Actually the display seems to also be unresponsive to cold hands, which is a problem. While the touchscreen menu and functionality is intuitive and well designed, it is a bit tricky and difficult to get used to. Touchscreen technology might be the way to go in the near future but for now its application on cameras is still in its infancy, delivering a temperamental and unreliable response, that’s certainly slower than old fashion dials and buttons.
Tilting the camera will bring up various menu modes
The tap on/off button of the front screen, for example, was really hit and miss and the finger scrolling of the library was difficult to control, spinning easily out of your hands. However the good news is that, thanks to its high resolution and generous size, the rear LCD screen is the clearest and sharpest around, making framing and playing back pictures a real pleasure.
The front screen is virtually invisible when not in use and has a few clever features that facilitate this its self portraiture raison d’être. The screen comes on when you tap on it and automatically goes onto Self-Portrait mode, which, in common with the Portrait Mode, uses Smile Shot and Blink Detection technologies to choose the best time to automatically release the shutter.
Among the cleverly conceived features of the front display there is a short animated clip designed to encourage children to look at the camera and a visual count down when using self-timer that lets you know how long to go before the shutter is released.
The ST550 has plenty of user-friendly features to show off. A Smart Auto mode automatically detects scene conditions and selects the best settings, the Beauty Shot feature fixes skin imperfections while the Photo Style Selector consists of a variety of in-camera creative effects that, according to Samsung are there ‘to evoke a mood’ and include colour manipulation, negative, retro and soft effects.
The front screen has a countdown which can be altered to grab the attention of small people
A neat addition that makes it easier to browse through a large library of photos is Samsung’s Smart Album preference that lets you organise your images in different folders arranged by date, face, and colour, content or simply as favourites.
For many people, they will never unplug the memory card and they will use the USB cable to transfer to their PC. Though I did see one user slightly flumoxxed by microSD at a Kodak instant print booth.
Though I wonder how many shots there will be of kids howling in fear at the evil clown picture :)
Have the cheaper ST500 and the touch screen cracked after being in my (front) pants pocket on a car journey. The LCD was fine but the touch screen seems to be a layer on top of it and it was completely cracked after being pressured against my keys in my pocket. I've never had that problem with any other touch screen device I've owned. Less then a month old but of course the warranty didn't cover it, despite a pocket camera not surviving it first trip in my pocket.
MicroSD? Could be worse
..at least people are likely to use those/have readers, unlike bloody Memory Stick. My phone, the flash card in my DS, and a few other things use MicroSD, so I have readers kicking about.
Obviously, I'd prefer plain old SD in a camera, though.
I think it's mostly historical ...
... in the "bad" old days, memory chips were expensive ... so if you'd bought a massive 256Mb memory card for hundreds of pounds, it was a real pain if your next camera used a different format card.
I remember the thrill of buying a 512Mb SD card from Jessops and getting the price down to £99 (wow!) but of course a 2Mp digital camera could get a fair few pics on 512Mb.
Now that the price of a 4Gb card is £10 or less, it's a lot less of an issue ...
... of course my laptop has an SD card slot (as does my DVD player at home) so I'd need to carry the microSD->SD adapter with me to make viewing/copying the images easy, but that's hardly much of a hassle, especially since one of my current SD card using devices is actually using a microSD card in the adapter as it was cheaper to buy it that way than a full size SD card.
I didn't read the full article, so I don't know, but if the front display works in video mode, then it makes the camera excellent for recording band rehearsals, solo music works etc. as you can look up and see what's in the camera's view :-)
I know I'm rare among the geeks on here (grin!)
... but I have a girlfriend!
And sometimes it's nice to get a picture of the two of you together (behave back there!) in front of the Eiffel Tower, or at a restaurant without worrying that that dodgy geezer you've handed the camera to is about to do a runner with your photographic memories (a la National Lampoon's European Vacation!)
Also, for those of you who don't have a girlfriend handy, sometimes you do want to take a good picture of yourself, better than the webcam in your netbook permits, and it's much easier when you can see what you're doing/what the final picture will look like ... and if it does a nice "3..2..1" countdown in big friendly digits, so much the better!
It's a pity the photographic quality seems not to be fantastic, otherwise this camera would be at the top of my wishlist to travel with me as a backup to the D-SLR or just as a camera to have in the side pocket of my daypack/computer bag for day to day snapping (better than most cameraphones anyway!)
Paris because that's where the Eiffel Tower is (and she has spent a fair time in front of the camera too!)