April 4, 2011
- Solid design
- High-quality flip-out LCD
- RAW image shooting
- No HD video recording
- Mediocre JPEG quality
- Slow shooting speeds
The Samsung TL500 is a 10-megapixel digital camera that has a 3-inch flip-out LCD display and a really solid design. Some of the features include RAW shooting and optical & digital image stabilization, but the camera's image quality is only average and performance is also quite slow too.
The Samsung TL500 measures 2.5 x 4.5 x 1.2-inches (hwd) and weighs 5.6-ounces, which makes it quite portable despite being a little heavier than most other cameras. The construction of the camera feels very solid, but it can be a little slippery to hold because the front rubberized grip is too small for comfortable use.
On the backside of the camera, there is a four-way navigation scroll dial with selection button, which is a little small for people with larger hands, and several buttons, including a dedicated video record button. There's also a dedicated metering button, which is very handy for advanced photographers. The top of the Samsung TL500 has two mode dials, a flash switch to pop-up the flash and a zoom toggle and shutter release.
The flip-out 3-inch AMOLED display is a major selling point for this camera because the display is articulating, which means it folds out and twists for best viewing. The screen has excellent brightness and colors that look very saturated and vibrant. Other features include a hot-shoe mount and a mount for add-on optional lenses.
Some of the specifications of the Samsung TL500 include a 10-megapixel CCD sensor, a 24-72mm lens with 3x optical zoom and an aperture range of f1.8-f2.4. There is optical and digital image stabilization and a shutter speed of 16-1/5000-second. Images can be shot in either RAW or JPEG image formats at a maximum resolution of 3648 x 2736-pixels. Videos, on the other hand, can only be shot at a maximum VGA resolution of 640 x 480-pixels, which put it way behind other similar cameras that offer 720p HD video recording. Memory cards supported include SD and SDHC cards.
There are many modes on this camera, including manual, semi manual and automatic, which provides both electronic and optical image stabilization. There are also the usual shooting modes, including shutter and aperture priority modes and many scene modes as well for many different shooting occasions. Automatic face detection is also included and an HDR mode as well.
In subjective image testing, we found that the RAW images were of much better quality than their JPEG equivalents most of the time. The JPEG images tended to be noisy and the colors a little washed out. The RAW images were much better and were definitely of "good" to "very good" quality. Video quality was only average since it is VGA-quality only and not high-definition, which is a a big disappointment with this camera because it has so much potential. Zooming is also allowed while shooting videos, which can sometimes be a rarity.
The speed of the Samsung TL500 is also quite slow, which is another disappointment. The power on to first shot time is, however, quick at about 2 seconds, but shot to shot time is also about 2 seconds, which is too long.
Battery life is rated at 350 shots per charge, which is on par with most other cameras.