LAS VEGAS--The Samsung SMX-F50 is the company's entry-level ultracompact standard-definition camcorder for 2011. As such, it doesn't do a whole lot beyond capturing 720x480-pixel-resolution video to SD memory cards.
Key features include a 52x optical zoom lens; the capability to pause while recording, so there's less of a need to join individual clips; and something called Smart Background Music. If you choose to add background music to a movie, the Smart BGM feature automatically lowers the music volume when speech is detected so it doesn't drown out what's being said.
If you want or need to record to internal memory, Samsung will also have the 8GB F53 and 16GB F54 in its lineup.
Available in February in black, silver, red, and blue versions, the F50, F53, and F54 will sell for $199, $249, and $299, respectively.
Editors' take: Standard-definition camcorders continue to sell because of low prices and long zoom lenses. The video quality from them tends to be horrible, though, as manufacturers aren't doing anything to improve it. In fact, I'm going to take it as a bad sign that Samsung's announcement for this camcorder makes almost no mention of video quality.