Samsung just started shipping its $1,400 SCD5000 DuoCam, which combines a 680,000-pixel MiniDV camcorder with a 4.1-megapixel still camera. You'd think a camera and a camcorder would go together like chocolate and peanut butter, but based on our initial observations, we doubt the SCD5000 will be the next taste sensation.
Upside: A single device that can shoot good video as well as stills is the Holy Grail of consumer imaging. Since no sensor/optical system available is optimal for both tasks, Samsung didn't try to fake it, instead housing two separate systems in a rotating module. The company gets points for imagination.
Downside: Like mating a poodle with a rottweiler, this solution is awkward on several levels. Who's it for? The camcorder is low-budget, while the camera would normally be targeted at a higher-end buyer. And the large, clunky unit is both bigger and more expensive than two separate devices.
Outlook: We suspect Samsung will need a couple of SCD5000 generations to get the mix right. Maybe by then, two sensor/optical systems will be unnecessary. Or now that Samsung has floated the idea, perhaps another company will simply come up with a more-compact design or bring down the price.