Samsung DV300F review:

Samsung DV300F

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Typical Price: £150.00
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Creative filters; Video mode; Small size; Image quality; Front-mounted screen.

The Bad Slight chromatic aberration and pin-cushion distortion; Some surprising aperture choices.

The Bottom Line If you want to enjoy taking pictures, the Samsung DV300F will help out enormously. The built-in creative filters are well implemented, innovative, and rather than being a set of obscure add-ons, they're something you'll actually want to use. It's also very small and the front-mounted screen is useful.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.5 Overall

Samsung has packed an extraordinary amount of kit into a very small body on the DV300F, with two screens, built-in Wi-Fi and a 16-megapixel sensor.

All in all, it's an impressive feat of miniaturisation that leaves you wondering how so small a device will perform in the wild. Here's where you'll find out.

You can pick up the Samsung DV300F for around £150 online.

Front screen

The second screen is set into the front of the chassis. It's so discreet that when not in use, you won't even know it's there. Somehow, Samsung has avoided fouling the DV300F's sleek, textured finish by having the screen show through the casing when activated through the menus. Indeed, when you first unpack the camera, there's even a small sticker frame around it to show you where it is.

Despite being well disguised, the image is bright and it clearly marks out recognised faces. If you're using the timer to fire the shutter after a delay of 2 or 10 seconds so you can run into the shot, it uses the screen to count down to zero so you know when it's going to fire.

Samsung DV300F test photo
The front-mounted screen comes into its own when shooting self portraits.

Shooting options

Samsung has really gone to town with the creative shooting options. Even those that you might not use all that often are beautifully implemented. Artistic brush, for example, which applies a sketch, cartoon or ink painting effect to your picture, doesn't merely slap on a filter, but builds up the picture stroke by stroke using whichever tool is most appropriate. It saves these builds as AVI animations so you can replay them on your computer.

Magic frame applies a frame to the edge of your pictures, and Funny Face works like Photo Booth on the iPad, iPhoneor Mac, first recognising a face in the picture and then warping it. The results are rarely flattering, but they are quirky and funny.

Best among them is Motion Photo, which captures a series of frames and lets you choose which part should be animated, while the rest is frozen. If you've ever used Cinemagram on a smart phone, you'll know how this works, producing results like this.

Samsung DV300F test photo
I selected the top-left corner of the frame for the animation here. The rest of the shot is frozen.

For complete control over your finished results, there's a pretty sophisticated set of editing tools built in too. They won't let you erase your ex or straighten a wonky horizon, but they're up to the job of fixing red eye, changing saturation, rotating shots and so on.

Wi-Fi connectivity

The photo editing tools really come into their own if you're unable to knock your pics into shape on your computer and want to use the built-in Wi-Fi to share your shots directly from the camera.

You can email pictures or upload them to photo sharing sites, back them up to your PC or view them on a wirelessly connected TV. There are also two options for pairing the camera with your smart phone, which can act either as a remote viewfinder or a back-up device for captured images.

Stills tests

I performed my tests with the DV300F set to Smart Auto, allowing it to choose the most appropriate shooting settings for each condition. Switching to Program naturally gives you far more extensive controls if you need to tweak your shot, including sensitivity (ISO 80 to 3,200), compensation (+/-2.0EV in 1/3EV steps), and white balance (which is illustrated using colour icons for each situation). You can also manually control sharpness, contrast and saturation on three sliding scales.

Samsung DV300F test photo
It may be small, but the Samsung DV300F allows for an impressive degree of manual control.

The 5x zoom lens is equivalent to 25-125mm in a regular 35mm camera, with a bright maximum aperture of f/2.5 at wide angle, and a respectable f/6.3 at full telephoto.

Samsung DV300F test photo
The 5x zoom means the lens is equivalent to 25-125mm on a regular 35mm camera.

When set to auto, shutter speeds range from 1/2,000 second to 1/8 second. In Program mode you can push it to 1 second, but if you want to go further than that you'll have to use a scene mode, with 'fireworks' giving you a 2-second exposure and 'night' the maximum 16.

Image quality was generally very good, with colours reproduced well and plenty of fine detail. It also did a decent job of differentiating between very similar tones in areas dominated by just one colour.

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