The Bottom Line
Samsung is well known for its innovative point and shoot cameras. Where other companies are content to come up with models each year that increase the optical zoom or add more megapixels, Samsung looks to innovate, even within the inexpensive point and shoot market.
Samsung introduced its DualView family of cameras a few years ago, and they included LCD screens on the front and back of the camera, allowing for easy self-portraits. Samsung added WiFi capabilities to a touch screen camera a couple of years ago with the ST80 camera.
Now, the Samsung MV800 includes a flip LCD that can rotate 180 degrees until it's positioned over the top panel of the camera, allowing for easy self-portraits. Throw in a touch screen LCD, and you have a camera that's really easy to use. It would be nice if the performance levels of the MV800 in low light were a little better, but this is still a fun camera to use.
In fact, this camera would seem to be really a good option for older children, thanks to the touch screen interface that resembles a smartphone and thanks to the self portrait capability.
The MV800's autofocus capability is extremely sharp in most circumstances. In low light, the autofocus struggles a bit, but for all other photos, this camera works really well with sharp focus. The camera's color quality was good, too, outside of some struggles with low light images.
I was pleasantly surprised with the overall image quality of the MV800, thanks in large part to the really strong autofocus. Make sure to turn on the flash for any low light photos, and you should have really good results with the MV800.
You can shoot at two aspect ratios with the MV800, including 16:9 or 4:3. Eight different resolution levels are available with the MV800, six of which are under the 4:3 aspect ratio. More aspect ratios would've been nice.
Samsung included some really cool special effects with the MV800, including picture in picture, magic frame, photo filter, blur, and vignetting. You can add sketch, cartoon, retro, oil painting, and old film effects to each photo, too. Some special effects are available through the MV800's in-camera editing features. I especially liked the picture in picture option, and it is a special effect I haven't found in any other cameras.
When using the special effects, you'll notice some significant shot to shot delays, but, overall, the special effects found with the MV800 are fun to use, and they -- along with the flip LCD for self portraits -- will make this a good camera for kids.
The MV800 can shoot 1080p HD movies. To start and stop movies, you must press a button on the LCD screen. The zoom is available during movies, which is a nice feature.
Shutter lag is a bit of a problem with this camera, especially when shooting in low light or with the flash unit. You'll notice some shot to shot delays with the MV800, too.
With a touch screen LCD camera, it's important that the camera is easy to use, and Samsung succeeded there. Samsung also included several on-screen help features that can explain the various settings as you're using them.
The MV800 has no mode dial, so all settings must be selected through the touch screen. The MV800 has several shooting modes, including smart auto, program, scene modes, 3D, panorama, self shot, and special effects.
I thought the on-screen menus were a little tough to use. It was tough to make the camera recognize my touch commands right away, and I had to repeat some of them. Scrolling through the on-screen menu options was tough, too. I would've preferred a four-way button to help with menu selections.
Although Samsung tried to make the MV800's interface mimic a smartphone screen, I thought the MV800's touch screen was tougher to use than a typical smartphone. Still, once you get used to using the screen, most people will like this interface. Some areas of the menus are easier to scroll through than others.
Obviously, the 180-degree, flip LCD is the key to giving the MV800 its unique design (shown in the two photos above). You can use the MV800 like any standard camera by leaving the LCD in its normal position on the back panel of the camera (as shown in this photo). To flip the LCD, the entire back panel rotates around the top panel of the camera. You can hold the LCD at any flip position, such as 45, 90, and 180 degrees. But the 180-degree position is the only one where it locks in place.
When the back panel flips up to 180 degrees, it covers the top panel, which contains the power button, shutter button, and zoom ring. Some touch screen cameras don't include the zoom ring, so I was pleased to see this option on the MV800 -- it's much easier to zoom with a zoom ring than trying to zoom using the on-screen controls.
To the right of the LCD on the back panel, you'll see a playback button and a home button. Samsung didn't include many buttons with the MV800, preferring to use the touch screen LCD to access the camera's various controls.
When you flip the LCD to 180 degrees, the shutter button is blocked, so Samsung included a second shutter button on the secondary back panel. This second shutter button is hidden normally, when the LCD and back panel are in the normal position. It's a little awkward to use the camera with the secondary shutter button, but you'll quickly get used to it.
The touch screen LCD itself is a high-quality unit that has a widescreen design. It's bright and sharp, and three different brightness settings are available.
The MV800 is an extremely thin camera, and it's all black, other than a tiny amount of silver trim around the lens housing.
You will have to use a micro SD memory card with the MV800, which you might not have around the house, meaning you'll have to buy one separately.
Samsung included a USB and HDMI slot with the MV800, and both slots are secured behind strong latches.