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Samsung TL500

10-megapixel digital camera with high-performance ultra-fast lens

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Item# 305TL500
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Samsung TL500

by Meredith Krebs
Samsung

Today's point-and-shoot cameras make great pictures easier than ever

From baby's first steps, to that dream vacation in the islands, these cameras make it easy to capture life's greatest hits. Today's cameras have helpful automatic features, like face detection and scene recognition that make shooting more foolproof than ever. And they all have plenty of megapixels for detailed photos that stay sharp, even when you enlarge and print them.

AUTHORIZED SAMSUNG INTERNET DEALER

Cool retro looks and advanced features in a compact point-and-shoot
Samsung's TL500 features a super-wide angle lens that opens up to an aperture of f/1.8 — that's one of the widest apertures we've ever seen on a point-and-shoot. All that light lets you snap crisp detailed photos of dimly lit birthday parties and candlelit dinners. The large aperture also lets you create a shallow depth of field, which is good for taking portraits of your subject against a softly blurred background.

Perks for advanced users
The camera also has a full manual mode, so you can directly control settings like aperture and shutter speed for carefully composed shots. A dial on the top lets you easily switch between shooting modes. And RAW mode lets you capture unprocessed, highly detailed images for hands-in editing with your computer.

The advanced 3" display is bright, beautiful and glare-resistant. It also flips out and rotates so you can find the most convenient angle to frame your photos and review them.

The camera uses optional SD/SDHC cards to store your photos and videos.

From the review Samsung TL500: A compact tool for serious photographers
"I really liked the TL500. Its fast, f/1.8 aperture, superb 24mm lens, amazing, tilt/swivel screen, and fairly easy shooting controls make it a real winner. It's not a camera that throws a lot of fluff features at you, just what you need to make great pictures. If you're a semi-serious shooter who knows how to drive an SLR, the TL500 might be the compact camera you've been waiting for."

— Zak, Crutchfield Video Producer and A/V Writer

Highlights:

  • 10-megapixel effective recording
  • super-wide-angle f/1.8 lens with 3X optical zoom
  • large aperture allows better low-light shooting
  • 35mm equivalent focal length: 24-72mm
  • highly sensitive image sensor helps deliver clear photos
  • advanced 3" AMOLED display screen rotates for the best viewing angle
  • movie mode with sound (up to 640 x 480 resolution)
  • optical image stabilization
  • RAW file format supported
  • face detection, smile and blink modes, and automatic red-eye correction for better portraits
  • micro "Type D" HDMI output (cable not included)
  • uses optional SD or SDHC cards
  • 4-13/16"W x 2-5/8"H x 1-13/16"D
  • weight: 12.56 oz (without battery)
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
 

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
LCD Screen Size
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3"
Adjustable-angle LCD
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---
Wi-Fi
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No
Touchscreen
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No
Waterproof
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No
GPS-enabled
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No
Lens 35mm Equivalent
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24-72mm
Optical Zoom
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3x
Digital Zoom
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4x
Filter Diameter
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N/A
Manual Focusing
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Yes
Manual Exposure
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Yes
Built-in Flash
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Yes
HDMI Output
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Micro
Memory
Internal Memory
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22 MB
Memory Media
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SD/SDHC
Image
Effective Megapixel Count
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1e+007
Total Megapixels
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1e+007
Image Stabilization
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Optical + Digital
Highest Resolution
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3648 x 2736
HD Video Recording
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No
Dimensions
Width (inches)
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4-13/16
Height (inches)
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2-5/8
Depth (inches)
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1-13/16
Weight With Battery (ounces)
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Not Given
Warranty
Parts Warranty
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1 Year
Labor Warranty
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1 Year
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Digital camera (black)
  • SLB-11A Lithium-Ion battery (3.8V/1130mAh)
  • AC power adapter
  • Lens cap
  • Lens cap string
  • 20" USB cable (with a USB type-A connector on one end and a proprietary connector on the other end)
  • Neck strap
  • Software/Manual CD-ROM
  • Quick-Start Manual
  • Samsung International Warranty Certificate

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Recording Features
Play, Print, and Edit Features
Connections
Battery Information
Supplied Software

Recording Features

3" AMOLED Monitor: The Samsung TL500 digital camera features a 3" swiveling color AMOLED monitor. The AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) screen provides a higher contrast ratio, deeper blacks and more vivid colors, even when viewed from an angle or in direct sunlight. The display rotates to just about any angle so you can frame your photos with ease.

Dual Media: The Samsung TL500 digital camera can record still images and video onto its built-in 22 MB flash memory or on optional SD or SDHC memory cards up to 8 GB. Larger capacity memory cards are not guaranteed by Samsung.

Schneider-KREUZNACH Lens: The TL500 digital camera features a Schneider-KREUZNACH 3x optical zoom lens with a focal length of 5.2 to 15.6 mm (35mm equivalent is 24-72mm). The f-stop range is f/1.8 (W) - 2.4 (T). The ring around the lens is removable, allowing you to mount an optional Conversion Lens (AD97-18678A).

Digital Zoom: In addition to the 3x optical zoom, the camera provides a 4x digital zoom for a total zoom of 12x for still picture shooting.

Convenient Controls: The TL500 features convenient dual dials on the top of the camera to allow you to make adjustments quickly. One dial lets you select the shooting mode (Smart Auto, P, A, S, M, Dual IS, Scene, and Movie) while the other lets you select the drive mode (Single, Continuous, 10 sec/2 sec Timers, and Bracket). On the front is a wheel key for adjusting the shutter speed (in Shutter Priority or Manual mode) or adjusting the Exposure Compensation. On the rear panel, the rotary Navigation wheel rotates to set the aperture (in Aperture Priority or Manual mode), or to quickly scroll through files in playback mode.

Image Recording Format: The digital camera records still images in JPEG format. Uncompressed images can be recorded in RAW format and must be processed by the included Samsung RAW Converter software. Standard-definition movie clips (up to 20 minutes) are recorded in MPEG-4 (H.264) format with AAC audio.

Image Sensor: The Samsung TL500 digital camera is equipped with a large 1/1.7" CCD image sensor with an effective pixel count of approximately 10 mega-pixels for high-quality, low-noise images, regardless of the lighting conditions.

Image Size: The Samsung digital camera offers the following still image sizes and movie clip sizes. The camera can record JPEG and RAW still images in a 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 or 1:1 aspect ratio with three compression ratio settings (Super Fine, Fine, and Normal). Movie clips can be recorded in standard-definition at 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 at 30 or 15 fps with a 4:3 aspect ratio. The number of images that can be recorded onto a 1 GB SD Memory Card is as follows:

Photo Size Aspect Ratio JPEG RAW RAW + JPEG
Super Fine Fine Normal RAW +
SFine
RAW +
Fine
RAW +
Norm
10M
3648 x 2736
4:3 180 328 451 41 31 37 39
9M
3648 x 2432
3:2 201 363 497 42 32 37 40
8M
3264 x 2448
4:3 220 392 531 42 33 38 40
7M
3648 x 2048
16:9 235 420 568 42 34 38 40
7M
2736 x 2736
1:1 235 420 568 42 34 38 40
5M
2592 x 1944
4:3 319 542 707 43 36 40 42
3M
2048 x 1536
4:3 471 746 928 44 39 42 43
2M
1920 x 1080
16:9 645 967 1161 45 41 43 44
1M
1024 x 768
4:3 1056 1331 1458 46 43 44 44
Movie Mode
Total Recording Time
Movie Size 30 Frames Per Second 15 Frames Per Second
640 x 480 Approx. 25 min 50 sec Approx. 48 min 36 sec
320 x 240 Approx. 68 min 47 sec Approx. 99 min 53 sec

Dual Image Stabilization: The TL500 combines Samsung's Optical Image Stabilization mechanism with the advanced algorithms of Digital Image Stabilization to give you sharp, clear images.

Focus Modes: The Samsung TL500 offers the following focus modes and focal ranges:

  • Normal: 31.5" to infinity (W/T)
  • Macro: 1.97" to 31.5" (W/T)
  • Auto Macro: 1.97" to infinity (W), 19.69" to infinity (T)
  • Manual Focus: 1.97" to infinity (W), 19.69" to infinity (T)

Focusing Area: You can select your preferred auto focus area:

  • Center AF: the rectangular area in the center of the LCD monitor will be focused
  • Multi AF: camera selects one or more of the 9 AF points
  • Selection AF: focus on the area you select
  • Tracking AF: focus on and track the subject

Face Detection: With the Face Detection feature, the camera detects faces in a scene and then automatically focuses and optimizes the brightness of the face for beautiful portrait pictures. The Face Detection feature detects up to 10 different faces, automatically adjusts focus and brightness, and also senses and removes red-eye. The camera offers the following Face Detection modes:

  • Normal: This mode detects the face position of the subject automatically and the sets the focus and exposure.
  • Smile Shot: The camera automatically takes a picture by detecting the face of the subject although you do not press the shutter button. If you press the Shutter button, the picture is taken in the normal way. When taking a picture with smile shot, showing teeth or keeping the smiley face of your subject helps detecting the smile face of the subject.
  • Blink Detection: If the eyes of the subject are closed when the shutter button is pressed, the camera takes 2 continuous shots and then the images are saved. The camera takes only one picture if the eyes of the subject are open when the Shutter button is pressed.

Smart Face Recognition: The camera automatically registers faces you frequently photograph, and will prioritize the focus on those faces. Up to 8 faces can be saved as favorites. Once the faces are registered, you can rank them in order, or delete them to make room for others. These features are only available when you use a memory card.

Focus Lock: Use the camera's focus lock function to focus on a subject not positioned in the center of the picture.

Drive Modes: The camera offers 4 drive modes to suit your shooting needs:

  • Single: Takes a single photo.
  • Continuous: Takes images continuously until the shutter button is released.
  • Timer: Takes a photo in 10 seconds or 2 seconds as set.
  • Bracketing: Takes a series of photos based on the following options:
    • PSS BKT: Takes 9 photos with different photo styles.
    • WB BKT: Takes 3 photos with different white balance options.
    • AE BKT: Takes 3 photos with selected exposures.

Recording Mode: The TL500 offers various recording modes to choose from to match your shooting preference, using the on-screen selector:

  • Smart Auto: The camera automatically chooses the appropriate camera settings based on a detected type of scene. It will automatically select one of the 17 scene modes which best suits the environment you are shooting in.
  • Program: Select this mode to manual configure all functions of the camera, except the aperture value and shutter speed.
  • Aperture Priority: You can adjust the aperture value to control how much light reaches the lens when you capture a photo, while the camera sets the appropriate shutter speed for the scene.
  • Shutter Priority: You can adjust the shutter speed to control how long the camera's shutter remains open when you capture a photo, while the camera sets the appropriate aperture value for the scene.
  • Manual: You can manually set the aperture value and shutter speed.
  • Dual IS: Take a photo with options suitable for reducing camera shake.
  • Scene Modes: The TL500's various scenes modes automatically configures the camera's optimal settings for a variety of shooting situations.
    • Night Mode: Use this for shooting still images at night or in other dark conditions.
    • Portrait: to take a picture of a person
    • Children: to take a picture of fast moving objects, such as children
    • Landscape: to take pictures of distant scenery
    • Close Up: close-up shooting for small objects such as plants and insects
    • Text: use this mode to shoot a document
    • Sunset: for taking pictures of sunsets
    • Dawn: daybreak scenes
    • Backlight: portrait without shadows caused by backlight
    • Fireworks: firework scenes
    • Beach&Snow: for ocean, lake, beach, and snowscape scenes
    • Beauty Shot: Takes a photo of a person with options to hide facial imperfections. Two available options:
      • Face Tone: this function allows you to control the skin tone in images that will be taken with beauty shot mode; the higher the level you select, the brighter the skin tone
      • Face Retouch: this feature allow you to make skin appear clear and beautiful before recording in beauty shot mode, the higher the level select, the more effective the control
  • Movie Mode: A movie clip can be recorded (with or without sound) for as long as the available recording time of the memory capacity allows. The Smart Scene Detection mode automatically chooses the appropriate video setting based on the detected type of scene (landscapes, clear skies, forested areas, sunset).

Exposure Compensation: This camera automatically adjusts the exposure according the ambient light conditions. You can also select the exposure value from +2.0EV to -2.0EV in steps of 1/3EV.

Metering Mode: If you cannot obtain suitable exposure conditions, you can change the camera's metering method to take brighter pictures. You can choose from 3 modes:

  • Multi: Exposure will be calculated based on an average of the available light in the image area. This is suitable for general use.
  • Spot: Only the rectangular area in the center of the LCD monitor will be metered for light. This is suitable when the subject in the center is exposed correctly, regardless of the back lighting.
  • Center Weighted: Exposure will be calculated based on an average of the available light in the image area. However, the calculation will be biased towards the center of the image area. This is suitable for taking a picture of small objects like a flower or insects.

Pop-up Flash: The Samsung digital camera features a pop-up flash with a variable range based on the auto focus mode. The flash has a range of 7.87" to 20.3' (W) and 19.69" to 16.75' (T). The intensity of the flash is adjustable to prevent under- or over-exposure. You can choose from the following flash modes:

  • Smart Auto: The camera selects a proper flash setting for the detected scene in the Smart Mode.
  • Auto Flash: If the subject or background is dark, the camera flash will operate automatically.
  • Red-Eye Fix: The flash fires when the subject or background is dark, and the camera corrects red eyes through its advanced software analysis.
  • Fill In Flash: The flash fires regardless of the available light. The intensity of the flash will be automatically controlled to suit the prevailing condition.
  • Slow Sync: The flash operates with a slow shutter speed to obtain a balanced correct exposure.
  • Red-Eye Reduction: When a shot with "red-eye" is detected, this mode will reduce the red-eyed effect automatically.
  • Flash Off: The flash does not fire.

Optional External Flash: In addition to the pop-up flash, the TL500 has an accessory shoe for attaching an optional flash unit, such as the Samsung SEF20A (305SEF20A) or SEF42A (305SEF42A).

White Balance: The white balance control allows you to adjust the colors to appear more natural. The camera has seven white balance modes.

  • Auto WB: The camera automatically selects the appropriate white balance settings, depending on the prevailing lighting conditions.
  • Daylight: For taking images outside.
  • Cloudy: For taking images under a cloudy and overcast sky.
  • Fluorescent H: For shooting under daylight fluorescent type of three-way fluorescent lighting.
  • Fluorescent L: Shooting under white fluorescent lighting.
  • Tungsten: For shooting under tungsten (standard light bulb) lighting.
  • Custom Set: Allows you to set the white balance according to the shooting condition.
  • Color Temperature: You can manually adjust the color temperature of the light source from 2,000 K to 10,000 K.

ISO Sensitivity: You can select the ISO sensitivity when taking pictures. The speed or specific light-sensitivity of a camera is rated by ISO numbers. A higher ISO setting allows for faster shutter speed, so you can take photos indoors or in low light without the need for a flash. The camera features the following ISO settings: Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200.

Photo Style Selector: You can add various effects to an image you are about to record without using image editing software. You can choose from Normal, Sketch, Defog, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, or Custom RGB.

Image Adjust: You can adjust the Contrast, Sharpness, and Saturation of a recorded image.

Note: You cannot check the Image Adjustment effect on the camera's LCD monitor before you take a picture, because this function is applied only when the capture image is stored on the memory.

Voice Recording: You can make a monaural voice recording for as long as the available memory (up to 10 hours). A voice memo of up to 10 seconds can be recorded in a photo.

Optional Remote Control: The TL500 can be controlled by an optional wireless remote control (AD59-00164A). You can take a photo 2 seconds after pressing the shutter button on the remote. The remote control eye is located on the front of the camera.

Play, Print, and Edit Features

Quick View: If you enable the Quick View function before capturing an image, you can view the image you just captured on the camera's LCD monitor for the set duration of 0.5, 1, or 3 seconds.

Smart Album: Recorded content can be categorized by file type (picture, video, or voice), date, color, week, favorite, or face; allowing you to easily retrieve them on the camera when you want to view particular pictures.

Thumbnail Playback: You can view multiple pictures (9 or 20) on the LCD monitor at once.

Slide Show: Images can be displayed continuously, at intervals of 1, 3, 5, or 10 seconds, with various slide-show effects on the camera's LCD monitor. The camera offer pre-recorded background music to play along with your still image slide show.

Image Zoom: A single image can be zoomed in up to 11.4x (based on image size) for a closer look. Once the image is zoomed in, you can pan around to different areas of the image.

Movie Playback: You can playback a movie clip on the camera's LCD monitor. The camera offers basic playback functions such as Play, Pause, Scan backward (2x, 4x, 8x), and Scan Forward (2x, 4x, 8x). You can also adjust the volume level of the playback audio.

Copy To Card: This feature enables you to copy image files, movie clips, and voice recording files from the camera's internal memory to an inserted memory card.

Movie Clip Capture: You can capture still images from a recorded movie clip. The captured movie clip file will be saved as the same size as the original movie clip (640 x 480 or 320 x 240).

Edit: The Samsung TL500 digital camera offers various editing features so you can manipulate your pictures right from the camera once they have been recorded.

  • Resize: You can change the resolution (size) of a pictures taken to a smaller size.
  • Image Rotation: You can rotate and image 360-degrees in 90-degree increments.
  • Photo Style Selector: It is possible to add various effects to your recorded images, such as Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, and Custom RGB.
  • Smart Filter: You can apply various filter effects to create unique images, such as miniature, vignetting, and a fish-eye effect.
  • Image Adjust: You can adjust the following elements of a recorded image:
    • Red-Eye Fix: The red-eye effect can be removed from a captured image.
    • Face Retouch: You can make the skin in a recorded image appear more clear and beautiful.
    • Brightness
    • Contrast
    • Saturation
    • Add Noise Effect: You can add noise to a recorded image to add an more classic feel to your photo.

Protecting Images: This is used to protect specific shots from being accidentally erased.

Exif Print (Exif 2.21): The TL500 conforms to "Exif Print," a worldwide standard. Vital camera settings (such as: exposure mode, white balance, exposure time) and scene data are recorded to the image file when it is captured. Printers compatible with "Exif Print" are able to use this information to produce high quality photographs, exactly the way they were intended at the time of capture. This intelligent communication process also allows the printer to correct for poor lighting or mistakes, resulting in photos that can be even better than the originals.

DPOF (1.1) Transfer Order: You can use the camera to specify settings for images that you wish to download to a computer. The settings used on the camera comply with the Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) standards.

PictBridge (1.0) Printing Capability: Using the supplied USB cable, you can connect this camera directly to a PictBridge compliant printer. PictBridge is a new standard that allows you to connect a PictBridge compliant camera directly to a PictBridge compliant printer and make prints, regardless of brand.

Connections

AV/USB Proprietary Output: The Samsung TL500 features a single proprietary port which allows you to connect the camera to your computer via the included USB type-A cable. To connect the camera to a TV, you'll need the optional A/V cable (AD39-00146A). The video output can be set to NTSC or PAL. This proprietary output along with the supplied USB cable can be used to recharge the battery (in the camera) using the supplied AC adapter.

HDMI: The TL500 has a micro-HDMI (Type D) output (also called HDMI 1.4), which will allow you to connect the camera to an HDMI-equipped HDTV for viewing videos or photos in high definition. An optional micro-HDMI to HDMI cable, such as the AD39-00179A from Samsung, is required.

Battery Information

Rechargeable Li-ion Battery: The Samsung TL500 comes supplied with a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery (SLB-11A) which provides up to 240 still image shots or 100 minutes of movie recording. The supplied AC adapter and USB cable charges the Lithium-Ion battery in approximately 150 minutes.

Auto Power Off: This function switches the camera off after a set amount of time (of no operation) in order to prevent unnecessary battery drainage. The camera can be set to turn off after 1, 3, 5, or 10 minutes of no operation.

Supplied Software

Supplied Software: The Samsung TL500 comes supplied with a CD-ROM which contains Intelli-Studio software, as well as the full User Manual. Intelli-Studio is compatible only with Windows operating systems. It does not work with Macintosh computers. The minimum requirements for loading Intelli-Studio are:

  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz or higher or AMD Athlon FX 2.2 GHz or higher
  • RAM: Minimum 512 MB (1 GB and above recommended)
  • Operating System: Windows XP SP2, Vista, 7
  • Hard Disc Drive: 250 MB or more (1 GB or more recommended)
  • Others:
    • CD-ROM drive
    • nVIDIA Geforce 7600GT or higher/ATI X1600 series or higher
    • 1024 x 768 pixels, 16-bit color display compatible monitor (1280 x 1024 pixels, 32-bit display recommended)
    • USB port, Microsoft DirectX 9.0c or later

Mass Storage Device: You can use the camera as a Mass Storage Device and download images to your computer if the computer is using one of the following operating systems:

  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7
  • Mac OS 10.4 or later
 
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5 out of 5

wonderful

Written By marc, Las Vegas, NV on Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
"Samsung jumped to the hybrid camera market with NX10 but it is not that impressive to me. On the other hand, TL500 reaches at the hot high-end compact camera market with pretty promising positioning. One can say that F1.8 would be the strong accent and a crucial characteristic of this camera. It definitely helps shooting photos indoor and intelligently makes beautiful bokeh (blur) on the back if you want to. Amoled has no comparison with others at this time, it is No.1 Rotating LED on compact cameras. Very useful when you take self-portrait, low and high angle pictures and fantastic when you view your photos. 24mm is wide enough and being honest, image quality does not give any cons with this wide angle. Various filters and program mode are generally acceptable. Some of them can be regarded as very easy and useful modification of the images inside the camera. You can select before or after the shot. Overall, TL500 can beat any other cameras at the moment and I expect Samsung to convey honorable update on this series. The position of Samsung brand name on digital camera market can be up with this beauty and professionalism of the camera. It is very remarkable progress.
10 out of 12 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

A quality P&S camera that's fun, hassle-free and produces great images

Written By Anonymous, Cookeville, TN on Monday, June 07, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Up until my purchase of the new Samsung TL500, I have not been a "first adopter", prefering to wait until a new prodct matures and has the bugs worked out of it before I buy. Something about the combination of specs for the TL500 really spoke to me (bolstered by early online results posted by various "beta-testers"), so I bought it at soon as it was available from Crutchfield.

I've had the camera for several weeks, and couldn't be happier with it!

The AMOLED screen produces brillent images, that are a faithful representation of the captured images, as viewed on computer and printed.

The automatic white balance actually works, handling flourescent light amazingly well.

SmartAuto mode does a reallygood job of automatically determining the picture type and setting the camera up ... so all you have to do is "point and shoot". Great for candid/spontaneous shots.

Adjustable exposure bracketing is a welcome feature, as is easy/quick exposure compensation via the front dial ... aided by the live on-screen histogram. (The camera does tend to overexpose a bit in bright, contrasty settings ... easily adjusted for).

Low light performance is so good that the on-board flash is almost unnecessary, except as a "fill flash" in backlit situations.

Bottom line? My D300 may now be placed on an "extended vacation"!
17 out of 17 people found this helpful
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