Samsung ST30 review

Samsung ventures into the world of miniature with the ST30

Samsung ST30
Packed into a small package, does the ST30 also deliver quality images?

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The Samsung ST30 actually performs well. We had our reservations because of the size of the camera and because we also had trouble seeing images on the screen. It's a bit too small by modern standards and it's also not very bright.

Still, the sensor recorded colours nicely, we're impressed with the primary range as they came out bright and rich. Complex colours such as purple also had a good result from the camera which is always nice to see.

Samsung st30 review

We're also impressed with how the camera handles light. In normal circumstances (ie broad daylight), pictures are nicely exposed, but we found that the ST30 also coped well in difficult lighting.

Thanks to the sensor's dynamic range, highlights are retained and there's also detail in shadow areas.

We found that the white-balance system works adequately for most circumstances. There's no shade setting and the cloud setting doesn't cut the mustard in that scenario. Still, if you have the time, the ST30 has a manual option to set the balance yourself.

Noise is a bit hit and miss on the Samsung ST30 digital compact camera. While some of our pictures at low ISO have come out lovely and smooth with no sign of coloured speckling, a number of pictures at relatively low ISO have high levels of noise. We couldn't isolate the problem to find a recurring pattern, so it's worth noting to use the lowest ISO possible at all times.

Our lab tests prove that noise is a problem even at the lowest setting. It remains relatively under control through the low to mid-range stages, but at ISO1600 the ST30 simply can't cope. At this stage, detail dissipates, purple blobs appear and hard artefacts scatter around the image. To try and control it, the camera knocks the resolution down to 3 megapixels and this does solve some of the problems but the colour invasion remains.

It's easy to fall into a trap of thinking that because the ST30is small and basic that the pictures it produces are going to be poor. But Samsung has shown a degree of cunning in only fitting a 10 megapixel sensor to the ST30, because the picture quality is actually pretty good.

Colours are good, focusing is relatively fast and metering is more than adequate.

One of the ST30's failings is that it sounds like a toy when focusing and taking a picture, but thankfully, the sounds can be switched off.