Samsung confirms the rumors today - their TL500 advanced compact camera launches with a feature set designed to take on advanced compacts like the Panasonic LX3 and Canon G11. It debuts with a fast f/1.8 24mm wide angle lens, full manual shooting controls, and a swiveling 3.0 inch LCD. But will that be enough to pull customers away from other brands?
There's plenty to entice the advanced and beginning photographer alike. The Samsung TL500 offers shutter priority, aperture priority, and full manual shooting modes. Along with advanced exposure modes, Samsung offers their Smart Auto 2.0 mode for hands-off shooting. The Schneider-Kreuznach lens provides a 3x optical zoom range, and the camera features both optical and digital image stabilization.
Coupled to that Schneider lens is a 10.0 megapixel 1/1.7" CCD sensor, roughly the same size imager as found in the G11 and LX3. Like other advanced compacts, the TL500 won't shoot HD video. It will record in standard 640x480 definition at 30 fps (H.264 format).
On the front grip is a small control wheel, a feature found more commonly on DSLRs. Up on the top deck, Samsung has taken a cue from the Canon G11 and puts two dials on the top of the camera that serve as controls for exposure and drive mode. They're grouped to the right of a hot shoe - presumably designed to accept proprietary flash units - and farther on, a pop-up flash. On the back panel is another rotating sub-dial around the compass switch and a 3.0 inch articulating AMOLED monitor.
The whole package starts at a retail price $50 cheaper than the G11 and LX3. Will a brighter lens and reduced MSRP be enough to lure customers away from Canon and Panasonic? Real-world performance and image quality will be key determiners, and the other advanced compacts on the market have already proven themselves worthy competitors. Based on specs alone, the TL500 shows a lot of promise, but the competition is stacked high against it.
Pricing and availability
The Samsung TL500 will become available in spring 2010 for $449.99.