NB. Due to similarities in performance, some of the review is the same as the Samsung PL170 review.
The Samsung ST95 was announced in January 2011 designed to be slim and stylish while delivering superb results. The camera is available in black, silver, purple and pink for around £137.
Samsung ST95: Features
The ST95 has a 5x optical zoom lens (35mm equivalent: 26 - 130mm), 16.1Mp sensor and 720p HD movies all packed into a 17mm deep compact camera. There are very little buttons on the camera as most of the settings are changed via the 3in wide LCD screen. To help avoid camera shake the ST95 has Dual Image Stabilisation - Optical and Digital.
The camera has Smart Filter Lens and colour options which can be applied to both images and videos. These include Tilt & Shift to create a miniaturised look as well as Vignetting, Soft Focus, Half-Tone Dot and Palette Effect. Magic Frame includes templates such as: Wall Art, Old Film, Ripple, Full Moon, Old Record, Magazine, Holiday, Classic TV and more.
Smart Auto mode will decide on the best settings for your pictures, but if you would prefer to have your own influence there are a selection of scene modes: Landscape, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight, Beach & Snow and Text. Using Smart Face Recognition the camera can recognise and focus on up to 20 faces that have been designated on the camera so they can stand out in your shots. For shooting portraits there is a Beauty Shot mode where you can change the amount of Face Tone and Retouch. Other features include Night mode, Close Up and Object Highlight.
3.0in wide touch LCD screen
16 Megapixel sensor
5x optical zoom 26mm wide-angle lens
Smart Filter with Creative Special Effects
HD Movie recording
Smart Face Recognition
HDMI Cable port
Perfect Portrait System
Dual Image Stabilisation
ISO80 - 3200
Samsung ST95: Handling
The 3in touch wide screen fits right across the rear of the camera with only room for one button which is the home button, this takes you back to the main menu screen from wherever you are. The touch screen takes a bit of getting used to but once you have figured out how it works it is fine to use. Other buttons on the camera are the playback button, power switch and zoom rocker around the shutter button.
The camera is very smart looking and is comfortable to hold as well as being lightweight. It feels very comfortable to carry in your pocket when out and about, is ready to take pictures within a couple of seconds of switching on and is quick to focus.
Samsung ST95: 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.
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.
ISO80, 1/4, f/5.1, 20mm (35mm equiv: 111mm)
ISO100, 1/6, f/5.1, 20mm (35mm equiv: 111mm)
ISO200, 1/10, f/5.1, 20mm (35mm equiv: 111mm)
ISO400, 1/20, f/5.1, 20mm (35mm equiv: 111mm)
ISO800, 1/45, 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 ST95 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.
During testing the ST95'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.
Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting, ISO100, 1/15, f/3.8, 7mm (35mm equiv: 39mm)
The ST95 shoots videos at 720p HD, 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 all at either 30/15 fps and allow 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 ST95 can be purchased for £132.48. 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 ST95: Verdict
The ST95 is a good looking camera and the 3in wide LCD touch really adds to its appearance. Images produced have excellent colour reproduction, although they don't have lots of detail when viewed they will look great when shared on social networking sites. Those who enjoy shooting videos as well will find the extra creativity options appealing.
Samsung ST95: Pros
Excellent colour reproduction
Filters available on images and videos
Camera looks great
Samsung ST95: Cons
Some purple fringing and chromatic aberration at times
Images lack detail