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However once you switch the camera on, it becomes apparent that while some corners may have been cut on the external frills, on the inside it’s got some good quality components. It starts up in approximately two seconds, which is quicker than average for a camera in this class, and shuts down again just as quickly. The first thing that catches the eye is the excellent 2.5-in 230K pixel LCD monitor, which has a nice fast refresh rate, far sharper and faster than one would normally find on a budget camera, although perhaps not too surprising considering that Samsung is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of LCD displays.
The most obvious control is the main mode selector dial on the top panel. This turns with a nice positive click, but it is also fairly loose and easy to jog accidentally. Modes include the usual full auto “green” mode in which most options are disabled; the ASR (“Advanced Shake Reduction”) mode, which in fact merely boosts the ISO setting to produce a faster shutter speed; a program auto mode which allows access to the custom settings; a scene mode with 11 scene programs; night shooting mode; portrait mode; and rather surprisingly a manual exposure mode. This is fairly limited, offering only minimum or maximum aperture, but shutter speeds of 8-1/1500th of a second are available. There is also a movie mode, with the now obligatory 640 x 480 resolution at 30fps and mono audio.
While some compact cameras have a function button for quick access to frequently-used adjustments, the S730 has two. The main one is the +/- button, which brings up an on-screen display from which you can make easy adjustments to picture size and quality, metering mode, drive mode, ISO, white balance and exposure compensation. The second button, labelled ‘E’, gives access to an unexpectedly comprehensive colour adjustment menu, saturation adjustment, and several “fun” features, including shaped highlights for portraits, several different formats for multi-exposure composites, and a frame overlay mode that is every bit as tacky as you might hope. As well as these options, the main menu also holds sharpness and contrast adjustment as well as AF mode selection. For a simple budget camera the S730 does have a surprisingly complete list of options, and although having two option buttons plus the menu is a bit unnecessarily complicated it is fairly easy once you remember which button does which.