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Cameras

Samsung L-series and S85: Cheap and cheerf-L

Samsung is launching the 7-megapixel L730, 8-megapixel L830 and 8.2-megapixel L83T compact cameras with all the usual gubbins, plus some interesting twists on shake reduction

Samsung has announced three new L-series digital compact cameras and a new S-series, to be on sale from August. All three include the usual attributes for a compact: 3x optical zoom and 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD screen, as well as the ever-more-common face-detection feature. All three share a maximum ISO of 1,600 for low-light shooting and use SD or SDHC memory cards.

Samsung has named the top model in this se-L-ection the L83T -- but is it l33t? It has a slim and pretty aluminium body and comes with Samsung's ASR shake-reduction system. Also included is Wise Shot, an interesting twist on the standard compact camera method of reducing blur by dropping shutter speed and raising ISO. Switch it on and hit the shutter, and Wise Shot automatically takes two pictures -- one with ASR image stabilisation, one with flash -- and asks you to choose the best.

Samsung also claims the motion-capture mode will manage an impressive 7 frames per second. We're looking into whether this is at full 8-megapixel resolution or lower, and we'll be sure to test the claim in any forthcoming review.

Also launching in August is the 8-megapixel S85. Although Samsung claims the S series "gives the entry-level photographer the ability to experience features commonly associated with higher skill-level cameras" the S85 doesn't have anything especially exciting going on. Everything here is similar to what's available on the L cameras: 64mm screen, face detection, shake reduction, rubbish internal memory, SD cards. The "higher-end feature" is a 5x zoom. Whoop-de-doo.

The 7-megapixel L730 will cost £119, the 8-megapixel L830 is priced at £149, while the 8.2 megapixel L83T will set you back £179. But the S85 will be a snip at £119, and handily takes AA batteries as well as the usual chargeable battery. So that's an extra 2x on the zoom and an extra megapixel on the resolution over the L730, all for the same budget price. You do the maths. -Rich Trenholm