Samsung ST50 review:

Samsung ST50

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Typical Price: £180.00
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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars 3 user reviews

The Good Attractive styling and finish; good-quality LCD; easy to use.

The Bad Limited zoom range; mediocre picture quality; 'smart auto' mode makes some questionable decisions.

The Bottom Line The Samsung ST50 is a very pretty little camera, but it's not the only one, and there's nothing special about it that makes it stand out from the crowd. Instead of loads of technology, we'd prefer a better lens or a wider zoom range

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6.5 Overall

Samsung says the ST50 is 'ultra slim, ultra clever'. It's slim alright, with a stainless-steel body just 17mm thick, and its 'smart auto' mode does look pretty clever, selecting the right scene mode automatically without you having to lift a finger. But the 3x optical zoom and 12-megapixel sensor are very run-of-the-mill, so can it really be worth the average £180 asking price?

The ST50 is small but weighty. The stainless-steel finish is smart, and it's got a real air of quality about it. It starts up fast, the shutter button is big and easy to find with your finger, and the LCD is good too. The screen might not be big, but it's sharp, bright and the colours are saturated.

Images look clean and bright, but the lens suffers from distortion and softness around the edges, and isn't too good at full zoom (click image to enlarge)

If you want to give your brain a rest, you can press the 'smart' button on the top and the camera goes into full auto mode, setting landscape mode, close-up mode, backlight mode or whatever else it thinks necessary, depending on what you're pointing it at. Or, if you want more control, you can press the smart button again to go back to the standard program AE mode. In this mode, you can press the menu button to fiddle with the ISO, white balance, EV compensation, photo style (black and white, sepia and so on) or whatever else you fancy.

As the lens extends when you're using the ST50, you'll need to turn the camera off when you want to slide it into a pocket

Face detection comes as standard, together with smile and blink detection and a beauty-shot mode designed to smooth over those wrinkles. The ST50's movie mode isn't high-definition, but it does offer slightly higher resolution than normal, at 800x592 pixels, and uses the MPEG-4 format for more efficient compression.

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