Simple, but inferior.
- Easy to use, sharp pictures at wide zoom, sharp LCD
- No optical image stabilisation, only 8.2 megapixels, over-contrasted pictures
In the hands of a beginner the L100 will produce acceptable shots, albeit at a lower resolution than competitors. Others will be best be served by a more advanced camera, however.
Price$ 179.00 (AUD)
Samsung’s L100 compact digital camera is aimed at novices, with an easy-to-use interface and a host of scene modes. It takes crisp photos, but colour accuracy is not fantastic. It is also missing a few features that would have enhanced picture quality.
Frankly, it looks no different to the host of other entry-level digital cameras in Samsung’s entry-level range. A hollow-feeling, black plastic body is complemented by a brushed metal lens and control buttons. Those controls are relatively simply laid out and are designed to be easily navigated by photography amateurs. The wheel on the top of the unit, like Samsung’s other models, allows users to easily switch between scene and manual shooting modes if necessary.
We think users will most likely stick to automatic shooting settings, though — the camera’s target audience is not the type to fiddle with complicated ISO settings and aperture increments. A variety of scene modes are included, from the very niche Firework mode to a more general Night shooting mode. The 3x lens has a 35mm zoom equivalent of 37-111mm so it will serve acceptably for most situations.
The pictures that the L100 takes are acceptable, with a surprisingly low maximum resolution of 8.2 megapixels. Sharpness is a strong point, a with wide zoom producing pictures with only a small amount of blurriness at outer edges. Colour does not fare so admirably though, with almost all pictures we took looking over-contrasted with bright areas blown out excessively. While this produces images that are pleasing to look at on the camera’s LCD — which is nicely crisp and bright — when transferred to computer it becomes obvious that significant detail is lost. Thankfully a custom colour mode can be set to reduce these instances, but to activate it you will need to venture into the manual shooting mode.
As expected, chromatic aberration was prevalent when zooming in on shots. In higher contrast areas there was noticeable purple fringing and while this would not affect the casual photographer it makes photographs from the L100 unsuitable for larger print sizes.
The built-in vibration reduction is only digital, so it is of no use in most low-light and macro situations. We would have definitely preferred some kind of optical stabilisation system seeing as it's slowly filtering down into entry-level camera models. The vibration reduction works in tandem with the automatic ISO adjustment on the camera — which unfortunately introduces noise at levels above ISO 400.
It is not a particularly fast camera either, starting up in 1.5 seconds and capturing its first image in just under two seconds. Continuous shooting is not abysmal, however, at a rate of a little over 2 frames per second.
For a casual photographer, the L100 will serve well. It is simple to use and captures bright, vibrant photographs. If you are in need of accurate, high-quality photography though we suggest you look elsewhere.
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