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Samsung ST95 Digital Compact Camera Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Samsung ST95, a digital compact camera with a 3in wide touch screen.

|  Samsung ST95 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 ST95 front lens

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 front

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.

Samsung ST95 rear

Key Features:

  • 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
  • Magic Frames
  • Smart Face Recognition
  • Object Highlight
  • HDMI Cable port
  • Perfect Portrait System
  • Dual Image Stabilisation
  • Sound Alive
  • Face Tracking
  • ISO80 - 3200
Samsung ST95 top

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 battery

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.

Samsung ST95 wide-angle   Samsung ST95 telephoto
Wide-angle, ISO80, 1/500, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)   Telephoto, ISO80, 1/350, f/5.9, 23.5mm (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 ST95 ISO80 Samsung ST95 ISO100 Samsung ST95 ISO200 Samsung ST95 ISO400
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)
Samsung ST95 ISO800 Samsung ST95 ISO1600 Samsung ST95 ISO3200  
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.

Samsung ST95 macro   Samsung ST95 landscape
Macro, ISO80, 1/500, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)   Landscape, ISO80, 1/180, f/9.4, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)
Samsung ST95 beauty shot   Samsung ST95 object highlight
Beauty Shot, ISO200, 1/30, f/4.7, 9mm (35mm equiv: 50mm)   Object Highlight, ISO100, 1/30, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)

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.

Samsung ST95 Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting   Samsung ST95 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 ST95 Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light   Samsung ST95 Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light
Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light, ISO100, 1/4, f/3.8, 7mm (35mm equiv: 39mm)   Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light, ISO100, 1/4, f/3.8, 7mm (35mm equiv: 39mm)


Below are example shots taken using each of the filters.

Samsung ST95 miniature Samsung ST95 vignetting Samsung ST95 soft focus
Miniature, ISO80, 1/500, f/4.7, 9mm (35mm equiv: 50mm) Vignetting, ISO80, 1/180, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm) Soft Focus, ISO80, 1/180, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)
Samsung ST95 old film 1 Samsung ST95 old film 2 Samsung ST95 half tone dot
Old Film 1, ISO80, 1/125, 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, 1/180, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)
Samsung ST95 fish-eye Samsung ST95 defog Samsung ST95 classic
Fish-eye, ISO80, 1/180, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm) Defog, ISO80, 1/180, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm) Classic, ISO80, 1/250, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)
Samsung ST95 retro Samsung ST95 negative Samsung ST95 sketch
Retro, ISO80, 1/180, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm) Negative, ISO80, 1/250, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm) Sketch, ISO80, 1/180, f/3.3, 4.7mm (35mm equiv: 26mm)

Video Mode

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


Samsung ST95: Specification

Price £132.48
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, Smart Touch AF, One Touch Shooting 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 Recording time: 20min Size: 1280 x 720 (30/15fps) High Quality, 1280 x 720 (30/15fps) Standard Quality, 640 x 480 (30/15fps), 320 x 240 (30/15 fps) Zoom: Optical 5x
Monitor 3.0in TFT LCD (230K dots) touch screen
Media type Micro SD/SDHC Card
Interface USB 2.0
Power Rechargeable battery: BP70A (740mAh, Min.700mAh)
Box Contents Wrist strap
Lithium Ion battery
User Manual
Software CD
AC Adapter
USB Cable
Size 91.9 x 53.1 x 17mm
Weight 106.9g (not including memory card and battery)
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spr 12 United States
10 May 2011 3:36PM
Does the "Old Film" effect always result in the same pattern of simulated scratches, or is it random from one photo to the next? Thanks.
11 May 2011 2:52PM
Hi, they are random from one photo to the next.
Deza23 11 4
12 Jun 2011 5:21PM
A small pocketable camera with a good touch-based interface offering 17mm and 16.1 megapixels, among others. It can create high quality movie with HD recording at 720P (30fps)... there's also a new sound technology called "sound alive" which is a great addition to this series.

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