Is it a compact? Is it an ultrazoom? The Samsung HZ15W, announced this morning, is both. Boasting a 10x optical zoom lens, it will be one of the most powerful ultrazooms on the compact digital market.
This year's camera announcements have pushed the boundaries of what consumers can expect from a compact point-and-shoot. HD video recording? Check. Twelve-plus megapixel resolution? Done.
To that list, Samsung adds 10x optical zoom lens, a concept the manufacturer first introduced with the HZ10W at this year's CES. The HZ15W will share the same Schneider wide-angle zoom lens, offering a range of 24-240mm. This model builds on the HZ10W's list of specs with a 12.0 megapixel sensor and a larger display.
High resolution meets powerful zoom lens
The HZ15W will offer a slightly larger LCD than the HZ10W, measuring 3.0 inches to the HZ10W's 2.7 inches. Judging from these early photos, it seems that the controls on each camera's back panel will be identical.
The HZ15W will offer advanced photographers full manual control over shutter speed, aperture, exposure, and ISO. Entry-level photographers won't be intimidated, however. This camera will offer a Smart Auto mode and a full array of automatic shooting features such as face detection, red-eye reduction, and smile shot.
The full HD treatment
Like the HZ10W and the TL320, also announced today, the HZ15W will offer 720p HD video recording. Unlike the TL320, no additional cradle is needed to hook up the HZ15W to an HDTV via HDMI output – an HDMI connector is built right into the camera body. Both cameras utilize H.264 compression, providing higher video quality while simultaneously allowing longer HD recordings.
Two types of image stabilization beats one
Samsung has also incorporated dual image stabilization into this model. Optical and digital image stabilization can be used independently or in combination. Given the powerful zoom range on this camera, accurate image stabilization will be useful: ideally, it will keep those long-range shots blur-free.
Pricing and availability
Samsung won't keep consumers waiting long, making the HZ15W available sometime in March for a retail price of $329.99.
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