Samsung's TL500 (EX-1 in Europe) is not your typical compact digital camera. The TL500 can function nicely as a point and shoot camera, but it was designed for photo enthusiasts. The very compact TL500 is attractive in an understated way, feels solid and stable in your hands, and features a robustly constructed all metal body with a genuine handgrip.
Most current point-and-shoots come with a flimsy wrist strap, but the TL500 sports a neckstrap which not only provides better protection against drops and bumps, but also saves a few seconds when a Kodak moment occurs since the camera is always at hand rather than in your pocket (or worse, at home). The TL500, unlike the auto exposure only point-and-shoots currently dominating the imaging marketplace, permits full manual control of exposure.
The TL500's first-rate 3x zoom (from legendary German lens maker Schneider-Kreuznach) features a very fast f/1.8 maximum aperture, which makes it almost a full f-stop faster (it lets in nearly twice as much light as the f/2.8 maximum apertures of the vast majority of current point-and-shoots) than most of its competition. Faster lenses are, everything else being equal, better than slower lenses because they substantially increase low light/natural light options for serious photographers.
But the TL500's strongest appeal may be to straight-shooters (photojournalists, documentary photographers, street/candid shooters, available/natural light enthusiasts, and environmental portraitists) because it was clearly designed for reactive photography. The TL500 is an almost perfect straight shooter's camera - it is unintimidating to subjects, very responsive, and capable of dependably producing first-rate 10 megapixel RAW format digital negatives or JPEG image files.
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