Sponsored By B & H Photo

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Camera of the Year, Perhaps the Decade!

When I was first interested in photography the major bell ringing, jump for joy, scream from the hills innovation was through the lens metering on single lens reflex cameras. No longer did the photographer have to read a hand-held meter then transfer the exposure settings to the camera. All he had to do was match two metering needles in the viewfinder or align one needle in a slot by adjusting shutter speed and/or F-stops.

Since then digital has surpassed film photography faster than anyone predicted, spurred on by improvements in chip manufacturing, sensor design and personal computers. And today's digital cameras offer myriad features to make personal and professional photography successful and satisfying. We have certainly come a long way.

Samsung gets my personal kudos for introducing the most innovative cameras of the decade, let alone the year. Going by the innocuous but accurate title of DualView, model numbers TL220 and TL225.

These innovative compact digital cameras feature Dual LCD screens, with a 1.5-inch LCD on the front of the camera, and a second one on the back of the camera. Giving you the ability to shoot a self-portrait without trial and error framing. I'll admit that there are a few high-end digital SLR cameras that have swing-out LCD screens allowing self-portraits but the DualViews are the first consumer level units to offer this feature built into the chassis. And both DualView models offer 12.2 mega-pixels resolution, which rivals some of the best DSLRs.

Dual View camera

Innovation doesn't end there. Take a look at the camera and you'll notice a distinct lack of buttons. There is an on/off button and the shutter button. The camera's controls are set on the touch screen; actually both touch screens.

If you want to shoot a self-portrait for your Facebook or MySpace page then just tap the front LCD and the camera will set itself to self-portrait mode. But that is not all it does.

Those picture-wise engineers designed a few spiffy idiot-proof features into these cameras. First is Samsung's Perfect Portrait System, which takes the guesswork out of shooting portraits. The key features of this system are Samsung's Smile Shot and Blink Detection. These cameras automatically detect when your subjects are smiling, and if their eyes are closed. THEN SHOOT THEPHOTO FOR YOU! Which, by the way, is really nice when you're framing at arm's length while looking at the inch-and-a-half LCD.

What if you're not steady enough to hold the camera at arms-length? No problem! Both DualView models offer Advanced Dual Image Stabilization (also known as IS), a technology that allows you to capture blur-free images. Dual IS combines both Optical and Digital Image stabilizers to produce sharp images. The Optical IS intelligently compensates for hand trembling by shifting the lens in the opposite direction. Not that you even need to know how its works, just that it does. And when the Optical IS isn't quite enough, the Digital IS automatically takes over to ensure blur-free images.

So imagine that you're in Paris during early spring and its cold up on the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower. Your fiancé has just put that ring on your finger and you want a photo of the moment. You're trembling with excitement while shivering from the cold and you don't speak French. No problem! Tap the front LCD, frame and shoot. Not only will the dual IS system guarantee sharp photos but the 27mm Schneider-KREUZNACH 4.6x zoom optics (read: GREAT LENS MANUFACTURER!) will allow you to frame your life-changing moment with the entire Parisian vista. And it gets even easier!

Let's review because this is so amazing even to my photography-jaded mind I need to go over it again: once the camera is on, a simply tap on the front LCD and the camera is automatically set to Self Portrait mode with smile detection. This means that when you want to take that self-portrait, you only need to tap, frame, then smile. The picture will be taken automatically without pressing the shutter button. Samsung calls that feature the Smart Gesture User Interface (UI) with built-in Gravity sensor.

You would think that Dual LCDs, killer sharp optics, 12.2 mega-pixel resolution and touch screen controls would be enough but there's more, lots more.

Dual View camera When you photograph children the camera can show a Smiley Face, personally I'd prefer a tweeting birdie!

Samsung's Smart Face Recognition technology will memorize up to 20 faces and adjust the focus and exposure to the most high-ranked faces on the camera. This allows you to sort images by registered faces and scroll through to find images of people in your Smart Album instead of viewing every single photo.

With Samsung's Beauty Shot feature you can remove all the imperfections on your subject's face such as wrinkles, blemishes, and moles. Simply select one of two editing options and presto! Skin tone and complexion are evened out.

Another advanced feature is the Red-eye Fix mode. This in-camera feature automatically fixes the typical red-eye associated with the use of the flash, before the photo is produced, a significant time saver as you don't have to spend time afterward removing red-eyes from your photos.

Samsung's Photo Style Selector allows you to transform your photos from simple memories to works of art. Choose from a wide selection of artistic treatments ranging from classic black and white to something more vivid, giving you full control over the color tones of your image. Additionally, with Samsung's unique highlight feature, you can focus on one area of your photo and blur everything around it, turning a normal photo into something much more complex.

And it also shoots movies!

No comments: