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Samsung L83t - In a politically correct world, it's great to know that someone still has a sense of humour. The Samsung L83t may not sound funny, but it seems the translation of small camera has been taken a little too literally. Matt Grayson gets to grips with a Midget Photographer. Seriously.
The new L83t offers a small and slim body with a lot of pixels packed in like sardines. It also offers Face recognition AF, Image stabiliser, a metal body, up to 1cm macro and a high ISO of 1600.
- Effective Pixel: 8.2Mp
- Zoom: 3x optical
- LCD Monitor : 2.5in LCD
- Focusing Type: TTL auto focus, Multi-AF, Face Recognition AF, Manual Focus
- Macro: 5cm
- Super Macro : 1cm-5cm
- Shutter Speed: 1 - 1/2,000 sec
- Metering : Multi, Spot, Center-weighted, Face Recognition AE
- Compensation: ±2EV (1/3EV steps)
- Flash Modes: Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash off, Red-eye Fix
- External Memory(Optional): MMCplus(up to 2GB guaranteed) SD/SDHC (up to 4GB guaranteed)
- Digital output connector: USB 2.0 High Speed
- Audio: Mono
- Video output: NTSC, PAL
- Power: Li-Ion battery
- Dimensions: (WxHxD) 93.3 x 18.0 x 57.7mm
- Weight: 110g
As far as the features are concerned, the L83t is similar to the Kodak V803 with 8.3Mp, 2.5in screen and 3x optical zoom but £20 more at £149 or the Pentax Optio M40 with 8.1Mp, 2.5in screen and 3x optical zoom priced at £125. Both of these cameras are larger in dimensions and neither have a metal body or can match the macro facility.
Samsung L83T Modes and features
The L83t is styled similarly to its large zoomed brother the Samsung L77. It is a thin affair with a slight grip on the front and a small piece of metal soldered onto the back for the thumb to rest on and wrist strap to attach to. Physically, it is smaller and has the lens in the top corner.
The Power button, Shutter release and Face detection buttons adorn the top of the camera and the back has the 2.5in. screen pushed to the left with all buttons scattered down the right side. The zoom is a rocker switch and is quite slow at operating. Sat just below is the Mode button and Effects button signified by a M and E respectively. The Mode button flicks up and down to switch between Modes and Scenes. Mode allows changes between Auto, Program, Movies and Anti-Shake whilst the Scene mode gives 14 pre-set options of Nightscene, Portrait, Children, Landscape, Macro, Text, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight, Fireworks, Beach & snow, Self shot, Food and Cafe. The Effects button changes the finished image between Black & white, Sepia, Red, Green, Blue and Negative in Auto mode. Switching to Program brings up three more tabs in the Effects screen, so on top of the Colour changes, a Mask option is available as is an Image Adjust feature and some fun options which are not much more than clip art.
As with all digital cameras, the navigation pad doubles up to decrease the amount of buttons on the camera. The pad has four functions which includes the Display options, Flash functions, Self timer and Macro mode. The centre OK button also doubles up to access the menu.
In the Menu, four options are brought up. Recording, Sound, Set up 1 and Set up 2. Recording allows you to change the Sharpness of the image recorded as well as the Contrast, the Focus area, whether you would like to record some voice on the image which I think should be in the Sound area. However, the Sound tab allows adjustments to the Volume, Start, Shutter and Beep sounds and the AF sound.
Set up 1 changes the File number from Continuous to Reset whenever the images are downloaded and wiped off the camera. Changing to reset is only a good idea if you rename your images when they are on your computer or you will have more than one 001 JPEG being put on your computer and will overwrite any previous image. Set up 1 also allows changes to the language, Date & time, World time, Imprinting, LCD brightness, AF Lamp on or off and having an image at start up of the camera.
The Set up 2 tab allows changes to the Playback time after an image has been taken, when the camera will automatically power down if not used, whether the LCD is on power save or not, the output of the Video between NTSC for abroad or PAL for here in Blighty. Options are also available here to Format the card and to Reset all functions back to original factory settings.
Two more buttons occupy the back of the camera and they sit to the bottom left and bottom right of the Menu button and navigation pad. The bottom left button is the Playback for taking a look at all the pictures already taken and deleting if necessary and the bottom right button is the Function button, signified by Fn. The Function button brings up a separate Menu button and depending on whether you are in Auto or Program mode will determine the amount of options open to you. Auto mode only allows changes to the Resolution and Image quality, whereas Program, being a more Manual mode, allows changes to more advanced modes such as Exposure compensation, White balance, ISO ratings, Single or continuous shooting and Metering modes as well as the previously mentioned Quality and Resolution.
Samsung L83T Build quality
All workings are inside the metal casing and despite being at the budget end of the compacts, it doesn't feel altogether cheap. The Power button has a nice blue light around it to show it is powered up and the lens cover is surprisingly quiet with only a small snap when opening and closing.
The camera is not uncomfortable to use even though it is thin. The hand sits correctly on the right buttons and the only care needed to be taken is not to cover the lens which is in the top corner.
The Battery is a dedicated Lithium-Ion type and is located in a bay underneath the camera where the SD card also sits. The battery is clasped in to stop it popping out and the card has a push-to-eject feature. The door is spring loaded and surprisingly sturdy. It also has a lock to avoid accidental openings.
One thing that annoys me about the build quality is the tripod bush. Not a complicated piece of construction, yet the L83t has the bush sitting slightly too far out and is therefore not flush with the camera. When the camera is then set down, it balances on the tripod bush meaning it is more unstable.
Samsung L83T Flash options
The L83t has a regular amount of flash options from Auto, to Red-eye reduction, Flash on, Slow synch, Flash off and a Red-eye fix option. The distance range is 0.2m - 3.0m at wide angle and 0.5m - 2.5m at telephoto. Nothing to write home about as these are pretty standard.
Samsung L83T Performance
The 10 second test proved quite fruitful as the L83t managed 10 images in as many seconds. The portrait test showed little changes in the modes and the only noticeable difference was a softer finish to the portrait mode whilst the Macro image gave a decent end picture. The exposure and contrast is good and the camera can get comfortably close to the subject.
The zoom is a typical 3x optical which covers 38-114mm in 35mm terms. It is nothing to shout home about and the image metering appears to be having some problems as light was flaring over the leaves that contrast with the sky in the test images.
The standard landscape lock image gives a decent result apart from a very faint magenta cast which is unusual as the wide and zoom images do not display it and were taken only a few seconds before the lock image. Fringing is not something the camera appears to suffer from which is a great result, although the image has that over sharpened look of the old low resolution cameras.
Samsung L83T Noise test
The image that ISO50 gave is a good reproduction as to be expected from a low rating like that, but this setting does need a tripod in any but the most bright settings. Even at ISO100, the image is starting to show very slight signs of decay. Nothing that would be noticed on a normal sized photograph, but it is there.
ISO200 shows some purple colouring appearing in the black areas of the card and the image has started to get softer overall with a little detail leaving the petals, whilst ISO400 has distinct noise even in the mid-tones and the image is definitely starting to fall apart.
ISO800 is the type of speed used when the image is at it's darkest and clarity will be a real issue. The noise is terrible and the image takes on a different colour cast. Finally, ISO1600 is not even worth talking about. The image has a purple haze over the whole area and nearly all detail is lost in the petals.
ISO1600 is the setting used when the scenario is really dark and also will help on the anti-shake feature to increase the shutter speed. The results will be unsatisfactory and the best option is to keep a small tripod handy if possible and slow the ISO.
Samsung L83T Verdict
The Samsung L83t isn't that bad a camera when everything is taken into consideration. Sure, it underperforms in areas, but all cameras do at this price point, and it did perform very well in the burst test. The slim design will make it look good in anyones pocket or bag and the decent build will not let it get bumped or bruised.
If you are in the market for a snap happy, easy to use camera that is easy on the eye, you won't go wrong by taking a look at this camera.
Samsung L83T Plus points
Easy to use functionality
Samsung L83T Minus points
Many functions could get confusing
The Samsung L83t costs around £129 and is available at the ePHOTOzine shop here.