The Samsung ES75 is an entry-level compact digital camera that just about makes it into the sub-£100 camera category, if you shop around. It offers a wide-angle lens and an 'intelligent LCD', in a compact body. Here's our review of the Samsung ES75 compact digital camera.

Samsung ES75: Features and specs

The Samsung ES75 is a standard compact camera that has 14.2Mp packed on a standard 1/2.33in (approx. 7.8mm) CCD sensor, and it has 5x optical zoom lens that has a focal length of f4.9 to 24.5mm (27mm to 135mm equivalent). The lens uses an aperture F3.5 at the wide end and F5.9 for the tele end.

The Samsung ES75 camera offers digital image stabilisation rather than the more effective optical IS. There is a 2.7in TFT LCD screen with 230k colour support for composing, reviewing and navigating the menu, but no optical or electronic viewfinder.

The Samsung ES75's LCD also adjusts the screen brightness based on ambient light levels. The camera records VGA (640x480 pixels) video at 30fps with mono audio. The camera has a built-in mono speaker as well.

The Samsung ES75 comes with various shooting and scene modes. It offers Smart Auto, Program, dual IS, Video and scene modes - a total of 13 scene modes. The Smart Auto works by recognising the scenes and changes the camera settings from 16 different scenes accordingly. Face, blink and smile detection is present and there is also Samsung's own Beauty Shot scene mode as well. ISO speed ranges from 80 to 1600 and the metering modes include multi, spot, centre-weighted and face detection AE. The camera also offers a smart album feature which enables searching or browsing the captured photos by date, colour tone, file type and so on.

Samsung ES75: Design and usability

Clad in a compact body protected by an anti-scratch mask, the Samsung ES75 offers good build quality that does not feel flimsy or cheap. It fits nicely in jeans pockets and the look is also good for a camera in this price range. The camera has most of the button placements right except for the 4-directional keys, which are a bit cramped. The flash placement also requires close attention as it can easily be blocked by fingers.

As in any other compact camera it is better to make use of the lanyard loop bundled in the package to make sure the Samsung ES75 doesn't slip away - especially while you're taking odd-angled shots.

Samsung has provided adequate shortcuts for most commonly used features and there is no mode dial, only a button to show the list of shooting/scene modes. This made switching shooting/scene modes on the Samsung ES75 a two-step process which could have been avoided with a mode-dial.

Apart from the mode button, there are other buttons for menu, function (to change various settings like ISO, white balance and so on without leaving the screen), playback and the four-directional key with a centre select button. The Samsung ES75's four-direction keys also act as shortcut for flash, display, macro and the self-timer. The ES75 uses a proprietary cable for data transfer and charging, which means you can't use those standard micro or miniUSB cables. The menu interface is as good as you will find on any other compact cameras.

Getting on to most of the Samsung ES75's commonly used features is easy. The Fn key makes accessing basic settings easier.

Samsung ES75: Performance

Our colleagues at PC World India put the Samsung ES75 through its paces in their labs.

The Samsung ES75 started up within 2 seconds - which is quick. There were some focusing and face detection problems in poor lighting conditions. The focusing worked well outdoors and when there was sufficient light, however. Shot-to-shot time without flash was average, at 3 seconds, and with the flash on, it dropped down to 5 seconds, which is slow.

Shutter lag with pre-focus was good at 0.25 seconds, while without pre-focus it was slow at .6 seconds. For the money, though, the Samsung ES75 is an above average performer in terms of speed. Overall response and operation speed of the camera are also manageable.

Samsung ES75

The Samsung ES75's lens showed good sharpness around the centre, but the corner softness, especially on the upper left and right corners, were more visible when viewing photos at full resolution. Lens distortion was alsoslightly noticeable, but not enough to cause a concern. Chromatic aberrations were controlled well.

Macro shots are a bit disappointing, because of limited focusing distance (5cm minimum range). The Samsung ES75's dual IS mode is less impressive as most of the tele shots (indoors and outdoors) came out blurry even when we held the camera steadily. Samsung should have opted for optical IS than the digital one here.

Samsung ES75: Image quality

Images showed good exposure and contrast but in the brighter areas within the images, we saw overexposure as in most other compact cameras. In good lighting conditions, the Samsung ES75 captured good-quality images for its class. Colours were vivid and slightly oversaturated with a slight reddish tint. The white balance was not always accurate but passable for a compact camera in this price range.

But low-light shots were disappointing, with noise and colour artefacts visible right from ISO 400 and beyond; at ISO 800 images lost out on details and colour noise became more noticeable. The unimpressive low-light performance and dual IS mode makes the Samsung ES75 more suited for casual shooting in good lighting conditions.

The Samsung ES75 captures VGA video at 30 fps (and not HD as we would have wanted). However, our recorded clips have smooth frame rates, good colour saturation and average sharpness. Audio is recorded in mono, which is less impressive.

Next page: Our expert verdict >>

See also:

Camera reviews

Photo Advisor

Group test: what's the best compact camera?

Group test: what's the best digital camera?

Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: cameras

Samsung ES75: Specs

  • 14.2Mp digital camera
  • 5x optical zoom
  • digital optical image stabilisation
  • 2.7in, 230k-pixel colour active-matrix LCD screen
  • 10.5MB built-in flash memory
  • SD Memory Card/SDHC Memory Card/MultiMediaCardplus
  • effective flash range 0.2m-2.68m
  • supports Jpeg images
  • supports AVI/Mpeg video
  • shutter speed 1/2000-8 sec
  • focal length 27mm -135mm (35mm equivalent)
  • ISO 80-1600
  • video at 1280x720 and 30fps
  • 96x21x58mm
  • 121g
  • 14.2Mp digital camera
  • 5x optical zoom
  • digital optical image stabilisation
  • 2.7in, 230k-pixel colour active-matrix LCD screen
  • 10.5MB built-in flash memory
  • SD Memory Card/SDHC Memory Card/MultiMediaCardplus
  • effective flash range 0.2m-2.68m
  • supports Jpeg images
  • supports AVI/Mpeg video
  • shutter speed 1/2000-8 sec
  • focal length 27mm -135mm (35mm equivalent)
  • ISO 80-1600
  • video at 1280x720 and 30fps
  • 96x21x58mm
  • 121g

OUR VERDICT

Although we like the 27mm wide angle lens, the compact design and the affordable price (available for around £96 online), the Samsung ES75’s average performance in low light and the ineffective image stabilisation are disappointing. Better - and possibly cheaper -alternatives are available elsewhere.

Find the best price