The Bottom Line
The ST80 is a good camera, but it could be quite a bit better with a more consistent image quality and with a larger zoom lens than 3X.
- Touch screen LCD is a great feature to have in a low-priced camera
- Camera performance is very good when shooting outdoors
- WiFi connectivity is something found in few point and shoot cameras, making uploads easy
- Camera is very thin, yet remains easy to hold and use
- 3X optical zoom lens could be larger, and it moves too slowly when zooming
- Indoor photo quality is inconsistent, and flash tends to wash out images in close-up photos
- Touch screen commands seem difficult to select correctly on occasion
- Must charge battery inside the camera
- Resolution: 14.2 megapixels
- Optical zoom: 3X (35-105mm)
- LCD: 3.0-inch, 230,000 pixels, touch screen
- Maximum image size: 4320 x 3240 pixels
- Battery: Li-ion rechargeable
- Dimensions: 3.62 x 2.18 x 0.73 inches
- Weight: 3.81 ounces (without battery and memory card)
- Image sensor: CCD 1/2.3 in.
- Movie mode: 720p HD video
Guide Review - Samsung ST80 Review
When shooting outdoors, you'll find great image quality with the ST80. Colors are accurate and exposure is good, even with areas of shadows and bright sunlight.
Many inexpensive cameras have problems with low-light photos, and the ST80 does, too. Focus is sharp both indoors and outdoors, but some of the indoor photos I shot during my testing had some exposure problems. Shadowed areas were underexposed pretty badly at times. If you have an indoor photo with both light and shadows, you'll probably have some exposure problems.
If you're going to shoot with the flash, try to avoid shooting close-ups, as you'll probably end up with a washed out photo. Close-up macro photos are pretty sharply focused, though, and turn out well, as long as you can avoid the flash. In fact, my testing results showed that the ST80's focus was sharper with close-up subjects in automatic mode, rather than in macro mode.
Response times are pretty good with this camera, although you may notice some shutter lag in low-light photos.
I was disappointed in the ST80's 3X optical zoom lens, which offers only a minimum magnification and no significant wide angle capabilities. The zoom lens moves slowly through its magnification settings, too.
Samsung included limited manual control options with the ST80, including the ability to set ISO, white balance, and exposure.
The ST80 is a very small and thin camera, but I found it to be easy to hold and use. It also has a sturdy feel.
As is common with other Samsung cameras, the menu structure with the ST80 is outstanding and very easy to use.
The ST80 has a couple of design issues I didn't like. First, Samsung did not include a separate battery charger with this camera, meaning you must charge the battery inside the ST80. The primary problem here is that, if you have a second battery, you cannot charge one battery while still using the second battery to shoot photos. Second, the camera only can use microSD memory cards, which aren't as common as regular-sized SD memory cards.
It's great to have a touch screen LCD with the ST80, but, even though it measures 3 inches diagonally, it just seems a little small, and I had a few problems making the correct selection on the ST80's LCD touch screen. Samsung included no other buttons for controlling the camera's menus, so all control occurs through the touch screen LCD. When using the camera in direct sunlight, you will notice a little bit of glare on the screen, but it's not significant.
Finally, one key feature in the ST80 is the ability to transmit your photos through a WiFi network. The built-in WiFi -- along with the touch screen LCD -- makes the ST80 quite a bit different from other cameras in this price range. If those are two features that you really want, then the ST80 is good enough in other areas that it'll be a good value. If those two features aren't important to you, though, then the ST80 probably isn't strong enough in its other areas to appeal to you.