Introduction, Features And Specs

Samsung PL210 is an ultra-compact digital camera which packs in a 10x zoom lens and a host of other interesting features. However, bear in mind despite the fact that this camera is slim it is not exactly going to turn any heads with its plain-Jane looks. The PL210 relies heavily on the feature set to keep abreast of the stiff competition in the compact digital camera segment by dedicated camera manufacturers like Canon and Nikon. Some of the main rivals are the Canon PowerShot SX120 IS, Canon IXUS 220HS and Nikon Coolpix S9100.

Feature and Specs

The Samsung PL210 boasts of a 14.2MP lens with 10x optical zoom which is great for a camera at this price point. The dual Image Stabilization (IS) feature promises to destroy even a little bit of shake and blurring your pictures. The PL210 has a 27mm (w) – 270mm (t) (35mm equivalent) lens which is a great.

You have seven ISO settings to choose from starting from ISO 80 right up to IS0 3200. The 3.0 inch LCD has the regular 230K resolution with four adjustable brightness modes.

Apart from the Smart auto mode in which all the scene setting choices are made by the camera itself, the PL210 has three other basic modes i.e. Program, Dual IS and Scene. The scene mode lets you choose some other sub-modes like White, Macro Colour, Portrait, Night Portrait, Backlight Portrait, Backlight, Landscape, Action, Tripod, Night, Macro, Macro Text (with Smart Guide), BlueSky, Sunset, NaturalGreen, Fireworks, Magic Frame, Beauty Shot, Portrait Highlight, Night, Landscape, Text, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight, Beach & Snow Drive. You can also access the different drive modes which let you choose between continuous shooting, motion capture and shooting the same image in three different exposure values.

The PL210, additionally, has smart filters like Miniature, Vignetting, Half Tone Dot, Sketch, Fish Eye, Defog, Classic, Retro, Negative and Custom RGB for shooting artistic pictures on the fly. You can also edit the pictures on the camera using these same smart-filters. This is adds great value to a consumer digital camera.

The camera doesn’t record Full HD video which is a bit of a letdown but it definitely records 720p videos at 30fps and 15 fps.

The box contained an AV cable, battery charger, USB cable Software CD (with the software ZoomBrowser and Photostitch), a 2GB memory card and the manual which is a good package. The major plus point for the PL210 is that it accepts microSD cards which is a cheaper option and is easier to find in local stores.
However, you have to be content with slightly slower performance.

Design, Interface And Usability

As I mentioned earlier the Samsung PL210 is not exactly a flashy looking camera like any other compact digital camera in the market. It has a two-tone finish with a fully silver metal front and the back is made of plastic which is black in colour.  The design reminded me of Pentax cameras with the slightly angular tilt.
However, the camera is extremely slim at 100.4 x 58.5 x 19.7mm and weighs around 148 grams which is light. The PL210 has a great build for single handed use as I faced absolutely no problem clicking photos on-the-go.

The plastic finish looks tacky and since most of the physical hardware buttons (i.e. the circular dial, mode, menu, play and function keys) are located on the back they also have the plastic finish to them. These keys are of inferior build quality and also tend to creak sometimes. I have never had problem with shutter buttons of the cameras I have reviewed but the PL210’s shutter button failed to have any sort of effect on me. It had very less travel and as a result I ended up clicking pictures unintentionally. I also have a gripe with the power button. After extended use I was finding that the camera took a good 3 seconds to just start and I thought it was a problem with the camera itself but I realised later that I wasn’t pressing the button right (It could also be a problem with the test piece I received).

Let us come to the user interface (UI) of the camera. By far this is has to be the most cumbersome UI I have used on a camera. It was very unintuitive. Even if I had to just change the shooting mode, I had to go through four cumbersome steps to get to the shooting mode eventually. The LCD screen also was not upto the mark as the viewing angles are bad and the visibility under sunlight is also not good.

Overall, the design and the usability factor of the camera is a bit of a let-down. It could have been much better.