Samsung TL110 Digital Camera Review

Samsung TL110 Ultra Slim Digital Camera Review

Note to readers:  This is a review of a product I have recently purchased the Samsung TL110 Digital Point-and-Shoot Camera.  I am describing my experience and reasons for purchasing.

I recently purchased the Samsung TL110 point-and-shoot digital camera.  My reasons for purchasing this camera are pretty simple – size and video.  From a size perspective this is one of the smallest and lightest full featured cameras in the Sub $200 price category.  I am also swayed by Samsung’s products in general as I believe the quality of their electronics is vastly improved over the past decade.  Samsung is a major player now from a brand perspective.  I have owned a Samsung Flat Panel LCD TV for 4 years now and the operation has been flawless.

The Samsung TL110 is a 14.2 megapixel camera which really didn’t have any bearing on my purchase.  Point and shoot camera sensors are so small that packaging additional mega-pixels into the tiny sensors for the size of images most people will be printing is actually pointless and may work against the camera.  Many of the more expensive and popular point and shoot cameras coming to market are 10-12 mega pixel.  In fact my S400 Canon which this replaces and cost me more than $400 taxes comparable images and it’s only 4 mega-pixels.  I’d encourage anyone who believes that more megapixels is better to do research on the size of images printed or viewed on screen.

Let me briefly cover the additional specifications before I move on to what is far more important as most cameras now have similar specifications.  This camera features an equivalent focal range of 27mm-135mm which is 5x Zoom. This is an optical zoom – not digital zoom.  Simply take the lowest equivalent lens setting… in this case 27mm and multiply by 5!  The LCD Screen on the back of the camera is 2 11/16” which for a camera of this physical size ssssss is plenty large.

Ironically Samsungs own website is error ridden (at the time of this writing) showing a specification of 14.2megapixels yet the text describes the product as 12.2 megapixel with a 4x zoom.  So much for proofing. We all make mistakes.  Simply take the lowest equivalent lens setting… in this case 27mm and multiply by 5!  The LCD Screen on the back of the camera is 2 11/16” which for a camera of this physical size (Only 7/10th’s of an inch thick!).

Operationally the buttons are well placed and easy to operate with my normal to large sized hands.  The menus are easy to navigate and set.  Two features I really like are the “Smart” feature button on the top left of the camera.  Pressing this button quickly puts the camera in full automatic mode. This is a great way to quickly override any previous settings you may have been using.  The Function button on the lower right of the camera allows you to quickly go to the most important and useful settings instead of having to dig through all of the settings menu by menu. This is useful for changing things like the ISO.  I also like that you can press and hold the play button for 3 seconds and go into what Samsung calls a “manners” mode.  This puts the camera in full silent operation allowing you to take images with no noise.

There is a feature to turn off the sound while zooming the lens in video recording which may or may not be useful to some people.  As far as Video Recording goes it’s mp4 at the highest 720p super fine mode.  The videos are of good quality for a camera of this class and a huge step up from my old S400 Canon.  Using the movie mode is very simple, just select it by holding down the mode button and choosing it off the list.  A Smart Video mode is also available.  Then you simply press down on the shutter just like you would to take a photo and recording begins, press the shutter again and it stops.  Simple, easy effective!  You also have the capability to pause and start video.  With a 2gb micro SD Card (This camera only takes micro SD despite what you may read in some other reviews or on Samsungs site) you get approximately 20 minutes of recording time.  As a rule of thumb for this model in the highest video mode you’ll use about 100mb of storage for every 1 minute of video.

For the money (I paid less than $100) for mine including tax during a Christmas time Promotion… it’s hard to go wrong.  The still images are clear and useful taken directly from the Smart Mode… but being able to use programmable modes to tweek settings is nice.  You can not change the aperture or shutter speed, but you can make other adjustments like ISO and pre-programmed modes.  I like my cameras to be simple to operate and seldom care much for programmed modes.  I’ve been shooting a long time and realize that no matter how many settings you have what matters is exposure time, aperture and lens quality.  This is a good budget entry level camera.  There is some lens hunting (focusing is slow) in low light, but overall the speed of operation is pretty good.  If you are going to use this indoors in low light you’ll need to be patient.  Use it outside in daylight and you’ll be pleasantly surprised… I were using a star system of rating I’d give it 4 out of 5.

Note:  This camera does not contain a printed manual, you’ll have to view the manual online in PDF format from the CD.  The photo software is decent but nothing special.  I choose to bypass it by changing a setting in the camera and just copying the photos direct to the pc.  You can charge this camera via AC or USB.

Small Sleek Affordable - the Samsung TL110 Digital Camera
Small Sleek Affordable - the Samsung TL110 Digital Camera

Samsung Digital Camera Update

I've had this camera now for about 2 months and I've taken about a thousand images and shot a few dozen videos.  So it's time to chime in on my impressions now that I'm more familiar with the product and how it handles in every day photographic situations.

I really like the size of the camera and the size of the LCD for a camera this small.  The Samsung TL110 is a real winner in size and weight.  The speed at which the camera focuses is good in everyday lighting situations but it's certainly not amazingly fast.  It's actually on par with my old Canon S400.  I really like how the camera shows you the mode you are in and the focus points in green squares on the screen as you are shooting.  The quality of the videos is also very good when you consider how small the sensor is on this (and all point and shoot cameras for that matter).  The video is clean and of good quality, although I have not tried to shoot in low light situations more than once or twice.  When I did you can definitely notice the film like grain and tones.  I have no baseline to say if this is better or worse than other point and shoot cameras but it certainly is acceptable.

The downside to this camera for me is only one thing... I don't care for the teeny tiny Micro SD card used (like you find in cell phones).  I'm used to popping the card out of the camera and into a card reader, but with this camera I have to connect the mini USB connector and attach the camera to the computer to transfer images.  I'm nit piking I suppose, but that's just my preference.

The software that comes with the camera is okay, nothing spectacular but very usable if you don't have another image management tool that you prefer.  A big plus is you can bypass the software completely and just click and drag the folders from the camera to a folder on your PC.

So overall I'm very happy with my purchase, especially since it was less than $100.  So the next time I'm in the market for a Digital Point and Shoot camera I will definitely consider Samsung again.  In my opinion the cost of the Canon Point and Shoots is way out of proportion in relation to their benefits.  And Nikon has really let me down by continuing to offer sub par point and shoot cameras.  Sony I will also consider again as I really like the size and look of their products, I just don't like the price!

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