Sunday, July 04, 2010

Samsung CL65

Remember last summer when I blogged about geotagging? I'd had to work some to capture my lat/lon information and associate it with each photo. That worked pretty good but I wanted something simpler.

My Casio Exilim EX-Z1000 was only a 10 megapixel and only 3x optical zoom.

So I went Google shopping last Christmas and came up with the Samsung CL65 (ST1000 in Europe).

The CL65 has 3.5" touch screen LCD. It has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi along with built-in GPS. It has software on the camera to directly upload images online or e-mail them via the Wi-Fi. It's 12.1 megapixels with a 5x zoom lens. Oh, and the video recording is HD.

When I started looking it seemed to also be made of "unobtainium." I got on a waiting list at Rocket Camera. Their BBB rating doesn't look so good but I didn't have any problems with them. They had a good price and gave me good service. Caveat emptor.

The camera is awesome. The touch screen took me a little getting used to as I seemed to touch the screen accidentally while I was holding it. Other than turning it off, there is no screen lock. The GPS isn't AGPS like your phone so it takes a little while to find the satellites when you first turn it on. When I was in a situation where I was likely to be taking frequent photos, I just kept turning it on and off to keep the GPS sync relatively fresh.

I don't like digital zoom so I played with the settings until the digital zoom was disabled. Unlike the Casio, there isn't an obvious setting for this and I don't know which setting I changed to disable it but I think it was the image stabilization that did it.

Speaking of settings, the Casio has a lot more of pre-programmed scenarios. The Samsung has only 13. I don't use these much and all the ones I looked for were there, e.g. sunrise.

The Samsung charges with a proprietary (and short) USB cable. This cable also presents the MicroSD card as a USB drive to the PC. Just don't lose this cable. I haven't had any problems with the battery life even while running the GPS all the time.

The Samsung's 5x optical zoom is all internal. What this means is that the lens never protrudes from the camera's body. Nice.

I can't get the Wi-Fi to connect to my WPA/WPA2 network on my D-Link WBR-2310 router. I called Samsung and they weren't much help. It connected when I turned off security but that wasn't acceptable. I did get it to connect at my daughter's house and at her mother-in-law's house.

I've taken hundreds of snapshots with the Samsung but hadn't traveled with it to exercise the GPS until our recent trip to Bainbridge Island. Picasaweb does a great job of presenting the lat/lon for each photo. All went well until just before this photo.

That's when I dropped the Samsung into my soup! Luckily I had the camera all set before I handed it to the waiter so the picture turned out fine. The camera wasn't so lucky. It had landed screen down. Initially the touch screen wouldn't respond at all. Slowly it began working better and better and eventually seemed fine.

It worked great all the rest of the day but the next morning I got up early to take photos of the sunrise and it was cold outside. After about 30 minutes out in the cold the touch screen quit again.

Luckily Father's Day was coming up and the CL65 was much more available. My wife got me a new one and I've applied all my settings to it and am ready to go.

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