Samsung TL500 First Impressions Digital Camera Review$449.99
There is no viewfinder on this camera: all previews are shown on the LCD screen
The LCD screen of the TL500 is very impressive: it is a 3 inch AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic LED) with a resolution of 614k pixels. All of that means that the screen is very bright and very sharp; images look very clean and have good detail. The screen is also on a pivot, so it can be both rotated and flipped, so you can tile the screen to shoot from above, from below or to fold it flat against the camera body.
It can also be flipped out from the camera body, and then rotated by about 270 degrees, meaning it can be used for self portraits or for shootingwith the camera held above or below.
The TL500 has two options for flash use: you can use the internal flash, or attach an optional flash. The internal flash is located in the top left corner of the camera body in a small housing that pops out of the camera body when you move the flash release slider. We were not able to test the performance of this flash.
The second flash option is the hot shoe, which allows you to attach an optional flash to the camera. However, this does not appear to be compatible with the standard hot shoe used on flashed designed for SLR cameras, so it does not seem to be possible to attach a third party flash to this camera. Samsung did not have details of the available external flash units that will be compatible with this camera.
The lens of the TL500 is one of the main selling points of the camera: it has a minimum aperture of f/1.8, which is much wider than most point and shoot cameras. That means it can gather more light, which makes for better low light photos. It also means that the camera can have a very short depth of field, which means that you can have an object in the foreground in focus, but the background nice and blurry. The lens has a zoom range of 24mm to 72mm, which represents a 3x zoom range. That's a little shorter than many compact cameras: most others offer 5x or longer zoom ranges. But the ace up the sleeve of this camera is the fact that the lens has a 24mm wide angle; great for shooting landscapes and group shots.
Jacks, Ports & Plugs
There are two ports under a small cover on the right side of the camera body: a compact HDMI port and a multi-purpose port that provides the USB and analog video outputs of the camera. Compact HDMI ports are rather unusual, but there are adapters available that can convert this into a standard HDMI port to connect to your HDTV.
The TL500 gets its power from a Lithium Ion battery that fits into the bottom of the camera body. This holds about 1130 mAh of power, which is a pretty average amount for a camera of this size. We were not able to test the battery life of the camera, but we hope that the lower power draw of the AMOLED screen means that it will be longer than others. But that remains to be seen: we will know more when we get the camera into our labs for testing.
SDHC cards are where the TL500 stores its images, although it also includes a small amount of internal memory. The SDHC cards fit into a small slot above the battery, shown in the photo above.