With HD video rapidly becoming the latest headline feature on cameras, and Samsung’s SmartTouch-endowed NV range being established Stuff favourites, a liaison between the two got us worked up into a photographic frenzy. With both of those features present, it really is the NV24’s five star rating to lose.
Smart in practice
If you’ve not used one of Samsung’s SmartTouch cameras, you’re in for a bit of a treat. To recap, the control system comprises a row of buttons along the bottom of the screen and a column of buttons up the side. To access an option, you press one button to open the option’s menu, then use a button on the other axis to cross-reference to your selection. It’s much simpler than it sounds.
The buttons are also touch-sensitive, so tasks such as running through your pics on-screen are as simple as running your finger back and forth along the row buttons. Talking of the screen, it’s worth mentioning that it uses AMOLED technology rather than LCD, and the difference is just a little extra brightness to help framing in difficult lighting.
The addition of a dial on the opposite corner to the main mode dial is intriguing, and turns out to be for picture effects. It’s probably not something you need such instant access to, unless you regularly switch to black & white.
As this is a camera that wears its video credentials so prominently on its sleeve, we should perhaps tackle the 720p movie quality first. Well, there are no complaints for sharpness and detail – in both areas the NV24HD performs better than the Panasonic DMC-FX500 and DMC-TZ5, although it’s perhaps a touch jerkier and more contrasty. Better overall, though.
Still image quality doesn’t disappoint, either. It’s not up there with the very best when it comes to noise, especially at high ISO, and can’t quite compete with the Canon IXUS 85 for sheer responsiveness, but the super-wideangle lens (24mm-equivalent) adds versatility.
This is a superb compact that’s perhaps not as small as some, nor as massively feature-packed as others – and SmartTouch has lost some of its sheen in the wake of Sony and Panasonic’s touchscreen interfaces – but it’s nevertheless a solid buy.