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Optical IS hits Samsung NV cameras

Samsung has introduced four new cameras in its NV line, all of which have optical image stabilization.

Samsung's new NV24 HD can capture 720p video in the H.264 codec.
Samsung's new NV24 HD can capture 720p video in the H.264 codec. Samsung

It may have taken them a little while, but Samsung has added optical images stabilization to its upscale NV line of compact cameras. As has become a bit of a trend, they are offering it in conjunction with digital image stabilization, which boosts ISO to help keep shutter speeds fast in an attempt to minimize blur due to subject movement, while the optical IS does its best to counteract blur to due to your shaky hands. Samsung has dubbed this combination Dual Image Stabilization and includes it in all of its new NV models, except the NV4, this year. All but the NV4 also sport Samsung's unique SmartTouch menu navigation system.

They seem particularly happy with their 10MP NV24 HD, which uses the H.264 codec to record video at up to 720p pixel resolution at 30fps. While HD is in the name of the product, if you want to output an HD signal to your TV without going through a computer first, you'll need to buy Samsung's HDMI CEC cradle for an extra $50. On the upside, you'll get a remote control with that cradle, so you won't have to get up off your couch to move through your images or videos.

More interesting than the high-def functionality is the NV24 HD's 2.5-inch AMOLED screen. If you've never seen this acronym before, it stands for Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode. OLED technology has been working its way up through other devices for a while now, but we haven't seen it really hit cameras yet. A color gamut chart at the Samsung booth boasts a significantly wider gamut for their AMOLED screen compared to the regular TFT LCDs used in their other cameras, though on the demo units images looked rather oversaturated. We weren't allowed to tinker with the demo units, so we don't know if user menu adjustments might be able to bring the saturation to normal levels.

The NV24 HD also has a 3.6X optical zoom lens covering an equivalent of 24-86.5mm and f/2.8-5.7, as well as face detection and self portrait modes. The face detection can see up to nine faces and use them to set focus and exposure, while self portrait mode can locate one face and won't let you shoot a picture unless that face is centered in the frame. Other features include 14 scene modes and sensitivity settings of up to ISO 1,600 at full resolution or ISO 3,200 if you don't mind that it cuts the resolution to 3MP. Samsung expects the NV 24 HD to be available this March for about $350.

Following up on last year's NV3, 2008 sees Samsung offering the 8MP NV4. Like its predecessor, the NV4 can play back video clips and MP3s, leading Samsung to call it a PMP (Portable Media Player) as well as a camera. There's even a tiny speaker built-in to the camera body, though your headphones would probably give you better sound. This ultracompact has a 2.5-inch LCD, 3X optical zoom lens, face detection and self portrait modes, along with 14 scene modes. The NV4 should hit stores in March for about $280.

Rounding out the new NV offerings are the 8.1MP NV30 and 10MP NV40. Both have 3X optical zoom lenses, 2.5-inch LCDs, 14 scene modes, 640x480-pixel 30fps video capture, and sensitivity of up to ISO 1,600 at full resolution and ISO 3,200 at reduced resolutions. The NV30 should hit stores in February for about $280, while the NV40 is expected in March for about $330.