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Samsung ST6500 Digital Compact Camera Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Samsung ST6500 digital compact camera, with a 16.1 megapixel sensor and 5x optical zoom lens.

|  Samsung ST6500 in Compact Cameras
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NB. Due to similarities in performance, some of the review is the same as the Samsung PL170 review.
Samsung ST6500 front lens

The slim and stylish Samsung ST6500 was announced in January 2011. With a curved design it is available in black and silver from £157.00.

Samsung ST6500 front

Samsung ST6500: Features

The ST6500 has a 16.1 megapixel sensor and 26mm wide-angle lens, with 5x optical zoom, a 35mm equivalent of 130mm, ideal for times spent with friends and family or shooting landscapes and landmarks.

Taking images is made easy by the Smart Auto 2.0 mode which decides on the ideal settings for the camera when taking pictures or recording movies. There is also Dual Image Stabilisation - optical and digital, helping to take sharp pictures in varying conditions. Taking pictures of friends and family is helped by Smart Face Recognition, which remembers 20 faces and automatically focuses on them ensuring they stand out.

To aid creativity there are a range of Magic Filters (including Wall Art, Retro Film, Ripple, Full Moon, Old Record, Magazine, Holiday, Classic TV and more) and Smart Filters (such as miniature, fish-eye, vignetting).

HD videos can be shot at 720p HD and also utilises the Smart Filter mode: Miniature, Vignetting, Half Tone Dot, Sketch, Fish Eye, Defog, Classic, Retro, Negative. The camera can then be connected via a HDMI cable to any HDTV.

Samsung ST6500 rear

Key Features:
  • 16.1 Megapixel sensor
  • 5x optical zoom 26mm wide-angle lens
  • Smart Touch 3.0in LCD screen
  • Dual Image Stabilisation
  • HDMI Cable port
  • Smart Auto for images and movies
  • Smart Filter 2.0
  • Perfect Portrait System
  • Smart Face Recognition
  • Object Highlight
  • Smart Filter with Creative Special Effects
  • HD Movie recording
  • Magic Frames
  • Face Tracking
  • ISO80 - 3200
Samsung ST6500 top

Samsung ST6500: Handling

The ST6500's has a couple of subtle yet unique design features. The shutter button is slightly angled and the zoom rocket is a sliding button on the back of the camera. The camera doesn't have many other buttons as it has a 3.0in wide touch screen filling the majority of the rear. It feels easy to hold and is not heavy.

The touch screen does take a bit of getting used to be is responsive and the menus are easy to navigate with the few buttons well placed on the camera although it is strange to not have the zoom rocker around the shutter button.

Samsung ST6500 battery

Samsung ST6500: Performance

Detail is better in the centre of the images with a hint of blur around the images when viewing them at full size. In the bright sky on the wide shot there is some slight lens flare and purple fringing.

Samsung ST6500 wide-angle   Samsung ST6500 telephoto
Wide-angle, ISO80, 1/750, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)   Telephoto, ISO80, 1/350, f/5.9, 24mm (35mm equiv: 130mm)

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 and use on the web.

Samsung ST6500 ISO80 Samsung ST6500 ISO100 Samsung ST6500 ISO200 Samsung ST6500 ISO400
ISO80, 1/6, f/5.1, 20mm (35mm equiv: 111mm) ISO100, 1/8, f/5.1, 20mm (35mm equiv: 111mm) ISO200, 1/15, f/5.1, 20mm (35mm equiv: 111mm) ISO400, 1/30, f/5.1, 20mm (35mm equiv: 111mm)
Samsung ST6500 ISO800 Samsung ST6500 ISO1600 Samsung ST6500 ISO3200  
ISO800, 1/60, f/5.1, 20mm (35mm equiv: 111mm) ISO1600, 1/90, f/5.1, 20mm (35mm equiv: 111mm) ISO3200, 1/180, f/5.1, 20mm (35mm equiv: 111mm)  

The ST6500 produces well exposed images with excellent colour reproductions. Despite only being able to focus up to 5cm, pleasant macro shots are possible. Thanks to the camera's Beauty Shot mode, portrait shots are easy to take with pleasing skin tones. Using the Perfect Portrait System, you can change the Face Retouch and Face Tone levels. In Landscape mode the camera takes images with excellent blues and greens.

Samsung ST6500 macro   Samsung ST6500 landscape
Macro, ISO80, 1/750, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)   Landscape, ISO80, 1/250, f/9.4, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)
Samsung ST6500 beauty shot   Samsung ST6500 object highlight
Beauty Shot, ISO200, 1/45, f/4.2, 8mm (35mm equiv: 42mm)   Object Highlight, ISO100, 1/30, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)

During testing the ST6500'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 ST6500 Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting   Samsung ST6500 Preset Incandescent WB - Incandescent Light
Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting, ISO100, 1/15, f/3.8, 7mm (35mm equiv: 39mm)   Preset Incandescent WB - Incandescent Light, ISO100, 1/15, f/3.8, 7mm (35mm equiv: 39mm)
Samsung ST6500 Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light   Samsung ST6500 Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light
Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light, ISO100, 1/6, f/3.8, 7mm (35mm equiv: 39mm)   Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light, ISO100, 1/6, f/3.8, 7mm (35mm equiv: 39mm)

Below are example shots taken using each of the filters.

Samsung ST6500 miniature Samsung ST6500 vignetting Samsung ST6500 soft focus
Miniature, ISO80, 1/250, f/5.8, 13mm (35mm equiv: 71mm) Vignetting, ISO80, 1/250, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm) Soft Focus, ISO80, 1/250, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)
Samsung ST6500 old film 1 Samsung ST6500 old film 2 Samsung ST6500 half tone dot
Old Film 1, ISO80, 1/180, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm) Old Film 2, ISO80, 1/250, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm) Half Tone Dot, ISO80, 1/250, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)
Samsung ST6500 fish-eye Samsung ST6500 defog Samsung ST6500 classic
Fish-eye, ISO80, 1/250, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm) Defog, ISO80, 1/250, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm) Classic, ISO80, 1/250, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)
Samsung ST6500 retro Samsung ST6500 negative Samsung ST6500 sketch
Retro, ISO80, 1/250, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm) Negative, ISO80, 1/250, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm) Sketch, ISO80, 1/250, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)

Video Mode
The ST6500 shoots videos at 720p HD, 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 all at either 30/15 fps and allows the use of the 5x optical zoom. For added creativity videos can be shot with the addition of some filters, such as miniature effect.

Value For Money

The Samsung ST6500 can be purchased for £155.19. The camera compares very closely to the Canon Powershot A3300 IS which scored four out of five in our recent test. The A3300 IS has a 16 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom and a mode dial and is available for £122.00. Other cameras to consider are the Sony Cybershot W570 at £149.00, Fujifilm FinePix AX350 at £99.99 and the Fujifilm FinePix Z900 at £199.99, all of which have around 16 megapixel sensors and 5x optical zoom.

Samsung ST6500: Verdict

The ST6500 is a really well designed camera that takes colourful images which will look great when shared on the web. Video users will enjoy the creativity modes which aren't normally available for both images and videos. The camera is a touch expensive at around £155 and you may be better looking at the cheaper Canon Powershot A3300 IS or indeed the Samsung ST95.

Samsung ST6500: Pros
Excellent colour reproduction
Nice design
3in wide LCD screen

Samsung ST6500: Cons
Some purple fringing and chromatic aberration at times
Images lack detail


Samsung ST6500: Specification

Price £155.19
Optical zoom 5x optical zoom f = 4.7 - 23.5mm (35mm film equiv: 26 - 130mm), f/3.3 - 5.9
Resolution 16.1 megapixels
Sensor size 1/2.3in
Sensor type CCD
Max image size 4608 x 3456
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
Metering types Multi, Spot, Centre Weighted, Face Detection AE
Exposure compensation ± 2EV (1/3EV steps)
Shutter speed range 2 - 1/2000 sec
Image stabilisation Dual IS (OIS + DIS)
Movie mode High Quality - 1280 x 720 (30fps, 15fps)
Standard Quality - 1280 x 720 (30fps, 15fps), 640 x 480 (30fps, 15fps), 320 x 240 (30fps, 15fps)
Monitor 3.0in TFT LCD (230K dots) touch panel
Media type Micro SD/SDHC Card
Interface USB 2.0, HDMI
Power Rechargeable battery: BP70A Adaptor: SAC-48, CB20U05A Connector Type: 20pin
Box Contents Wrist strap
Lithium Ion battery
User Manual
Software CD
AC Adapter
USB Cable
Size 102.3 x 56.5 x 19.3mm
Weight 126.5g (not including memory card and battery)
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Photographs taken using the Samsung ST6500

no cat no petflowerwoodturningfenceTime to smellAlways together..dragonthought of the dayflower

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