The Samsung PL series is all about making digital photography fun, easy and fairly cheap, and what the Korean tech overlord has done today is to add on a little functionality to that list.
The PL70 comes with a 12.2-megapixel sensor, capturing stills and 720p HD video through a wide-angle 28mm lens with 5x optical zoom and displaying them for your pleasure on the 3-inch, 230K colour, LCD screen on the back. It measures 95.8mm × 59.5mm × 23.9mm, comes in black, silver, red or pink and gives you 11 scene modes to play with as well as an intelligent auto mode that will make the choice for you.
Naturally, there’s image stabilisation, whether you’re in optical or digital zoom modes, and it comes with all the usual beauty shot, smile shot, face detection, blink detection and self portrait modes that most good compacts have these days to help you get the results you’re after. A very reasonable £199 from August.
Essentially the same beast as its bigger brother here but no HD video shooting mode. You can still capture moving footage but only in 640 x 480 MPEGS rather than the H.264 encoding on the PL70.
That brings the price down to £149 but you also switch to a standard, non-wide, 35mm lens and a smaller 2.7-inch LCD and I’m not sure that’s worth the saving. However, if you are on a budget, you can pick up this 97mm x 59mm x 24.5mm model in either black, silver, red or blue from next month.
The baby of today’s three is the £89 Samsung ES17. Just face detection and beauty shot to play with but a reasonable enough 12.2-megapixel sensor and 3x optical zoom. There’s still image stabilisation, not that you’ll really need it at that magnification, and although you’ll get more functionality on a cameraphone these days, they ES17 will probably still give you a better picture. You get what you pay for.
It seems rather like HD video recording has become what makes a compact camera high spec this week which is a bit of shame given that it has little to do with taking photos. Nevertheless, even the mighty Canon has succumbed to the apparent desires of the public by announcing a relatively expensive range of Ixus models in excess of £250 in which only two feature wide angle lenses.
Mercifully, the PowerShot series holds the side up with more under the hood…