Today I returned a very disappointing Casio EX-FS10 to Fry’s. To wave the 15% restocking fee, I had to use the return credit to towards the purchase of another digital camera. I was looking at a Canon SD940IS, but I found that they just started stocking the Samsung CL65 (also known as the ST1000 in Europe). This camera is the peak of camera all nerdy desires: Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS and 3.5” touch screen all integrated into one slim 12.2MP package with 5x optical zoom! Oh- and it has an accelerometer as well…
I opened the camera in the parking lot at Fry’s and ran into one stumbling block; the camera uses MicroSD instead of normal SD. This limits me to the speed of memory as the fastest microSDHC I have seen is class 6 (vs class 10 for SDHC)- and larger capacity MicroSHDC cards are much slower (class 2 for 16GB). Not a major issue, but it made the accompanying 8GB SHDC card I purchased fairly useless…
The camera is very solid feeling; all metal faceplate and a large glass LCD back panel. It also has a minimal amount of buttons: power, shutter, zoom and play are the only physical buttons- all other settings are done via the touch screen- or by tilting the camera to use the accelerometer.
The touch screen is a 1,154k pixel screen and uses audible feedback for screen presses.
One only other item I was not very pleased with is the proprietary USB cable: it looks like something I would expect with a Sony or Archos device. A second issue with the USB cable is that it is only 2’ long- which means it is difficult to charge from a wall outlet.
The camera packaging contains:
- Samsung CL65 Camera
- Samsung SLB-11A Battery
- Wrist lanyard
- USB Cable
- Wall-to-USB charger adaptor
- CD with PDF manuals
- Quick start and warrant guides
I have taken a few dozen test shots, and all of them have turned out incredibly nice- even while taking pictures in full zoom mode while travelling at 60mph on the Interstate:
Indoor shots are very sharp and show a lot of detail that is normally lost with point-and-shoot cameras.
Overall I am very impressed with the photo quality and photo features.
The startup time to shot ready is less than 2 seconds. shot-to-shot with no flash is about 4 seconds (fairly fast). Flash recharge time is about 8 seconds. The battery is a Samsung SLB-11A battery (3.8v, 1130mAh).
The integrated GPS can GeoTag photos by inserting the longitude/latitude coordinates in the EXIF info of the JPEG. Files can be transferred from the camera via USB cable, WiFi or Bluetooth.
Plugging the camera into a PC initiates a virtual CD-ROM via camera firmware which autoruns (if enabled) the Samsung Intelli-Studio software. This software is a basic file transfer software/photo editor/sharing software that does a decent job. The Inteli-Studio software can upload pictures to Flickr, videos to YouTube or just share via email.
The wireless menu is accessible via the touch screen and pulls up the ‘wireless networking’ transfer menu. Transfer options are via the internet, email, camera-to-camera, home share, DLNA or Bluetooth transfer:
Internet transfers can be sent to Picasa, FaceBook, YouTube or Samsung imaging web sites. Strangely, Flickr (the one I primarily use) is not an option directly from the camera- it is only available via the desktop software:
Often used email addresses can be added in the camera memory for email transfers, or addresses can be typed as needed for email sending.
Camera to camera appears to be a Bluetooth file transfer but does not require a permanent pairing.
I was unable to find any information on the home share transfer; I assume this will transfer files to a SMB file share or a DLNA share.
The DLNA transfer will let the user push an image (no video) from the camera to a DNLA device. In my scenario, I was able to push images to my TV or to my DirecTV receiver.
Bluetooth requires a PIN code each time a transfer session is established, and I believe that only one image can be transferred at a time. I was able to pair and transfer images to my Motorola Droid with no problem.
The wireless response is fairly slow; it takes about 9 seconds to bring up the wireless networking menu, and then another 50 seconds to initially connect to your wireless access point (after entering WEP/WPA key). Leaving the ‘Web’ menu and opening the ‘email’ menu takes another 10-15 seconds as the camera must re-establish a connection to the wireless access point. Hopefully these times will be addressed with a future firmware update.
There are six shooting modes:
Partial auto mode; still have options for focus area, face detection and image quality & size.
- Smart Auto
Auto everything; only options are image size (12MP, 10MP, etc)
720p HQ, 720p std, 640x480, 320x240 and 320x340 Web (30 second clip) mode
- Dual IS
Uses both optical and digital image stabilization
Beauty Shot, Frame Guide, Night, Portrait, Children, Landscape, Close Up, Text, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight, Fireworks, Beach & Snow
- Programmed Mode
Allows exposure, white balance, ISO, metering mode, and sharpness/contrast/saturation settings.
On the autofocus settings, there are options for multi AF or one touch shooting. The later mode allows focus to a point specified by touching the screen; holding your finger for about 2 seconds takes a picture. In autofocus mode there are several face detection modes: normal, self-portrait, and smile shot (automatically takes a picture when a smile is detected). there are also options for blink detection and smart face recognition. there is a ‘five star’ setting that will allow you to take 5 shots at different angles for face recognition (I actually haven’t figured this option out yet).
Overall, I am very happy with this camera. It is very quick to shoot and to take a second shot. The battery life is decent (more than enough for a night out). The picture quality is very good and the LCD is a beautiful display to show them to friends. The proprietary cable is a downer, but I ordered a spare battery and external charger from eBay to eliminate the need to carry this cable around for recharging (an 8MB microSD will hold about 1100 12MP images, so I probably won’t worry about needing to pull off images to free up space).
I would recommend this camera to anyone that wants a small point-and-shoot camera that is fairly easy to use and yet features some advanced settings. The connectivity and GPS are added features that will appeal to the more tech savvy crowd- and so far no other camera I have found offers all of these features in one package.
Here are a few of the other menu settings: