"Intelligent Face Recognition Technology means the S850 can find and
focus on this face, even though it's not in the centre of the frame"
and its not sharp. camera shake or misfocusing?
The Samsung S1030 and S850 offer huge image sizes at a knockdown price, with plenty of extra features and full 30 fps movie recording with sound. With superior ASR and Wise Shot modes on the S850 you're guaranteed better shots. Just don't forget to buy a few dozen sets of batteries, as these puppies are power hungry. Samsung …
After throwing your money away on throwaway Duracells on page one I was glad to see the penny had dropped by page four:
"But do invest in a set of rechargeable batteries first."
But then you forgot about it again at the end.
"Either way, you'll spend the rest of your life buying sets of AA batteries."
The problem of short battery life in digital cameras when using alkaline AAs is certainly not unique to these Samsungs.
Very good review. I've used an S850 since the Spring, when I needed a quick replacement "throwaway" camera that used SD card storage and AA batteries. My experience has been that alkaline batteries last a bit longer than the review stated (perhaps the reviewer accidently bought counterfeit batteries), but I do own a large number of rechargeable LiMh AA's which I use regularly.
The reason that I call the S850 a "throwaway" is that it's just a transitional form. Features that will be upgraded in future models are, no sound while zooming; focus problems when partially zoomed in; default to flash mode when turning camera on every time [drives me nuts]; failure to hold the "S" priority settings if I turn the camera off while on that setting; lack of an optical viewfinder; and numerous other small things that irritate me. I won't own this camera forever. In a couple of years, I'll replace it with something better.
In the meantime, its best features are indeed its excellent anti-shake capability (a tripod is simply not needed any more) and phenomenal picture detail. The ASR is superb. Recording videos is weird when seeing a 1/2-second delay between what I'm recording & what's on the screen.
All in all, the S850 is an okay camera, as long as I think of it as a throwaway.... Thanks for the review.
"In one of the preset portrait modes, the background is blurred out of focus around the cutout in the shape of a person"
It's not a "cutout", it's called limiting the "Depth of Field", and I would hope that anyone writing a camera review would be enough of a photog to at least use the proper term for it and know how it works...
I echo the comment above about rechargeable vs non-rechargeable batteries: only a profligate fool whose hobby is destroying the environment uses non-rechargeables in such a device. But why "Duracells"? You're just falling for, and paying for, the TV advertising. Those bunnies aren't compared with those using generic *alkaline* batteries - they are compared with those using zinc-carbon batteries which seem to exist purely to show Duracells up in a good light. If you must use dry cells, don't waste your money on Duracells but buy generic alkalines instead.
I have a S1000, which from the article seems to be pretty identical to the S1030 and IMO the noise reduction is a minus.
At 50% pictures look great, but viewed at 100% on a TFT the picture is quite ugly. I would prefer generic noise or (some) jpeg artifacts over the look of this noise reduction.
It's not really a major issue, just don't think about using (a part of) the picture for screen display at "original" size (that equals almost 40" - probably what the author meant with not making poster prints).