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Samsung PL90 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £90
inc VAT

Dependable image quality, but slow performance and basic videos mean there are better buys


1/2.3in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 4.0x zoom (28-112mm equivalent), 122g

Samsung seems to be incapable of designing a conventional camera. This one distinguishes itself with a USB plug that swings out of the bottom of the camera – just the thing for PC uploads and charging without a cable or card reader. The use of microSDHC cards is a pain for anyone who has already invested in full-size SDHC cards, though.

Samsung PL90

Key controls, such as ISO speed, white balance and autofocus options, are quick to access via a Fn button. There are further buttons for the main menu, the shooting mode and to enable the fully automatic Smart Auto mode. It’s arguably a little convoluted, and the etched button labels don’t help as they’re tricky to read, but overall this camera makes it quick to find the settings you want.

Samsung PL90 back

Sadly, it isn’t quick at taking photos. It took almost four seconds to switch on and shoot, and pressing the shutter button too early meant the camera didn’t respond at all. The times between subsequent shots were erratic but averaged 2.8 seconds, although switching from Smart Auto to Program mode brought the average down to 2 seconds. The continuous mode ran at just 0.6fps.

This suggests a slow processor, so it’s little surprise that this camera doesn’t have the number-crunching muscle required for HD video recording. Picture and soundtrack quality were both up to scratch but the VGA resolution is disappointing.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ***
CCD effective megapixels 12.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.3in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 2.7in
LCD screen resolution 230,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 4.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 28-112mm
Image stabilisation none
Maximum image resolution 4,000×3,000
Maximum movie resolution 640×480
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)


Memory slot microSDHC
Mermory supplied 50MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 200 shots
Connectivity USB plug, AV
HDMI output resolution N/A
Body material plastic
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories AV cable
Weight 122g
Size 57x98x20mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £90

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed auto
Aperture range f/2.8 (wide), f/6.3 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 1600
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controls red, green, blue
Manual focus No
Closest macro focus 15cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, face detect, tracking
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, smile detect