Features & Controls
The grip around the lens can be removed for accepting optional conversion lenses. You simple unscrew the ring to uncover the adapter threads. Right now Samsung offers only one conversion lens, the LWCEX01 Wide angle lens.
The built-in flash is hidden inside the body until needed. Located directly behind the flash is the release switch, which will pop-up the unit. According to Samsung, the flash has an effective range of up to 20.3 ft. at wide angle or 16.7 ft. at telephoto (using ISO Auto).
On top of the TL500 you will find a wealth of controls and other features. Starting at the left you can see the flash release switch, Flash hotshoe for external accessories (optical viewfinder, external flash units, etc.), built-in speaker and microphone, the Power button with the Drive mode dial mounted around it, the Mode dial, and finally the shutter release with the zoom controls mounted around it. In playback mode, the zoom controls activate the Index and Magnify playback options.
Here you can see the front of the right hand grip. Located right where your middle finger rests is a control wheel, which is used to change various settings like Shutter speed, or to quickly scroll through the menus. To the left of the wheel you can see an IR sensor for use with the optional SRCA5 wireless remote control.
The back of the camera is taken up by the large 3.0-inch rotating AMOLED display. Controls on the back: Top left are the AEL (Auto Exposure Lock) and Movie record mode buttons. Next we have the Menu and Metering buttons above the 4-way controller. The 4-way controller offers various shortcuts to often used functions. Press "Up" to control the DISPlay options of the LCD in record and playback modes, "Right" to change the ISO, Down to toggle the Focus mode, and "Left" to adjust the Flash mode. Mounted around it is the rear control wheel. Like the wheel mounted on the front of the camera, this unit allows you to adjust the various settings depending on the exposure mode being used, such as Aperture. Lastly, we have the Play and Fn (delete in playback) buttons.
Like we mentioned above, the display on the TL500 can be rotated, up to 270 degrees in fact. This allows you to frame some photos that would be rather difficult to almost impossible, not to mention you can face the screen inwards to protect it while the camera is not in use, or when you are using the optional OVF.
Located on the right side of the TL500 you will find a small port door that encloses two I/O (Input/Output) ports for using the camera with external equipment. The top port is the HDMI connector. With an optional (not included with the camera) HDMI cable, the camera can be plugged into a High Definition television for viewing images and video. The USB port is used to plug into a computer to download images and video, direct printing when plugged into a compatible printer, or standard video output via the optional A/V cables. This is also how the camera is charged either through a powered USB port on your computer or using the included adapter to plug it into an AC outlet.
The Samsung TL500 uses SD or SDHC type memory cards up to 8GB in side. This is actually a very welcomed feature, as most of the past Samsung cameras we've reviewed only use microSD/SDHC type cards. Here you can see the TL500/EX1 with a SanDisk Ultra II (15MB/s) 4GB SDHC card.
The camera is powered by a SLB-11A (1130mAh) rechargeable lithium-Ion battery pack. Samsung claims that this pack can power the TL500 for up to 240 shots or 100 minutes of video. Unfortunately the battery is charged inside the camera, and it does not come with an external AC charger. Using the USB cord you can charge the battery by either plugging into a powered USB port on your PC or MAC or with the adapter seen above you can plug the camera into a wall AC outlet. This can cause some inconvenience when wanting to have a spare battery with you. Since they are charged in camera, you can not use one battery while the spare is charging.
On the Samsung Imaging website, they do show two optional external chargers (BC90A3 and CK1134P), so it looks as though there might be a solution for charging spare batteries outside of the camera.