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  1. #1
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

    Samsung Digimax V700 Digital Camera Review

    Samsung Digimax V700 Review

    by Photo-John
    The Samsung Digimax V700 is a 7-megapixel compact digital camera with a full range of exposure controls, a big, 2-inch LCD monitor, and 3x Schneider optical zoom lens.

    Price: Approximately $399 US

    • Bright, 2-inch LCD
    • Great exposure metering
    • Great color
    • Lots of exposure options
    • Live histogram display
    • Noticeable noise - even at ISO 50
    • Slow shot-to-shot time
    • Awkward exposure control placement
    Samsung Digimax V700 Studio Test Images
    Samsung Digimax V700 Studio SamplesISO 50 Sample
    ISO 100 Sample >>
    ISO 200 Sample >>
    ISO 400 Sample >>

    More Samsung Digimax V700 Resources
    All Samsung Digimax V700 Photos >>
    Owner-posted Digimax V700 reviews >>
    Write a Review >>
    Samsung Web site >>

    Samsung Digimax V700 - Front and back

    The Samsung Digimax V700 is a full-featured point-and-shoot digital camera. It features a Schneider 3x optical zoom lens, a 2-inch color LCD with live histogram, and a nice range of exposure options, including full manual exposure control. The Digimax V700 is a very capable camera, offering the photographer lots of control. It's also got full auto and scene modes for people who'd like the camera to make the decisions for them. The camera's compact size, large LCD, and 7-megapixel CCD offer great image quality potential. I used the camera for about two weeks, including a couple of mountain bike rides and a quick road trip from San Francisco to Salt Lake City, Utah.

    Samsung Digimax V700 Features
    The Digimax V700 has a lot of good stuff packed into its compact body. It has a full range of exposure controls, including full auto, full manual, and 11 scene modes. The 7-megapixel CCD sensor combined with the Schneider 3x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 38-114mm) offers the potential for large, high-quality photos. The first thing you notice about the camera is the large, 2-inch LCD monitor. The monitor is very bright, clear, and accurate. It also has an available live histogram - a feature I really appreciate. It's absolutely the best exposure tool a camera can have.

    The V700 also has a tripod mount, voice recorder (for audio notes), a separate auto exposure lock button, and an MPEG-4 movie mode. And Samsung has integrated a bunch of fun software features and effects - picture frames, composite images, sepia, and negative images - into the menu options. The camera comes with a good rechargeable battery, remote control, and a small case. As far as features go, it's a very complete camera.

    Samsung Digimax V700 Design

    Camera design and layout is very important. Although a little big to be considered a "pocket-size" camera, the Digimax V700 is fairly small and easy to carry. Most of the controls are on the back of the camera. Everything is pretty easily reached but I had a little trouble remembering where and how to access some controls. I regularly had to take my attention from the LCD display, look at the controls, and think about which one to use to make adjustments or change modes.

    I particularly had trouble with the exposure control lever, which Samsung calls the "Jog dial." The Jog dial is located in front of the shutter-release button, right where I'd expect the zoom control to be. And the zoom control was located on the back of the camera, closer to where I'd expect the exposure control to be. I consistently used the wrong control and had to double-check and reset the camera's zoom and exposure settings. More than once, I missed an action shot because I used the wrong control.

    Ideally, a camera quickly becomes an intuitive extension of the photographer's mind and eye. Although there are plenty of available controls and everything on the Samsung V700 is in reach, the camera never became the transparent photographic instrument I would have liked it to be.

    Samsung Digimax V700 top controls

    The main control dial, power button, shutter-release, and the exposure control lever I kept having trouble with. Most cameras I've used have the zoom control in front of the shutter release. The Digimax V700 has the exposure control there.    

    Overall, the V700 performed pretty well. As I said earlier, it never reached the perfectly intuitive level that the best cameras do. But it's not bad. There are a lot of features and options and Samsung did a pretty good job of packing them into this little camera. Unfortunately, shooting a lot of action as I do, I usually don't have much time to set up for a photo. When I did have the luxury of being able to take my time, I got excellent results. Otherwise, I wasn't as fast as I like to be, but still managed to get pretty good results.

    Camera speed was comparable to the average compact digital camera. Start-up is actually pretty quick. I can turn on the camera and get off a shot in about 2 seconds. Shutter-lag is definitely an issue and shot-to-shot time is pretty slow. This is definitely not the camera for someone who plans on shooting a lot of action. There isn't even a sports scene mode. I still took some nice mountain bike photos when I had a bit of time to set up and prefocus. It's possible to make good action photos with most cameras if you use the right techniques.

    Auto focus was very good. Even in low light or when I wasn't sure about where the camera was actually focusing, it performed well. The camera even has continuous AF available in the Children scene mode. As with most compact digital cameras, it's next to impossible to take a picture with an out-of-focus background unless your subject is small and you're very close. It doesn't make a great portrait camera. On the other hand - for landscapes and other photos where you want as much of the scene in focus as possible - the V700 is great.

    Samsung Digimax V700 LCD in capture mode
      Detail of the LCD in recording mode.

    Samsung Digimax V700 LCD in playback mode
      LCD display in payback mode

    Samsung Digimax V700 setup menu
      Setup menu

    Image Quality
    I used the V700 in S.Fine JPEG mode, at maximum resolution, with all of the settings at their defaults. The camera can also shoot TIFF files to eliminate compression artifacting. However, I tested it in the studio and couldn't tell the difference between the JPEG and TIFF files. A previous Samsung digital camera I tested had some serious white balance issues so the accurate and punchy colors were a nice surprise. Generally, color and contrast looked very good, right out of the camera.

    Samsung Digimax V700 portrait sampleSamsung Digimax V700 colorful building sampleSamsung Digimax V700 purple fringing sample
    Click on thumbnails to view sample photos.

    Unfortunately, there is more noise in the V700 images than I expected. That's disappointing since other 7-megapixel compact digitals I've used have had such wonderfully smooth, noise-free images. Even at ISO 50 the V700 had noticeable noise. And at ISO 400 it's seriously chunky. However, at maximum resolution and ISO 50, the noise will be fairly unnoticeable to most people. That's one of the benefits of higher resolution sensors. The large size of high-resolution image files can effectively hide noise problems - to a point. I'd still try to avoid using the V700 at sensitivity levels higher than ISO 100. The 3072 x 2304 pixel files will print at 8x10 with almost no enlarging. So as long as you keep the ISO level low, you can expect very nice prints from the Digimax V700.

    Samsung Digimax V700 kitty-cat portraitSamsung Digimax V700 action photoSamsung Digimax V700 flower close-up
    Click on thumbnails to view sample photos.

    Samsung has been making compact cameras for a long time. They're very good at putting together a good package at a competitive price. They include good features and use good components, like the 2-inch LCD, 7-megapixel CCD, and the Schneider 3x optical zoom lens. They also include a lot of fun, consumer-friendly software options in their cameras.

    The Digimax V700 has got everything most people need and want from a camera and the image quality is very good. If a camera could be judged on image quality alone, I'd give the V700 high marks, even with the noise issue. The Digimax V700 captures image files with wonderful contrast, detail, color, and excellent exposure. In going back over the photos I took with it, I'm very impressed. I even started to forget about the design-related shooting problems I had. However, I'm not sure that this particular package adds up to the best camera for the money. There are other cameras, with similar specs, in the same price range, which I like better than the V700. I'm not saying it's a bad camera. I enjoyed using it and I took some great pictures with it. But I always had to think about it when I was using it and I never fell in love with it. I am in love with some of my V700 pictures, though.

    Who Should Buy The Samsung Digimax V700
    The Samsung Digimax V700 will make most casual and beginning photographers happy. Dedicated point-and-shoot photographers will appreciate it the most. The 2-inch LCD, Schneider lens, scene modes, and 7-megapixels of resolution will be more than most photographers are used to. And there's more creative control available should they start to grow out of the point-and-shoot approach. Serious photographers looking for a compact digital camera to compliment their high-end gear should probably look elsewhere. They're likely to get frustrated with the controls pretty quickly. Although, like me, they'll probably be surprised at the image quality the Digimax V700 delivers.


    What's In The Box

    Samsung Digimax V700 box contents
      Contents of the Samsung Digimax V700 box.

    • Samsung Digimax V700 Digital Camera
    • User manual and warranty card
    • Software CD
    • SD memory card
    • Rechargeable battery
    • Battery charger and AC cord
    • USB cable
    • AV cable

    Other Resources:
    Samsung Digimax V700 User Reviews >>
    Write an Samsung Digimax V700 Review >>
    Samsung Digimax V700 Sample Gallery >>
    Samsung Web site >>

    Last edited by Photo-John; 11-02-2005 at 08:03 PM.

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