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Samsung ST500 - Test Shots - ISO Performance

By Cliff Smith


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Over the next few pages we show a range of test shots. On this page the full size image at the minimum and maximum ISO settings have been reduced to let you see the full image, and a series of full resolution crops have taken from original images at a range of ISO settings to show the overall image quality. These pictures were taken indoors using shaded natural light.


This is the full frame at 80 ISO.


There's a little bit of camera shake on this shot, but you can see the image quality is nice and smooth at 80 ISO.


Still no noise problems at 100 ISO.


A bit of noise is starting to creep in at 200 ISO.


Results are still good at 400 ISO.


Noise and colour distortion are visible at 800 ISO, but overall quality isn't too bad.


A lot of detail has been lost at 1600 ISO.


Quality is pretty poor at 3200 ISO.


This is the full frame at 3200 ISO.


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January 19, 2010, 10:02 pm

As a fan of many Samsung products I have to say - what the hell are they smoking? I'm not talking about the two screens - I can see the point, although I'd much prefer if a single rear LCD could be flipped/rotated. No, I'm talking about something much smaller (literally).

Sony sees sense and switches to SD cards like everyone else (bar Olympus), meaning that for once we are actually close to having a standard format for all consumer digital cameras (even if only until SDXC comes along). So what does Samsung do? Decides that what we really want is to fiddle around with a ridiculously tiny memory card format that is easily lost, probably easier to damage, and which must be handled with fingernails. WHY? To provide a MicroSD option is one thing - makes sense if you are carrying a phone that uses MicroSD, and have to use the phone's memory card in an emergency - but there are adapters for that. To have no normal SD slot? Madness. I'm surprised you didn't consider this more of a drawback.

I do worry that Samsung are losing any trace of common sense in their quest for attention-grabbing novelty.


January 20, 2010, 1:32 am

Thanks once again for a great review. I would really like to see a review about the Panasonic Lumix ZX1 (or ZR1 in other countries), which should be a great cam, too. I'd like to see how it compares to the models you have been reviewing here.


January 20, 2010, 2:11 pm

There isn't really an issue with the SD card thing, as microSD are usually sold with an SD card adapter. Hence, if you purchase this camera, you'll realise you need an MicroSD, which you'll purchase. After that, there shouldn't be any issues, because this card will work in any other device using either SD or microSD.

I don't read people getting outraged their SD cards dont work in their phones. Why the issue with microSD cards that work in loads of devices?

Don't assume everyone has spare SD cards lying around. A high proportion of people purchasing new cameras fork out for new cards at the same time.

Martin Daler

January 20, 2010, 4:44 pm

I'm guessing Sammy figures users will fit the card once and leave it in situ ever after, downloading photos via a cable, so as long as they don't lose the card down the back of the sofa on day one, then size is not a problem.

I'm more used to taking out the card to download my photos via my PC/Laptop card reader. So I would need in this case also to travel with an adapter - one more thing to forget or lose. The review does not say which cable format the camera accepts - unless it is the de-facto standard mini-USB (which would be my only viable alternative) then I would have problems.

Here's hoping Sammy didn't opt for a proprietry cable...


January 20, 2010, 5:24 pm

@ MrGodfrey - Olympus has already made the switch, both of the PEN's and their newest slew of compacts are SD/SDHC only.

The size of MicroSD cards are an advantage, meaning either the camera itself can be made a little bit smaller, or the space saved can be used to shoehorn more gimmicks into the body (I'm looking at you second LCD)


January 20, 2010, 10:28 pm

darkspark88: MicroSD cards are usually sold with an adapter - i.e. not always; and more importantly as Martin points out, it is one more thing to forget or lose. Of course no-one would be bothered that their SD cards don't work in their phone, but then they'd have no sensible reason to expect them to. Many phones with removable memory now use MicroSD. But the vast majority of new cameras use SD. Why confuse the issue? Especially since with Sony and Olympus finally joining the rest of the civilised camera-making world (thanks Noodles for the info) we actually have something resembling a cross-brand standard media for digital cameras. Standard formats are convenient, and the big advantage would be that you can go almost anywhere in the world and have very little trouble finding suitable media at any given time - this was true of 35mm film, not true of Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo etc. I am in favour of establishing standard formats, and I am not in favour of being different for the sake of being different (with little or no advantage to the consumer).

I'd question whether the size "advantage" of MicroSDs outweighs the disadvantages. I have not lost one yet, but I still find them fiddly and am not alone there. No doubt in a few years they will be replaced by MicroScopicSD, and we will all need to carry a pair of tweezers... Incidentally why would you want the cameras made any smaller; I want something I can handle and if size was my concern then I'd just use the cameraphone! As for a smaller card enabling manufacturers to add silly gimmicks, perhaps we should go back to CompactFlash or even floppy disks if it discourages them from doing that...

"Outraged" is going a bit far - I'm merely confused, hence the rant. I'm not suggesting that Samsung are infringeing my basic human rights - merely my basic wish for life to be simple where possible. Manufacturers could make life a bit simpler by settling on one format. They appeared to do so - for all of 5 minutes.

Cliff Smith

January 21, 2010, 5:18 pm

Martin - A good point; I neglected to mention in the review that like most Samsung compact cameras the ST500 has a multi-purpose USB/AV connector that also charges the battery when connected to a powered USB socket (most PC sockets are powered), so there's no need to continually remove the memory card.

Noodles - The question is, do we really want cameras to get that much smaller? The human hand stubbornly remains much the same size as it always was, so there's a lower limit below which devices become too fiddly to operate. Look at those wristwatch calculators from the 1980s. When was the last time you saw one of those?


January 21, 2010, 9:09 pm

@Cliff - Consumer electronics companies continually strive to miniaturise their products, whether it improves usability or not, (the newest Ipod Shuffle being a good example) This might not be good for blokes with gorilla hands, or for people who appreciate ease of use, but I know many members of the fairer sex who would squeal in delight at thought of a really small camera that would fit into those equally tiny clutch bags they insist upon.

Until us consumers are stopped being fed the "smaller is better/trendier/more high tech" line, all of this will only get worse..

Oh yes, the reason you don't see wristwatch calculators any more is because everyone just uses their mobile phone instead.

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