Samsung NV24HD review
Had been using a Casio S700 for nearly 18 months; which packed up due to sand in the lens. I moved to a Kodak v1253 after that, and that died within 3 months - never buy Kodak again.
The trend here, is small form factor cameras that shoot acceptable video and pictures. I shoot serious stuff with a Canon 5D, so I know what quality is.
Also, I must say, I love the 16:9 aspect. I like it for photos and video, preferring to display images on a screen rather than prints. 16:9 is essential. At 16:9, a regular 35mm focal lenght gets a bit tight, so the wider the lens can go the better.
The Samsung NV24HD seemed to be an ideal candidate, and so far it has exceeded my expectations. It really is quite well built, and the grip is a good inclusion. The AMOLED screen is very good, but I found it smears grease a bit too easy (needs cleaning with a fluid every so often). It's a 4:3 format screen; which isn't ideal. The Kodak screen was out of this world at 16:9 native.
Speed of operation is worlds apart from the Kodak I had previously. It does what you want it to do, when you want it to do it. Focusing is quick, and it's ready to take a picture quickly after. The button system is totally different to anything I've ever used, but after 30 minutes of playing, I'm sold on it. I can change settings like lightning compared to what I used to. It's as quick as setting my DSLR, but using a soft menu - nice!
Feature wise it's got everything on it, more than I'll ever use. It's got full manual control 'M'; which is nice for tricky situations, but it generally does well in terms of exposure. Optical Image Stabilisation is handy, but I don't seem to quite like the Dual Stabilisation, yet anyway. Also, shooting formats are 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9; which is nice to have such a plethora of choice. Did I mention this camera also sports a 24mm lens :-).
Picture quality for a camera at this price point is good. It's a bit soft at the edges when wide, and the internal compression/sharpening/NR is the usual with cameras along this line.
If you can be bothered, turn the sharpening down to -2, contrast to -1 and do the rest in post processing (I also +1 Saturation). I find lightroom so fast, it's worth it for me, and have created a user preset of: Sharpen Amount 25, Radius 1, Mask 50, Detail 35; Tone Curve Strong Contrast; Clarity 30; Vibrance 10.
I then set about individually tweaking, Exposure, Fill Light, Recovery, Brightness, NR and a few other minor tweaks. I can get through about 50 photos, imported, pick/reject, keyworded, processed and published in about 20 minutes.
To the video. HD quality is good, especially for this price and small form factor. No, it doesn't compare to the big boys, but neither is it too far off. Points of excellence and distinction between the competition, are the ability to AE componsate, stereo recording to AAC at 48Khz.
A lot of other manufacturers are using uLaw compression; which isn't just bad, it's pathetic - breaking up at high levels, or detailed sound. This does a very good job in comparison. However, sound is lost while zooming, and it cuts audio from well before and after; which is odd - about 2 seconds. But at least you can zoom, as some don't let you. I personally leave the zoom well alone though. Plus, if you have OIS enabled while recording, there is a very faint, but noticible when audio levels are quiet, high pitch beep.
There isn't anyway to fix exposure in the video, so you'll be riding the exposure, but again, it's a family camera, not a creative device. Would have been nice though to lock exposure. The camera records at 720p at 30fps. Panning at 30fps can be jittery, or 'cinematic' however you look at it. Interlaced video at 60fps for home use usually looks better, but again, this is nitpicking. The h.264 compression is good, and the file sizes are tiny compared comparable formats (divx/mpeg4 part2).
Editing compressed video divx/h.264 is always a challenge. But, I've found recently Ulead Video Studio 11 > and Adobe Premiere Elements 4.0 up to the job.
So, all in all, this camera isn't going to win any quality awards. But, it'll be a camera that'll happily follow you around everywhere, and be up to most situations you throw at it. And, you'll never have to take a video camera out at the same time with you.
And, don't forget the price! £150 for all of this, is just frankly remarkable - run out and buy one now!
- Loss of audio while zooming.
- High pitch beep while recording video with OIS.
- Soft lens at the edges at 24mm.
- Noise reduction is fairly severe (pixel peepers beware, mere mortals it'll be fine).
- Needs post processing to get the best PQ (but what P&S doesn't?).