Samsung L74 Wide

      Photo Review 8

      In summary

      A well-built digicam with touch-screen control and on-board tour guide.With its matte black body, slim lines and huge LCD touch-screen, Samsung’s 7.2-megapixel L74 Wide is an attractive looking digicam which, as its name suggests, sports a wide zoom lens. The 3.6x optical zoom range starts at the equivalent of 28mm in 35mm format and extends to 101mm, a useful range for everyday photographers. . . [more]

      Full review


      With its matte black body, slim lines and huge LCD touch-screen, Samsung’s 7.2-megapixel L74 Wide is an attractive looking digicam which, as its name suggests, sports a wide zoom lens. The 3.6x optical zoom range starts at the equivalent of 28mm in 35mm format and extends to 101mm, a useful range for everyday photographers.

      Build quality is similar to Samsung’s NV series cameras and the L74 Wide sports an ‘NV-series’ lens with the trademark blue ring. The camera is attractively designed and feels solid to hold, with a moulded grip and thumb pad on the rear panel. A small electronic flash fits into the top right corner of the front panel. Below it lies the AF-assist lamp, which doubles as a self-timer indicator. The receiver for the remote control lies below it.


      The mode dial on the top panel provides quick access to the shooting modes and World Travel Guide. The latter is also found in Samsung’s i85 model, which we have recently reviewed (see /Samsung/reviews/slimline/samsung-i85.aspx). Shooting modes are also similar to the i85, with Auto, Program AE and ASR (Advanced Shake Reduction) but the Night and Portrait modes have dedicated settings, while the Scene mode opens a sub menu containing 12 additional presets. Movie capture is also accessed via the mode dial.


      The 3.0-inch touch-screen, which provides the camera’s main control interface, occupies two thirds of the back panel. Its resolution is relatively high at 230,000 pixels but we found its performance poor in bright sunlight. Accessing camera settings through the touch-screen on the review camera was frustrating as several taps were often needed to engage some functions (a ‘touch pen’ is provided to make this easier but it’s no more effective than your fingertip ““ and much easier to mislay).


      The touch-screen interface.

      A tiny zoom rocker is crammed up in the top right corner and info and quick review/print buttons lie near the bottom edge. A strap eyelet protrudes from the right side of the rear panel. The ASR mode is the same as on the i85 and only works when this mode is selected. It uses ISO boosting and digital processing to reduce the effects of camera shake but is only effective when subjects are stationary and the digital zoom is inactivated. The same Wise Shot drive setting is associated with this mode as in the i85.

      The L74 Wide’s internal memory is a huge 450MB so there’s plenty of space for still pictures. However, if you upload the entire World Tour guide it will take up almost half of that memory and, if you omit the guide, you can only store roughly 11 minutes of video recorded at the highest quality setting. The SD/SDHC/MMC 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.


      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 i85: 800 x 592 pixels at 20 or 15 frames/second and VGA or QVGA at 30 frames/second. Clips can be recorded with and without sound and the L74 Wide has the same Successive Recording function as the i85. 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. A remote trigger is supplied with the camera.

      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.

      The Image Adjust sub-menu contains a bizarre ‘add noise’ setting for users who wish to accentuate this effect post-capture. Deleting individual shots is easy; you simple display the image and tap on the delete icon on the LCD. Selecting format in the menu system deletes everything in memory ““ including the World Tour Guide.

      Like the i85, the L74 Wide 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.

      The L74 Wide’s power consumption is slightly higher than average but Samsung claims you should get around 200 shots per charge. Bundled software is Windows only and includes 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.

      Pictures from the test camera were bright and colourful with the slightly raised saturation common in point-and-shoot cameras and blown highlights in contrasty scenes. Imatest showed overall resolution to be below expectations and revealed a severe loss of sharpness towards the edges of frames. This edge softening was confirmed by inspection of test shots. However, distortion was low across the zoom range, despite the wider than average angle of view of the lens.

      Imatest revealed colour shifts in yellows and blues but skin colours were close to accurate. Severe lateral chromatic aberration was detected in Imatest evaluations. Images were also affected by strong coloured fringing, which was obvious with only moderate enlargement. Digital zoom shots were slightly soft and artefact-affected but close-ups were competently handled, though saturation was rather high.


      Coloured fringes were obvious throughout many images.

      Noise was visible in test shots from ISO 200 on and obvious by ISO 400. At ISO 1600, shots were blotchy and colours were flat. The auto white balance failed to remove the colour casts of either incandescent or fluorescent lighting but performed better with the former than many digicams we’ve reviewed. The manual pre-sets produced close to natural colours with both lighting types.

      Long exposures in the Night Scene mode contained less noise than we expected and colours were reproduced naturally. The flash was only able to illuminate an average-sized room at ISO 200 and above and we found a slight green shift in flash shots at ISO 1600. Video quality was pretty ordinary, with an uneven flow at the highest resolution.


      Long exposures with the Night Scene setting were slightly soft but otherwise usable.
      It took just under two seconds to power-up the test camera and extend its lens and roughly a second to shut down. We measured an average capture lag of one second, which dropped to 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing. Shot-to-shot times averaged 2.9 seconds without flash and six seconds with.

      In continuous shooting mode, the camera recorded two frames at 0.5 and 0.7 second intervals then paused for 1.1 seconds before recording another shot after 0.6 seconds. It then captured two shots at one second intervals before swapping back to a 0.6 second gap. Then it was back to 1.0 second intervals. Presumably this allows the camera to keep pace with the image processing system. But it’s frustrating to use.

      With the Motion Capture setting, the camera performed to specifications, recording VGA-sized shots at six frames/second for up to 30 shots. It took just under six seconds to process a burst.






      Resolution near the centre of the frame.


      Resolution towards the edge of the frame.




      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: 4.7-17mm f/2.8-5.6 zoom (28-101mm in 35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 3.6x 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, 320 x 240 at 30 fps
      Shutter speed range: Auto: 1-1/1000 sec.; Night mode ““ 16-1/1000 sec
      Image Stabilisation: in-camera digital processing
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 2Ev in 1/3Ev steps
      Focus system/range: TTL AF (Multi-AF, Manual AF, Face Recognition AF); range 80 cm to infinity; macro to 5cm
      Exposure metering/control: Multi, Centre, Spot and Face Recognition metering, Program AE plus 14 scene presets
      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, red-eye fix, auto + red-eye reduction, fill-in, slow-sync, flash off; range 0.3-5.0 m
      Sequence shooting:
      Storage Media: approx. 450MB internal memory plus SD/SDHC expansion slot
      Viewfinder: n.a.
      LCD monitor: 3.0-inch TFT colour touch panel
      Power supply: SLB-1137D rechargeable lithium-ion battery (rated for 200 shots/charge)
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 104.5 x 61.8 x 21.8 mm
      Weight: 184.2 grams (with battery and card)





      Digital cameras, lenses and accessories with 100% genuine Australian manufacturer’s warranties.
      Ph: (02) 9029 2219

      Camera House


      Ph: 133 686
      The largest speciality photographic retail chain in Australia.

      Camera Pro

      CameraPro Pty Ltd
      Suite 607, 180 Queen St, Brisbane 4000
      Tel: 07 3333 2900
      Australian owned and run company based in Brisbane.



      Retailer of digital camera equipment and more.
      Secure online shopping and delivery across Australia.
      Ph: 1300 727 056
      Ph: 1800 155 067



      Comprehensive range of digital cameras and accessories online ( and an online print service (

      Digital Camera Warehouse

      174 Canterbury Road 367 High Street
      Canterbury Northcote
      NSW 2193 VIC 3070
      Ph: 1300 365 220

      Electronics Warehouse

      1300 801 885
      Australian retailer of Vapex rechargeable batteries offering factory direct prices and fast, free shipping Australia wide.



      Photographic Equipment & Supplies – Retail & Repairs. Click here for list of stores.

      Ted’s Cameras



      1800 186 895
      Big range of cameras and photographic products with stores in most states and online.



      RRP: $429

      Rating (out of 10):

      • Build: 8.5
      • Ease of use: 7.5
      • Image quality: 7
      • OVERALL: 8