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Samsung DV150F Dual-View Smart Camera review: Fun features, but middling photo quality

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For the DV150F Dual-View Smart Camera, Samsung took two of its best point-and-shoot features and put them in one affordable camera.

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6.6

Samsung DV150F Dual-View Smart Camera

The Good

The <b>Samsung DV150F Dual-View Smart Camera</b> is made for photo sharing, with excellent built-in Wi-Fi features and two screens to make taking self-portraits easy.

The Bad

The DV150F's photo quality is just a notch above an average smartphone camera's, and its shooting performance is a bit too slow for active kids and pets, especially indoors. Digital image stabilization only.

The Bottom Line

With dual LCDs and built-in Wi-Fi, Samsung's DV150F Dual-View Smart Camera is an inexpensive problem-solver for those who like to shoot and share.

On the outside, you'll find an LCD on back for framing and viewing your shots as well as a smaller LCD on front for self-portraits. This second screen can also be used to display a short animation to get the attention of a small child or possibly a pet as well as a countdown when using the self-timer.

Inside, there's a Wi-Fi radio for sending those self-portraits straight to a smartphone or tablet for instant uploading and sharing, or backing up on a computer or in cloud storage, or directly sending by e-mail or uploading to Facebook, among several other options.

Unfortunately, Samsung also put inside an inferior sensor to the backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS ones found in its slightly higher-end models, like the WB250F Smart Camera. The choice no doubt helped keep the price low, less than $150 in this case, but it also makes the DV150F less capable in low light without a flash.

But, if you do most of your shooting outdoors in good light, the DV150F's two fun features make this reasonably priced problem-solving camera worth considering.

Photo quality
Photo quality from the Samsung DV150F is good up to ISO 200. It's not a camera you'd want to use in low-light conditions or indoors without a flash. At ISO 400, a common sensitivity for well-lit indoor photos, subjects look soft, but are passable at small sizes. The photos get much worse above ISO 400, picking up a lot of noise and artifacts and losing detail to the point where subjects look smeared. (You can view this slide a little larger to get a better idea.)

Samsung DV150F Dual-View Smart Camera sample pictures

See all photos

Actually, noise and artifacts are a bit of a problem even at the camera's lowest ISO sensitivities when photos are viewed at full size; if you need to enlarge and heavily crop your photos, I wouldn't choose the DV150F. However, if you're considering this camera for its online-sharing capabilities and don't typically make large prints above 8x10s, the DV150F's shots are OK. You can read more about photo quality in the slideshow above.

Video quality is good enough for Web use at small sizes, but nothing you'd want to view at larger sizes on an HDTV. Panning the camera will create judder that's typical of the video from most compact cameras. The zoom lens does function during recording, but Samsung applies a noise filter while it's moving, which muffles the audio overall. It is reasonably quick to focus and adjust exposure. Also, you may notice some vertical smear when shooting with bright light sources; this is common with consumer CCD sensors. All in all, the DV150F is fine for short clips in good lighting.

Shooting performance
Editors' note: We recently updated our testing methodology to provide slightly more real-world performance information, so the results aren't necessarily comparable with previous testing. Until we're finished refining our procedures, we will not be posting comparative performance charts.

This camera is generally too slow for pictures of active kids and pets. Yes, you can always get lucky and if you are really good at anticipating action, you'll be able to get clean shots -- especially in full sun. The time from off to first shot isn't bad at 1.8 seconds. However, its shutter lag -- the time it takes from pressing the shutter release to capture without prefocusing -- is 0.5 second in bright lighting and 0.6 second in dim, which is enough to miss the shot you were after. From shot to shot, you'll be waiting about 1.9 seconds on average and 2.5 seconds if you're shooting with the flash.

The camera does have a continuous shooting setting that will capture at up to 0.7 frame per second. Focus and exposure are set with the first shot, though, so if the subject is moving fast, it might not be in focus very long.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Design and features
Samsung seemed to go out of its way to hide the front screen on past Dual-View models. With the DV150F, you know it's there, especially on the white version I tested (the camera is available in plum and black, too); on a retail shelf next to a bunch of other small point-and-shoots it should now stand out as being different.

The low-res 1.5-inch screen kicks on with a button on top of the camera. Press it when the camera is off and it'll extend the lens, turn on the front LCD only, and put you right into a self-portrait mode with face detection. With the camera already on, hitting the button just turns on the little screen so your subject can see his or herself or, depending on the mode you're in, an animation to attract a child's attention or a countdown timer.

Key specs Samsung DV150F
Price (MSRP) $149.99
Dimensions (WHD) 3.8 inches by 2.2 inches by 0.7 inch
Weight (with battery and media) 6.8 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 16 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD
LCD size, resolution/viewfinder 2.7-inch LCD, 230K dots (front display: 1.5-inch LCD, 61K dots)/None
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 5x, f2.5-6.3, 25-125mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/H.264 AAC (.MP4)
Highest resolution size (still/video) 4,608x3,456 pixels/ 1,280x720 at 30fps
Image stabilization type Digital only
Battery type, CIPA rated life Li-ion rechargeable, 240 shots
Battery charged in camera Yes; Micro-USB cable, wall adapter supplied
Storage media SD/SDHC/SDXC

Wi-Fi
Samsung's Wi-Fi options remain some of the best available and easiest to use on point-and-shoot cameras. If you've ever thought, "Why do I need Wi-Fi in my camera?" Samsung has got several answers to that question. It can be used to connect to your Wi-Fi network for automatic backups to a Windows computer or Microsoft SkyDrive, viewing photos and movie clips on DLNA-equipped devices, or sending them by e-mail; to connect to other Samsung Wi-Fi cameras for direct sharing between cameras; to connect to hot spots or wirelessly tether to a smartphone; and to connect to an Android 2.2-powered or higher smartphone or tablet or iOS 4.3 or higher device.

Sarah Tew/CNET

That last option can be used to upload content to sharing sites, but it will also allow you to control the camera remotely. Your display turns into a viewfinder and you can move the camera's zoom lens as well as hit the shutter release. It'll also use the device's GPS receiver to geotag your shots. And though doing all of these things previously required two apps, Samsung's combined them into one and added a new feature: AutoShare. Turning this feature on wirelessly pairs the camera with a phone or tablet and then every shot you take will be immediately sent from the camera to the device, ready for you to upload on the go or view on a larger screen.

General shooting options Samsung DV150F
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Photo Filter) Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent H, Fluorescent L, Tungsten, Custom
Recording modes Smart Auto, Program, Scene, Live Panorama, Self Shot, Children, Jump Shot, Beauty Shot, Night Shot, Close-up Shot, Magic (Magic Frame, Split Shot, Beauty Palette, Motion Photo, Movie Filter, Photo Filter)
Focus modes Center AF, Multi AF, Tracking AF, Face Detection AF
Macro 2 inches (Wide); 3.3 feet (Tele)
Metering modes Multi, Spot, Center-weighted, Face Detection AE
Color effects Multiple photo and movie filters; saturation, contrast, and sharpness controls
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) Unlimited continuous

The DV150F is a simple point-and-shoot, so don't expect a lot of control over results. There is a Night Shot mode for setting the shutter speed from 1 second to 16 seconds, but that's all the control you get over shutter speed. You do get a healthy selection of auto shooting options, though, including four modes that take advantage of the front screen, as well as a large selection of photo and movie filters.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

Other extras you'll find include a Live Panorama mode in which you can create easy panoramas just by panning the camera, and a Motion Photo mode for creating animated GIFs in camera on the fly (the results of which you can see above; the more light you have, the better).

Conclusion
At this point, it's tough to recommend a camera with photo quality that isn't significantly better than you'll get from the average smartphone. The Samsung DV150F Dual-View Smart Camera certainly has two cool features in its easy-to-use Wi-Fi and dual LCDs. If you shoot a lot of self-portraits and do it mainly outside in good lighting, you'll find this a fine camera.

Samsung_DV150F_Dual-View_35609197_09.jpg
6.6

Samsung DV150F Dual-View Smart Camera

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 6Image quality 6