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4.0 out of 5 stars
Samsung F90 White Camcorder with 2.7" LCD Screen and HD Video Recording
Color: WhiteStyle: Camcorder OnlyChange
Price:$151.99 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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352 of 357 people found the following review helpful
I am very pleased with my new Samsung F90 Black Camcorder with 2.7" LCD Screen and HD Video Recording.

I did not want a camcorder capable of producing the next STAR WARS movie. I just wanted an ordinary easy-to-use camcorder strictly for home video.

After a great deal of investigation, I chose this one - and I'm glad I did. It's inexpensive, very easy to use, and does exactly what I want from a camcorder.

I have filmed scenes from our latest vacation including scenes of the convention we attended as well as some museums we visited and I have taken videos of our granddaughter (who never seems to sit still!).

All of my videos so far have come out perfectly, even those taken under low-light. In fact, I took some video in a restaurant (which featured some entertainment) and, even though the lighting was mixed - relatively low artificial light supplemented by early evening daylight coming through windows in certain places - the video turned out fine.

So did the sound quality. I have found that even though this camcorder has no facility for attaching an external microphone (an added complication that I, and, I think, most ordinary people like myself do not need), the sound its built-in microphone produces is very good.

I have had only rare minimal problems with focus and those under relatively difficult situations. The focus has always corrected itself in a second or two without any effort on my part; I'm sure that most people won't even notice those occasional lapses. Colors are balanced and excellent. Sharpness is also excellent. Ease of use of the camcorder is exemplary. I generally leave the 'Smart Auto' function turned on (the only time I turn it off is when I want to make some adjustments in the Menu; you must disengage 'Smart Auto' to access the Menu) and I have had, thus far, no video that I needed to delete due to camcorder problems (my own "videographer" deficiencies being something else!).

It is very lightweight and, after you read the instruction manual (you can download one from Samsung's site if you want to read it before purchase), you will find the controls to be straightforward. The light weight has an advantage, at least for me, of allowing me to hold the camcorder very steadily during an extended shooting period. I have not had to activate the image stabilization circuit thus far and one of my individual videos was 20 minutes in length! There is only minimal, hardly noticeable, unsteadiness. My wife has been pleased with our videos so far and, take my word for it, she is a severe critic!

We watch our video on a 108" diagonal (16:9) screen using a video projector and, let me tell you, considering that these are "home movies," I couldn't ask for anything more.

Some may wish for 'full HD' - 1920x1080 video - but, at least in my opinion, this is unnecessary for ordinary home movies and the files produced by 1080i or 1080P video are much, much larger than the 720P MP4 files produced by this camcorder (I convert the MP4s to MKVs via computer software because I prefer that format). Unless you were doing a side-by-side critical comparison, I doubt that most people could tell the difference.

I bought two accessories for my unit: a Samsung HMX-F80 Camcorder Case Camcorder and Digital Camera Case - Carry Handle & Adjustable Shoulder Strap - Black / Grey - Replacement by Synergy which holds the camcorder and my other accessory perfectly, and a Kapaxen Two Samsung IA-BP210R Replacement Battery Packs + Charger Kit + Bonus Mini Tripod for Select Samsung Camcorders which gives me two spare (larger capacity) batteries and a charger which can function in a car as well as from an AC outlet. Both of these accessories, which I highly recommend to you, are quite inexpensive.

And unless you have some lying about (I did) you'll need to buy at least one SD memory card; it need not be an elaborate one but it should be a Class 10 type. Actually I recommend that you carry (buy if necessary) two of these cards just in case one were to become corrupted during a vacation or another such situation. I use ordinary 32 GB Class 10 cards.

If Samsung's Intelli Studio program is incompatible with your computer's operating system, you merely remove the SD card from the camcorder, plug it into your computer, and copy & paste the videos. This is simple. I have read some comments stating that the included program does not work with Mac; I do not know from personal experience about the veracity of these comments (though I'm sure they're correct) but I can tell you that it definitely does NOT work with Xubuntu, a GNU/Linux OS, which is the operating system I use. Nonetheless, copying & pasting the videos from the SD card is very easy. Anyone could do this, if desired, with whichever OS one is using, even Windows. Copying & pasting may even be faster than using Samsung's transfer program.

Battery life with the replacement BP210R batteries is excellent (I have not used the standard BP105 battery); I took well over 45 minutes of video via that BP210R without needing to recharge. After that session, I did recharge the battery (I always do) so I have no idea as to how long it would have actually lasted. As the camcorder was still showing 'full charge,' I'm sure it would have been plenty of time. (Of course you have to ask is the camcorder's power gauge accurate? I don't know.)

All in all, within its category (and if you do not have grandiose dreams of being the next George Lucas or Steven Spielberg), I can wholeheartedly recommend this excellent camcorder to anyone who wishes to create nice home movies.

Thank you for reading this.

Lawrence H. Bulk

===== Update: December 7, 2014

I have read quite a few reviews which complain about "poor video quality," especially under difficult low-light conditions. Some even claim that their cell-phone does better. Frankly, I believe that this claim cannot be substantiated. I have NEVER seen ANY cell-phone video which is worthy of archiving as home movies except where that's all that's available. While cell-phone videos are improving somewhat, they have a long way to go before they even approach the video quality which is possible today with a camcorder such as this one. It is my opinion (my opinion only) that at least some of these people may not be using common sense when taking video under such conditions.

Since I have owned this camcorder, I have taken various kinds of very difficult low-light video many times (it's generally easy to determine these conditions by eye) and, first of all, when I am attempting to take video under such really tough conditions, I now ALWAYS set the focus to manual. (The 'Smart Auto' function must be disabled to do this from within the menu.) I have learned from experience. It is much more difficult, sometimes impossible, for any auto-focus system, even on expensive DSLRs, to operate in very low light situations. There will almost always be 'pumping' in and out of focus or the shot will be completely out of focus which is annoying to viewers. When you focus manually, the focus stays exactly where you have set it.

You must remember that manual focus is just that: it will not 'follow' a subject. You must constantly reset it manually to the appropriate distance setting for your various scenes. Therefore it is most suitable for static scenes, such as people sitting at a table.

This Samsung camcorder has a fast f/1.8 maximum lens aperture which is plenty wide - if you know what you're doing. You must also remember that a camera cannot 'see' (nor adjust to) exactly what the human eye does - so, if you are taking pictures or video under certain very low light conditions and are unsure of whether there is sufficient lighting, it is advisable to take a practice shot first and, if it is not satisfactory, adjust the lighting or add supplemental lighting. Is this a 'pain?' Of course it is - but have you ever seen a professional photographer taking pictures or video under low light who was NOT using supplemental lighting? I myself have taken low-light videos and I have changed my standing or sitting position and even turned on extra lamps in the room when necessary to maximize the use of the light available.

Most of the time indoors or outdoors at night the conditions are not what I would call really tough (as I mentioned above). I have found that making these adjustments (manual focus, extra lighting) is not necessary; the 'Smart Auto' takes care of everything. But of course sometimes, it just will not. You must use your eyes and your own judgment. I repeat: if you're not sure, a quick test shot will tell you.

As you gain experience with this camcorder under various conditions, you will learn just what should be done in future equivalent situations. That's how I have learned!

It is important to keep in mind that videos taken under extremely low-light WILL turn out somewhat 'noisy' (grainy). This is a fact of life (and it applies to cell-phone video as well, even more so). You and you alone must determine, assuming that there is no way of adding additional lighting, whether it is better to have a 'noisy' video rather than none at all. (And if you think your cell-phone will do better in a particular scene, by all means use it. But I think it won't!)

Again in my opinion (and all of what I have written is, of course, just my opinion), if you use just a little bit of common sense in conjunction with this camcorder, your videos will almost certainly turn out just as fine and as satisfying as mine have.
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232 of 241 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2014
I just finished filming three soccer games with this camera. I installed a 32 GB card in the camera which will provide for about 500 minutes of HD recording. The battery itself was less than half used after each soccer game. The duration of recording for each game was approximately 80 minutes.

After the file size reaches approximately 1.29 GB, the video camera closes out the file and starts a new segment. The camera is very easy to use, and did well when the sun was at my back, in my eyes, and it did even better at night when the field was lit up by lights.

If you want an inexpensive video camera that gives high quality video, you should like this one.
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76 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2014
This is a good camcorder for the price. i needed it to do do short youtube videos. The only probably is you will not be able to use at night or after sunset. There is no flash or backlight! This is a con for this would have gotten 5 stars. The HD video recording is awesome! There does'nt seem to be a way to even attach a flash to this camera. This means you need very great lighting when recording and only in sunlight or good inside lighting.
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174 of 193 people found the following review helpful
The product description on this item doesn't really tell you all about it. There's a wealth of information that the company could make available which they haven't done. So I will do that instead.

My biggest pet peeve with this camera is that it picks up every tiny little noise out there. It seems to pick up the noise atoms make when they fly around. Any video intended for professional use will need to be post-processed to eliminate this noise. Turning it around is enough to produce a series of clicks, which can make the video feel amateurish.

The camcorder itself is capable of recording 1080p videos, though it's not recommended that you do so. Those videos are so high in quality that they slow down many computers- store bought computers with a lot of bloatware on them are particularly at risk. The flip screen contains an easy-to-use menu where you can change the settings of your camcorder to make it record 720p or 480p, as you prefer.

As is usually the case with most electronic devices, the factory settings are less than ideal. You will have to do some fiddling around to see what works best for you.

The built-in menu must be used in advance of recording. It's a bit more time consuming than it could be otherwise, so you stand the chance of messing up your recording if you try to change the settings in the middle of the video.

My camcorder started out with a date with January 1, 2013. This has to be manually changed in order for the folders on your computer to reflect the day you used the camcorder.

The device also takes pictures, but I have yet to find out if these pictures are of high quality, or whether they are just average. For the present, it appears that this device is not suited to professional photography. The photographs are just a neat thing to have.

The camcorder also comes with the following- which were not mentioned in the description:

-A USB cord with a small plug it can connect into.
-A tiny little manual that tells you a little bit about how to operate it (but the best information is really found through internet searches)
-It has a little wrist strap on the right side where you can slide your wrist in. You can use it or not, makes no real difference.
-A rechargable battery is included.

Please note: A MEMORY CARD IS NOT INCLUDED. You will have to buy this separately. The camcorder cannot do anything with a memory card.

When the device hooks up to the computer, it creates two external hard drives: one where you can view the files working on the device itself, and another you can use to install software that enables you to save your photographs and videos. The software is easy to use. You just press a button telling it to transfer the files and they are there.

Higher quality videos are best viewed with VLC Media Player or Media Player Classic.

I would have given my review five stars, except for the sound issue. It really is quite annoying.
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203 of 230 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2013
Some of the negative reviews here made me think not to buy it. I ended up buying it locally and it's not as bad as some say. Much of the complaints are due to older firmware in the unit (November 2012). I just applied the latest (October 20, 2013) and the unit is working better. I posted a link below. If it is removed by Amazon, just search the Internet for 'samsung hmx-f90 download' and then click the Samsung page. There should be a support tab.

Overall a good buy. Here's the update link:

[...]
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61 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2013
Easy to use and worked awesome!!! Absolute great quality for a great price ... high quality picture and video... .
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon December 22, 2014
For casual home use, I recommend this camcorder very much. The reasons are performance and price. You can use it right out of the box without reading much. Most functions are intuitive. The recorded picture tends to be well focused in auto. In very bright outdoor light, you may want to lower the exposure manually to intake light in less amount. Having said that, it outperforms in lower light settings outdoors.

It looks to me this is Samsung's latest attempt to break into the top of the camcorder world in s step-by-step fashion. In the older days, Samsung was hurried and wanted to catch up with the likes of Canon in one fell swoop but did not accomplish that. So they seem to have gone back to the drawing board and focus on the family camcorder market to make a dent into the market share of Canon and others. This model F90 in my estimation does that perfectly with the right combination of features, performance and price ... all packaged in a nice to hold and look design. I might add that with a small 16G card, I get about three hours of recording, which is all I need. The battery is great and lightweight.

The only minus I see in this camcorder is that when it is time to recharge, the cord can only be plugged with the LCD screen open. That makes it bulky until the camera is charged. Other than this minor design issue, I find this camcorder something I can recommend to families who need such a device for travels and other non-commercial uses.
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119 of 150 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2013
I bought this at my local Fry's Electronics store for $150. Added a 32G SDHC card which is good for just over 500 minutes video using HD. In the store it looked pretty good, focus seemed a bit slow but people often screw with floor models so no biggie right? Wrong. The picture itself is fair/good, the focus is terrible and sometimes requires zooming out, wait for focus, zoom back in. Very annoying.....and the auto stabilization does absolutely nothing. I watched a 6 minute clip I filmed and could hardly tell what I had filmed. Shaking like an alcoholic who'd been clean for a week. Overall, very disappointing. I gave it two stars because the design for housing was good, buttons are placed nicely and functions are pretty easy to access. However, it can look like a million bucks but without good video, it's not worth the money.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2014
Before buying this camcorder I was in two minds because had to choose between this camcorder and the camcorder listed here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HNJWWK2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00HNJWWK2&linkCode=as2&tag=newcams-20&linkId=BQOPY4GIRYLCJTZ5

Finally, however, I managed to make a choice and chose this camcorder because it has a number of specific advantages that are important to me in recording presentations. First of all, it can operate on AC power out of the box. Many competing camcorders will only operate on battery power, or require the purchase of an additional AC adapter. This unit runs on AC power with the included adapter. Secondly, the forward-facing microphone picks up good quality audio from a reasonable distance. Some competing cameras have cheaper microphones placed on top of the camcorder rather than on the front. Lastly, the camera produces video files that are standard .mp4 files that are "Mac friendly" and require no additional transcoding. The only minor disadvantage is that the camcorder produces lousy still images in camera mode. But I do not intend to use the camcorder for taking still images, so this is a not an issue for me. Overall, I would recommend this camera to everyone!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2014
This camera has terrible picture quality. I tried playing my recordings on my TV and laptop and the playback was so grainy I had to send it back. It wasn't worth checking out the other features of the camera. I ended up getting a Sony Handy Cam which has a much better picture quality.
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