Samsung PL150 review: Samsung PL150

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The Good Useful front-mounted LCD display; impressive styling and build quality; efficient control layout.

The Bad Terrible picture quality at full zoom makes any other quibbles pale into insignificance.

The Bottom Line What's going on with the Samsung PL150's lens? We're used to seeing some drop-off in sharpness at full zoom, but this is much more serious and undermines the value of the whole camera. That's a shame, because the PL150's twin displays, high-class styling and user-friendly features are otherwise rather good

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6.5 Overall

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Samsung's twin LCD displays, first seen on the ST500 and ST550, have made their way to the company's top point-and-shoot cameras, including the 12.4-megapixel PL150. In addition to a front- and rear-mounted display, the PL150 offers a 5x wide-angle zoom, which makes the £150 asking price seem more than reasonable.

Seeing double
At first glance, you might wonder whether there actually is a front-mounted screen. It only comes to life when you press a button on the top of the camera. Otherwise, it's completely invisible, disguised by the PL150's transparent wrap-around front panel and an all-black surround.

Is there some kind of in-camera distortion and aberration correction going on inside this camera? However it's been done, this wide-angle close-up is almost completely free of distortion and colour fringing (click image to enlarge)

The display quickly proves itself useful for self-portraits, group shots and filming sessions in which you want to speak directly to the camera. All of these things become so much easier when you can see what the camera sees. There's also a 'children' mode that plays an animation of a clown, complete with attention-grabbing sound effects, to distract hyperactive infants for long enough for you to grab a picture.

That's not all the P150 can do. It has an unusually versatile 5x 27-135mm equivalent zoom, optical image stabilisation, automatic scene detection and smart face recognition, which can automatically register the faces you shoot most often and give them priority. Plus it has a blink-detection mode that takes three shots rather than one if the camera thinks your subject's blinked.

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