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My ongoing attempt to keep up with Samsung's ever-growing catalogue of digital cameras is looking ever more like the labour of Sysiphus. The company's vast range now includes over 40 different models, ranging from high-spec digital SLRs co-developed with Pentax, to sub-£80 plastic compacts sold in supermarkets. Today's review camera is towards the lower end of the price scale. The Samsung L830 is an unassuming 8.1-megapixel 3x zoom lightweight pocket compact costing around £110, but despite this low price it manages to include some unusual and interesting features.
I say unassuming because visually the L830 (along with its £100 7.2-megapixel sibling the L730) is a very plain looking camera. It has a simple rectangular box design, unadorned by decoration or detail. The front of the body is aluminium with an attractive brushed finish and is available in silver or black, while the back panel is made of plastic. Between the two is a chrome strip around the sides and top, because you have to have something besides the screen to show up all the fingermarks. It is reasonably compact, measuring 95 x 59 x 21mm, and light for its size, weighing 132g minus the battery.
The L830's list of features isn't exactly ground-breaking, but it is pretty impressive considering the low price. It includes face detection AF and metering, 1600 ISO maximum sensitivity, and an unusual video mode which can shoot SVGA 800 x 592 resolution movies in MPEG-4 format, although only at 20fps. It has Samsung's Advanced Shake Reduction system, which combines electronic image stabilisation with boosted ISO speed.
Comparable models from other manufacturers include the Olympus FE-280 (£120), the Nikon CoolPix S210 (£149), the Pentax Optio M40 (£125), and the outstanding Fuji F40fd (£105).
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