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The Samsung ST96 was announced in September 2006 along with the WB750. It is available in black with an RRP of £179.99.
High speed shooting mode lets you shoot pictures at up to 10fps, with slow motion video recording at up to 440 frames per second. Magic Frame offers 12 background templates for you to put your face on to make fun pictures. The ST96 can also shoot panoramic images by pressing the shutter and sweeping the camera, no stitching required, Live Panorama allows you to preview your panorama before you shoot it. Also featuring are Face Detection, Face Recognition and Face Tracking.
Adding to the creativity options is Smart Filter 3.0 which offers Cartoon Filter, Cross Filter, Zooming Shots, Ink Painting, Oil Painting, Half-Tone Dot and many more. The ST96 can even shoot 3D images.
Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD at 30fps and features Creative Movie Maker (which lets you combine stills and videos to create a slide show with a soundtrack) and Dual Capture (capture 10 megapixel images whilst recording full HD videos). The camera can be connected via HDMI to a HDTV.
- 14.5 megapixel Samsung BSI CMOS sensor
- Creative Movie Maker
- Dual Capture (Full HD + 10M still)
- Full HD Recording 1080p
- 26mm wide angle lens and 5x optical zoom
- High Speed Shooting (video + still)
- Panorama Shot (Live/Action)
- Magic Frame
- Smart Filter 3.0
- Dual Image Stabilization
- 3D Photo
- Face Detection, Face Recognition, Face Tracking
- Smart Auto 2.0 with Smart Flash
The camera is ready to take pictures within a couple of seconds of switching on and is quick to focus. Where the camera is really let down is when using the flash. It takes 2 or 3 seconds to charge and is very frustrating when you are trying to capture a shot quickly. The camera impresses in continuous shooting mode, with full-sized images taken during testing at 3, 5 and 10 fps.
Samsung ST96 Lens test images
Wide-angle | 1/180 sec | f/9.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100
Full optical zoom | 1/750 sec | f/5.9 | 23.5 mm | ISO 100
Digital zoom | 1/350 sec | f/5.9 | 23.5 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/90 sec | f/3.3 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100
Noise isn't an issue at ISO 100 but at ISO 200 and ISO 400 there are steady increases in the amount of noise visible. At ISO 800 there is a significant increase in noise and a loss of sharpness in the images. This trend continues through to ISO 1600, but it is only ISO 3200 where there is a big loss in detail and an effect on colour reproduction.
Samsung ST96 ISO test images
ISO 100 | 1/6 sec | f/5.1 | 18.8 mm
ISO 200 | 1/10 sec | f/5.1 | 18.8 mm
ISO 400 | 1/20 sec | f/5.1 | 18.8 mm
ISO 800 | 1/45 sec | f/5.1 | 18.8 mm
ISO 1600 | 1/90 sec | f/5.1 | 18.8 mm
ISO 3200 | 1/180 sec | f/5.1 | 18.8 mm
Landscape mode produces image with excellent greens and blues creating very pleasant looking scenes. Portrait mode is excellent at producing images without red-eye with excellent skin tones. Backlight mode has been used in the of the sculpture, with examples of zooming shot and miniature also shown below.
Samsung ST96 Scene modes
Landscape | 1/750 sec | f/3.5 | 5.5 mm | ISO 100
Landscape with building | 1/125 sec | f/9.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100
Portrait | 1/45 sec | f/4.7 | 9.3 mm | ISO 100
Backlighting | 1/250 sec | f/3.5 | 5.5 mm | ISO 100
Zooming shot | 1/125 sec | f/9.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100
Smart filter - miniature | 1/750 sec | f/5.4 | 20.5 mm | ISO 100
The ST96 has panoramic mode using a sweeping method, either left, right, up or down. Images produced aren't packed with detail but there isn't any misjoined sections or ghosting.
Panoramic | 1/180 sec | f/9.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100
The auto white-balance (AWB) setting gives good results, under our incandescent lighting there is a slight orange cast in the image, with the incandescent preset actually giving us a better image. Under the fluorescent lighting there is very little difference whether using the AWB or fluorescent presets.
Samsung ST96 White-balance test images
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/10 sec | f/4.2 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100
Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/10 sec | f/4.2 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100
AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/4 sec | f/4.2 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent lighting - fluorescent preset | 1/4 sec | f/4.2 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100
The ST96 comes with Samsung's new Smart Filter 3.0 mode which has some filters previously seen on Samsung compacts and some interesting new ones such as cartoon mode, examples of which can be seen below.
Samsung ST96 Digital filters
Smart filter - normal | 1/15 sec | f/4.4 | 15.3 mm | ISO 400
Smart filter - vignetting | 1/15 sec | f/4.4 | 15.3 mm | ISO 400
Smart filter - soft focus | 1/15 sec | f/4.4 | 15.3 mm | ISO 400
Smart filter - old film | 1/15 sec | f/4.4 | 15.3 mm | ISO 400
Smart filter - half tone dot | 1/15 sec | f/4.4 | 15.3 mm | ISO 400
Smart filter - sketch | 1/15 sec | f/4.4 | 15.3 mm | ISO 400
Smart filter - fisheye | 1/15 sec | f/4.4 | 15.3 mm | ISO 400
Smart filter - classic | 1/15 sec | f/4.4 | 15.3 mm | ISO 400
Smart filter - retro | 1/15 sec | f/4.4 | 15.3 mm | ISO 400
Smart filter - oil painting | 1/15 sec | f/4.4 | 15.3 mm | ISO 400
Smart filter - cartoon | 1/15 sec | f/4.4 | 15.3 mm | ISO 400
Smart filter - ink painting | 1/15 sec | f/4.4 | 15.3 mm | ISO 400
Video ModeVideos can be recorded in full 1080p HD, 720p HD or 640 x 480 VGA. The optical zoom can be used during recording, an example can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page. Some of the filters can be applied although some of them do limit the video size to VGA. High-speed shooting struggled to take any good videos as they are generally under exposed, although it is possible to increase the exposure.
Value For MoneyThe Samsung ST96 is currently priced at £179.99. There are plenty of cameras with a similar specification available at varying prices such as the Olympus VG-130 at £68.00, Pentax Optio S1 at £78.00, Nikon Coolpix S3100 at £79.00, Fujifilm FinePix Z90 at £89.95, Canon Powershot A3200 IS at £109.00, Samsung SH100 at £144.00 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX70 at £148.99.
Samsung ST96 ProsPanoramics taken using sweeping method
Interesting range of filters
Full 1080p HD video recording
Images can be taken during video recording
Impressive high-speed shooting
Excellent colour reproduction
Very small body
Samsung ST96 ConsFlash takes ages to charge
Current price is high
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Samsung ST96 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.3 - f/5.9|
|35mm equivalent||26mm - 130mm|
|CCD pixels||14.5Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||6.16mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||4.62mm|
|Screen resolution||230,000 dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/2000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||8sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 3200|
|Continuous shooting||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable Battery: BP-70A (3.7V, 740mAh, Min 700mAh)|
|CIPA Rating||No Data|
|Box Contents||Camera, AC adapter/ USB cable, Rechargeable battery, Strap, User Manual, CD-ROM, Quick Start Guide|