Choice in the sub-$250 range is about to get a little better. Samsung has announced five new camera models, with suggested prices ranging from $100 to $230. These are scheduled to hit retail in February and March.
The 16 megapixel ST6500 ($229 srp) is designed for comfort. The lens is angled at around seven degrees in relation to the body. Samsung has used this design detail on other products, and says it improves ergonomics. Basically your wrist doesn’t have to bend as much.
The lens has a 5x zoom range (26-130 equiv.) and the camera incorporates optical image stabilization. Like most cameras these days, it will also record HD video (720p). A nice touch that you usually find only on more expensive cameras is the three-inch LCD touch screen. To aid point-and-shoot photography, the ST6500 is stuffed with Samsung’s version of “smart” modes such as Smart Touch which allows camera and shooting control via the touchscreen, and “Smart Auto” shooting modes.
The ST95 ($199.99 srp), ST90 ($149.99) and ST65 (129.99) are new entries in Samsung’s ultra-slim line. These look pretty much identical on the outside although there are slight differences in their dimensions. And inside, they show more differences. They all use 5x optical zooms. The ST65 has 27mm focal length (equiv) as maximum wide angle, while the ST90 and ST95 go a bit wider — down to 26mm. The ST95 uses a 16 megapixel sensor while the other two get by with 14 megapixels. All three also record 720p HD video, but only the ST95 supports the more advanced H.264.
The ST30 is Samsung’s version of the $100 wonder — a basic, no-frills point and shoot with 10 megapixel sensor and 3x optical zoom.