Samsung i7

      Photo Review 8

      In summary

      An elegant-looking multimedia digicam that’s slim enough to fit in a jacket pocket or purse.Like the i85 model we reviewed recently, Samsung’s 7.2-megapixel i7 model is more than just a camera. It combines a point-and-shoot digicam with an MP3 player and Portable Multimedia Player (PMP) and throws in a built-in World Tour Guide as well. Although its multimedia capabilities are essentially the same as the i85, the i7 has a novel user interface that switches between modes by changing the angle of the LCD screen. . . [more]

      Full review


      Like the i85 model we reviewed recently, Samsung’s 7.2-megapixel i7 model is more than just a camera. It combines a point-and-shoot digicam with an MP3 player and Portable Multimedia Player (PMP) and throws in a built-in World Tour Guide as well. Although its multimedia capabilities are essentially the same as the i85, the i7 has a novel user interface that switches between modes by changing the angle of the LCD screen.
      Available in black or silver-bronze, the i7 is solidly built and elegant in design ““ but not always ergonomically configured. The strap eyelet is huge and bulky and, although it is supposed to provide a kind of grip, it’s too small and poorly positioned for users with large hands. The tripod socket is located at the far end of the camera’s base plate, which destabilises overall balance and it’s easy to cover the microphone holes when the camera is held with both hands.


      The 3.0-inch 230,000-pixel LCD is mounted in a rotating housing that swivels through 180 degrees. Sliding it slightly upward switches on the power and reveals the control buttons. Power can also be switched on via a button on the top panel. Turning the display module through 90 degrees engages the PMP mode, which lets you listen to MP3 files, read text or watch video movies. (Multimedia files that will be viewed through this interface must first be converted into a compatible format with the supplied Samsung Converter.)


      LCD screen in closed position.


      LCD in multimedia mode.

      Swinging the display module to the 180 degree position engages the camera, which also supports video capture. Like the L74 Wide, which we also reviewed recently, the i7 has a touch-screen interface which is used for most camera settings. However, ranged along the right side of the LCD mount are five buttons, which access, tele and wide zooming, shooting modes, information display and playback/direct printing controls.

      The touch screen is very similar to the L74 Wide’s, with a similar range of functions and adjustments. The menu system uses Flash animation to present the various controls and, like the L74 Wide’s, it can be frustrating to use as several taps are often needed to engage some functions and change camera settings. The button controls are also tiny and difficult to operate as they have limited thrust. This makes precise zooming in and out almost impossible.

      Fortunately, the zoom range is limited to 3x optical and 5x digital, although we’d advise users to avoid the latter as pictures from the test camera were artefact-affected and slightly soft. The lens covers angles of view equivalent to 38-114mm in 35mm format, which is standard for a point-and-shoot digicam. Shooting modes are essentially the same as Samsung’s other point-and-shoot digicams, with four mode settings: Auto, Program, Movie and ASR (Advanced Shake Reduction processing).

      Like the L74 Wide, the i7 comes with a massive 450MB of internal memory for storing the World Tour Guide, while leaving some space to accommodate still pictures, video clips and multimedia files. The SD/SDHC card slot provided for memory expansion will accept cards up to 4GB in capacity. Still images are recorded as JPEGs, with average file sizes shown in the table below. (Compression ratios are the same as the L74 Wide.)


      Image Size


      Super Fine




      3264 x 2304





      3072 x 2048




      5M Wide

      2592 x 1728





      2592 x 1944





      2048 x 1536





      1024 x 768




      Video clips are recorded in AVI format with the same size and frame rate options as the L74 Wide and i85: 800 x 592 pixels at 20 frames/second and VGA or QVGA at 30 or 15 frames/second. Clips can be recorded with and without sound and the i7 has the same Successive Recording function as the other models. Three self-timer modes are provided, offering two- and ten-second delays plus a ‘double’ setting that delays the shutter by 10 seconds then takes two shots with two seconds between them.

      Playback features are similar to the i85 and include single and index views, image rotation and protection, DPOF tagging, voice captioning, up to 12x zoom and a slideshow with transitions and background music. The same in-camera editing functions are provided and include resizing, trimming, colour effects, red-eye fix, adjustment of brightness, contrast and saturation and the same suite of Fun functions.

      Like the other models, the i7 comes with a small lithium-ion battery, which is charged in the camera via the supplied USB cable. Two charging options are available: you can charge from the mains via the AC adaptor, which attaches to the USB cable or simply plug the cable into a USB slot on your computer. It takes almost three hours to charge a depleted battery either way. Samsung provides no information on battery capacity but we were able to carry out all our standard tests (more than 150 shots) on a signle charge.

      Bundled software is Windows only and includes Digimax Converter, Digimax Master, a camera driver and the XviD codec, which allows movie clips recorded with the camera to be played on a PC. No driver is required for using the camera with Mac OS 10.1 and later.

      Multimedia Functions
      For details and illustrations of the i7’s multimedia functions, refer to the reviews of the Samsung i85 and L74 Wide cameras, which have already been published on this website. Essentially, the multimedia features of the i7 are a combination of the features provided in these two cameras.

      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 ““ or a memory card. 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.

      To use the World Tour Guide you must connect the camera to a computer and download the relevant file from Samsung’s website to your computer. You 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 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. 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. Saturation was slightly elevated. Imatest confirmed the increased saturation and showed overall colour accuracy to be reasonably good. Skin hues were generally accurate but revealed shifts in reds, yellows, cyan and olive green.

      Noticeable coloured fringing was observed in test shots with moderate magnification and Imatest confirmed the presence of severe chromatic aberration. It also showed resolution to be below expectations for the camera’s resolution and also confirmed a noticeable fall-off in sharpness towards the edges of test images.


      Coloured fringing.

      Close-up performance was very good, particularly with the super macro setting, although shots showed some sharpening artefacts. Elevated saturation produced some lurid colour reproduction with a few close-up subjects. Digital zoom shots were slightly 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.


      Long exposure in Night Scene mode.

      Image noise became apparent at ISO 400 and at ISO 800 test shots had become blotchy and granular-looking. Colour reproduction was also impaired and, by ISO 1600 we considered shots to be effectively unusable. 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 200 and above and flash shots at ISO 1600 were visibly noise-affected.

      The i7 powered-up within a second and we measured an average capture lag of 0.9 seconds, which reduced to less than 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing. The continuous shooting mode recorded high-resolution shots at intervals of 0.55 seconds. It took just under 10 seconds to process a burst of nine 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.





      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.




      Digital zoom.


      ISO 80



      ISO 1600




      Image sensor: 5.76 x 4.29 mm CCD with 7.4 million photosites (7.2 megapixels effective)
      Lens: 6.3-18.9mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom (38-114mm in 35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 3x optical, up to 5x digital
      Image formats: Stills ““ JPEG (Exif 2.2); Movies – AVI (MPEG-4)/WAV
      Image Sizes: Stills ““ 3072 x 2304, 3072 x 2048, 3072 x 1728, 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 15 fps
      Shutter speed range: Auto ““ 1-1/2000 sec.; Night mode ““ 16-1/2000 sec.
      Image Stabilisation: in-camera digital processing
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3EV steps
      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 metering; 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 ““ 0.3-3.8 metres
      Sequence shooting: 6 fps for 30 VGA frames (Motion Capture mode)
      Storage Media: 450MB internal memory plus SD/SDHC expansion slot
      Viewfinder: n.a.
      LCD monitor: 3.0-inch colour TFT LCD (230,000 pixel)
      Power supply: SLB-1137C rechargeable lithium-ion battery
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 100.5 x 60.4 x 22.2 mm
      Weight: 186 grams (without battery and card)





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