The Bottom Line
The Samsung PL200 is another camera that fits that mold. The PL200 is a very good value at less than $200, especially considering it has a 7X optical zoom lens and a large LCD screen. Image quality with the PL200 isn't the best you'll find in this price range, but it is above average compared to its peers. Overall speed and performance are pretty good, too, making the PL200 a nice option for beginning photographers.
- PL200 works pretty quickly and features good response times
- 7X optical zoom lens is nice to see on a budget-priced camera, and zoom lens moves quickly
- Menu structure is very easy to use and is well organized
- Image quality is good, especially compared to similarly priced cameras
- Autofocus system works very well
- Camera struggles with indoor photos on occasion
- You'll have a few out-of-focus photos in low-light conditions
- Must charge battery inside the camera, which is inconvenient
- Even though image quality is good, a little more consistency would be nice
- Resolution: 14.2 megapixels
- Optical zoom: 7X (31-217mm)
- LCD: 3.0-inch, 230,000 pixels
- Maximum image size: 4320 x 3240 pixels
- Battery: Li-ion rechargeable
- Dimensions: 3.93 x 2.34 x 0.83 inches
- Weight: 5.04 ounces (without battery and memory card)
- Image sensor: CCD 1/2.3 in.
- Movie mode: 720p HD video
Guide Review - Samsung PL200 Review
The overall image quality for the Samsung PL200 is pretty good, especially considering its price point. As with most inexpensive cameras, you'll have some photos that are slightly out of focus or poorly exposed, especially when working in low-light conditions. However, most indoor photos look pretty good, and, at times, the focus sharpness in low light is outstanding.
As with most cameras in this price range, outdoor photos outshine indoor photos in terms of sharpness and proper exposure. Color accuracy is very good outdoors, too.
The flash works pretty well, and you'll have some really good close-up flash photos at times.
Image quality with the PL200 is good considering its sub-$200 price, but it isn't quite as consistent as a top-rated camera.
It is nice to have options for shooting at a variety of ratios (4:3, 3:2, and 16:9) at a few different high resolutions.
The 7X optical zoom lens is a great feature to find in a camera that costs less than $200. The PL200 doesn't offer much in terms of wide angle capabilities in its lens, but the 7X lens moves quickly through its entire zoom range.
For a camera in this price range, the PL200's response times are really good. Start-up times are short, and you won't notice shot-to-shot delays. The PL200 does have a little shutter lag in low lighting, but it's not a significant issue.
With the PL200, the camera's autofocus uses a green box on the screen to indicate a sharply focus subject and a red box to indicate an out-of-focus subject. This system works really well in achieving a well-focused photo each time.
Although the PL200 is primarily desiged to be used in fully automatic mode as a beginner-level camera, Samsung has included a few basic manual control options.
There's not much special to talk about with the design of the PL200, other than it's a very thin and lightweight model. I liked the size of this camera, and it was easy to hold. The lens extends from the body, and there's no chance that you'll block the lens or flash during normal usage.
The PL200's 3.0-inch LCD is a good size and fits the camera well. It is very bright, and the screen is easy to see in direct sunlight.
As with nearly all Samsung cameras, the PL200's menu structure is as good as you'll find on any digital camera. The menus make sense, are well organized, and are easy to use. When working with the "Shooting" menu, you'll only see the pertinent commands, simplifying the operation.
The various buttons on the PL200 all are easy to use as well. You can gain quick access to common commands with the Fn button, and the Smart Auto button resets the camera settings to fully automatic quickly. Additionally, Samsung included both mode and menu buttons, which makes it easy to find the exact command you want.
One unfortunate issue is that you must charge the battery inside the camera, which is inconvenient. Still, the PL200 offers plenty of features and just good enough image quality to make it a great value.