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The PL150's overall performance is quite good for a cheaper camera. It can start up and take a picture in a little over three seconds, and shuts down again in less than two. The shot-to-shot time in single-shot mode is approximately 2.6 seconds, which is slightly faster than average. In continuous shooting mode it can manage a quite respectable one frame a second, and it also has faster 6fps mode, but only at VGA resolution.
The autofocus system is also reasonably quick and accurate, focusing in about half a second and usually picking the right subject. It works just as well in low light, and even focuses quickly in darkness, thanks to a good AF assist lamp. Exposure metering is likewise accurate and consistent, and also works well in reduced lighting.
Image quality isn't bad for the class, but looks a bit ropey compared to the likes of the WB2000. The lens bears only the Samsung brand name, not the Scheider-Kreuznach optics of the company's high-end models. Centre sharpness isn't bad, but two of the corners showed significant blurring, although at least there is no trace of chromatic aberration.
Colour rendition is quite neutral, with good detail except in over-saturated areas. Dynamic range is about what I'd expect from a 12-megapixel small-sensor compact, in other words not very good. Image compression is fairly low in SF quality setting, with file sizes averaging around 5MB.
Image noise too is about par for the course. Under normal snapshot conditions the image quality is good, with nice rich colours and plenty of detail, but closer examination reveals that there is some visible noise even at the lowest setting, and by 400 ISO noise is becoming a real problem. By 800 colour saturation is breaking down, and as usual the 3200 ISO maximum sensitivity setting is horrible.
The Samsung PL150 is a perfectly ordinary low-end compact camera with one unusual feature. Performance is reasonably good, picture quality is far from terrible and the camera works well in most social environments. The price is a little high though, so the real question is how much you really want that front mounted monitor.
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