With a lagging shutter and long shot-to-shot time, the L74 Wide's performance seriously disappoints. The camera takes an arduous 4.4 seconds to start up and capture its first image, and can only fire off a single shot every 2.8 seconds after that. With the onboard flash enabled, that shot-to-shot wait balloons into 4.2 seconds. The shutter lagged a painful 0.9 second with our high-contrast subject and an otherwise respectable 1.1 seconds with our low-contrast target. Burst mode shot quickly enough, snapping nine photos in 6.4 seconds for a rate of 1.4 frames per second.
Photos taken on the L74 Wide range from mediocre to terrible, sporting some of the worst noise we've seen in recent months. Noise filled a majority of our shots, appearing heavily at levels as low as ISO 200. The noise appears as a muddled, fuzzy grain at low levels, though at ISO 800 and 1600 it becomes a maelstrom of blurry static. Besides the massive amount of noise, the L74 Wide's photos also suffered from heavy fringing. A fuzzy pink appeared around almost every high-contrast edge (white flowers against green leaves, gray bricks against blue sky).
Despite the fringing and noise, the camera's photos have one redeeming feature: they aren't very distorted. With both wide-angle and high-zoom lenses we often see distortion on at least one end of the zoom range. The L74 Wide's lens barely distorted zoomed shots, and wide-angle shots suffered from only modest barrel distortion.
Though its wide lens and World Tour Guide are very useful features, the Samsung L74 Wide simply has too many flaws to ignore. An irritating touch screen interface, painfully slow performance, and noise-filled photos make this a camera we simply can't recommend.