Thursday, September 8, 2011

A $30. camera, in action

During the summer whilst wearing my usual tank top, shorts & sandals I have nowhere to put my pocket camera. This is not a problem in cooler weather when I wear my jacket as I also have inside pockets. I am a cameraHolic. I would feel naked without my camera. Lately I have also been carrying my Canon dSLR T2i as I find I have more control over my images but I still have my pocket camera with me. I stuff it into the pocket of my shorts on one side, in the other side I stuff my iPhone, which also has a great camera, and on my shoulder I sling my trusty Canon. It gets cumbersome figuring out which camera to use. For posting on the net I mainly use my Lumix, and sometimes my iPhone. For more serious, or challenging lighting conditions I use my dSLR as it is more configurable. I was trying to come up with a more simplistic way to cut down on what I needed to carry. I was thinking that I would just use my iPhone as I also had editing apps installed, some of which are very good such as the ProHDR, or Pano+ . I often forget to use my phone camera but I always have it with me thus it would solve having to carry my Lumix around.

Then last week while in the big box electronic store I was seduced into purchasing a low cost, small, basic Samsung ST30 10 MP camera slighly larger than a credit card. You could lose it in your pocket. As photography has been my hobby for decades people expect 'good' photos, so I purchase "good" cameras for that purpose. Most often I purchase top of the line P&S models, or mid priced dSLR Nikons or Canons. I have nearly always been a loyal Nikon user until recently when I switched over to Canon and found that I could use alternative lenses.

On my previous post I mentioned that I would post a few photos using this basic Samsung ST30 camera as compared to my Canon T2i with a highly rated Tamron 17-50 2.8 DiII WA zoom. The ST30 is 10 mp vs the Canon at 18MP, photos were reduced to 2400 x 1400. Being a basic camera you have no control over the ISO. From using the camera I noticed that it is actually auto ISO which is selected by the camera at time of exposure. Luckily there is EC: Exposure Compensation which can be selected on the menu

(Samsung ST30 EC: +1, 1/45s F3.3 iso=180)

(Canon T2i 100s F5.0 iso=200, no EC)

After dinner at a restaurant on Cambie Street we were walking back to my car and I snapped one of the sidewalk

(Samsung ST30 1/5s f3.3 iso=640)

(Canon T2i 1/8s F2.8 iso=800)

We drove down to Hastings Street in a not so good area where I wanted a photo of this neon sign

(Samsung ST30 1/42s F3.7 iso=400)

(Canon T2i 1/20s F4.0 iso=400)

The next day I took this photo through the windshield with around 2/3 zoom, bright sunny day

(Samsung ST30 1/180s F5.9 iso=80)

while refuelling my car the other night, just around dusk I took this at the gas station

(Samsung ST30 1/34s F3.3 iso=400)

As long as you realize the limitations of a basic camera and how it works, you would be pleased with the results. I could still carry my Canon T2i around my shoulder and have this little camera in my pocket and not even know it was there. I think for $30. + tax, I got a bargain


So there you have it, the mighty vs the mini. I can tell you that once you fondle it in your hands it is very hard to put it down.


  1. Nice set of photos for comparison. I think you got a real bargain even if the shots didn't come out as good as they did. The only one where there was an obvious difference was the one of the neon sign. Plus at ISO 400, you can start to see some noise. Some other real limitations you didn't mention were the images being in jpeg format as opposed to raw and the shutter delay with the Samsung.

    For a $30 camera, I think it works pretty good.


  2. First you start carrying one camera. Next thing you know you're dragging around two cameras. Then it's all the equipment and filters and... I didn't even count the camera phone.

    The Samsung certainly seems to be up to the task of taking nice photos. For $30 that's quite a sweet little deal.

  3. Bob,

    I love my canon (t1i) though I don't know if you can even buy that model anymore... oh well. It's still pretty darn nice. I really liked this, the comparison made me appreciate my camera (and the money I spent on it.)

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  4. Bobskoot, good to see the comparison photos - I was getting ready to buy myself a new Canon T2i on your recommendation, but I think I'll save my money and stick with the Lumix pas. Nice photos.

  5. For an all-day carry-along camera the 30$ bucks camera does pretty well. I guess you got yourself a bargain!
    BTW did you feel the earthquake?

  6. Nice to see Save -On is still there. Used to be a good place for cheese in the early 70's. Nice photos but do yourself a favor and put a lens hood on that Canon.:)

  7. RichardM: All photos were straight out of the camera .jpegs I thought that the ST30 produced great photos, much better than a toy camera which cost more than what I paid. There was not much shutter delay with the Samsung, not that I noticed was any different than my Lumix

    BlueKat: I hear what you are saying. You were like me on our Montana trip. I had my Lumix as my pocket camera, then in my side case I had my Canon T2i, with my telephoto and small flash, plus I had my iPhone but didn't use the camera function at all. Then there was the GoProHD with extra batteries

    Brady: I like to keep up with technology and I find myself always upgrading to the newest model. It's the American way. Technology gets better with each release. I like to print large photos and printing is another challenge which took me a while to figure out. I also do my own framing and mat cutting.

    El D: depends what you want to do with your photos. If I only had one camera, it would be a dSLR. Right now the T2i is a bargain. The more recent Lumix models have not been getting very good reviews

    SonjaM: I guess I was lucky but it was the demo model with no packing, no charger, no cables, just the camera with battery but it seems to work fine. We did not feel the earthquake at work but we heard about it

  8. Not a bad little camera for the money. Some of the fuzzy colors with the Starbucks washout and neon bleeding reminds me of when Oilburner took shots that looked like that because of a fingerprint on the lens. :)