Samsung has come up with a new take on digital camera screens: it's added an LCD to the front of its new ST500 and ST500 models. Yes, the front.
The ST550 is a 12.2Mp compact camera with a 3.5in LCD on the back and a supplementary 1.5in screen on the front. The idea here is that you can point the camera lens at yourself or you and a group of friends and make sure you're in shot for your self-portrait. A self-timer assists.
As for the grinning emoticons featured on some of the press materials accompanying the Samsung camera launch, presumably you can instant-message with your friends and use your camera as a webcsam.
This quirky idea is bound to garner all the headlines while, in fact, what Samsung ought to be trumpeting is the exceptional resolution of the main 3.5in widescreen LCD used to compose most shots. While some cameras have screens of 230K, Samsung is experimenting with megapixel-plus resolutions on its latest models. The result should be accurate detail and pinsharp gallery reviewing.
The 27mm wideangle Schneider Kreuznach lens is joined by a 4.7x optical zoom and the usual face-recognition, smile detection, autofocus and auto-exposure settings common to most compact cameras.
However, Samsung isn't quite don't with the crazy features: that high-resolution display is haptic, meaning its touch-sensitive screen vibrates in response to a command. We're intrigued how this will affect vibrations and the ability to take a sharp shot, though Samsung does of course include anti-shake technology in the cameras too.
Both models offer 720p video recording, while the ST550 adds an HDMI connection for direct playback on a high-definition laptop or TV screen.
The Samsung ST500 and ST550 models will go onsale towards the end of August.