The MV800 is unquestionably a fun camera to use, and at the price it would make a good gift for a teen. The clever fold-up monitor and the range of amusing filters and effects are ideal for those who would otherwise take pictures with their mobile phones, but if you're looking for a camera to take good quality pictures, or to use in difficult conditions then you should really look elsewhere. The poor battery life is a major drawback, and that touchscreen interface really doesn't add anything that a menu and D-pad couldn't do quicker and better.
Samsung MV800 Digital Camera Specification :
- Image sensor : 1/2.3in CCD, 16.15 megapixels
- Max. resolution : 4,608 x 3,456 pixels
- Zoom : 5x optical, 5x digital
- Focal length (35mm) : 26-130mm (35mm equiv.)
- Maximum aperture : f/3.3 - f/5.9
- Shutter speeds : 16 - 1/2000sec
- Auto-Focus : TTL contrast detection
- ISO range : 80 - 3200
- LCD monitor : 7.62mm (3.0in) 288,000 dots
- Flash : Wide: 0.2 - 3.2m, Tele: 0.5 - 1.8m (ISO Auto)
- Drive modes : Single shot only
- Image formats : JPEG
- Video : 1,280 x 720, 30fps, 20mins.
- Memory card slot : microSD
- Supplied memory : Approx. 10MB internal
- Battery : 740mAh li-ion
- Ports : USB 2.0 hi-speed, Mini HDMI
- Dimensions (W x H x D) : 92.1 x 56.2 x 21.9mm
- Weight (body only) : 141g inc. battery and card
- Accessories : Cables, battery charger
- Software : Built-in PC suite
- Warranty : 12 months
As I mentioned the MV800 shares most of its features with a low-end budget compact, and that goes for the performance as well. It's not really bad though, just...average. It starts up in approximately three seconds, and has a shot-to-shot time of approximately 1.8 seconds, which isn't too bad at all. However, it has no continuous shooting or burst mode, so that's as fast as it'll go.
The autofocus system is also average for the class. It works very well in good light, focusing in about half a second under most circumstances, and in low light it has a good AF assist lamp with a range of about three metres, which is also roughly the effective range of the flash. At longer ranges it does struggle in low light, but that's not really what it was designed for.
One major concern is battery life. The MV800 is powered by a rather small 740mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery, which has to power that big screen and touch-sensing electronics. Samsung makes no particular claims for the battery duration, but in my testing, which consisted of using it over a couple of weeks to take snapshots, many with flash, and shoot some short video clips, I found it would only take about 120 shots on a full charge, which is pretty disappointing performance .
Articulated monitors are nothing new. Many high-spec compacts, super-zooms and DSLRs have had this feature for several years, but this is the first time I can recall seeing one on a camera this small. The MV800 is a true pocket compact, measuring 92.1 x 56.2 x 21.9mm and weighing just 141g including battery and memory card, small and light enough to slip into a shirt pocket or purse. It's not the slimmest camera on the market (that's still the Casio EX-S10) but it's within a few millimetres, which makes the engineering of that folding monitor even more impressive. It's a decent sized monitor too, with a 3in TFT LCD screen and 288,000 dots. The screen doesn't just fold; it's also touch-sensitive and forms the camera's main control interface. Apart from the on/off and shutter buttons the MV800 has only two other buttons - a "home" button to bring up the main mode menu, and a playback button to review your pictures. The zoom control is a rotary bezel around the shutter button.
The main mode screen on the MV800 is clearly influenced by smartphone design, with the various shooting modes represented by square icons that look a lot like the app icons on a phone screen, and it even has a choice of wallpaper. Like a smartphone you can swipe through several pages of options, but most of them are fairly frivolous, with things like "magic frames", funny face effects, the apparently now obligatory photo effect filters including miniature photo and retro camera, and a synthesised stereoscopic 3D mode, which of course you'll need a Samsung 3D TV to appreciate. There are more useful options such as background blur, night shot, close-up and an automatic portrait zoom function, as well as themed albums and basic in-camera photo editing in playback mode, but on the whole the MV800 is clearly designed more for entertainment than it is for photography.
Apart from its touchscreen interface and fun features the MV800 is a fairly basic compact camera, sharing most of the components of the lacklustre Samsung ST93, which is available for around £90. It has a 16.1-megapixel sensor, a 5x zoom lens equivalent to 26-130mm, and can shoot 720p video in 20-minute clips, with optical zoom available while recording, although both the zoom motor and the click of the zoom control are audible on the mono soundtrack. It has both optical and digital image stabilisation that appears to work reasonably well, and multi-point, spot or centre-weighted metering. ISO sensitivity ranges from 80 ISO to 3200 ISO, but as we'll see later that's not something to get excited about. Like a lot of Samsung's line-up, the MV800 is a fairly cheap camera, although the price does vary wildly depending on where you shop. Most of the reputable camera shops seem to be selling it for around £149.99, but I've seen it for as little as £106 and as much as £199.99, so do look around.
Price : £149.99