It must have been a lot of fun being in the R&D department at Samsung when they drew up the specs for the photographic behemoth that is the Pro 815. They must have got through a forest's worth of flip charts and a truckload of marker pens.
The star of the show is the lens. 'Hmm, how much zoom can we manage? 15x? Yep, fine. How about starting it at a 28mm wideangle? Nice. And really, really fast, so there's not too much need for flash or noisy high ISO settings? Good...'
A cannon for a lens
So that's the ridiculous cannon-like protrusion on the Pro 815 – a 15x zoom with optics provided by renowned lens maker Schneider-Kreuznach, a range equivalent to 28-420mm on a 35mm film camera, and a super-fast f2.2-4.6 maximum aperture.
Next up is the LCD. Or rather, are the LCDs. On the back is a ludicrous 3.5-incher, not particularly hi-res but bloomin' impressive, while on the top plate is a secondary 1.44in screen. This top screen is a bit old school, enabling you to shoot with the camera at waist level. Nice touch, if a tad unnecessary.
Picture quality is generally good, with punchy colours and tons of detail captured by that great lens. The small ISO range is a bit limiting, but at least the lens is fast enough to negate that a little. But the real disappointment is the shutter lag, which is just bad enough to stop this from being an awesome sports snapper.
Review continues after the break...
Also, the rather-too-obvious downside of all this tech is that this camera is enormous. It may be very well balanced and ergonomic, but most people won't have handled a camera this big. So be careful – like a half-pound burger, the Pro 815's tempting form might be too much of a good thing.