Point-and-shoot cameras come a dime a dozen nowadays, and that's mainly because almost everybody has one already. In an effort to entice buyers, manufacturers have either dropped prices or have come up with clever gimmicks. The Samsung PL151 with its front-facing LCD screen and sub-15K price tag does both.
This isn't Samsung's first camera that sports a secondary LCD (see the Samsung ST550). The PL151, although essentially the same camera as the ST550 but without the touch screen, more than makes up for its "tardiness" with an incredible price drop. It's priced at P13,990, a full P8,000 cheaper than the ST550 when it came out late last year. If you're willing to forgo the touchy-feely screen, you may want to consider this.
Shooting with the PL151 is easy-peasy. Everything is straightforward, as it nixes full manual controls and everything else that could potentially confuse non-advanced users. There's built-in image stabilization for people with shaky hands, HD (720p) video capture for spur-of-the-moment moments, and a smart Auto feature that takes automatic shooting into new levels of laziness by letting the camera pick the best preset to get the best shot.
Image quality is generally great, as you would expect from most cams today. With a maximum ISO rating of 3200, though, we expected that nighttime shots would come out much better than they did. Also, we couldn't help but frown at the sluggish response time of the controls.
The moment you turn on the camera, the first thing it does is charge the flash, and it does rather slowly. We missed many good photo opportunities simply because the flash wasn't done juicing up. Switching from different modes also took a while; even a simple task like viewing photos was tedious.
Despite these, however, we have to admit that given the price, the PL151 offers tremendous value, especially considering that it's a solidly built camera from Samsung. It looks expensive and very pretty with its glossy finish and its hefty weight. It's not bad for an entry-level cam. Plus, it will let you take impeccably framed self-portraits.
P.S. The PL151 only accepts microSD memory cards (similar to the ones used by most mobile phones today), effectively rendering your collection of SD cards useless. Fortunately, it's not hard to find microSD cards especially with CD-R King lording it over the tech retail world, but it is something to think about.
Click here to see the Samsung PL151 in the Buyer's Guide.