The Bottom Line
Digital camera reviewers like me often strongly focus on the image quality of a model above all else, and understandably so. If a camera shoots lousy photos, its other features really don't matter much.
However, there is another aspect to photography and cameras that remains important -- the "fun" factor. Cameras should work well, but they also should be fun to use, especially point and shoot cameras.
With that in mind, Samsung's latest DualView camera, the DV300F, does a really nice job of succeeding on both fronts. With its two LCD screens and Wi-Fi capability, the DV300F is perfectly built for sharing photos via social networking. This camera also shoots photos that are of a much higher quality than you'd expect to find in the sub-$150 price range.
It certainly isn't a perfect camera, especially if you're someone who's looking for some advanced features. However, the DV300F does an excellent job of mixing fun, performance, and value, making it a great camera to consider, regardless of your level of photography experience.
For a camera in this price range, the Samsung DV300F has better-than-expected results with its images. I thought the focus with this camera was very sharp most of the time, and color accuracy was really good.
Keep in mind that Samsung designed the DV300F as primarily a portrait camera, and this is the area where its images are of the best quality. The flash tends to work pretty well with this camera, as long as you aren't too close to the subject, which results in blown-out images.
With a 5X optical zoom lens, the DV300F isn't going to be great for shooting nature photos where you need a longer zoom to see an animal. But, with the LCD on the front and with the Wi-Fi capabilities of this camera, it's not really aimed as a camera for nature photography. There are plenty of other thin cameras with large zooms that are better for this type of photography.
As another fun aspect of this camera, you can apply quite a few special effects to your images as you're shooting them or after you've shot them.
One area where the DV300F falters a little bit is in its movie options. The maximum video resolution is 720p, which might not be a big deal if you only plan to share your movies on social networks.
The response times for this camera are better than most of its competitors in the $150 price range. There is a bit of shutter lag with this camera, and shot-to-shot delays tend to occur when using the flash. Start-up is pretty fast for this camera, compared to similar models.
Samsung did include the ability to control a few settings on the DV300F manually, such as the ISO and white balance. However, Samsung designed this model to be an easy-to-use point-and-shoot camera that works well in fully automatic mode.
It's even easy to set up the DV300F with your wireless network, as the camera's software walks you through the process pretty thoroughly. You will find that the camera's battery drains more quickly when you're using the Wi-Fi network quite a bit. Standard battery life with this DualView camera is pretty good, although it drains quickly when using the LCD on the front of the camera along with the Wi-Fi.
You also can download some apps from Samsung to allow you to control the DV300F using your smartphone.
Obviously, the key feature of the DV300F is the dual LCD design. The 3.0-inch LCD on the back panel of the camera is very bright and sharp.
The LCD on the front of the camera measures only 1.5 inches diagonally, and it doesn't have an overly sharp display, but it's just right considering its purpose. Samsung uses the front LCD to allow you to shoot easy self-portraits. You can play an animation that will hold the attention of uncooperative children as you try to shoot your photos. There's also a self-timer countdown mode, so you know exactly when the image will be recorded.
The front LCD is a lot of fun to use, and it will make your camera an attention-grabber. To find this feature in a camera in this price point is pretty impressive.
Samsung also did a nice job with the design of the menu structure with this camera. Like most Samsung cameras, the menu contain a lot of graphics, making it easy to pick the mode you want to use. The menus look great on the 3.0-inch LCD.
The camera body is pretty thin, and it looks like any other point-and-shoot camera until you activate the LCD on the front panel. For a camera that's designed to be fun, I'd liked to have seen Samsung create a few varieties of body colors, other than black or silver, but, for the most part, the DV300F is a pretty good looking camera.
The control buttons on the back panel are a pretty typical group of buttons, but it would be nice if they were a bit larger. Still, those drawbacks are pretty minor when you consider the overall strengths of this model. Few cameras in its price range will be as fun to use or will offer the type of image quality -- at least for portrait photos -- that you're going to find with the DV300F. Throw in the unique look of the two LCDs, and you have a very interesting camera here, one that does a nice job of providing style, performance, and value in one package.