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Samsung TL500 Digital Camera Review$449.99
We were impressed with the resolution of the images that the TL500 captured; we found that they had some distortion, but very high sharpness and very little evidence of chromatic aberration. More on how we test resolution.
The TL500 only offers a short zoom range, but we found a little bit of distortion in there: at the longest zoom setting, we found a noticeable 1.87 per cent of pincushion distortion, where straight lines bend in towards the center of the image. At the wide angle end of the zoom range, the opposite is true: here, we found 1.2 per cent barrel distortion. You can see examples of these distortions below. In these images, the red line is added after the image is captured.
We were extremely impressed with the sharpness of the images that the TL500 captured; we found that fine details were well represented, without any oversharpening or overprocessing. Basically, the TL500 captures images with a lot of detail.
Chromatic Aberration ()
That level of detail doesn't come at the cost of a lot of chromatic aberration: we found only a minimal amount of aberration in the images shot for our tests across the zoom range. There was slightly more aberration at the wide end of the zoom range, but even here, this was not a significant issue.
Quality & Size Options
The TL500 offers 7 options for image quality: super fine, fine, normal, RAW, RAW and superfine, RAW & fine and RAW & normal. As the name of the last 4 suggests, they involve capturing both RAW images and compressed JPEG versions at the same time, which provides the best quality and a compressed version at the same time. These options do take a lot of space, though: a RAW file is typically about 22 to 25MB in size. In addition, there are 9 options available for the size of the image, detailed below. These include options with aspect ratios of 4:3 (the 10MK, 8M, 5M, 3M and 1M sizes), 16:9 (7M, 2M) and a rectangular, 1:1 aspect ratio ( the second 7M option).
The TL500 offers two types of image stabilization: an optical system that shifts an element of the lens and an electronic system that boosts the sensitivity of the sensor. Our tests of the optical system revealed that it was quite effective, with average images taken with it turned on coming out significantly sharper than those taken with it turned off. It can't perform miracles, but it is worth enabling if you are taking photos in low light or without a tripod. More on how we test image stabilization.