It was not too long ago when the Korean manufacturing giant took a bold step towards digital imaging with its series of compact digital cameras. During the recent Samsung Imaging Roadshow, Samsung made the move to place itself as one of the top digital imaging manufacturers and with a few top-of-the-line compact digital cameras coming our way, we took a quick look at one of its new L-series lineups, the Samsung L210 10.2-megapixel compact digital camera.
Off the bat, the L210's simplistic design won't be turning heads when you whip it out of your pocket. The L210 is splashed with a dark maroon on its front profile (other colors include black or silver), with a dark gray border surrounding its 2.5-inch 230K pixel LCD screen. Similar to most other compact digital cameras of its class, an optical viewfinder is omitted from its design, more so to reduce its footprint and allow for a larger LCD screen.
The mode selection dial is right smack at the top center, accompanied by the Power and Shutter button to its left and right respectively. This makes this camera well suited for one-handed operations compared to similar devices of its class. Unfortunately, the selection dial felt a little stiff in our fingers for a smooth and swift mode change.
The L210 utilizes a 1/2.33" type CCD imaging sensor with up to 10.2 million effective pixels in its delivery. While digital zoom is supported on top of its 3x optical zoom, there is no real reason to utilize its digital zoom which compromises on its imaging quality. As a 10.2-megapixel camera, the L210 returns imaging resolutions of up to 3648 x 2736, and on the video front, it's capable of 20fps videos with resolutions at 800 x 592. Preliminary tests on the color and resolution charts returned surprisingly good results on lower ISO settings below 400, with noise levels gaining prominence on ISO800 and ISO1600. With both its Optical Image Stabilizer and Digital Image Stabilizer at work, the L210 did reduce a substantial amount of blurry images from unwanted camera shakes.
Feature-wise, the L210 does get the short end of the stick here with relatively few scene selections, ranging from the generic Portrait and Landscape to other specific scenic views such as Beach & Snow, Fireworks, Backlight, Dawn, Sunset, Text, Close up, Children and Nightscene. However, as with most such devices, utilizing its Auto mode will be sufficient for general point-and-shoot shots, with basic settings such as flash, timer and macro available when required. Interestingly, Samsung has included a Photo Help mode that gives you a step-by-step guide to adjusting your settings according to the subject image's environment. In our general daily test, the L210 survived our heavy clicking spree of up to almost 100 images with flash photography and constant previewing on the LCD screen.
Putting aside its average performance on higher ISO settings in terms of noise levels and the limited selection of scene modes, the L210 still holds strong as a 10.2-megapixel compact digital camera with all the functionality one expects from a generic point-and-shoot compact digital camera. More importantly, at its suggested retail price of S$349, the L210 would be quite a steal for anyone looking for a simple camera without the additional (and mostly underused) functions that usually leaves users confounded and confused.