Playback Screens & Menus
The default playback screen shows only the most basic information, such as file number at top right. The top left icon simply pulls up an explanation of playback mode; the one below it brings up index view, and the third is the trash. Above the Menu icon is the email icon, which allows you to attach the photo on screen to an email message. You can attach up to 20 files to the same message. The strip icon along the bottom allows you to quickly drag your way through numerous photos.
These icons all disappear after 3 to 4 seconds, and no information appears on the screen, just the image or movie still. There are no playback display views including extensive camera settings, a histogram, or other various image data that you can simply rotate through. Instead, in Playback mode, you tap Menu, and select File Information>On, which is off by default. Then you will see in the lower right of the screen the ISO, aperture, shutter speed, flash setting, file size and date for the image. As for movies, it shows only file size and date. This info vanishes with the other icons in a few seconds.
While the touch screen technology and wireless features simulate the smart phone experience, one very noticeable difference is in playback. Although you can swipe through images, enter email addresses, and make menu selections with finger taps, you can not enlarge or reduce image display in playback. To zoom in on an image, you have to use the zoom ring around the shutter button.
Also, the manual describes something called Gesture View, which is supposed to sense your tilting of the camera and slide the next (or previous) image onto the screen. But my repeated attempts to get this feature to work were fruitless. I think I almost broke the camera trying to get it to sense my movements, only to have it rotate the same image over and over (and, yes, I triple-checked that the feature was turned on in the Settings menu).
The first index screen in playback shows 12 images. Using the zoom ring, you can zoom out further to show 20 or 36 images. I did find the camera bit slow to fill in these thumbnails when serving up 36 thumbnails, taking 5 seconds. It also had a tendency to serve up a blank screen with a "Processing" bubble for a few seconds when going from single image view to the 12-up screen. In all cases, you can tap on an icon to bring up the full image.
Tapping on the All icon in index view gives you two other viewing options. The trash icon changes to a calendar view icon, and the menu button goes away and is replaced by a film strip icon. But, actually, this view doesn't operate like a typical film strip view where you'd expect to scroll through digital files bordered by nostalgic strips of perforated 35mm film.
In index view, tapping on the email icon pulls up a box in each thumbnail, allowing you to select which images you want to send as attachments. Images are downsized to 2M if the original is at a higher resolution. You can attach as many as 20 to an email, or one video at 320 x 240, with a maximum length of 30 seconds.
The calendar display gives you another option for finding your photos other than swiping through images or using the index view thumbnails. As always, the icons work as buttons and you tap the corresponding thumbnail to pull up the group of images.
Note the calendar icon at left, marked with a 12. It has taken the place of "All" in the previous screen to indicate you're now in calendar view. You will also notice that the email icon below the trash can has gone away, because you're now looking at a group of images by date taken. (This icon reappears when viewing a single photo or video, or viewing an index of thumbnails.)
In playback mode you use the zoom ring - not the touch screen - to enlarge an image. Having to switch to the zoom ring feels counter-intuitive if you're used to a smart phone's two-fingered image enlargement and zoom-out function. You can, however, drag a detail of an image around the screen to inspect other parts of the photo.
Note the scissors icon at left. This allows you to make a cropped image of what you see on screen.
In addition to cropping, the MV900F puts a fair amount of editing options at your fingertips. From the main menu, you select Photo Editor. In this view you can crop, rotate, and make basic adjustments to brightness, contrast and saturation.
The downside is you can't simply get to these options in Playback mode. You have to go back to the home menu and select the Photo Editor. The upside is that you can apply one of the photo filer effects. The complete list of 14 filters available in shooting mode also can be applied as an image edit in playback mode.
Photo Filters Menu:
- Soft Focus
- Old Film
- Half Tone Dot
- Oil Painting
- Ink Painting
- Cross Filter
- Zooming Shot
Once set up on your Wi-Fi network, you can email files and use the SkyDrive mode to upload files to a cloud service or social site such as Facebook. Also, there is an Auto Backup function that enables you to back up your files wirelessly to a PC. Before doing so, you connect the camera to the PC via USB cable and install iLauncher and Auto Backup programs.
Aside from the wireless options, this camera's settings are not particularly on the exciting side (not that menus generally are). Samsung breaks these down into four categories, as shown above. You get here through the Home menu, via the Settings icon on page 5. Because the camera always begins this menu on page 1, you will always have to scroll through four pages to get here.
Most everything in these menus is the usual customers: shutter button sound on/off, display brightness, date/time format and imprinting, etc. The exception falls under General. Here you will find the menu for selecting a function for the Smart Link button on the back panel above the screen. This puts your most-used Wi-Fi function right at your fingertips without having to navigate the on-screen menu to, for example, send a photo as an email attachment.
Smart Link (Wi-Fi Button) Options:
- Remote Viewfinder (with Galaxy series smart phone)
- Social Sharing
- Auto Backup
- AllShare Play
default playback movie view includes the standard icons on the left of
the screen, and you tap the middle of the screen to begin playback. If
you have turned on File Information via the playback menu, you will also
see file size and date in the lower right corner.
Once playback has begun, buttons for rewind, pause, and fast forward appear briefly at the bottom of the screen, then go away. You simply tap somewhere on the screen to bring them back, along with the icons shown above, plus a bar along the top to tell you how far along you are in the duration of the video.
One promising feature is that during video playback, you can capture a still image. However, it's not so simple to get the exact frame you want. Because the pause button goes away once playback has begun, you'll have to tap the screen once in order to have the pause button available, then tap it again to freeze the action. That wouldn't be the end of the world if you could drag the duration bar at top to nudge a few frames (or even one) at a time. But you can't. Dragging across the screen will take you to the next photo or video. So getting just the right frame is pretty much hit (or tap) and miss.
Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.