Compact Digital Cameras Under $300 (Part 5) - Samsung MV800

10/8/2012 3:04:01 AM

Samsung MV800

We know for a fact that the Samsung MV800 is tough: It suffered a beating at the hands of the courier who delivered our sample camera for review, and it survived the ordeal admirably.

The courier pouch was in perfect condition but inside the box was shredded into four pieces and the camera was bouncing around without any protection. Despite that abuse the matt black aluminum finish of the Samsung was in perfect condition and the camera itself was in very good condition. The only damage we could see was a sticking lens cover which didn't prevent us from using the MV800 in anger.

Description: Samsung MV800
Samsung MV800

The MV suffix stands for Multi View and refers to the flip up 3.0" TFT touch-screen.

This is one of those love-it-or-hate-it moments. The idea behind the MV screen is that you can flip it out partially to act as a tripod, or you can flip it horizontally in order that you can point the camera upwards and still see what you will be photographing. The final option is to flip the screen all the way up so you can see yourself in the screen when you hold the camera at arm's length to take those 'Having a wild time' photos that you see all over Facebook.

When you flip the screen up you'll find that the edge covers the shutter button which sounds like a bit of a problem.

To get round this issue Samsung has added a shutter button on the back of the camera that is revealed when the screen is raised.

Your reviewer admired the technology and thinking that Samsung has employed but the feature is of minimal interest to the middle aged. Teenage kids, on the other hand, thought it was blooming marvelous so it sounds like we'll have to agree to disagree.

Description: Samsung MV800

When the screen is folded down (in its correct and logical position) there are two hardware buttons available for Home and Transfer, in addition to the zoom, shutter and On/ Off button.

Samsung achieves this tidy design by employing a touchscreen that enables you to select a shooting mode from the 25 choices on offer. These are spread over four screens that you flick from side to side, just like a mobile phone. It would be unfair to list all 25, so here are a few that appealed to the kids; Self Shot, Picture in Picture, Magic Frame, Funny Face and Intelligent Portrait.

We found, for instance, that Smart Movie mode produced better 720p movies than the regular Movie mode - but neither was brilliant. On the plus side the 5x optical zoom was inaudible on the movie soundtrack but the general point is that there are so many options and modes that you need to invest some time in trial and error.

Samsung supplies a proprietary USB cable that you use both to charge the battery using a supplied mains adapter and also to connect the camera to your PC or laptop. Once the camera is connected it offers to install a copy of Intel-studio software which was updated online to the latest 3.1 version. Annoyingly, both the USB and HDMI connections are proprietary so if you have a yen to connect the Samsung to your HDTV you'll need to buy a Samsung HDMI cable.

This is a decent camera that can take surprisingly good photos, although it requires a fair amount of work on the part of the owner to get the best results. Considering that the moveable touch-screen must add a certain amount to the cost of the components it seems to us that Samsung has done well to sell the MV800 for $238.5.


Price: $238.5

Manufacturer: Samsung


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