The Bottom Line
Its $449 MSRP is a bit high, but you may find the TL500 for less than $350 (or even $300) now, making it a really good value.
- Image quality is extremely high, thanks to high-quality lens and image sensor
- Sharp 3.0-inch AMOLED screen can rotate and swivel
- Menu structure is very easy to use and is well organized
- TL500's low-light capabilities are outstanding
- Camera works well in both advanced and fully automatic modes
- Optical zoom lens is only 3X
- Manufacturer's suggested price is a bit high
- Noise can be excessive at high ISOs
- Maximum video resolution is VGA
- Resolution: 10.0 megapixels
- Optical zoom: 3X (24-72mm)
- AMOLED: 3.0-inch, 614,000 pixels
- Maximum image size: 3648 x 2736 pixels
- Battery: Li-ion rechargeable
- Dimensions: 4.49 x 2.56 x 1.18 inches
- Weight: 12.56 ounces (without battery)
- Image sensor: CCD 1/1.7 in.
- Movie mode: VGA video (640 x 480)
Guide Review - Samsung TL500 Review
For an easy-to-use camera, the TL500 will create surprisingly high-quality photos. Images are sharp, bright, and vibrant, and they are among the best you can shoot without using an interchangeable-lens camera.
Don't let the fact that the TL500 offers a maximum of 10.0 megapixels of resolution fool you -- this camera's CCD image sensor is larger than you'll find in most point-and-shoot cameras, allowing it to create higher-quality photos with less resolution.
You'll also find a lens in the TL500 that is of a higher quality versus most point-and-shoot cameras, which contributes to this camera's high image quality capabilities. The TL500's Schneider Kreuznach f/1.8 lens provides strong optics, has a strong low-light performance, offers a wide aperture, and can shoot at a more shallow depth of field than most consumer-level cameras.
The trade-off for the high-quality images the TL500 can shoot with the f/1.8 lens is that it has a relatively small optical zoom of only 3X. If you're looking to shoot a lot of nature photos where you need a lot of telephoto capabilities, the TL500 will not meet your needs.
Samsung has included a fast imaging processor with the TL500, creating better overall performance.
As with all Samsung cameras, the TL500 includes a great menu structure that's easy to use and well organized. You can control the menus with a four-way button on the back panel, but it also includes a ring that spins, making it easy to move between commands.
This camera includes optical IS, which is great for low-light shots, as well as a dedicated video button. The TL500 can shoot in RAW, too.
The TL500 is a very basic-looking camera, only available in black. It's thicker than many consumer-level models, and the lens sticks out a bit from the front of the camera.
The popup flash on the TL500 works great, giving this camera better low-light performance than with the built-in flash units on other consumer-level cameras. Even with the popup flash activated, there's still plenty of room for your finger on the camera body behind the lens, which is important.
Overall, the TL500 is comfortable to hold and use. The zoom ring is around the shutter button, which is a convenient location. The mode dials are along the top panel of the camera, too, making them easy to use.
The high-resolution AMOLED screen is a great screen, offering extremely high-quality and sharp images. It also can rotate and swivel, allowing for odd-angle photos. When you aren't using the camera, you can rotate the screen toward the inside of the camera, which leaves a hard plastic casing on the outside of the camera and leaves the screen protected.
The TL500 is a very impressive camera, as long as you can live with the small optical zoom lens. Its price tag -- MSRP $449 -- probably is going to keep it out of the reach of some photographers. If you shop around, you can find it for much less, though, making the TL500 a good value and well worth consideration.