The ST70’s overall performance is excellent, and certainly on a par with its main rivals. It starts up and can take a picture in approximately 1.7 seconds, and in single-shot mode its shot-to-shot time is approximately 2 seconds. In normal continuous mode it can manage a shot every 1.2 seconds, but like most Samsung cameras it also has a motion-capture mode which shoots at 6fps but only at VGA resolution. It also has auto exposure bracketing.
The autofocus system is quick and reliable, focusing in under half a second at wide angle, and only slowing down a fraction at full zoom. Low light focusing is also very good, just as fast as in normal light, and thanks to a good AF assist lamp it can focus in total darkness at a range of several meters.
At this point in the review I often draw a heavy sigh and type “Unfortunately however…”, but not this time. The ST70’s image quality is much better than I had expected considering its price, and again well up to the standard of its competitors. The lens doesn’t have the Schnieder-Kreuznach branding of some of Samsung’s premium cameras, but nonetheless performs very well, with excellent edge-to-edge sharpness and no chromatic aberration or barrel distortion, although this latter item is digitally corrected. The super-fine quality setting has very low compression, preserving lots of fine detail.
Colour rendition is superb, with rich saturation and plenty of detail, and thanks to the effective Auto Contrast Balance feature the dynamic range is much better than expected from a 14MP 1/2.3-inch compact camera sensor. Noise control is the only slight weak spot, with some patchiness in the red channel even at low ISO settings, but it does produce good detail up to 400 ISO and results that are at least printable at 800 ISO, which is pretty good for the price.
Samsung’s relentless assault on the digital camera market continues with another excellent ultra-compact at a very affordable price. Build quality, performance and results are well up to spec, and the value for money is almost unbeatable.