During our Las Vegas coverage of PMA back in February this year, we first encountered the Samsung NV24HD digital compact and was presented with its excellent design. This camera was a joy to hold in our hands. However, all that awe came to a sudden halt due to the playback lag; it took 24 seconds for the first image to display, which led us to wonder if it was named as such because of the playback time. But in all fairness, that was a prototype, and we have a slightly different story with its commercial unit here today.
The production unit does not display such eccentricities with the image playback (which is a good thing), and thankfully, the design of the camera hasn't changed at all, and it's still a joy holding it. The interface comes off as a love-hate affair though; some will hate the dual axis control you'll have to use to make adjustments, while others will enjoy the touch-sensitive x- and y-axis buttons, allowing you to fly through the menu system with ease.
Despite having won a TIPA (Technical Image Press Association) Award this year, the technological advancement in the digital compact arena has gone up by leaps and bounds and while the NV24HD's rear 2.5-inch AMOLED LCD screen may give you 180 degrees worth of viewing ease, it may come off as a tad too small to most consumers, particularly since there are larger screen offerings from other manufacturers in recent months.
The largely metal body is nice to the touch as well, giving it ample compactness without the risk of making it too small. The mode dial and Photo Styles dial are located on top of the camera, along with the shutter release and power button. This makes it easier to select the different modes, since you won't have to dive into the menu just to look for that Vivid or Soft color mode.
An interesting fact about the NV24HD is its wide angle lens, being one of the first cameras to incorporate a 24mm lens. That started the wide angle lens trend, seeing as how other cameras have also followed suit. Its ability to capture 720p videos (hence its HD naming convention) also makes it an all-rounded camera that you can bring around for all your shooting needs.
The reproduced resolution puts this camera as above average, hitting approximately 1450 lpph on both the horizontal and vertical axis. Color reproduction is pretty decent as well, although there's not much to say with regards to the noise control. Our controlled test shots yielded image noise even when shooting at ISO80. Although this camera can reach ISO3200, shots taken at this sensitivity are totally unusable, and the file size is reduced to only 3MP as well.
All things considered, the Samsung NV24HD is certainly a camera for the fashion-conscious, with its well placed design and ease on the hands. Image quality seekers, on the other hand, might find themselves slightly bothered by the high noise levels on the NV24HD, even at the recommended retail pricing of S$599, which is pretty decent for its specification.