straight for the Beauty Shot function to see how Samsung could’ve possibly improved this God-send of a technology. Now if my old camera just had one setting for the Beauty Shot, this model allows you to adjust the Face Tone (brightness) and the Face Retouch (blur and “smoothness”), though I suggest you just keep both settings on high for quick and painless photo-editing results.
Now I do have to admit that despite the intuitive interface and the pictures that came with each function (so you know what does what), I did have trouble getting around the camera via the touchscreen. I guess you can say that I’m not used to having to press and drag a screen using a significant amount of pressure. So maneuvering isn’t as quick as I’d like. But nevertheless, the Samsung ST700 can be an awesome digital camera to own, if you don’t mind man-handling it a little.
Megapixel count: 16-megapixels
Zoom and optics: 5x zoom; optical x digital: 25x
Physical Dimension: 99 x 55 x 20 mm
Weight: 121g (without battery and memory card)
Estimated battery life: Approx. 180 shots
Memory used/internal capacity: External memory: Micro SD Card (up to 4GB) Micro SDHC (up to 8GB)
• DualView camera
• Chic design
• Touchscreen not as tactile
• Lackluster functions and results
For those who want amazing and accurate self-portraits as well as a break from your run-of-the-mill photo, the Samsung ST700 is your camera of choice.
Buy Meter: 7.9
[This review originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of Gadgets Magazine]