A well-built slimline digicam with multimedia capabilities and a large internal memory.Samsung's i85 digicam is more than just an 8.2-megapixel camera with a 5x optical zoom lens. Inside its slim, stainless steel body are a camcorder, voice recorder, text viewer and multimedia player. There's also a World Tour Guide that provides images and travel information covering 2,600 regions in 30 countries. To store all this information - and the pictures and movie clips recorded with the camera - 190MB of internal memory is provided, along with an SD/SDHC/MMC card slot. . . [more]
Samsung's i85 digicam is more than just an 8.2-megapixel camera with a 5x optical zoom lens. Inside its slim, stainless steel body are a camcorder, voice recorder, text viewer and multimedia player. There's also a World Tour Guide that provides images and travel information covering 2,600 regions in 30 countries. To store all this information – and the pictures and movie clips recorded with the camera - 190MB of internal memory is provided, along with an SD/SDHC/MMC card slot.
Manufactured in four colours (silver, black, red and gold) the i85 has a 3.0-inch LCD that covers most of the rear panel. No viewfinder is provided and button controls are small, although reasonably well spaced. Above the LCD are three buttons that access the face recognition and shooting and playback modes. On the top panel lie the power on/off and shutter release buttons.
Four shooting modes are provided: Auto, Program, ASR (Advanced Shake Reduction) and Movie. The ASR setting appears to use some kind of image processing to reduce the effects of camera shake. It doesn't work with moving subjects and can't be used with digital zoom. Image processing times are extended in this mode.
The shooting menu.
Ranged along the right side of the monitor are the zoom rocker, Function/delete button and arrow pad, which has a central Menu/OK button. The four arrow pad buttons control the information/up display, self-timer, close-up and flash functions. A single compartment in the base of the camera holds the rechargeable battery and memory card slot. A tripod socket sits slightly off-centre beside it.
In front of the tripod socket is the USB/AV connection terminal, which is also used for charging the camera battery. You can recharge the battery from main power via the supplied AC adapter or from your computer via the USB cable (but not via a USB hub). The LED indicator on the AC adapter changes from red to green when charging is completed.
The Function button allows quick access to image size and quality settings, drive and metering modes, ISO and white balance adjustment as well as exposure compensation and long time exposure settings. The latter only works with the Night scene mode but allows exposures of up to 16 seconds. Also in this menu is a movie frame stabiliser, which is specific to video capture.
The Scene menu.
Metering, white balance and exposure compensation are only adjustable in Program and movie modes, while ISO settings can only be changed in Program mode. An interesting inclusion in the Drive mode settings is 'Wise Shot' which records two shots in quick sequence, one with fill-in flash and the other without. This setting can only be used in the ASR shooting mode and it extends image processing times to approximately two seconds.
Still images are recorded in JPEG format with six resolution options, each with three compression levels. Four settings with a 4:3 aspect ratio are provided, along with a '7M Print' setting that captures high-resolution pictures with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a '6M Wide' setting, which records in widescreen format. Average file sizes are shown in the table below.
3264 x 2448
3264 x 2176
3264 x 1836
2592 x 1944
2048 x 1536
1024 x 768
Video clips are recorded in AVI (MPEG-4) format with three image size and frame rate options: 800 x 592 pixels at 20 or 15 frames/second and VGA or QVGA at 30 frames/second. You can record with or without monaural sound. A neat Successive Recording function lets you pause while shooting a video clip and resume shooting without having to create multiple clips. Just over 36 minutes of video at the highest resolution can be stored on a 1GB memory card. The i85 also allows users to add voice clips of up to 10 seconds to still images and record voice (or sound) alone for up to 10 hours. A microphone under the top panel picks up the sound.
The 14 Scene mode settings can be used in all shooting modes. They're accessed by pressing the mode button then selecting the shooting mode. The up button on the arrow pad opens the scene menu and the horizontal arrows are used to select the scene. Pressing the down button on the arrow pad takes you into the multimedia functions.
Pressing the Effect button (beside the Function button) opens the special effects palette. In Auto and Movie modes, only colour effects are selectable. Options include B&W, sepia, red, green, blue, negative and custom colour. In the Program and Scene modes, users can apply spot colour masks, adjust saturation levels and select from a range of 'Fun' tools that add text balloons, and frames to shots or combine up to four shots to make a single image. Sharpness and contrast adjustments are also provided via the recording menu.
Playback functions are extensive and include up to 12.8x zoom in review mode, in-camera movie trimming and slideshow playback with or without effects and music. Four background music clips are pre-loaded in the camera and users can upload their own selections in MP3 format. Still images can be resized to make smaller files and rotated. Red eyes can be corrected and users can adjust brightness, contrast and saturation and apply noise filtration in the camera. Special effects can also be added, as outlined above.
Bundled software is provided for Windows users only and consists of a camera driver for transferring images to a computer and Samsung Master software, a multimedia viewer, editor and transfer application. Also supplied is Samsung Converter, which allows video files to be converted into a format that can be played back on the camera. You must also install the XviD codec from the disk to play movie clips recorded by the camera on your computer. Multi-lingual versions of the user manual in PDF format are also provided.
To use the MP3, Portable Media Player and Text Viewer functions, the files you wish to access must be uploaded to the camera's internal memory. You can then select the required multimedia mode and browse the files to find the one you wish to play. Details of the file are displayed on the LCD monitor and users select, pause and play files via the zoom rocker and arrow pad buttons. A headphone port is located under a lift-up plastic cover on the right side of the camera.
Before using the World Tour Guide, users must visit Samsung's website and download the necessary files. They then connect the camera to the computer and transfer the files to a Tour folder on the Removable Disk. We discovered you can't use this function when an SD card is loaded in the camera. Nor can you load the data onto a memory card and access it directly or transfer it to the internal memory.
Launching the World Tour Guide displays a world map on the camera's LCD with each continent numbered. Destinations are selected by toggling through the numbers using the arrow pad buttons. Selecting a continent opens a map with numbered areas, which are selected in the same way until you open a menu with a list of places.
Toggling to a place lets you open a text page containing brief details of highlights of the area and a link to pictures. These pictures can be displayed at three-quarter screen size via the zoom rocker. Display quality and information content on the review camera were basic and uninspiring.
The facility is more of a novelty than a replacement for a detailed travel guide. Coverage of destinations is also limited at present. Don't look for places that are off the beaten track; content is all mainstream, iconic destinations. There are no entries for Scandinavia, Russia, New Zealand and South America – and nothing on either Antarctica or the Arctic.
The other multimedia facilities appear to have similar limitations to the World Tour Guide as we were unable to access these functions when an SD card was loaded or listen to music files stored on an SD card. The camera appears to be capable of handling only one data source at a time and prioritises the memory card over the internal memory. Caution is required if you want to erase files stored on a memory card because there's only one formatting function and it deletes all files in both memories, including images, movies, multimedia files and tour information.
Photographs taken with the review camera appeared bright with natural-looking colours. Exposures were pitched to record shadow detail, leaving highlights blown-out. Unfortunately, coloured fringes were seen around the edges of outdoor shots with only modest magnification. Imatest confirmed the presence of severe chromatic aberration but showed overall colour accuracy to be reasonably good. Some shifts were seen in reds, where saturation was slightly elevated. Skin hues were generally accurate.
Coloured fringing was obvious near the edges of shots with only modest magnification.
Chromatic aberration also produced coloured fringing towards the centre of shots.
Resolution was below expectations for the camera's resolution in our Imatest evaluations. Imatest also revealed a fall-off in sharpness towards the edges of the test images. This was confirmed in actual shots, where edge-softening was evident. Fortunately, Imatest showed over-processing was negligible and we observed neither compression nor sharpening artefacts in test shots.
Close-up performance was very good, particularly with the super macro setting. However digital zoom shots were soft and artefact-affected. Long exposures taken with the Night scene mode had plenty of detail, natural-looking colours and little apparent image noise. Dark-frame subtraction appears to be used in this mode as part of the camera's noise-reduction processing. Shooting in Program AE mode with ISO 1600 sensitivity produced shots with poor colour, excessive noise and a blotchy appearance.
The auto white balance setting performed well with fluorescent lighting but failed to remove the orange cast of incandescent lights. However, the manual pre-sets and custom measurement delivered natural colour reproduction. The flash was only capable of covering an average-sized room at ISO 400 and above and flash shots at ISO 1600 were visibly noise-affected.
It took almost three seconds to power-up the camera, which is slow by current standards. We measured an average capture lag of 0.9 seconds, which reduced to 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing. The continuous shooting mode produced some odd results, recording three high-resolution shots at intervals of 0.85 seconds then pausing for 1.3 seconds before grabbing another two shots at 0.85 second intervals. This sequence was repeated in our test burst of 30 shots.
The Motion Capture setting performed to specifications, recording 30 shots at VGA resolution at a rate of six frames/second. It took approximately three seconds to process this burst.
Resolution near the centre of the frame.
Resolution towards the edge of the frame.
Auto white balance with incandescent light.
Auto white balance with fluorescent light.
Short exposure at ISO 80
Short exposure at ISO 1600
Long exposure with the Night mode setting.
Night shot at ISO 1600
Image sensor: 5.76 x 4.29 mm CCD with 8.4 million photosites (8.2 megapixels effective)
Lens: 6-30mm f/3.5-4.9 zoom (36-180mm in 35mm format)
Zoom ratio: 5x optical, up to 5x digital
Image formats: Stills – JPEG (Exif 2.2); Movies - AVI (MPEG-4)/WAV
Image Sizes: Stills – 3264 x 2448, 3264 x 2176, 3264 x 1836, 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 1024 x 768; Movies – 800 x 592 at 20 fps, 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 at 30 or 20 fps
Shutter speed range: Auto – 1-1/2000 sec.; Night mode – 16-1/2000 sec.
Exposure Compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3Ec stesp
Focus system/range: TTL auto focus, Multi-AF, Face Recognition AF, Manual Focus; range 80 cm to infinity; macro 5-80 cm, super macro 1-5 cm
Exposure metering/control: Multi, Spot, Centre-weighted, Face Recognition; Program AE plus 14 Scene pre-sets
ISO range: Auto, ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent (X2), Tungsten, Custom
Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash off, Red-eye Fix; range – 0.2-4.0 metres
Storage Media: 190MB internal memory plus SD/SDHC expansion slot
LCD monitor: 3.0-inch colour TFT LCD (230,000 pixels)
Power supply: SLB-1137D rechargeable lithium-ion battery (rated for approx. 230 still images of 115 minutes of playback)
Dimensions (wxhxd): 95 x 61.5 x 20.2 mm
Weight: 158 grams (without battery and card)
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