Korean company Samsung certainly is making a name for itself by announcing category busting numbers in almost every marketplace it tackles and the digital camera market appears set for the same treatment. Last week in China at the 8th Annual China International Photo and Electronic Imaging, Machinery and Technology Fair in Beijing Samsung showed the Pro815 Digimax and in all the key numbers the camera stacks up better than all the currently announced competition. It has a massive 3.5 inch LCD screen on the back, takes an eight megapixel image, has “the world's largest-capacity 1900mAh, 7.4V lithium-ion battery” and most significantly of all, it has an optical 15 times zoom. In 35mm terms, that’s a 28mm to 429mm zoom lens which is the biggest so far offered on a digital camera and one which offers wide angle through significant telephoto. Speculation suggests that as the lens is manufactured by Schneider-KREUZNACH, it’ll soon be available on other cameras
The following is based on Samsung Camera’s press release:
Samsung Camera has announced that the company will release the world's longest(15X) optical zoom 8 megapixel high-end digital camera(model name: Pro815), targeting enthusiast photographers, later this year. The Pro815, offers unrivalled features and performance and is beyond comparison to other cameras in the same class. This marks the pinnacle of Samsung Camera's product range for 2005.
15X optical zoom
The Pro815 is equipped with a 15X optical zoom with a focal length of 28-420mm(35mm equivalent), this means you can shoot from wide angle to telephoto with one lens. Normally it is not possible to incorporate both 28mm wide-angle and 420mm tele-zoom capabilities in an average high-end camera, since they generally, only come with a 7-8X zoom. With SLR systems, different lenses need to be switched to shoot wide-angle and ultra high zoom pictures, this means carrying lots of equipment, missing some shots due to lens changeover and buying multiple lenses.
Schneider-KREUZNACH optics The Pro815 has four low-dispersion glass lenses specially manufactured to minimize chromatic aberration that can occur when wide-angle and ultra high zoom are supported at the same time. In addition, it employs 2 aspherical lenses for the correction of spherical aberration and lateral colours for the entire zoom range from wide to tele. This world-renowned Schneider-KREUZNACH lens offers outstanding reliability. This lens combined with the high-sensitivity CCD means the Pro815 provides the best image quality possible in its class.
World's largest 3.5" TFT LCD
Another feature of the Pro815 is that it has the world's largest 3.5" TFT LCD used in a digital camera. Conventional high-end or SLR cameras use a relatively small 1.8-2.0" LCD and the screen does not show the shot at the point of taking the picture for SLR. With the Pro815, anybody can easily take a picture and view images through its large LCD, the large LCD is also a real benefit for better composition. By using Transmissive with Micro Reflective(TMR) technology, it can be displayed at bright condition outdoors.
This, coupled with the 16.7million true colours supported means you can share your images with other people because the viewing angle is wide and the colours are well reproduced. There is also an electronic viewfinder.
The Pro815 comes with the world's largest-capacity 1900mAh, 7.4V lithium-ion battery included. A large-capacity battery is a must because this camera encourages you to take more pictures. On a full charge this battery can enable shooting of up to 500 frames(based on CIPA standard), before further charging is required.
Another great feature of the Pro815 is waist-level shooting, enabled by its top LCD. The 1.44" wide colour TFT LCD of the Pro815 displays a preview screen in real time, allowing the waist-level shooting style often adopted by professional photographers. This LCD position enables high-level shooting as well as taking pictures from various angles. The top LCD can also be used as a status LCD to display shooting data. Since the required information is available on the LCD at all times, you can shoot a subject or choose a desired function more quickly.
High speed mode
The High speed mode provided by the Pro815 ensures steady shooting even in tele-zoom. The camera has a highsensitivity 2/3" CCD and a large high-performance lens. When High speed mode is selected, the Pro815 automatically increases the sensitivity up to max ISO 800, depending on the surrounding exposure and focal length. Employing an exclusive low-noise processing algorithm, the Pro815 ensures superb image quality with low noise, even at ISO 800. In addition, in High speed mode, a faster shutter speed enables sharp shooting of fast moving targets.
The Pro815 achieves the fastest response times in its class. Its startup and shot-to-shot speeds have been reduced to 1.0 second and 1.3 second respectively, and it delivers a fast AF speed of lower than 1.0 second even in tele-zoom mode by utilizing a passive AF sensor. The shutter release lag of 0.05 seconds lets you capture those shots without fail.
The Pro815 includes high-speed continuous shooting at 2.5 frames/sec, normal continuous shooting that lets you shoot while viewing an image taken on the LCD, and ultra high speed continuous shooting that allows you to shoot up to ten 1Megapixel-sized images per second. As it has high-speed USB 2.0 connectivity, images taken can be transferred to a PC quickly.
Three rings surrounding the lens controls manual zoom, manual focusing and EV compensation, provide you with direct control of manual operations. The dual jog system, which is used to control aperture and shutter speed, also delivers precision in manual operation. The camera has various focusing modes including AF Lock, Continuous AF and Select Area AF. Its direct manual focusing feature lets you switch to manual focusing from AF instantly by turning the manual focus ring. In addition, bracketed shooting is allowed for exposure, focus and white balance. In particular, white balance is available in Preset, Custom and Colour Temperature Adjust modes. This lets you express colours exactly as you want. Contrast and saturation can also be controlled for creative expression in the depth of colour required. The camera supports Adobe RGB color space as well as an 8 MP non-compressed RAW file, making it the perfect choice for enthusiast image output.
The rear display mode of the Pro815 utilises a large 3.5" LCD, extends its application potential even further. In contrast to the normal 9-thumbnail screen, the Pro815 has a 25-thumbnail display, allowing you to search for a desired picture more quickly. The camera also offers histogram display for checking and adjusting an exposure, and grid display for easier image composition.
In particular, the exclusive features are Review Shot mode, that lets you set the optimal image composition while viewing an image just taken, together with the technical details: and a display mode that allows you just to display an image in the centre of the screen, and place the icons and other screen information at the edges of the screen. The Pro815 is equipped with a high-powered built in flash to let you obtain a perfectly exposed picture even in dark environments.
The Pro815 not only has a powerful flash that allows shooting at up to 7.7m(wide settings) but can also compensate a flash light by +/-2EV depending on the surrounding exposure environment. Not content with delivering a truly all round still picture experience the Pro815 supports video recording to VGA screen size with stereo sound.