Objects of Desire: Samsung TL500
April 2, 2010
By Dan Havlik
What's so special about this camera? It boasts a fast 24mm f/1.8 lens and a 1/1.7-inch CCD image sensor designed to shoot in low light. Yes, you read that right, it's an f/1.8 which—correct us if we're wrong—is the fastest aperture yet offered on a non-interchangeable-lens compact camera.
The TL500, which will sell for $450 when it ships this Spring, is designed to compete against other pro compacts with fast aperture lenses such as the Panasonic Lumix LX3 which has a 24mm, f/2.0 lens; and the Canon Powershot S90 which has a 28mm, f/2.0 lens.
But with its Schneider Kreuznach lens and blinding f/1.8 spec, the TL500 will be tops in the category—at least on paper—and should be able to capture bright images in low light without a flash. The f/1.8 lens is also designed to shoot photos with a shallow depth of field and blurred backgrounds, just like higher-end digital SLRs with prime lenses. (At least that's the idea.)
The TL500's slightly larger than normal 1/1.7-inch imaging chip should also help to keep noise down when shooting at high ISOs (it can shoot up to ISO 3200). However, in comparison to cameras such as the Panasonic GF1, Olympus EP1, and Samsung's own which use either Micro Four Thirds or APS-C size image sensors, the TL500's chip is miniscule. Other features include RAW shooting mode; a swiveling 3-inch AMOLED display on back; and a 3x optical zoom.
With the continuing popularity of the LX3 and the positive reviews the S90 has gathered, we're looking forward to testing out the TL500 and seeing how it stacks up to the competition. It could be the ultimate "throw in the bag" compact we've been looking for.
Further information: www.samsung.com