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Samsung PL70 review

Samsung PL70
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £157
inc VAT

Not without its flaws, but high image quality and 720p HD video are an impressive combination at this price


1/2.3in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 5.0x zoom (28-140mm equivalent), 149g

The PL70 is a tad chunkier than average but its brushed aluminium front fascia looks elegant. It’s just as impressive around the back, with a 3in LCD screen and a mode dial for quick access to its various shooting modes. A Function button provides quick access to key photographic controls, with other settings stowed away behind the Menu button.

Optical image stabilisation is included but we found it to be less effective than rival systems, only managing a 60 per cent success rate at the full zoom extension and a 1/15-second shutter speed (over 90 per cent is common). Combining it with electronic stabilisation improved the success rate to 80 per cent but crippled performance and made various other settings inaccessible. Otherwise, performance was generally decent, but the flash took up to eight seconds to recharge and fire again. Continuous shooting was fast at 1fps, but the screen was blank while shooting.

It’s great to see 720p HD video at this price, and even better when it’s recorded in the memory-saving AVC format with stereo AAC sound. However, it was let down slightly by fixed focus throughout the length of clips and problems with noise when shooting in low light.

The 12-megapixel, 1/2.3in sensor posed serious problems in terms of image noise in photos too. However, Samsung’s digital processing handled it better than usual. Fine details had a syrupy texture but otherwise photos looked impressively clean, particularly in high-contrast lines. The lens performed well, too, producing sharp focus across the frame, and we failed to find a bad photo among our test shots.

The PL70 has a lot in common with Panasonic’s FP8: 12-megapixel photos, 720p videos, optical stabilisation and a wide-angle lens. The FP8 costs £30 less, has a longer battery life, superior video quality and more effective optical stabilisation. The PL70 has a bigger, better screen and superior image quality. Either is equally deserving of your money, but bear in mind that Fujifilm’s fantastic F200EXR costs just a few pounds more.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
CCD effective megapixels 12.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.3in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 230,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 5.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 28-140mm
Image stabilisation optical, lens based
Maximum image resolution 4,000×3,000
Maximum movie resolution 1280×720
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; MP4 (AVC)


Memory slot SDHC
Mermory supplied 76MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 280 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, HDMI (via optional adapter)
HDMI output resolution 1080i
Body material aluminium
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier 5.6x
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 149g
Size 60x96x24mm

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £157

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed 8 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture range f/3.4 to f/5.8
ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 1600
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness
Manual focus No
Closest macro focus 5cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, face detect
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, motion timer