Samsung's 12-megapixel DualView TL225 and its sibling, the TL220, are hitting stores this week, and both offer a feature you won't find on any other digital camera - a self portrait LCD on the front.
Even the most grizzled tech reviewer is excited about this feature, since it's, you know, actually useful. The 1.5-inch front LCD screen has a number of uses besides self-portraits, it will display a countdown when you use the self-timer. Everyone in the crowd will know when to smile and it can play animations to get your toddler's attention so you don't have to dance around and make funny noises.
Reviews aren't out yet, so I decided to do an informal comparison based on specs and initial reactions from critics. I picked three well-reviewed 12-megapixel cameras from three different manufacturers: the Canon PowerShot SD970 IS, the Fuji FinePix F200EXR and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T900. All four cameras are in the same $300 to $350 price range.
Looking at the specs, a few things jump out. (See our comparison chart at the end of this post.) While the four models share the same resolution and about the same optical zoom, the Fuji FinePix F200EXR and the Samsung TL225 are the only ones to sport a wide angle lens, great for panoramic shots. The Fuji model also has the largest sensor -- 1/1.6 or 0.6 inches -- which means less image noise. Sensor size is an important spec that often gets ignored. Manufacturers frequently increase resolution without making the sensor bigger, which degrades image quality due to the pixel density. The Canon, Samsung and Sony models each have 1/2.3 or .43 inch sensors, which is on the small side. That size is common in 10-megapixel cameras according to a comparison chart at Sensor-Size.com.
So what do the experts say?
At Ubergizmo.com, Sean Captain files a brief hands-on with the Samsung TL225, praising the touch screen, although he finds it a bit "wonky" when trying out an engineering sample. PCMag.com and CNET offer video previews. Critics are uninimous in their adoration of the front facing LCD, but it remains to be seen how image quality and other features will fare. Stay tuned for our review.
|Camera Model||Samsung DualView TL225
||Canon PowerShot SD970 IS
||Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR
||Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T900
|Resolution in megapixels
|Lens focal length (35mm film equivalent)
||27 mm to 124.2 mm
||37 mm to 185 mm
||28 mm to 140 mm
||35 mm to 140 mm
|LCD||3.5-inch touch screen (1.5-inch TFT LCD on front)
||3.5 inch touch screen|