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The Digimax V4 is one of the latest additions to the Samsung digital camera range and it differs from older Samsung digital cameras in several ways. It's smaller, has a more stylish and modern design and also has the most comprehensive battery options. Yet with the ultra compact digital camera market being more crowded than ever, the Digimax V4 faces some tough competition.
Samsung Digimax V4 specification
- Four megapixel CCD
- 7.7-23.1mm (35mm equiv. 38-113mm) Schneider Lens
- 1.5" Colour TFT
- ISO Auto (70), 100, 200, 400
- JPG and TIFF image formats
- SD/MMC card slot
- Accepts CR-V3, 2xAA, Lithium, Ni-Mn, Ni-Zn, Ni-MH, Ni-Cd or Li-ion batteries.
- Voice recording and memo function
- Comes with MGI Photosuite and Digimax Viewer 2.0
- Dimensions: 105.5x54.6x38mm
- Weight: 165g
- Price: Around £350
The long narrow shape of the Digimax V4 lends itself well to slipping into a pocket and it is an almost identical shape to some of the Sony P range, such as the Sony DSC-P5.
The plastic casing seems well put together and the camera feels like it could stand as much rough treatment as most other digital cameras of this type could.
The lens extends quickly and the camera is ready to shoot a second or two later. The camera's speed performance is slightly less impressive from shot to shot, with several seconds between being able to take another shot. There is a continuos mode which lets you hold down the shutter release and have up to three photos be taken in succession.
The viewfinder is basic, with no focus bracket markings or diopter adjustment for spectacle wearers. The LCD is bright and detailed and there are three brightness settings available.
Although most of the menu operations are fast to carry out, the playback feature is slower than that of some of the competition. Though the thumbnail grid feature is fast enough to quickly navigate to the desired picture.
Apart from the minor niggle with the playback of images, the Digimax V4 is a slightly better than average handling digital compact. The simple control layout and compact shape make for an easy to use and equally easy to carry camera.
One of the key points of this camera is the variety of power sources it can take. We only had Ni-Mh batteries available to test this claim with and the Digimax lasted well on them. Samsung can be commended for providing an innovative solution to one of the main problems to plague digital camera users - battery incompatibility.
The menu system allows a fair amount of control over various image quality and camera settings. It is as straightforward as any other to use and is quite quick to navigate.
The record view shows information on the size, quality and sharpening settings that are in use. It also shows the camera mode, battery-life remaining and zoom position. The time and date are displayed in the lower-right of the screen.
When focus has been achieved the two central brackets are lit up green. When in the EASY camera mode, the information displayed is more basic.
The record menu lets you set up the following camera settings:
Prog: Size, Quality (TIFF, S.Fine, Fine, Normal), Metering (Multi, Spot), Shooting mode (Single, Continuous, AEB), ISO (Auto, 100, 200, 400), White Balance (Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluor., Tungsten), Effect (Normal, B&W, sRGB, Sunset), Sharpness (Soft, Normal, Vivid).
The playback menu lets you set up slideshow options, protect images, resize them as well as deleting them all and set print options.
Although the switching between images is slower than average, the playback zoom is fast and allows a good magnification range.
Camera modes and operation
The Digimax V4 has a My Set option which allows you to store up to nine different camera settings in the camera memory.
If you want manual control, there are Aperture and Shutter priority modes and a fully manual mode. For those less confident people, there's an Easy mode available, which attempts to take the best possible photo for you and simplifies the options available. There's also preset settings for Night Scenes and Movie clip and Voice recording modes. There are a number of white balance presets, but unfortunately no custom white balance option is provided.
Overall the Digimax V4 provides a good range of options and modes without making itself too complicated to use for a beginner. Although it is lacking some nice to have features, like custom white balance or a histogram facility, it is a competitively priced four megapixel camera and has the majority of features most people will want.
Generally images we took with the Samsung Digimax V4 were good. The four megapixels of resolution help to produce detailed photographs and the lens, although perhaps not as sharp as some pricier compact cameras, still performs well.
At the lowest ISO settings, as you'd expect and hope, noise levels are low. This being a compact camera, don't expect too much from the higher ISO settings, or you're likely to be left disappointed. The auto focussing system is average, but the manual focussing control is one of the best I've seen in a compact camera of this type, allowing a good level of control.
Colour accuracy is an area the V4 lets itself down somewhat, with default settings producing slightly under-saturated colour. This can be remedied to a certain extent with some adjustments in your favourite image editing program, or you may even prefer this more conservative colour approach.
The crop of the above flowers shown below, is an example of the slight under-saturation the Digimax V4 produces.
Shot at ISO 70, this shot is relatively noise-free. Finer details of the image have been captured moderately well and there is enough data there for a larger than average sized print. The 1:1 ratio crop of the image above below shows the front of the truck.
The Digimax V4 metering system produced good results on the whole, with only one or two occasions where exposure compensation was needed.
The good points of this camera certainly outweigh the few negative ones. It has a good range of features and options, a compact, stylish body and can produce good quality images, all for a good price. However, if image quality rather than budget is your primary concern, then spending more may get you better quality images, but not considerably better unless you upgrade from the ultra-compact digital family.
In summary the main positive points of the Samsung Digimax V4 are:
Compact, lightweight, well designed body
Good range of menu options
Better than average manual focussing
Wide Battery compatibility
Good resolution and image quality
Negative points are:
Shot-to-shot times are average
No histogram function
No manual white-balance
Playback of images is slower than average
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