Samsung L74Wide

      Photo Review 8

      In summary

      A well-built and affordable slimline digicam with a wide zoom lens, large LCD and capacious internal memory.Samsung’s slim L74 Wide digicam stands out from the crowd in several ways. Most obvious are its 3.0-inch touch screen LCD and wide zoom lens, which encompasses an angle of view equivalent to 28 mm at the wide setting. More revolutionary is the provision of 450 MB of internal memory and some interesting functions that will appeal to travellers, including the ability to load a built-in Tour Guide with information covering 4,500 regions in 30 countries. Users can also store additional data, such as maps and directions in the camera to help them en route. . . [more]

      Full review


      Samsung’s slim L74 Wide digicam stands out from the crowd in several ways. Most obvious are its 3.0-inch touch screen LCD and wide zoom lens, which encompasses an angle of view equivalent to 28 mm at the wide setting. More revolutionary is the provision of 450 MB of internal memory and some interesting functions that will appeal to travellers, including the ability to load a built-in Tour Guide with information covering 4,500 regions in 30 countries. Users can also store additional data, such as maps and directions in the camera to help them en route.
      Image resolution is a pretty standard 7.2 megapixels, which sits well with the relatively small 5.76 x 4.29 mm CCD imager. The black metal body has a grip ledge that positions your forefinger nicely for operating the shutter button. A mode dial on the top panel has settings for Auto, P (Program AE), ASR (Samsung’s proprietary ISO-boosting image stabilisation system), Night, Scene, Movie and World Tour Guide. Most of the rear panel is covered by the LCD; the only controls are a small zoom rocker above the strap eyelet and tiny display and playback/print buttons below. The anchor point for the strap eyelet doubles as a thumb rest.


      Build quality is mostly very good. The battery and card compartment locks securely and the tripod socket is metal-lined for durability. However, the power switch is recessed into the top panel making it tricky to turn the camera on. And although the lens retracts into the camera body, its cover flaps are flimsy and provide inadequate protection.


      Like many other recent digicams, the L74 Wide is equipped with face recognition technology. The Samsung version can detect identify up to nine faces and will automatically focus on the nearest person. The AE function then takes over, setting the appropriate exposure and activating flash if necessary. It worked quite well in our tests, although was not a huge improvement over the normal AF system. According to the instruction manual, it won’t work if subjects close to the camera are looking away or when subjects wear dark glasses. Digital zoom and effects functions are disabled when face recognition is selected.
      Operating the test camera with the touch screen ranged from straightforward to downright frustrating as some functions were adjustable by simply brushing a fingertip over the relevant icon while others were quite reluctant to change. The principle is fine, in theory, but the execution in the test camera left a lot to be desired. When there are more than four options to choose from for a setting, you must tap on arrows at the edge of the screen to display additional choices. This means more toggling – and more potential for frustration. Available functions depend on which shooting mode you’ve set. P mode provides the widest range of options but even it is limited. For example, drive options in P mode include single, burst, motion capture (fast burst) and AE bracketing, while in ASM mode you can only choose between single and ‘Wise Shot’ modes. Wise Shot takes two pictures, with and without flash, and saves them both. Only single shots can be taken in the other shooting modes.
      The Night mode is the only setting to provide a choice of apertures (f/2.8 or f/5.6) and you can set long exposures up to 16 seconds by pressing the LT (Long Time) button. However, ISO settings cannot be adjusted. Built-in red-eye correction is available in both the Night and Portrait modes but once you get into the Scene pre-sets (of which there are 12), few adjustments can be made. That’s advantageous because actually changing scene selections involved a considerable amount of toggling on the test camera. After selecting the Scene mode we had to tap on the Menu icon, then the Camera icon, then select the scene mode and toggle through it to find the setting we wanted. This should have been achievable via the icon on the touch screen – but, for some reason, was not.
      To use the World Tour Guide you must first download the firmware from Samsung’s customer support website and load it into the camera’s memory. Next you must create a tour folder in the camera’s memory. You can then select travel data for the area you plan to visit, including maps, pictures and information, and load it into this folder. Formatting the internal memory will delete all this data and require you to return to Samsung’s website and start again.
      Movie clips are recorded in MPEG-4 format and you can choose between VGA, QVGA and SVGA (800 x 592 pixels) quality, although the latter has a top frame rate of 20 fps, while the lower-resolution options support 30 and 15 fps. Consequently, SVGA clips are slightly jerky when played back on a TV screen. Interestingly, the Effect menu in the Movie mode has a setting that supports silent recording, although the default setting captures monaural sound. An interesting Successive Recording setting lets you pause recording without dividing the clip and creating multiple files. Voice memos can be added to image files or recorded for as long as the memory allows.
      Outdoor shots taken with the test camera had natural-looking – though slightly cool – colours and a relatively normal contrast range. Exposures were pitched to ensure highlight detail was recorded so deep shadows tended to block up a little. JPEG compression was modest at the highest quality settings (see table below).


      Super Fine















      5M Wide












      Imatest showed resolution to be adequate, though not outstanding. It also revealed a slight degree of edge softening, which was visible with close inspection in many shots. At high ISO settings (800 and above), resolution declined dramatically. This was visible in shots as a loss of sharpness and saturation coupled with lower colour accuracy. Lateral chromatic aberration was at the high end of the moderate range and coloured fringing was obvious at the edges of outdoor shots. Colour saturation was moderately low for a digicam and Imatest revealed some shifts in blues and purples, particularly in high-sensitivity shots.
      The auto white balance setting failed to remove the colour casts of incandescent and fluorescent lighting and we were only able to obtain good colour reproduction with the manual measurement mode. Shooting close-ups required use of the Macro scene mode and subjects had to be at least 5 cm from the camera to be sharply focused. Results were acceptable when these conditions were met but meeting them was a challenge as the camera often indicated focus when it had not been achieved. Digital zoom shots were slightly better than average.
      Flash shots became progressively warmer in hue as ISO values increased. Changes were obvious by ISO 400 but by ISO 800 the orange cast was too strong to be effectively removed with editing software without reducing image quality. We were unable to experiment with using high ISO settings for long exposures as the Night mode does not permit ISO adjustments. At the default setting of ISO 80, a 16-secodn exposure produced excellent results with very little colour warming.
      It took just under three seconds to power up the camera and extend its lens. We measured an average capture lag of 0.9 seconds, which reduced to 0.15 seconds with pre-focusing. Shot-to-shot times averaged 2.5 seconds without flash and around five seconds with. The continuous shooting mode recorded three 3.46MB JPEGs at 0.6 second intervals then slowed to one frame/second as files were processed.



      Colour rendition at low ISO settings showed varying levels of saturation with different hues.


      At high ISO settings, saturation levels varied widely and coloru shifts were apparent.


      Colour rendition was generally slightly cool.






      Digital zoom


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting


      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting


      ISO 100


      ISO 1600


      Flash at ISO 100


      Flash at 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 (MPEG4)/WAV
      Image Sizes: Stills ““ 3072 x 2304, 3072 x 2048, 3072 x 1728, 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 15360, 1024 x 768; Movies ““ 800 x 592 at 20 fps, 640 x 480, 320 x 240 at 30 or 15 fps
      Shutter speed range: Auto ““ 1/1000 sec; Night ““ 16-1/1000 sec
      Image Stabilisation: ASR processing
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 2 EV in 1⁄ 3 EV steps.
      Focus system/range: TTL AF; range 80 cm to infinity; macro 5-80 cm
      Exposure metering/control: Multi, centre, spot, face recognition; Program AE plus 14 scene pre-sets
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1000
      White balance: Auto, daylight, cloudy, fluorescent (x2), tungsten, Custom, Manual Setting (8 steps)
      Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto (with/without red-eye reduction), fill-in, slow synch, off; range 0.3-5.0 m
      Sequence shooting: 2.5 fps normal; 6 fps M-Capture (up to 30 frames at 640 x 480 pixel resolution)
      Storage Media: 450MB internal memory plus SD/SDHC/MMC expansion slot (up to 4GB)
      LCD monitor: 3.0-inch TFT LCD touch panel
      Power supply: SLB-1137D rechargeable lithium-ion battery
      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: $499

      Rating (out of 10):

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