Samsung may not be one of the first names to spring to mind when you think of digital cameras, but the company has a good name for quality compact conventional cameras and now offers a wide range of mid-range digital devices.
The Digimax V4 is the company’s new top-of-the-range camera and, although styled like a sub-compact, it has some very grown-up features. These include automatic, aperture and shutter priority and manual settings for operating the camera with the degree of control you want.
The camera has a high-tech feel with rather more buttons and dials than normal. On the back is five-way thumb-pad for navigating the menu system on the 45mm LCD panel, plus another four buttons ranged around it. There’s a toggle switch for moving between wide-angle and the 3x optical and 4x digital maximum zoom, and an eight-way rotary switch to select between modes.
On top is a slide-on, slide-off power switch and the large shutter-release button. This array of buttons takes a while to master, though most make sensible single-functions out of other maker’s menu options. The camera may take a little longer to master because of this, though.
In the right-hand end of the camera is a cover for the battery pack and a 32MB Secure Digital memory card, which is needed with the large CCD array in the V4. Samsung offers a true 4-megapixel sensor here and the camera can produce images with resolutions up to 2,272 x 1,704 pixels, which is easily enough for a detailed A4 print. You can also take a video clip, with or without sound, at a resolution of 288 x 208 and with length dependent on memory capacity.
Picture quality is natural without any major colour offsets, though reviewing shots on the display takes a little while, as the camera refocuses each image for the small panel. Using Easy mode, you need do little more than point and shoot, but you can take more precise control at any time. You can use macro mode to focus down to 30cm and super-macro to take it all the way to 6cm.
Although good value, one oddity of the Digimax V4 is that it contains a standard, non-rechargeable Lithium Ion battery pack. This means you either have to invest in the optional rechargeable pack, or start shelling out for replacement cells as soon as the pack expires. A £300 camera really should include rechargeables and a charger.
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