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Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Review

Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Review - Daniel Bell reviews the Samsung PL210, a high-zoom digital compact camera.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Samsung Samsung PL210
Price : £148
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera front lens

The Samsung PL210 is a high-zoom digital compact camera, released in January 2011. The camera is available in silver, black and pink with an RRP of £179.99 but can be found on the internet for around £148.00.

Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera front

Samsung PL210: Features

The headlining feature on the PL210 is the 10x optical zoom lens, which as a 35mm equivalent of 27 - 270mm, packed into a slim body, making it easy to take pictures of both landscapes and landmarks. To ensure pictures are sharp, the camera has Dual Image Stabilisation - both optical and digital.

Smart Auto 2.0 automatically adjusts the camera to make picture and video taking as easy as possible. To help take more creative pictures there is a range of Smart Filters, these include Miniature, Soft Focus and Palette Effect, among many more. Smart Face Recognition automatically focuses and exposes on 20 faces that have been designated on the camera.

The PL210 can shoot 720p HD videos at 30fps, the 10x zoom can even be used during video recording.

Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera rear

Key Features

  • 10x optical zoom 27mm wide angle lens
  • 14.2 megapixel sensor
  • 3.0 inch TFT LCD screen
  • 720p HD movie recording
  • Dual Image Stabilisation
  • Smart Filters
  • Smart Auto 2.0
  • Smart Face Recognition
  • ISO80 - 3200
Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera top

Samsung PL210: Handling

The PL210 is a well built, smart looking camera and is considerably thin, given the 10x optical zoom lens. Holding the camera is easy and the buttons are easy to press. As well as the typical buttons you'd expect to find on a compact camera, there are dedicated buttons to switch between the modes and an Fn button, which takes you straight to the menu where you can change the settings available when setting up your shot. The menus are easy to navigate and understand.

On the rear is a 3.0 inch LCD screen, which is bright and clear to view in all lighting conditions, thanks to the Intelligent LCD brightness automatically adjusting the brightness.

Using continuous shooting the camera takes full size images at 0.8fps. Using Motion Capture the camera shoots at around 6.4fps, although picture size is limited to 640 x 480 pixels. AEB mode takes three images at different exposures, these images can be combined, in Photoshop for example, to create HDR images.

Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera battery

Samsung PL210: Performance

The PL210 takes well exposed images with really good colour reproduction. When the lens is at its widest detail is better in the centre of the images and become slightly blurry in the corners. In the picture below there is some purple fringing in the trees. At its longest, again, detail is better towards the centre of the images but not as blurry in the corners. Focusing at 5cm from the subject, the camera is capable of taking excellent macro shots.

Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera wide-angle   Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Full Optical Zoom
Wide-angle, ISO80, 1/350, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm)   Full optical zoom, ISO80, 1/180, f/5.9, 48.5mm (35mm equiv: 270mm)
Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Digital Zoom   Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Macro
Digital zoom, ISO80, 1/180, f/5.9, 48.5mm (35mm equiv: 270mm)   Macro, ISO80, 1/180, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm)

Here are further examples using 10x optical zoom.

Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera 10x optical zoom   Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera 10x optical zoom
10x optical zoom, ISO80, 1/125, f/5.9, 48.5mm (35mm equiv: 270mm)   10x optical zoom, ISO80, 1/180, f/5.9, 48.5mm (35mm equiv: 270mm)

At ISO80 noise is unnoticeable, but at ISO100 the images are not as sharp as at ISO80. Noise slowly gets worse through ISO200 and ISO400, but good images are still produced. At ISO800 significant amount of detail is lost, again worsening at ISO1600. There is plenty of noise at ISO3200. The pleasing aspect is that although more detail gets lost through the ISO range, colours are unaffected. Images produced at ISO1600 and ISO3200 are likely to be best suited for small prints an use on the web.

Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera ISO80 Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera ISO100 Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera ISO200 Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera ISO400
ISO80, 1/3, f/5.4, 22mm (35mm equiv: 130mm) ISO100, 1/4, f/5.4, 22mm (35mm equiv: 130mm) ISO200, 1/8, f/5.4, 22mm (35mm equiv: 130mm) ISO400, 1/15, f/5.4, 22mm (35mm equiv: 130mm)
Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera ISO800 Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera ISO1600 Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera ISO3200  
ISO800, 1/30, f/5.4, 22mm (35mm equiv: 130mm) ISO1600, 1/60, f/5.4, 22mm (35mm equiv: 130mm) ISO3200, 1/90, f/5.4, 22mm (35mm equiv: 130mm)  

Below are example images using the three metering modes: Multi, Spot and Centre Weighted.

Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Multi-metering Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Spot-metering Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Centre-weighted
Multi-metering, ISO80, 1/500, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm) Spot-metering, ISO80, 1/350, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm) Centre-weighted, ISO80, 1/500, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm)

Using the Beauty Shot mode, the PL210 takes excellent portrait pictures with pleasing skin tones and makes an excellent job of reducing blemishes on the skin. Landscapes also look good, with the camera giving a boost to the greens and blues in images.

Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Portrait   Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Object Highlight
Portrait (Beauty Shot), ISO3200, 1/45, f/5.3, 18mm (35mm equiv: 105mm)   Object Highlight, ISO200, 1/30, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm)
Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Landscape   Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Landscape with building
Landscape, ISO80, 1/500, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm)   Landscape with building, ISO80, 1/125, f/9.2, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm)

During testing the PL210's auto white-balance performance was good and proved perfectly capable under our fluorescent and incandescent studio lights. Using the fluorescent preset under the fluorescent lights gives a slight green cast in the image, the AWB preset does a much better job.

Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting   Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Preset Incandescent WB - Incandescent Light
Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting, ISO100, 1/15, f/4, 6mm (35mm equiv: 42mm)   Preset Incandescent WB - Incandescent Light, ISO100, 1/10, f/4, 6mm (35mm equiv: 42mm)
Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light   Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light
Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light, ISO100, 1/4, f/4, 6mm (35mm equiv: 42mm)   Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light, ISO100, 1/4, f/4, 6mm (35mm equiv: 42mm)

The PL210 has a range of Smart Filters available including: Miniature, Vignetting, Half Tone Dot, Sketch, Fish-eye, Defog, Classic, Retro and Negative. Be aware, some of the filters don't record at the full 14.2 megapixel resolution.

Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Miniature Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Vignetting Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Half Tone Dot
Miniature, ISO80, 1/350, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm) Vignetting, ISO80, 1/350, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm) Half Tone Dot, ISO80, 1/350, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm)
Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Sketch Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Fish-eye Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Defog
Sketch, ISO80, 1/350, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm) Fish-eye, ISO80, 1/350, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm) Defog, ISO80, 1/350, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm)
Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Classic Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Retro Samsung PL210 Digital Compact Camera Negative
Classic, ISO80, 1/350, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm) Retro, ISO80, 1/350, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm) Negative, ISO80, 1/350, f/3.3, 4.85mm (35mm equiv: 27mm)

Video Mode

The PL210 shoots 720p HD videos at 30fps & 15fps with a maximum files size of 4Gb. Standard quality options are 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 (both at 30fps & 15fps). Optical zoom can be used during recording.



Value For Money

The Samsung PL210 is available for around £150.00. If you are looking for a 10x optical zoom camera there are plenty of options dependent on your budget. The Pentax Optio RZ10 costs £93.99, Olympus VR-310 costs £107.99 and Fuji FinePix T200 cost £124.99, all with 14 megapixel sensors and are cheaper than the PL210.

If you have a bigger budget to spend, the Sony Cyber-shot H70 also has a 10x optical zoom lens, 16.1 megapixel sensor and costs £178.99. The Canon Digital IXUS 1000 HS is a premium compact with 10x optical zoom lens, 10 megapixel sensor and costs £256.99.

Other cameras to consider... with even more zoom are the Canon PowerShot SX130 IS with 12x optical zoom, 12.1 megapixel sensor and costs £138.99. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 has a 12x optical zoom lens, 12.1 megapixel sensor and costs £169.99. Lastly, the Canon PowerShot SX220 HS has a 14x optical zoom lens, 12.1 megapixel sensor and costs £220.99.

Samsung PL210: Verdict

The PL210 is capable of taking colourful pictures and is well priced considering the amount of optical zoom available. With the cameras ability to take excellent macro and portrait pictures as well as its range of Smart Filters, there is plenty for the compact user to get their teeth into. The camera is let down by noise in images at higher ISO ranges and less detail in the corners of images, but overall, the Samsung PL210 is a fine digital compact camera.


Samsung PL210: Pros

Excellent colour reproduction
Excellent macro images
10x zoom lens in a small camera
Smart Filters give plenty of creative options
Pleasant portrait images

Samsung PL210: Cons

Images blurred towards the edges
Lots of noise at the higher end of ISO range

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
OVERALL

Samsung PL210: Specification

Price £179.99
Contact www.samsungcamera.co.uk
Optical zoom 10x optical zoom, 4.85 - 48.5mm (35mm equiv: 27 - 270mm), f/3.3 - 5.9
Resolution 14.2 megapixel
Sensor size 1/2.3 inch
Sensor type CCD
Max image size 4320 x 3240
Aspect ratio 4:3
Focusing system TTL auto focus
Focus points Multi AF, Centre AF, Face Detection AF, Object Tracking AF, Smart Face Recognition AF
Focus distance 5cm
File types JPEG
ISO sensitivity ISO80 - 3200
Metering system Program AE
Exposure compensation ± 2EV (1 / 3EV steps)
Shutter speed range 8 - 1/2000 seconds
Image stabilisation Dual Image Stabilisation
Movie mode High Quality 1280x720 (30fps & 15fps), max. 4Gb
Standard Quality 640x480 (30fps & 15fps)
320x240 (30fps & 15fps)
Zoom: Optical 10x
Monitor 3 inch TFT LCD screen
Media type Micro SD/SDHC
Interface USB 2.0
Power Rechargeable battery: BP85A
Box Contents Samsung PL210 camera
Wrist strap
Lithium Ion battery
User Manual
Software CD
Warranty
AC Adapter
USB Cable
Size 96.8 × 58 × 20.3mm
Weight 103g

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Comments


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Deza23 3 4
12 Jun 2011 6:21PM
PL210 is one camera that is easy to use and can give you a high quality pictures and videos. Its 3.0 LCD provides for improved contrast and colour reproduction. Its smart filter is worth checking out with new addition such as Tilt & Shift Lens Effect adds a miniaturised look and new special effects include Soft Focus to soften colours and add an emotional feel as well as Half-Tone Dot to enhance images with a comic-book look. Palette Effect adds an ultra-vivid vibe and a variety of colour options for your images. A fun way to play with your photos!

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