I'm no photographer; all I need from a camera is the ability to record what's in front of me. In fact, I don't like the more expensive ones out there because I find them too confusing. I want something that's pretty much foolproof.
Still in its box
After dropping my last camera and ruining the lens, I recently bought the Samsung ST66 Digital Camera. It's one of the cheapest you can get and pretty basic, however it seems to have quite good features for the amount I paid (well, better than some others in this price range at least), such as a 5x optical zoom.
As soon as I took the camera out of the box, the first thing I noticed was how small it was. At this size, you could easily fit it into your pocket and it weighs hardly anything. It also fits into my camera case snugly and comes with its own handle. It has a nice, sleek look too, and while I didn't notice any other options when I bought mine, apparently it also comes in a range of colours.
To my relief, I also found that the control panel on this camera was the same as what you'll find on most cameras, which was particularly useful since the camera's instructions have to be downloaded online. All you get in the box is a Quick Start Guide, which only offers the most basic tips (like how to change the battery) along with a whole lot of Health and Safety information in a variety of languages.
However, I was disappointed to discover that there was no readily accessible Video button on the panel - you have to go into Mode to find this setting. Mode is also where you find the live panorama and a picture-in-picture options.
The first photo I took with the Samsung ST66 Digital Camera happened to be an accident, taken while I was moving. It still turned out great though, so I was left with high hopes for the camera's performance.
Initially, it didn't live up to them. My first (intentional) photos were taken in a poorly lit area and the camera really struggled. It definitely can't be relied upon to capture images quickly, as it took ages to focus and sometimes didnít even manage to do so successfully (it was quite annoying to see it bypass a clear image and decide a blurry version was the best it could find).
People who know more about cameras can probably overcome such issues, but I was disappointed with the images I ended up with. They were often dark and blurry, though some did look better once I uploaded them onto my laptop Ė the screen on the camera hadnít done them justice.
Another problem I have since discovered with this camera is that once I press the button to take a photo, the time it takes to actually capture the image is often inconsistent. Like I said, I've accidentally taken photos while moving and the picture has been perfectly clear, but at other times I've taken what seems like an easy shot and the screen has gone dark and 'Capturing' has come up for a while, and then a screen with 'Processing' takes its place. Once, when I moved the camera during this process, the image became blurred.
When a scene is well lit the camera does seem to do well when I leave it on the Smart Auto setting. However, looking back at some collections I have taken, there are cases when individual photos look an odd colour because the camera suddenly chose an usual setting. For example, among vibrant pictures of a park, there will be one where everything looks a bit dark and blue.
I guess the camera isn't as foolproof as I'd like, but learning how to use its extra settings isn't actually as complicated as I would have thought. The Mode and Menu options are easy to navigate and there are some good features to be found, such as the 'Text' setting, which I used it to take photos of some recipes.
A SanDisk is required for this camera, which can be used in other devices too. To load images onto the computer you therefore use a cord, which is also used to charge the camera's battery. I haven't used this method before, but like I the fact that there is no chance of me leaving a battery in the charger or forgetting to take fresh ones, though loosing the cord could cause all sorts of problems.
The battery and cord
I wanted a camera that would take care of the technical side of photography, allowing me to simply push a button to capture the shot I want. While I think there are things that could be improved, for the price I paid I'm happy with what I got in Samsung's ST66 Digital Camera. I have seen worse ones that cost a lot more and I know a lot of my bad images would have turned out differently if I knew what I was doing.