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.


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