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Samsung ES25: Cheap and Cheerful Digital Compact?

21 Nov Posted by Matt in News, Reviews |
Samsung ES25: Cheap and Cheerful Digital Compact?

Samsung ES25With Christmas just around the corner, many people are on the lookout for cheap and cheerful compact digital cameras that take decent enough photos in everyday use. This week the Samsung ES25 has simultaneously fallen in price and shot up Amazon bestsellers chart – at the time of writing it’s selling for a mere £49.20, but is it any good?

Unless you sit firmly with Lord Young, cheap is definitely appealing in the Christmas season, and if you’re looking for a sub-£50 digital camera your choices will be distinctly limited. Naturally at this end of the market we’re not expecting enormous specs and image quality to rival cameras costing ten times more, but £50 is still £50 and we’d hope that any dedicated camera would produce considerably better photos than your mobile phone.

Samsung ES25 Sample Image

Photo: mrlinux71 on Flickr

Key Specs

  • 12.2 Megapixels
  • 4x Optical Zoom lens
  • 2.5 inch TFT LCD display
  • Beauty shot, face detection and self portrait modes
  • Image Stabilisation
  • High sensitivity ISO up to 1600
  • Takes SD/SDHC cards(not included)
  • Uses standard AA batteries
  • Movie Mode

For such a cheap camera, the specs aren’t bad at all. The LCD screen is a touch on the small side and the zoom lens is basic, but to see Image Stabilisation, movie mode, high ISO sensitivity (for taking photos in low light without a flash) and support for high capacity SDHC cards is really encouraging.

Samsung digital compact cameras of old suffered from poor image quality, but the ES25 takes photos that are perfectly acceptable in most situations (click our example photo above to enlarge). As with most compact cameras, in low light the ES25 will struggle, though it’s on a par with its competitors and will outshine your mobile phone by a significant margin.

Perfect for Children?

Perhaps the best thing about this little Samsung is that its so easy to use – kids and adults alike will be getting good results pretty much immediately, and without the complexities that come with more advanced models the ES25 is immediately logical.

The use of AA batteries is rare in digital cameras these days, but there are some advantages; for kids at Christmas being able to get them up and running straight away without having to charge a Lithium battery will no doubt save you from some impatient nagging!

There are other advantages too – I still use an ageing Nikon compact that takes AA batteries at Glastonbury because I know I won’t be able to charge my usual camera. That said, for normal use you’ll still be best off with rechargeables. The reason AA batteries are rarely found these days is because modern cameras are pretty power-hungry (especially if you use the LCD screen a lot) and Lithium batteries can last a lot longer, so some decent rechargeable AA’s should be budgeted for.

Movie Mode

The Samsung ES25 has a decent Movie Mode for a camera at this price point. The videos are standard definition, but at 30fps they’re smoother than a lot of digital compacts costing twice as much. The ES25 unusually supports zooming whilst filming too, although annoyingly doing so will cut the sound whilst the zooming takes place.

You won’t be shooting the sequel to Avatar on one of these, or if we’re honest using the videos for anything more than YouTube and Facebook clips, but a reasonable movie mode with sound is a welcome addition to the ES25.

This clip from YouTube shows the videos the ES25 produces are reasonably well exposed and pretty smooth, though like many other compacts the sound (especially outside) is pretty bad. Indoor results where wind isn’t an issue will be much better, though not award-winning.

Should I get one?

If you want a cheap little compact that’s easy to use, then you could do worse than the Samsung ES25, at least at this price point. For taking to a festival or giving to the kids, this camera won’t let you down – it’s cheap, easy to use, and can also capture YouTube-style videos that are better than many other models at this end of the market.

That said, if you already have an iPhone 4, then think carefully. The photos you can get from this camera in bright sunlight won’t be any better than the iPhone 4 can produce, and the iPhone 4 will capture significantly better video.

 

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