Buying a pocket-sized digital camera hasn't entailed much compromise for a while now, as Samsung's L73 demonstrates. Despite its diminutive dimensions and sleek black design, the Samsung L73 sports a 7.4Mp (megapixel) 1/2.5in CCD (charge-coupled device) and 3x optical zoom.

The LCD, meanwhile, is a healthy 2.5in, which is about as large as you could fit on a camera this size.

However, the Samsung L73 is not particularly well served for manual control. You can choose between multi, spot and centre metering, and there's a wide ISO range from 50 to 1,600. But although shutter speeds can vary from 1/2,000th of a second to two seconds, and the aperture has a decent range from f/2.8 to 4.9, you can't set either manually. There is an exposure control which varies from +2 to -2.

The Samsung L73's ASR antishake system has its own specific mode as it isn't true image stabilisation. Instead, it increases ISO and shutter speed as far as possible to reduce the blurriness caused by camera motion. The manual focus is also quite hard to operate, as this works through the Smart Touch system.

The Samsung L73's Smart Touch menu adopts a slightly unusual approach. Instead of scrolling menus and a four-way rocker switch, the Samsung L73 has an array of touch-sensitive buttons down two edges of the LCD – six vertically on the right and seven horizontally along the bottom.

Menu options line up with these keys in one direction, and then the settings in the other. It's a novel approach, but works well once you're used to it.

In keeping with the general design approach, Samsung has combined the charge and PC connection cable into one. So the Samsung L73 charges automatically when connected via USB and the mains adaptor presents a USB connection.

In good light, the Samsung L73 performed as expected for a 7Mp compact, but we noticed a small amount of grain in darker outdoor conditions. This was also true indoors. But colour fidelity was quite good in both conditions. Overall, the image quality had no glaring weaknesses for a camera in this class.

Samsung L73: Specs

  • The Samsung L73 has an eye-catching appearance, and the Smart Touch system is sure to wow your friends – but it's not one to choose if you're after manual control. It's also a little pricey.
  • The Samsung L73 has an eye-catching appearance, and the Smart Touch system is sure to wow your friends – but it's not one to choose if you're after manual control. It's also a little pricey.

OUR VERDICT

The Samsung L73 has an eye-catching appearance, and the Smart Touch system is sure to wow your friends – but it's not one to choose if you're after manual control. It's also a little pricey.

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