The camera’s performance also has its good and bad points. The start-up time is very quick at around 1.5 seconds, and the shot-to-shot time of approximately 1.8 seconds is also impressive. In continuous shooting mode it can manage a shot every 1.3 seconds, but after the first shot there is no audio cue to let you know when a shot is being taken. There is also a motion capture setting which can shoot at 5fps but only at VGA resolution, and auto exposure bracketing.
One major handicap is the autofocus system, which is slow and extremely unreliable, with virtually non-existent low light performance despite the AF assist lamp. Even in bright daylight It frequently failed to focus on normal high contrast subjects for no apparent reason. The however flash is reasonably powerful, and easily fills a five meter room, with a recycle time of around five seconds.
The same ‘Curate’s egg’ theme extends to picture quality. Exposure metering is reasonably consistent although with a tendency to over-expose, and image noise is well controlled at 400 ISO, but images are massively over-sharpened and colour rendition is very inaccurate, rendering a blue sky as duck-egg green. The lens is also very prone to blurred corners in wide-angle mode, and suffers badly from chromatic aberration.
The Samsung PL55 is a confusing camera. On the one hand it is well made, attractively styled and has a good range of features for the price, but on the other it suffers from a number of annoying flaws, including disappointing image quality. It’s a bargain, but not necessarily a good one.