Thursday, February 18, 2010

Samsung HZ15W 12MP Digital Camera

Samsung HZ15W 12MP Digital Camera with 10x Schneider Wide Angle Dual Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0 inch LCD (Grey)








Brand Samsung

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Product Details
* 12-megapixel resolution for large, photo quality prints
* 10x optical zoom; 24mm ultra-wide angle Schneider lens
* Dual Image Stabilization combines the strengths of Optical and Digital Image Stabilization
* Record high-definition video at a resolution of 720p
* Capture images to SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)
The Samsung HZ15W includes a world first 10x optical zoom and 24mm ultra wide angle Schneider lens and cements Samsung's position as an innovator in the new and important High-zoom category - compact cameras equipped with the sort of advanced zoom lens technology traditionally seen only in SLR cameras. This new technology gives people even greater control and helps them take better, professional standard photos; enhancing the entire photography experience, from shooting to sharing images with friends and family. The 12-megapixel HZ15W also includes HD movie capture so people can "Pause and Re-record" high definition videos and super sharp movie-quality recordings in one movie clip

# Product Dimensions: 6 x 7 x 3 inches ; 14.4 ounces
# Shipping Weight: 2 pounds

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Reviews Samsung HZ15W 12MP Digital Camera


I am a casual user who prefers size, convenience and function over versatility of SLR cameras. I have been using digital cameras since the 1.2 MP era in the late 1990s. My most recent camera prior to this model was the Panasonic Lumix TZ-5 with 9 MP and 10x optical zoom.

WHAT IS IN THE BOX?
Camera
User manual
AC adapter
Rechargeable battery
Audio Video Cable
Carrying Strap

CONSTRUCTION

The metallic body has a black matte finish with a grip on the right side. The grip is textured which decreases the chance of slipping from my hand. It is slightly heavier than my TZ-5 and really requires two handed operation to keep it steady.

On the top of the camera, there is a power button, speaker, zoom lever, and mode dial. The flash is on the same side as the grip which is something that you need to be congnisant of when using flash. In the bottom of the unit, there is a centrally placed tripod unit which is more stable than eccentric placement that I have had on other cameras. The Battery chamber holds the battery and memory card. The back of the camera has a nice vivid color screen, a multidirectional keypad, command lever, function/delete key, play button and effect button. On the right side of the unit a USB, AV and DC terminal are located towards the top.

The command lever allows for custom exposure control, ISO/white balance and Aperture/shutter speed.

The unit has 21 MB of internal memory and is guaranteed to work with up to 8 GB. The built in memory does not allow for more than 5 photos at the highest resolution.

OPERATION

Setup of the camera is easy and intuitive. You initially set up the camera by entering your language (English, Korean, French, German, Spanish, Italian) and the Time and date.

I set my command lever for white balance but you can also set it for exposure levels.

Operation of the camera includes full automatic mode, program mode, manual mode, Scene, beauty shot , movie and smart auto. There are a few scene modes including landscape, self shot, children, beach/snow, and fireworks, just to name a few. The mode is set by using the control dial at the top of the unit. What I like about this camera over my Panasonic Lumix TZ-5 is that the dial actually locks into place, as opposed to inadvertently switching me to another mode (big advantage in my opinion). Beauty shot mode allows you to clear facial imperfections (this is the first that I have experienced something like this).

This camera has good low light sensitivity with both video and photographs.

This camera uses an SDHC card up to 32 GB. With a 1 GB card, you can take 404 pictures at the highest resolution or 780 photos at 5 MP. At the highest quality movie, you can record 8 minutes 20 seconds at 1280 HQ, 30 Frames per second.

Battery life by the manufacturer is about 140 minutes for stills only and 125 minutes for movie mode, so I recommend a second battery for backup when travelling or taking videos of your child's rehearsal, for example. Unfortunately, this has no supplied battery charger, so you have to plug the camera into the wall.

The glossy LCD screen is comprehensive showing icons for remaining battery life, shots remaining on camera, metering, ISO, color saturation, date/time, flash status, zoom level, and histogram (there are other functions revealed but I mentioned what I feel are important). The quality of the images viewed on the LCD is vivid and crisp.

The camera can take 1.5 frames per second in high speed mode or one picture at a time, aside from the continuous and motion capture mode (6 shots per second for 5 seconds).

Image stabilization is good but there are times that I would still get motion blur.

There seems to be a long refractory time between photographs when flash is being used. Shutter lag is average to other point and shoot cameras that I have used.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Photographs are stored in JPEG, EXIF, DPOF. Color effects include normal, black and white, sepia, red, green, blue, negative and custom color.

Recharging time for the battery is about 5 seconds when freshly charged.

Viewing photos by normal display or thumbnails is intuitive. I like the ability to crop the photo within the camera - it's like having a built in photo-editor. You can also view photos by slide show, which I use to play back when we go on trips.

Shutter speed on automatic mode runs from 1/8 to 1/1,500, on program mode from 1 to 1/1,500, manual from 16 to 1/1,500. ISO equivalents are from 80 to 3200.

VIDEO

The video mode allows for zooming while filming. Zoom is smooth in transition.

Video is stored in MP4 (H.264(MPEG4.AVC). Audio is saved as a WAV file.

Video clips are set by determining your image size from 1280x720 HQ to640x480 to 320x240. Maximum recording time per clip is 29 minutes. Frame rate can be set based upon resolution. Videos can be recorded with or without sound.

Sound quality from the microphone is decent but not as sensitive as a conventional camcorder.

A nice feature of the movie playback is the ability to trim clips, if they are longer than 10 seconds. So in-camera processing is relatively painless.

PLAYBACK ON TELEVISION

Image size for playback includes 1080i, 720p, 480p, and 576p.

SOFTWARE

System recommendations for the USB support on Windows:
Pentium III 800 Mhz
Windows 2000/XP/Vista
Greater than 1 GB
MS Direct X 9.0 C

The recommendations for USB support on Mac:
Power Mac G3 or later
Mac OS 10.3 or later
110 MB hard drive space
>512 MB RAM

The software is rudimentary allowing for photo organization, inserting text, effects, narrations, and music files to a movie clip. It is not quite a full featured program like iMovie on my Mac.

CONCLUSION

Overall, this is a powerful camera for its relatively compact size. Its limitations for video include low sensitivity for the microphone and just an average shutter lag.

Highly recommend for an all purpose camera and casual videography.