The Samsung MV800 is unconventional in so many creative and useful ways!

Let’s look at what we have here.  Retailing for $280, but found for much less online, the Samsung MV800 (the MV is for MultiView) is a small, lightweight digital camera with a generous 3.0-inch screen and NO see-through viewfinder.  It sports a 16-megapixel CCD sensor. At highest resolution this means there is plenty of megapixels for cropping with the remaining image good enough to make a decent 4×6 or larger print.

This camera is not so much about taking great 16 megapixel photos as it is the integration of the touch screen and flip-out capabilities.  It takes good, though not great photos.  It seems not the best at low light photography.  Let’s overlook these somewhat minor shortcomings, as they will have little impact on this camera’s target audience.

You don’t need me to list all the bells and whistles for you, so please explore through the link in the first paragraph.

Having a look at what can be done through the innovative touchscreen display reveals the appeal of this camera.

Almost EVERYTHING is done through the display.  The screen responds similarly to a touch-screen phone, with the capability to swipe a finger to move to another screen and to touch an icon to open that “folder” of capabilities.  In this way it is very intuitive and easy to use.  If one can operate most smartphones, mastering the touchscreen on this camera will be a cinch.

You probably want to know what it’s like to use this camera, right?

The flip-up screen affords several options a stationary screen does not.  Tilt it at the desired angle for shooting from down low.  Flip the camera over, bottom to top so the screen tilts from the bottom. Now, it tilts down for those shots from on high. Unfortunately, the software does not flip the on-screen icons intelligently so the camera knows it is upside down, displaying the icons appropriately.

This means the user must make choices before turning it upside down in these situations. In fairness, I would doubt that on-screen selections would be made when holding the camera this way.  Still, Samsung, how about this change in a firmware update, unless there isn’t a built-in orientation sensor?

Finally, flipping the screen allows all narcissists to take those ever-popular self-portraits that end up on Facebook, occasionally when the user is sober.  That big screen is easy to see from arm’s length. To accommodate this feature, Samsung has smartly added a shutter button on the back of the body, behind the screen.  Now, when the screen in flipped to self-portrait mode, there is an obvious, well-placed button to push right after the “Smile!” command.  It takes some doing to remember to keep one’s hand and fingers sufficiently beneath the flash during this use.

Here is also an example of how useful is the 26mm wide-angle lens!  Viewers get to see more of YOU from a closer distance.  In everyday use, it allows snapshooters to take in more of the breadth and scope of buildings from close up, and of tables full of friends at restaurants without having to back up into the next county.

In normal screen orientation, the touchscreen reminds users of a smartphone – tap to select an icon and dig into what is underneath and swipe to move to other screens off to the side, revealing more goodies with which to interact.

These images of the screen illustrate what is on each of the five screens, swiping from one to the next to the next.

 

Choosing the Funny Face icon top right on screen two reveals an example of what is underneath each virtual button.  By the way, once a feature is touched and the camera is in using the selected feature, a touch of the screen shows more info, including a Menu button at the lower left of the screen.  The added info and icons go away quickly with a time-out.  Pressing the Menu button opens a sub-menu of more settings. 

All of the above quickly goes away.  The user is begged to choose a capability from this screen or swiping to see what is on the screen to the left.  Then, when pointing the camera at a face, users may see the warpage selected OR do a freeform version that allows the user to touch and pull to warp in real time before taking the photo.  Such is the depth of capabilities and fun.

Take a photo and edit in the camera.  This photo of French period art hangs on our wall.

I chose the Photo Editor button on screen five.

Is this sinking in?  Touch to make changes. It’s that simple, and that much fun.

And I haven’t even touched on the camera’s video capability!

It is easy to see that a book could be written about just this camera and its many capabilities.  I’m out of time for this article, however.

I hope you have an idea of whether this camera is for you or someone you know as a gift.

The Samsung MV800 will appeal to those NOT inclined to buy a camera known for simply great photos.  However, for users interested in all the fun and features, and who still want decent, if not outstanding photos and videos, this Samsung will not disappoint.

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