Steve's Conclusion

By Matt Metzker

Steve's SnapShot
samsung_tl240_275.jpg
  • 14-megapixel image sensor for large prints
  • 7x optical zoom lens covers 31 - 217 mm
  • Dual I.S. (Sensor-shift + High ISO Image Stabilization)
  • Smart Auto exposure control
  • Motion JPEG movies at 720p resolution
  • Huge 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD screen with 1,152k pixels
  • Li-ion power source
  • microSD/SDHC memory card slot

Pros
  • Large 3.5-inch LCD worked well in various lighting conditions
  • Responsive touchscreen GUI
  • Nice exterior with well-built feel
  • Great image quality with pleasing fine detail
  • Good video quality for compact camera
  • Capable Smart Auto mode
  • "Cool" filter modes
Cons
  • Uses microSD cards, which can cause you to replace your existing SD/SDHC cards
  • Battery charges in the camera, which means you can't charge a secondary pack while using the camera
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 1.9 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 2/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 1.8 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 4.9 seconds
  • Continuous Mode =  1.1fps @ 14m
  • Motion Capture =  13.3fps @ VGA Quality
  • All tests taken using a high-speed microSDHC card, Smart Auto mode, flash on, review on, and all other settings at default unless noted.
Bottom Line
The TL240 is a good solid camera with 14-megapixels of resolution and a 7x zoom, all while still being very compact. This camera performed very well during our tests with minimal cons.
Pick This Up If...
You want a quality touchscreen camera and do not mind having to use the microSD cards or having to lose the use of the camera to charge battery.
Samsung's latest touchscreen model (as of 7/2010), the TL240 is a 14.2-megapixel compact digital camera with a 7x optical zoom and a large 3.5-inch display. The features are numerable, but I was most impressed with the Smart Auto function, which did a fantastic job of evaluating the scene and capturing excellent images. The TL240 has some interesting filters that can either be applied before you capture a photo or after they have already been taken. Such filters include: miniature, vignetting and fish-eye.

The TL240 has a really good feel in your hands, with the metal body offering a decent heft to it, which gives the camera a solid, well-built feel. One handed shooting is easy, and thanks to the innovative "accelerator" you can switch between Smart Auto, Program mode or Movie mode with just a twist of your wrist.The flash is located in a good position, free from being blocked by your fingertips. I found the touchscreen to be very responsive to my inputs and the visibility of the screen on sunny days was quite good.

Image quality impressed as much as it could. Outdoors the camera did well capturing great color and sharp detail, the only real gripe would be that there were issues with blown out highlights on some of the outdoor pictures. You can see examples of this in the cannon shot, and a bit in the picture of the car. Indoors the camera seemed to perform good as well. The flash (when used) threw good light that was never to harsh in the foreground and to weak on the background. The image stabilization system kept the focus sharp even in low-light, and overall whether indoors or out we seemed to capture pleasing results.

The TL240 boasts three continuous (or burst) shooting modes for capturing moving subjects. The first will continue to take pictures as long as the shutter release is held down, up until the memory card is filled. The next is Motion Capture, which takes a burst of 6 shots when you press and release the shutter button, but the drawback is that it changes the resolution to VGA quality. The images would be fine for displaying on a monitor or TV set, but would be useless for printing. The last one is called AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) and this will take three pictures with varying exposure values. You will have to hold the camera very still or employ the use of a tripod in order to get three pictures that look exactly the same. The filters that the TL240 is equipped with were pretty fun, again, you can see some examples of these on the Samples Page.

A problem I have with the TL240 is the storage media. Samaung has decided to use microSD cards for storing pictures and video. While the media itself works just fine, these microSD cards are very small, which translates to; "easy to lose". Plus, if you already have a digital camera that used the SD or SDHC cards, you will have to purchase all new cards for use in this camera. With the vast majority of digital cameras using SD type cards, I am not sure why they would have decided to do this. Whatever the reason, it was a poor choice in my opinion. 

The power for the TL240 comes from a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery that is charged while the battery is in the camera. There are two ways to charge this pack; one is to plug the USB cord into a powered USB port on a computer, and the second is to use the supplied AC adapter to plug into a standard electrical outlet. Some may see this as a plus, however we feel that the ability to charge batteries out of camera is always better for the end user, as you have the option of purchasing addition battery packs and you can charge one while using another. With the TL240, the camera is pretty much unusable while the battery is charging (other than for transferring images to your PC, etc.). The owners manual claims there is an external charger that can be purchased (item: AD44-00164A), but as of the writing of this review, I was not able to find it available for actual purchase. Samsung claims that you can get up to 240 images on a full charge. This is pretty average battery life for a camera in this class, and I was able to capture over 300 photos with power to spare; however this included several instances where I plugged the camera into my laptop to transfer files, so the battery was getting a little juice along the way.

Bottom Line - We were very pleasing with the Samsung TL240. This was a great camera to use, which captured good pictures indoors and out, offers a responsive  touchscreen system, and robust shooting performance. The only real drawbacks are the use of microSD cards and having to charge the battery through the camera; and these may not be issues for many users. The $300 US price tag may seem a bit steep, but for a good quality touchscreen equipped digital camera this is a very fair price. 

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