The megapixel wars have finally arrived at the point of diminishing returns - crowding more pixels onto tiny sensors dependably results in higher levels of image degrading noise. Point-and-shoot cameras with 12 or 14 megapixel resolution don't actually produce better pictures than digicams with lower resolution - they just generate larger and noisier image files. The TL500 features 10-megapixel resolution, which indicates Samsung is committed to improving performance at higher (ISO) sensitivity - for better low light and indoor pictures.
The TL500's user interface is logical and uncomplicated - all buttons and controls are a bit small, but they are all clearly marked, sensibly placed and easily accessed. The Fn (function) button provides direct access to white balance, image size, metering options, AF options, OIS, etc. The TL500's compass switch (4-way controller) provides direct access to flash settings, macro mode, Sensitivity (ISO), and the screen display. The compass switch is also a rotary jog dial which I used primarily in review mode, other users might employ it to easily and quickly scroll through menu options.
There is a lot to like here - natural light enthusiasts will love the TL500's super fast f/1.8 zoom lens. Demanding shooters will love the TL500's full manual control of exposure and RAW mode. But the TL500's strongest appeal may be to straight-shooters (documentary photographers, street/candid shooters, and environmental portraitists) because it is almost perfect for reactive photography. This elegant little Samsung seems very fast, it is unintimidating to subjects, unobtrusive (in professional black), and capable of generating first rate images.
I've only had the TL500 for a short time, but so far I like it a lot. Check back soon for our full review of the Samsung TL500.
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