Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot

  • 16-Megapixel Imaging Sensor
  • 3.0-Inch Touch LCD Screen
  • 5x Optical zoom lens: 26-130mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Smart Auto 2.0
  • 720p HD video capture
  • Ultra-Compact body
  • MicroSD/SDHC memory card compatible
  • Smart Auto 2.0 performs well, allowing you to simply point-n-shoot
  • Excellent 720p HD video capture
  • Great overall image quality
  • Easy to use 3.0-inch touch screen LCD
  • Versatile 5x optical zoom lens
  • Good battery life
  • No optical image stabilization
  • Image noise in low-light, shadow areas
  • No dedicated video recording button
  • Very short flash range
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 2.3 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 2/10 to 5/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 1.78 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 3.32 seconds
  • Sequential burst = 0.68fps for
  • Sport burst = Approx. 9fps VGA
  • All tests were taken using an PNY Class 4, 4GB microSDHC memory card, Program Mode, ISO auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
Samsung's ST95 ultra-compact is one of the smallest and easiest to use entry-level digicams on the market. It comes loaded with a 16-megapixel imaging sensor, 3.0-inch Touch LCD, and great image quality for its class.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for an ultra-compact to carry every day or if you are looking for your first digicam and want a camera that is as easy as possible to operate.
The ultra-compact Samsung ST95 sports a 16-Megapixel CCD imaging sensor, 5x optical zoom lens, 3.0-inch Touch Screen LCD, Smart Auto 2.0 shooting and video modes, and 720p HD video capture. All of these great features have been crammed into this tiny body that is smaller and thinner than a standard deck of playing cards. Perfect for someone who likes to capture memories everywhere, the camera is also loaded with face/blink/smile detection and a great self-portrait beauty mode that automatically enhances the images of the faces captured while centering your self-portrait shots. It's compact and simple design is made even more stylish with the option of a black or silver finish to suit your taste.

With how small and thin the camera is, it is incredibly easy to take anywhere. Just drop it in a purse or your pocket and you will never notice that it is there. This size does present a small problem when handling the camera with one hand. A thumb grip on the back keeps you from hitting the Touch LCD, but it is very easy to block the flash on the front with your fingers. Changing camera modes is fairly easy, especially if you have previous experience with a touch screen device. Some of the options, such as the flash, can be hard to adjust, but the main menu is very easy to handle. Framing and viewing your images with the 3.0-inch Touch LCD (230,000 dots) is easy in all lighting conditions. This screen is also surprisingly clear when you consider its lower resolution.

Looking at our outdoor image samples, we see that the camera's overall exposures and colors are very good; although the camera did struggle a little in high dynamic situations like our museum shot. With a little overexposure on one end and some dark, noisy shadows on the other, it would have been better to expose for one or the other instead in the middle. Other than that, we see great color and excellent exposures in the other outdoor images. Framing and adjusting your composition is assisted by the camera's 5x wide optical zoom lens. With a 35mm equivalent of 26-130mm, this is a great range for everyday use.

Our indoor samples make it really easy to see the incredible amount of detail found in these 16-Megapixel images. Color reproduction and metering is very accurate, reproducing just what the photographer sees. At the lower ISO settings, image noise is controlled very well, giving you printable images up through ISO 800. ISO 1600 and 3200 show more noise than we would like to see. Assisting with your indoor and low-light images, the ST95's small flash unit has a range of up to 3.5m (11.5 ft.) so you will need to stay as close as possible to your subjects when using the flash.

Samsung's Face Detection software works well, detecting faces without too much delay and following them without any trouble as long as they continue to face the camera and stay within the frame. Once detected, the camera did an excellent job of keeping the face in focus and accurately exposed. This face detection software also has options for blink detection and smile capture that ensure you never miss a smiling face.

Capturing HD home movies is an easy task with the ST95. Putting the camera into Smart Auto movie mode makes it just as easy as capturing your images with Smart Auto. Even in less than perfect light, the camera captured excellent looking video, with just a little image noise, and great sound from the tiny built-in microphone. These videos play back very smoothly both on the camera and the computer, which is a surprise for a camera using a class 4 microSD card.

Powering the ST95 is a 3.7V, 740mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. This battery gave us enough power to capture over 200 images and several videos while still having plenty of power left. Although we did not see a number of images from Samsung for this battery, it should be able to capture at least 275+ images on a single charge. Also included with the camera is a USB cable that allows you to charge the battery while it is inside the camera. A small LED light on the cable lets you know when the battery is charging and when it is complete. As with all camera's, a second battery is never a bad idea, especially when you are traveling or spending long days shooting.

Bottom Line - The ultra-compact Samsung ST95 offers some appealing specs, like its 16-Megapixel imaging sensor, 5x optical zoom lens, 720p HD video capture and Samsung's Smart Auto 2.0 shooting mode. These combined help make capturing great photos and videos as easy as possible. With good image quality and a very easy to use touch interface, this is an excellent first camera for anyone. With a MSRP of just $179.99 US, it is also very affordable and well worth its price for an entry-level point-n-shoot digicam.

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.