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Samsung TL225 Digital Camera Review$349.99
There is no viewfinder on the TL225: everything is done through the LCD screen on the back of the camera.
There are two LCD screens on the TL225: a 3.5-inch one on the back and a 1.5-inch one on the front. Let's look at each in turn.
The back LCD screen is 3.5 inches diagonally, and takes up most of the back of the camera. It has an impressive 1,152k pixels, which means that images are extremely sharp. It is also very bright, which is good as the touch screen is the main interface to control the features of the camera. The resistive touch screen is adequate, but it is not particularly precise; we often found ourselves missing buttons like the one at the bottom of the screen to access the additional features.
The second screen is a 1.5-inch LCD screen embedded in the front of the camera body. This is mainly designed for self portraits; you can turn this screen on from the menu on the back screen and see a preview of what will be captured. This works well; the screen is small and a little dim, but it is good enough to make sure that the subject is in the frame while shooting. It can also be set to show shooting information or to show a smiley face when you half-press the shutter to remind the subjects to smile. The front screen does not work when shooting video, though: in the video mode the front screen is disabled.
The small flash is built into the body of the camera, just to the left of the lens and above the secondary screen. Samsung provides no figures for the range of this flash, but we found it worked only to about 8-9 feet out; anything further out than that was lost in the darkness.
Several flash modes are available: you can set the flash to off, auto, red eye reduction (which uses a number of pre-flashes), always on, slow sync (which combines the flash with a slow shutter speed) and red-eye fix. The latter uses both a pre-flash and software processing to remove red eye.
The TL225 is not an ultrazoom camera: the built-in Schneider-Kreuznach lens has a focal length of 4.9 to 22.5mm (equivalent to 27 - 124.2 mm on a 35mm film camera) for a zoom range of 4.6x. That's not a particularly long zoom range, but it is a decently wide zoom, which is good for group shots or landscapes.
When not in use, the lens of the TL225 fits into the camera body, with three telescoping sections, and a cover fits over the front element of the lens. This feels a little flimsy, but it should serve to protect the camera from dust and fingerprints.
The TL225 is powered by a small 720mAh Li-ion battery (the model number is SLB-07A). This is rather a small battery, especially for a camera with a big touch screen that is the only way to control it. Samsung makes no claims for battery life, but we found that it did last a couple of days of casual shooting, so it should be big enough for a weekend trip. The battery is charged in the camera through the USB cable, so it can be charged either from a computer or with the included power supply.
The TL225 stores photos on a microSD/SDHC memory card that fits in just below the battery. MicroSD cards are not as widely available as their larger SD/SDHC cousins, but they do come in similar capacities: a 4GB microSDHC card will cost you about $13, and will hold about 650 images at the highest size and quality. If you want to go all out, a 16GB microSDHC card will cost you about $45, but Samsung only guarantees that microSD cards up to 4GB and the newer microSDHC versions up to 8GB will work.
Jacks, Ports & Plugs
The TL225 has only one connection to the outside world: a single connector on the bottom of the camera body. This fulfills a number of functions: it connects to a computer or printer with the included USB cable, charges the camera with the same USB cable and connects the camera to a TV with the optional analog video/audio output cable or HDMI cable. The analog cable will cost you $30, while the HDMI one is $40.