Samsung D600 camera review: A place at the top
At a first glance, the camera control application seems to be quite unsophisticated. When you start it from the menu, you will be inquired whether you are going to take pictures or shoot video, or whether you need to enter the picture gallery. If you press and hold the sideway button, you can start taking pictures immediately.
As usual, Samsung offers three types of viewfinders - the fullscreen one, the type with added grid and the most practical type - the one, which frames the exact part of the scene. To quickly switch between them press asterisk. The zoom-in indicator stays in the right margin of the display. The setup indicator for the exposure compensation is located in its bottom part. These indicators disappear after a few seconds, but if you press any of the ways of the navigator button, which controls the above-mentioned functions, the indicators pop out again.
Viewfinder across the whole display • viewfinder in the form of a block, which matches the picture format
There is a 2x digital zoom; the zoomed-in pictures are resampled to full size, the final result is quite good. A bit surprising is the lack of a bigger zoom for the pictures in lower resolutions.
Samsung offers various advanced photo settings in addition to the exposure compensation options. For example, it is equipped with a four-step setup for the ISO sensitivity (automatic, 100, 200, 400), which is an unprecedented feature for a photo mobile phone. It also offers three exposure metering options - evaluative, center-weighted and spot mode. Here is an explanation article about the metering in general from DPReview.com.
These settings are somewhat buried in the third level of the context menu. Their pre-selections, however, can be promptly changed by pressing the relevant key on the numeric keypad. For example, 6 stands for sensitivity, 3 stands for the exposure metering selection. The other keys are each assigned to a particular function. In this menu you will also find a 7 step option for changing picture size - from a full resolution of 1600 × 1200 pixels down to a display size, i.e. 320 × 240 pixels. The unusual size of 240 × 180 pixels is meant to help you attach and send pictures in MMS. It also allows for playing with interesting frames. Image quality or in other words file compression in JPEG format is available in 4 steps. The camera offers a night photo mode as well as an option for white color balance according to the type of light.
Camera setup options
A separate menu contains the sound settings. You can choose among several types of shutter sound. Zooming and modifications in the exposure compensation can also be accompanied by a selected sound motive. Fortunately, all sounds are possible to deactivate if necessary. In the pre-selection menu you will also find an option for pictures titles.
The setting for the main photo functions are located inside the menu, accessed by the left context key. Among others, here you will find a shooting mode selection (single shot, multi shot and mosaic shot), color effects, decorative frames for MMS, flash settings, and the self-timer option. The flash can be activated automatically in accordance with the light conditions. It can be set to work during the capture only, or to be constantly on, as a flashlight. In this last case it can be instantly activated by simply pressing the zero number key.
The last two items in the menu are the picture gallery and the help-list, which shows the way functions are assigned to the phone's keys. The first position is reserved for activation of the video shooting mode.
Picture viewer and image editor
The taken pictures are saved into the gallery, which is situated in the phone's memory. The manufacturer has prepared memory space of 75 MB, but if this is not enough you can use the memory card slot. When you view pictures, you can set the phone to display three thumbnails with file info, or a matrix of nine thumbnails without info. When you select a picture, it opens across the whole display. To zoom in, you need to use the sideway buttons.
Saving pictures in the phone and their viewing
Selected picture can be sent out directly from the gallery through Bluetooth, via email or in a multimedia message. The pity is that the email client is not capable of sending a file bigger than 200 KB. As the phone backs up direct printing, you can connect it to a printer through a USB cable or Bluetooth and send your pictures straight there. The picture files can be deleted, moved or renamed. The picture folders can be sorted by name, type, and size or creation date. You can even make a slide show with your pictures by arranging that they get displayed continuously in time intervals of 1 or 3 seconds. To do so you will need a special cable that is delivered together with the phone. Once you have connected the phone, you can start your presentation on the TV screen. The same principle is applicable to video records. The con of the picture gallery is that it does not use folders.
The phone also has an unsophisticated image editor. Here are some of its options: picture flip and rotation; inserting frames, emoticons or clip-arts; adjusting color, brightness and contrast; color tones and photo effects.
Jazzy video is something we already know
Besides static pictures, with Samsung D600 you can create your own video records. Video options available here are similar to the ones in Samsung E720. The same holds true for the quality of the clips, which is superb, having in mind that the device we are talking about is a phone. Videos with high-quality settings have a resolution of 352 × 288 pixels and are able to catch even quite fast movements. Video records are saved in MP4 format. You can also set lower resolution parameters and a saving mode in 3GP format, which is more convenient if you are going to send your videos in MMS.
Viewfinder in video mode
Just like pictures, videos can be compressed in four quality levels. The phone has a white color balance option, color effects, a night mode, a self-timer function and a flash. The length of the video records is limited in two ways: a maximum of 300 KB for MMS and with limit by the free memory space only. I like the fact that the audio record can be switched off in the middle of the shooting process. Zoom is also available, but its range is pretty limited and the zooming is much too slow. On the other hand, here - unlike other phones - the zoom process is not immediate, but consists of several small steps - it's almost smooth.
Note: In order to open the above sample photos, you need the QuickTime video player. Press on links to download the records to your computer and then open the downloaded ZIP file. The files are approximately 1 MB in size.