Are you dissatisfied with your old film camera and have some disappointment with your first digital camera? Well, last July Samsung announced their new point and shoot digital camera, the TL 34HD. Amazing is not too strong a word for this state of the art camera.If you have been beguiled by the quality photos taken by DSLRs but are reluctant to lay out two thousand dollars for a heavy, bulky camera when all you need is a pocket friendly digital camera for kids shots, vacation memories and the occasional wedding in the family.The TL boasts state of the art features all combined in one package. Fourteen point seven mega pixels allow artifact free sharp enlargements up to 24 x 30 photographs. More important is the fact that you can crop the image severely without loss of quality. This feat is possible due to the large number of pixels, the 25% larger CMOS sensor and the advanced processing used by Samsung.While the amateur photographer occasionally appreciates having manual controls, the average shooter would rather rely on automatic operation and foolproof results. Aiding you in this endeavor is a three inch diagonal LCD screen with 460,000 pixels of resolution rather than the usual 290K. Also helping you is the anti-glare reflection applied to the screen’s surface. This amazing screen is operated by touch. Just tap your finger on the area you want from the menu and the camera does the rest. Even manual focusing can be executed this way.
Other automatic features right out of the future are: face detection, optical and digital image stabilization, 5x digital zoom, 80 to 3200 ISO sensitivity, beauty shot, and blink detection. The beauty shot can be used for smoothing blemishes for outstanding, clean portraits. The blink detection can be a shot saver when you can’t go back to do it over.The lens is the heart of a camera and the single most important quality requirement for good, sharp pictures. The TL is fitted with a Schneider 3.6X zoom lens. The equivalent range comes out to 28mm true wide angle to a decent 102mm medium telephoto. The 5x digital zoom is quite effective when necessary because of the large number of pixels you have to work with. The maximum telephoto extension comes out to about 500mm. Here the dual image stabilization is a God send. For those close up shots of flowers, engagement rings and Mother’s Day cards, this lens takes macro pictures at five centimeters with the wide setting and at 50 centimeters at the telephoto setting. When you are finished taking pictures, the lens collapses flush with the body and seals itself with an electric operated lens shade.This camera is less than four inches long and has metal construction throughout. The design is simple but eye-catching in its fashionable colors of satin silver and red, silver with a gold top or even all brushed stainless black.I’ve left the best feature for last. The ability for photographers to create an instant video with sound has recently been a feature adorning many digital cameras. Unfortunately, until now, the video portion has been minimal in quality – about like an analogue television picture – and the sound screechy and distorted. Enter High Definition 1280 x 720 video and stereo sound. With only one limitation of five minutes continuous video, the TL produces an amazingly true movie, viewable on a computer monitor or an HD LCD television screen. Helpful is the Samsung HDMI cradle which allows the regular use of the TV remote. One especially useful feature is the TLs ability to pause the movie action momentarily, then continue seamlessly when ready. Previously, digital cameras created separate clips when stopped. Four qualities are available for movie production, all at thirty frames per second for a professional look. Gratefully, Samsung chose to allow zooming while videoing. I recommend a high speed 16Gb SDHC chip if you plan on using the video feature extensively.
Shutter speeds of 1/2000th to 8 full seconds can be critical to stopping action to long night time exposures. The usual features of Aperture Priority, Auto White balance, and many others are of course present. The ISO sensitivity is usually automatically chosen by the camera according to need but the higher ISO capability of this camera allows candid photography without flash in low light levels for a natural ambiance look to the photos.A nice element is the recycle bin that stores all your photos and videos even after you delete them. You never know when you will change your mind and regret your deletion and want to retrieve them for posterity. All these features and outstanding image quality is contained in a package three inches high and weighing less than five ounces. The TL can be had for $273.00, and adding $50.00 for the cradle, $17.00 for an extra battery and $140 for an Ultra III SDHC card, you will be ready for anything.