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Samsung DualView Digital Cameras with Front LCD

Samsung is very serious about consumer electronics. It's no accident that you've been seeing more Samsung products in the stores, from mobile phones, to HDTV and home theatre, to cameras and camcorders, to computers and peripherals. At a press event in New Your City yesterday, Samsung gave some examples of impressive market share growth in the U.S. over the past few years: 15% to 39% in televisions, and 7% to 29% in home theatre.

And then there's digital cameras and camcorders, where Samsung is getting serious as well, applying its strategy of combining striking design and new technology to develop interesting trend-leading products. Samsung has grown from 4% to 7% in the last year in digital cameras, and is looking to become a "tier 1 leader" in yet another market segment.

For example, the Samsung 2009 camcorder line (see my Camcorder Gallery) features a variety of highly portable models based on flash memory, including the flagship HMX-H100 line with internal Solid State Drive (SSD) recording. And the ultra-compact MMX-R10 (shown here) is only a half pound but still full HD resolution, with an interesting design that has the lens angled at 25 degrees, to hold more comfortably to reduce strain on the wrist.

But the new announcement was about two new Samsung digital camera designs (see my Digital Cameras Galley) -- the Samsung DualView TL220 / TL225 with an additional small LCD display on the front of the camera for self-portraits, and the Samsung CL65 with full-out connectivity, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DLNA, and GPS.

Samsung explains DualView as part of the trend of sharing photos online and on social networks -- photographers are coming out from behind the camera to take headshots and to be part of the picture, capturing themselves as part of the scene that they are shooting. The image of the photographer is no longer crouching behind the viewfinder, but now the iconic pose is holding the camera at arms length to shoot the shooter.

The Samsung DualView TL220 / TL225 digital cameras have several modes to take advantage of the 1.5" front LCD:
- Self Portrait mode to frame yourself in the scene without guessing. Just touch the screen to active.
- Countdown Timer mode to set up the camera with the self-timer, displaying the numeric countdown.
- Child Mode to play built-in animations on the front screen as a new approach to "watch the birdie," so kids might actually hold still for a second and be looking at the camera for a change.

Both cameras are relatively small and light, even with 4.6X optical zoom. The TL220 with a 3" display is $299, and the TL225 with a larger 3.5" display and HDMI output is $349.

The connected Samsung CL65 digital camera is a similar size, with a 3.5" LCD and 5X optical zoom, and is priced at $399.

It features four forms of connectivity, for home, mobile, and web sharing:
- Wi-Fi to send photos wirelessly via email, or to upload directly to sites including Facebook, Picasa, and YouTube (use the touch-screen QWERTY keypad to enter network and site info as needed).
- DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) to display from the camera over WiFi directly on your home TV display or other CE devices.
- Bluetooth 2.0 to beam your favorites to mobile phones, automatically resizing as needed. And
- GPS to geo-tag your images to help organize them by location, and to link to maps on sites like Picasa.

All three new cameras are due in September, and feature a touchscreen interface for easy menu access with haptic vibration response. They also have gesture input for some operations (scroll, rotate, delete), and a tilt sensor to select common commands.

And they have oodles of "smart" digital camera technology, including Schneider-KREUZNACH lens, 12.2 megapixel sensor, dual image stabilization (optical and digital), smart auto modes, smart face detection / recognition, and smart album mode to organize images (favorite, face, color, content), plus H.264 (MPEG-4/AVC) video recording up to 720p HD.

See my Digital Cameras Gallery for more on Samsung and other digital cameras.

    Find the Samsung TL220 and TL225 on Amazon.com

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