Point-and shoot cameras rely much on visual appeal and funky features for driving business.
While some manufacturers use dazzling colours and smooth contours to promote these devices, Samsung, being the world leader in display devices, did what they are best at, by incorporating a second LCD on the front panel to enable self-portraits. The 16 megapixel Samsung DV300F is one such ‘dual view’ camera.
Design and Build Quality
The Samsung DV300F’s outer body is made of engineering plastic except for the lens and top panel. The camera is sleek and can easily fit into a shirt pocket. The camera appears tough enough for its intended job. The lens has a two-segment construction and does not protrude much during operation. The tripod mount is plastic, but it was not a concern for us since the camera was light. It is mounted towards the centre, which balances the camera well.
The 16.1-megapixel Samsung DV300F uses a 1/2.3-inch Type (6.16 x 4.62mm) CCD sensor. It features a Samsung 25-125mm equivalent lens with aperture range of f/2.5-9.2 at the wide-angle end and f/6.3-23 at the telephoto end. The lens features Optical Image Stabilisation. In normal mode the camera focusses from 80cm to infinity at the wide-angle end and from 250cm to infinity at the telephoto end; while in Macro mode, it focusses as close as 5cm. The camera uses TTL autofocus method, and the focus modes are Centre, Multi, Tracking, Face Detection, and Smart Face Detection. Shutter speeds range from 10 to 1/2000 sec. Exposure is controlled through Program AE mode. Metering modes are Multi, Spot, Centre-weighted, and Face Detection. Exposure can be compensated up to +/-2EV in 1/3-EV steps. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 80 to 3200. The built-in flash has a range of 0.2 to 4.1m at the wide-angle end and 0.5 to 1.6m at the telephoto end when ISO is set to Auto. Flash modes available are Smart Auto, Auto, Red-eye, Fill in, Slow Sync, Off, and Red-eye Fix. The flash recycles in approximately 4 sec. White Balance modes are Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent_H, Fluorescent_L, Tungsten, and Custom.
Shooting modes available are Smart Auto, Program, Scene, Live Panorama, Self Shot, Picture-in-Picture, Magic Frame, Funny Face, Smart Filter, Beauty Shot, Intelligent Portrait, Night, Split Shot, Motion Photo, Jump Shot 2.0, Children Mode, Pose Guide, Close-up, Split Shot, Artistic Brush, Wall Paper, and 3D Photo. Scene modes are Beauty Shot, Frame Guide, Night, Portrait, Children, Landscape, Close-up, Text, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight, Firework, and Beach & Snow. In Smart Auto mode, the camera automatically detects Portrait, Night Portrait, Night, Backlight Portrait, Backlight, Landscape, White, Macro, Macro Text, Tripod, Action, Macro Colour, Natural Green, Blue Sky, and Sunset Sky, and applies the required settings. Photo filter (Smart filter) provides access to various effects such as Miniature, Vignetting, Ink Painting, Oil Painting, Cartoon, Cross Filter, Sketch, Soft Focus, Fish-eye, Old Film, Half Tone Dot, Classic, Retro, and Zooming Shot. The camera features movie filters too, such as Miniature, Vignetting, Half Tone Dot, Sketch, Fish-eye, Classic, Retro, and Four Palette Effects. Still images are recorded in JPEG format with a maximum pixel size of 4608 x 3456, while videos are recorded in MP4 (H.264) format with the best quality of 1280 x 720 at 30fps.
The DV300F has a front LCD screen in addition to the main LCD, which helps in capturing self-portraits. The camera uses a 3.0-inch 460,000 dot TFT LCD for the main display, while the front display is a 1.5-inch, 61,000 dot TFT. The device has approximately 16MB of internal memory and can accept a microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC card for external storage. The DV300F is powered by a BP88A rechargeable Li-ion battery pack. The camera weighs 120g (without battery and memory card) and has dimensions of 95.2 x 56.5 x 18.3mm.
The DV300F is convenient to hold even though it is very small in size. The buttons are neatly laid out with good relief. Images on the LCD appear crisp and the menu is intuitive. As usual, our word of advice applies here too — do not forget to attach the strap to the camera and secure it firmly before using the camera.
The Samsung DV300F focussed reasonably fast even under low light. Flare was controlled well and chromatic aberration was not observed. During this part of the test (i.e., for CA test), the camera automatically selected the aperture, which was f/9.2 in this case, which was not the ideal setting. Hence the results may change depending on the aperture value selected by the camera at the time of exposure. Metering modes performed as expected. Slight darkening of corners was observed at the wide-angle end. The camera chose f/2.5, which was ideal in this case. The images lacked critical sharpness, which is quite disappointing.
The camera reproduced colours well with all White Balance modes performing well except under the preset ‘Cloudy’, which produced a distinct red cast. But this cast can be easily removed in Photoshop. Native image size was 11.52 x 15.36 inches at 300 ppi. At 25 percent of this screen size, images were noise-free up to ISO 800. Observed at 50 percent of the screen size, the images remained free of noise up to ISO 400. At 100 percent, images showed noise throughout the ISO range, as normally expected from a camera having such small sensors. So stick to ISO 400 or below for noise-free images under normal conditions. Images captured with Smart Auto mode appeared more punchy than those captured with Program mode.
Value for Money
The Samsung DV300F retails at an MRP of Rs.12,400. At this price, the camera is good value for money.
+ Stylish Design
+ Easy to use
+ Competitively priced
– Images lack critical sharpness
– Noise control could have been better
Design and Build Quality 18/20
Key Features 16/20
Noise Control 3/5
Value for Money 8/10
Grand Total 79/100
If you are looking for a sleek and compact camera that does not require complex settings, the Samsung DV300F can be a strong contender.