Samsung ST5500 

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This is a small solid and good quality digital camera that can also take excellent quality video. It has good optical zoom at 7x and can take 14MP still images, perhaps best of all it is almost totally touchscreen for ease of use.

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The Samsung ST5500 compact digital camera measures 10.5x5.5x2.5cm the latter figure can increase to 5.5cm when the unit is fully zoomed in. It weights 180grams.

The right side has a door with USB and mini HDMI sockets behind it; further down is a wrist strap anchor point. The left side has nothing while the base has a door hiding a solid battery and a micro SD card slot, further along is a tripod screw. The face has the Schneider optical lens with the flash mounted above and to its left.

I said it was almost totally touchscreen the only controls not on the screen are on the top the shutter release angled slightly forward and the telephoto/wide angle control around it. To the left of this the on/off button and the final control is the button to switch between shooting mode and displaying captured images and video.

A line of icons appear down the left with another along the bottom of the 8x5cm TFT screen finally a third down the right side, the bottom and right side are hidden until you press a small arrow on the central portion of the bottom or right side. All the icons are clear but often a one line display also helps the novice to understand what is being selected. The top icon is a camera (Auto Mode) when presses a wheel of images appears on the TFT the other offerings are Smart Auto, Movie, Smart Movie, Dual Image Stabilization, Scene Mode (choice of 13) and finally the Program mode.

The next icon has the various Flash modes. Next is a Normal (over 80cm) or Macro mode selector. Then comes a Timer choice button. Finally for the left side what information is shown on the TFT.  The items along the bottom are current choices such as image size etc. The right side gives short cuts to various options as well as Wireless Networking this has a range of options including connecting either by Wireless or Bluetooth and if you wish to send of receive information. It can even automatically connect to Wireless Networks.

The final option is the Menu button that sets just about everything that you can set by a few screen touches and also items that you can’t.

The manual describes everything and to understand everything you can do with this unit you will certainly need to read it. Of course you can just put it in Smart Auto mode on first charge and take quite acceptable images.

Image sizes are 14MP 4320x3240, 12MP 4000x3000, 10MP (3:2) 3984x2656, 9MP (16:9) 3840x2160, 8MP 3264x2448, 5MP 2560x1920, 3MP 2048x1536, 2MP (16:9) and 1MP 1024x768. For movies the choices are 1280HQ, 1280, 640, 320 and 320 web. The FPS choices are 30 or 15. A 1minute 1280HQ movie is around 36MB while a 640 movie is around 36MB. A 14MP image is around 3MB while a similar image at 5MP is about 1.25MB, all the figures are of course only a rough guide as the content of the image or movie can increase them.

Images taken with flash were acceptable but you should avoid trying to capture movies in poor light as they are not great.

Samsung seem determined to go the way of micro SD cards (more expensive than standard SD) so bear that in mind. The wireless option might be of interest to download images and indeed to print direct to certain printers. The inclusion of HDMI to allow you to view images and movies direct to your TV is nice but not including the difficult to find HDMI to mini HDMI cable is not so nice. This is certainly a camera worth considering.

Doing my Internet searches found the Samsung ST5500 at a best price of £239.80 from the link below.

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OverallSamsung ST5500 rated 72 out of 100

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