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“The Samsung Digimax V3 became my first camera (film or...”

Written on: 07/02/2004 by richx (5 reviews written)

Good Points
Schneider lens, full manual exposure and focus, My Settings, pocketability, many battery options, good bundle and value.

Bad Points
Flash white balance, mediocre battery life, paint comes off after awhile.

General Comments
The Samsung Digimax V3 became my first camera (film or digital). While doing research before my purchase, I narrowed my choices down to Canon's A70 and Nikon's 3100 (both 3x 3MP cameras for ~US$342), because they were within my budget, used AA batteries and not using Memory Stick or xD picturecard (which are expensive to use). I didn't like the A70's sluggish interface response, and I didn't like the 3100's lack of manual controls.

I was about to give up on this purchase when the salesman showed me the Samsung V3. I liked the form-factor which resembled the Sony Px series, making it easy to put away in your pockets. I was doubtful at first about making such an expensive purchase with a brand that is not well-known for its 35mm cameras, but seeing the Schneider lens, I was confident that this was going to be a good camera since Samsung has been a large player in the consumer electronics market.

It made good value for money too since my unit came with 32MB SD memory, 1440 mAH Li-Ion battery pack with a charger that handles the Li-Ion as well regular AA rechargables, in-car charger, pouch and all the usual cables, all for the same price as the Nikon/Canon.

The plastic body is well built and handled the few knocks I gave it pretty well, except that the paint started coming off after 3 months or so from the corners and edges. The 1.5" LCD screen was bright as fluid (I suspect that it's taken out from their mobile phones, together with the 5-way controller pad).

Startup/shutdown is quick, with rather average autofocus speed which has a tendency to hunt for the right focus under dim lighting even though it has an AF assist lamp. Shot-to-shot times are also average, depending largely on having a good SD card (I skimped and lived with a slow MMC card), and also has no buffer which means I must wait for the previous picture to be put away first before I can take my next shot. Zooming control was rather sluggish and unprecise. Shutter lag is acceptable and burst-mode speeds are also acceptable.

Battery life with the Li-Ion cell was average with about 200 frames/charge, but the Energizer 1850mAH cells couldn't last beyond 130 frames/charge (all using LCD only). User interface is straight-forward and rather friendly. No need to refer to the manuals. What I liked most about the UI is the fact that I can change both aperture and shutter settings in manual mode by holding down one button only and the changes are immediately reflected on the LCD screen. This makes the V3 an excellent camera in its price range for someone wanting to learn manual photography.

The image quality from this camera is acceptable for its class once you get the focus right. Macro pictures turn out well too. The only downside on image quality I can think of is the white balance when the flash is fired. The flash put the subjects on a red-yellow cast which the white balance system didn't bother to remove. Default sharpness level is too low for my liking so I keep it in "Vivid" setting all the time. Image noise is very good (one of the few 3 megapixel CCDs which are 1/1.8" in size - the competition uses 1/2.5" sensors).

Overall very good value for money, and is a very enjoyable camera with which to learn photography from. Absolutely recommended for someone who knows nothing about photography but would like to learn (from Easy mode to full manual mode + manual focus).

(I've since sold my beloved V3 and moved on to an Olympus 5060, also using a Coolpix 3700)

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