Samsung PL80 Digital Camera By Paul Smart
Having recently looked at a dual TFT screen from Samsung this modern looking (mine was bright red) digital camera looks near normal. But not that long ago a 28mm wide angle lens and 5x optical zoom would not be normal. The Samsung PL80 digital camera measures 10.5x5.5x2cm and weights 138grams. While the red colour is rather too bright for my liking it does of course not affect the images it takes! The top bottom and left side have a chromed band as well as the lens surround on the front, as the legends are written in white on the chromed area they can be difficult to see what they say in certain lighting conditions. The face has the lens that can extend by up to 3.5cm when fully zoomed the flash mounted above and to the left of the lens with the nearest point being around 3cm from it, finally the flash sensor mounted to the right of the lens.
The top has three buttons a near square Smart button, an oblong Power button and a circular shutter release with the wide angle/telephoto control around it. The left side has near invisible writing reminding you it is 12.2mega pixel, while the right side has a door that conceals the proprietary USB lead. The base has the tripod screw and the solid battery door behind which you also insert any SD or SDHC you might choose to use. This leaves the back that is dominated by the TFT that measures 5.5x4cm (2.5inches diagonal measurement) not as big as some but perfectly adequate to both frame and review your images. To the right of this there is an empty space at the top that gives you somewhere to put your thumb, below this two well marked buttons (white on red is far more readable) and then the ubiquitous five position joystick with labels being impressed into the chrome as they are with the bottom pair of buttons so best to have studied the User Manual (the 12 pages that are in English) it should be enough, before trying to make adjustments especially in strong sunlight. The adjustment screen (easy to read except in strong sunlight) give seven different image sizes but the actual size is shown top left with the other options to the right with a blue highlight showing the one you are currently on. 12MP 4000x3000, 10MP 3984x2656 (3:2), 9MP 3968x2232 (wide), 8MP 3264x2448, 5MP 2592x1944, 3MP 2048x1536 and 1MP1024x768. In movie mode there are two choices 640x480 and 320x240 both in either 30FPS or 15FPS.
click image to enlarge
In my opinion a 3MP image is plenty to get an excellent A4 photograph but Samsung recommend 5MP with the price of SD being so cheap nowadays why not and you should still be able to get an A4 image from part of the image. I was happy with the images I took both with and without flash; there is one event I attend quite regularly that I use to compare flash usability however this did not happen during my test period with the Samsung PL80. However I did my best to simulate the conditions and the flash seemed to work perfectly well with no terrible fallout. I certainly printed A4 images from 3MP images and they looked fine to me even under a glass, there was plenty of depth and no apparent fuzziness. There is little wrong with this easy to use digital camera and it does allow the novice to learn by using the 13 different Scene Modes, Smart Auto also works well for the real novice. Doing my Internet searches found the Samsung PL80 at a best price of ÂŁ110.70 including free delivery from the first link below. The image shows what to me anyway a far more acceptable black camera, but I am a man. It seems they do red, purple, black and silver.