on April 14, 2010
(Updated to appease the bashers who reject the notion that anyone can disagree with them and, according to them, anyone who does is clearly uninformed. Since when did individualism become an imperfection?) I've had the HZ35W digital camera now for a few days and so far, I'm not impressed whatsoever due to the quality of the images once downloaded to my computer. My older Canon SD800 IS (28mm wide) takes much better pictures simply by using Auto. I can download the pictures taken from my Canon and open them in Photoshop, and I'm ready to print with just a few minor adjustments. The images are clean, very sharp and at least 180 dpi -- and yes bashers, I know the difference between pixels and resolution. As a non-sequiter, Canon's Japanese engineers have since eliminated the "super fine" compression ratio and thusly their new product line (S90, SD980, etc.) will produce no greater image than your cell phone camera! I've tested quite a few from their new line.
With the Samsung HZ35W, after having taken several hundred test shots, I've discovered that all the pictures are noisy, and are recorded at only 96 dpi, despite changing the image quality setting on the camera. I've confirmed that I have the best resolution settings on but it doesn't matter. Whether I use the "normal", "fine" or "super fine" JPEG compression ration, all images come out looking the same. I called Samsung customer support and was directed to a guy in Tier 2 support who was completely off his rocker, uninformed and didn't care about the problem -- uncanny for Samsung's customer support! Often, he just sat there in complete silence and (in poor English) asked "Iie [is] that it?" He told me that the AMOLED display determines the picture resolution and I told the guy he didn't know what he was talking about. The display on the camera is just to show the user the image and does not determine the actual quality of the image!
I've tested the various settings of megapixels and the image quality; it makes no difference. All images come out at 96 dpi (VERY LOW QUALITY and cannot be printed on high quality printer paper), and the images are very noisy/grainy. Some of the reviews here are from people who either do not have the "eye", or have limited knowledge of what should result from higher end P&S cameras, especially from one as loaded as this one!. However, don't take my word for it, drop the money and see for yourself. If you have a trained eye, you'll see it! Again, if you allegorize this to HD movies, there are still plenty of folks out there who cannot tell the difference between a Standard Def movie and a High Def one.
Finally, I called Samsung customer support again last night and provided my "transaction" number again hoping to speak to a different tier 2 tech; naturally the same guy answered. Ultimately, Samsung paid for me to send in the camera for "repair," but I suspect 96 dpi *IS* the result of all recorded images. Perhaps someone on here can confirm in their review.
This camera, so far, has not yielded the quality I have come to expect from Samsung and while the features of this camera (e.g. 15x optical zoom, 24mm wide angle, etc.) are very appealing, please consider whether or not you will be printing your images and how clear, crisp and vibrant you want your pictures to be. I tested several shooting conditions from: indoors with contrasting furniture that has sharp lines, colored pencils and books (to test the sharpness and color saturation), and outdoors to test natural lighting and other elements. In nearly all the pictures, lines were blurred between reds and browns, greens and blues simply didn't standout, blacks were too flat, the contrast and sharpness (although adjustable in some modes) just simply fall well below the mark for this to be considered a higher-end camera!
Some of the features would otherwise be terrific, if only the camera's recorded images were recorded at a higher dpi! I've tested several post-editing programs as well as comparing the recorded images from my comeras. Each post-editing program (even just reviewing them in a basic image review program with no editing tools), the Samsung images are still at 96 dpi, while Canon's are 180dpi. So to anynoe who wants to claim that my post-editing program is the problem, then I ask how is it that images from a different camera come in at a higher resolution?
The Dual IS mode is nice; however, most of my images still came out very dark and grainy (the flash doesn't seem to function on this mode). If you're considering this camera to take pictures of the moon (telescope) then this is the camera for you, but if you want a camera to provide crisp, clear, life-like images of friends, family outings, vacations, etc. then this is NOT the camera for you.
I realize this is a P&S, but I've had P&S cameras in the past that produce much better images than this one, with colors more vibrant, lines sharper, better contrast with more depth. I realize this review is going to get bashed but at least I'm not just restating all the positives that have already been stated in countless other online review site, and at least I ACTUALLY OWN the camera (some people post reviews and don't even own the item!). To anyone who is going to bash and bully this review, do so not at the risk of accentuating your ignorance and intolerance towards other's ideas.