PMA 2010: Samsung gets serious

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Samsung’s announcement of the TL500 and TL350 brings their Point and Shoot line to a new, enthusiast-focused market. Their DualView cameras were a hit with consumers, and Samsung has had some success supplying big-box retailers with compact point and shoots. We took a first look at the two new advanced TL models at the Samsung booth – and caught a working NX K mount adapter in action.

Samsung NX10 K mount Adapter
The K-mount adapter that was promised with the release of the NX10 is evidently a reality. We spotted the Samsung 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 ED fish eye lens coupled to the NX10 by means of the new K mount adapter. The fish eye lens is relatively compact, offering a nice balance with the NX10 camera body. Samsung also announced five new NX lenses prior to PMA, solidifying their committment to the NX brand.

Samsung TL500
Samsung launched the TL500 just prior to PMA. Their launch of the NX10 interchangeable lens system along with the announcement of the TL500 marks their commitment to moving into the advanced amateur market. The specifications were enough to entice plenty of PMA attendees to check out the new camera.

A 10 megapixel sensor coupled with a bright f/1.8 lens would seem to lend it to low-light shooting. Manual exposure controls make it appealing to the enthusiast. The camera body is solid enough to appeal to a more experienced shooter looking for a reasonably durable, somewhat pocketable compact camera. In our brief hands-on session, the controls seemed to be laid out intuitively. The front control wheel changes shutter speed, and the ring around the compass dial on the back adjusts aperture. The handgrip is rubberized for a steady feel in the hand.

What appears to be a control ring around the perimeter of the lens can actually be removed to make way for a wide angle lens attachment. The heavy accessory extends the already wide 24mm angle of the camera’s fixed lens.

The TL500 and the TL350 also introduce a new graphical interface to Samsung’s camera lineup. The main menus have been given a slick blue and black treatment for a more sophisticated look.

Looking only at the build and physical specs, the TL500 seems to be a nice addition to the set of advanced compact cameras currently floating around on the market. It was announced with an MSRP of $449.

Samsung TL350
When it was announced alongside the TL500, the TL350 became Samsung’s first high speed camera. It offers full-res burst shooting at up 10 fps and slow-mo 1,000 fps at a reduced resolution.

It’s much tighter than the TL500, built to suit a slightly different audience. It’s very slim and very compact overall. The AMOLED monitor on back seems bright and clear. The icons on the screen in the image below demonstrate the look of the interface when the camera is set to manual exposure.

Up on top, Samsung brings back the memory and battery gauges, a little style flourish that shoppers will either find attractive or baffling. Either way, the top deck of the camera is sleek and slim with a blue back-lit power button.

It remains to be seen whether Samsung can knock Casio around in the ring when Casio has such a head start in high-speed camera realm. It’s a slick-looking addition to the Samsung lineup, and it will retail for around $350 when it becomes available.



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