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Samsung ST600 review: Samsung ST600

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The Good Sleek, dual-screen design. Rear touchscreen is lovely. Good images for web use and small prints.

The Bad Uses microSD cards, which are easy to lose. Too many megapixels for such a small sensor. Short battery life. Average video quality.

The Bottom Line Though the ST600 doesn't fix any of the issues we had with the ST550, it still stands up as an excellent compact camera for anyone who just wants to point and shoot. The front LCD screen is an added bonus for social photographers.

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8.0 Overall

Design and features

When it comes to dual-screen cameras, Samsung has the market all neatly tied up. The ST550, which made a striking debut last year, turned plenty of heads with its sleek design and the addition of a second screen nestled up front. Ever tried to take a self-portrait with a regular camera and the results have come out all wrong? You are exactly the sort of photographer that Samsung is trying to lure with this camera.

The ST600 continues the dual-screen idea initiated by the ST550, with a few extra features for good measure. This time, the front screen is 1.8 inches (remember the time when a 1.8-inch LCD screen on the back of a camera was standard?) and the rear is a 3.5-inch touchscreen.

The lens extends to a reasonable 5x optical zoom and has a maximum aperture of f/3.5-5.9. It opens to a wide angle of 27mm and sitting behind it is a 14.2-megapixel sensor. There's a spare few buttons at the top, including the zoom and shutter button, power switch, button to activate the front LCD and a playback button neatly hidden on the corner curve.

As for shooting options, there are plenty to choose from; smart automatic, auto, movie, program, dual-image stabilisation and scene modes. There's also a bunch of effects that can be applied to images, such as fish-eye, vignetting, forest and retro.

Under the flap at the base of the camera is a dual-slot that houses the rechargeable Lithium-ion battery and a microSD slot. Samsung is the only manufacturer thus far to adopt the microSD format for digital cameras, and we have to wonder why as the cards are so small and easy to lose.

The ST600 can take HD video at 720p and encodes it in H.264. Connectivity is provided via mini HDMI and USB, though it's a proprietary cable, provided in the box.

Performance

General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Time to first shot
  • Shot-to-shot time
  • Shutter lag
  • Samsung ST6002.12.30.4

Continuous shooting speed (longer bars indicate better performance)

  • Samsung ST6001.2

Note that shot-to-shot time using flash is considerably slower than the shot-to-shot time without flash, as listed above. Samsung does not provide exact battery ratings for the ST600, but given our tests and the fact that it's so similar to the ST550, the battery should last around 150 shots.

Image quality

Just like the ST550, the ST600 delivers very nice pictures. They have what we call the typical Samsung look for point-and-shoot cameras: punchy colours and a tendency to oversaturate reds and magentas. Like the other camera, there are too many megapixels on the sensor for the lens to resolve. This shows up in some over-processing when viewing images at full magnification.

Quality does degrade after ISO 400, though this is nothing unusual for a camera of this class. For the price and its target market of social photographers who will mainly be using their photos in low resolution for web display, the ST600 delivers great images.

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