Cramming a 14.7-megapixel sensor into something the size of a deck of cards is no small feat, but that’s exactly what Samsung’s done with the TL34HD digital camera. Add to that the ability to record 720p high-definition video at 30 frames per second, a three-inch touchscreen, and an MSRP of $329.95 and you’ve got a camera that appeals to people who want to get a little more out of their point and shoot.
Overview and Features
If you like megapixels, you’ll love this camera. You can stuff it in your pocket, take photos of yourself and a bunch of your friends while you’re out at night, and then blow your favorite snapshots up to cover entire walls in your home – if that sort of thing is important to you. It’s a good social camera.
The ability to record video at 720p is a nice touch because, as a social camera, it’ll look good when played back on a TV. Samsung sells an optional HDMI cradle and remote control kit so you can dock the camera next to your TV for easy viewing. As it stands, though, the camera doesn’t come with HD video cables – just standard RCA cables.
The big 3-inch LCD screen is gorgeous. And the fact that it’s a touchscreen makes it easier to access most functions without having to go three or four menus deep like you would with most cameras. Everything’s pretty intuitive and the touch aspect is relatively responsive. I’m not a big fan of touchscreens but this one worked well.
If you’re more interested in the HD video function on this camera – specifically editing video — than you are about taking photos, you’d be best to steer clear. Video is recorded in MP4 format using a codec that only allowed my to open the files in QuickTime. I couldn’t open them using Sony Vegas. I have this same problem with a few other brands of digital camcorders, particularly the cheaper, sub-$150 kinds.
I tried just uploading a couple video files to Blip.tv and was greeted with the sound from the clip, but with an all-white picture. So straight uploading is out, too. I’d have to use a video conversion program to get each of these video files into a usable format first — too much time/work – and then open them up in my editor and/or upload them.
If you’re just going to watch the videos you’ll be fine. Use the included RCA cables (no included component cables = no HD) or buy the HDMI dock if you want to watch stuff in high definition. What I’m basically trying to say is that you’re probably not going to use the video function on this camera all that much. Your mileage may vary, though.
Finally, the placement of the flash is maddening:
Guess who’s big, fat, left index finger kept that flash from popping up while taking photos at night or in low light? I know the flash has to be put somewhere, but it’s honestly right underneath where most people hold the camera.
Sample Video File – See if you can open it in your video editor. If you can, great.
Sample Photos (all taken at maximum resolution, with flash):
Photo 1: Zoomed all the way out – download full-size photo (5.89 MB)
Photo 2: Full 3.6x optical zoom – download full-size photo (6.5 MB)
Photo 3: Full digital zoom – download full-size photo (2.52 MB)
The Samsung TL34HD is a good choice for social people who want a camera to take good photos from relatively close range and blow those photos up to various large sizes. The HD video feature is somewhat moot as the camera doesn’t include HD cables for your TV and videos can’t easily be edited or uploaded without converting the files first. It’s a great little camera for taking photos of up-close people, though, as it packs a lot of nice features into a small, pocketable package.
Samsung TL34HD [Samsung.com]