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Cameras

Photos: Hands-on with the Samsung NV40

The Samsung NV40 has full manual control and a smart-touch interface, and now the price is so low we had to rub both our eyes with our fists and do a double-take

The Samsung NV40 is one of the cameras debuted at CES way back at the start of the year. Where does the time go, eh? It's a 10.5-megapixel point-and-shoot, and a clever one at that. Samsung's trademark smart-touch controls and full manual control make this still a decent little camera nearly a year on.

Like the rest of the NV range, it certainly still looks good. We think the silver colour scheme is rather bland, but the sleek lines, blue lens ring and dual shoulder dials look great.

The NV40 sports an image-stabilised 5x zoom lens. That's a creditably long zoom, although a 37mm wide angle, equivalent to a 35mm film camera, isn't all that special.

For darker conditions, the NV40 goes up to a maximum of ISO 3,200, and we'll be testing it in our forthcoming review to see how it copes with the resulting noise. If you prefer to keep the flash on, you can choose from red-eye reduction or slow sync.

Other features include face detection, dual image stabilisation and movie mode. This shoots your standard 640x480-pixel VGA clips at 30 frames per second.

Although the NV40 has been superceded in Samsung's catalogue by the all-singing, all-dancing, touchscreen high-definition NV100, it's still a contender. Full manual control in an easy-to-use point-and-shoot usually demands a premium, so at a jaw-dropping £110 online, the Samsung NV40 is a solid-gold bargain. Click 'Continue' to let the NV40 win you over.

The NV40's 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD screen doesn't sound like much to write home about in these days of 76mm displays. But the NV series' screens need space around the edge for the clever smart-touch controls: a series of buttons along either axis that allow you to quickly select options. We love smart touch -- it's intuitive and accessible, and definitely worth getting over the initial learning curve.

At the top of the NV40 there are two control wheels. On the right is the usual mode wheel, including movie mode, automatic, program and manual modes.

In manual mode, the NV40's aperture and shutter speed can be controlled by sliding your finger over the touch-sensitive buttons. This is what makes smart touch so cool, right here.

The other wheel, on the NV40's left shoulder, controls colour options, giving quick access to settings such as retro, forest, cool, calm and classic. We're not entirely sure what the point of all those are, but it's an extra dial to play with and that's all we really care about.

As with other cameras in the Samsung range, the NV40 charges through its USB lead, which connects to this clever USB plug. So if you're running low on fuel while out and about and you don't have your plug, you can connect to a computer to juice up. It's a proprietary USB socket though, so don't forget the lead.