The Bottom Line
Samsung's designers didn't seem to miss a trick in one of their newest point and shoot digital cameras, as my Samsung SL820 review shows. The SL820 offers outstanding image quality, both indoors and outdoors. Its response times are excellent overall, with only slight shot to shot delays with the flash. The SL820's 3.0-inch LCD is sharp and bright, and the camera's menus are easy to use.
The primary drawback to the SL820 is that you must recharge batteries inside the camera, using a proprietary USB cable that plugs into an AC adapter or a computer. Essentially, you cannot charge one battery while using another.
- Extremely easy to use, includes built-in help features and explanations
- Image quality is very good, both with and without flash
- Sharp and large LCD has three brightness levels
- Reponse times are above average for a sub-$250 camera
- Several interesting features, such as ability to apply styles to photos before and after shooting
- Camera is a little heavier than most point and shoot cameras
- SL820 is a little thicker than newer point and shoot cameras
- Battery only can charge inside the camera, without buying additional adapter
- Resolution: 12.2 megapixels
- Optical zoom: 5X (28-140mm)
- LCD: 3.0-inch, 230,000 pixels
- Maximum image size: 4000 x 3000 pixels
- Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion
- Dimensions: 2.32 x 3.72 x 0.89 inches
- Weight: about 4.9 ounces (no battery, no memory card)
- Image sensor: CCD 1/2.33 in.
Guide Review - Samsung SL820 Review
You can shoot at a variety of ratios, including 16:9, and a variety of resolutions, ranging from 12 megapixels to 1 megapixel.
Finally, the SL820 allows you to select from nearly a dozen "photo styles," which are special effects you can apply to your shots, such as sepia, black and white, and negative. You also can easily apply effects and make other editing changes using the camera after you shoot your photos, which is handy.
The 3.0-inch LCD works well for framing photos, and it displays all special effects and ratio changes you make to the shots, giving you a realistic idea of how the photo will look. The SL820 also offers three levels of LCD brightness, making it easy to see in bright sunlight.
Start-up is very fast with this camera, and shutter lag is not noticeable, other than a minimal delay when shooting with the flash. Shot to shot delays also are minimal with the flash.
The SL820 is just a little thicker and heavier than many of today's point and shoot cameras, but I didn't find this to be a serious problem. The button layout makes sense, and the camera is comfortable to operate one handed.
I really liked the SL820's menu structure, which is very easy to use and understand. As you turn the selection dial, each setting is explained on the LCD. You also can access a troubleshooting/help menu through the selection dial.
The SL820 offers a few manual settings in Program mode, and the camera makes it easy to make the manual changes.
Finally, the camera's SmartAuto mode works very well for selecting the scene mode that most closely matches the exterior lighting conditions, further simplifying use of the camera. You can select among the handy scene modes on your own, too.