We don’t review consumer-level compact cameras very often, but the 16.15-million-pixel Samsung MV800 has a number of intriguing features, including a 180° flip-out touchscreen display.


Although the MV800 is aimed at consumers, when shooting in program mode there is control over ISO sensitivity, EV compensation, metering, white balance, focus and flash.

The MV800 uses a 4.7-23.5mm f/3.3-5.9 Schneider 5x zoom. This is the equivalent of a 26-130mm lens on a 35mm camera, and is an ideal range for most point-and-shoot photographers.

Apart from program mode there are numerous other shooting modes, the most interesting of which are live panorama and 3D photo. There is also the funny face mode, which stretches the facial features of portraits to comical effect, or the pose guide, which overlays the outline of a figure onto your image to help when composing portraits. Both of these features can also be found in camera phones, which gives us a clue as to the intended market audience of the MV800.

Build and Handling

With its slim design, the MV800 fits easily into a pocket, while the metal front panel adds a reassuring stability. However, the first thing I noticed was that the camera has just two control buttons and that the rear 3in widescreen is articulated. This allows the screen to rotate through 180°, making it ideal for taking self-portraits.

In fact, the MV800 hides a shutter button on the rear of the camera, which is revealed when the screen is facing forward. This is makes it even easier to take self-portraits while holding the camera and is a very neat idea.

The reason for the lack of buttons elsewhere is that the camera uses a touchscreen. Although I find these useful for quick access to certain features, I’m still not convinced by cameras that rely solely on them for complete control.

Instead of physical buttons the camera has large touch-sensitive on-screen ‘buttons’. While the virtual buttons are easy to press, I would still prefer a small dial on the front of the camera for scrolling through settings, as there is a noticeable lag when using a finger to scroll through the touchscreen menu.

If you are used to using touchscreens, then the MV800 is straightforward to use. However, photographers more used to the controls of a DSLR will probably find it frustrating.

Image Quality

Image: At ISO 800 the image quality of the MV800 is OK, however at the lowest ISO 80 sensitivity a lot of detail is resolved (See resolution chart further down this page).

One of the most impressive features of the MV800 is the Optical Image Stabilisation, which works extremely well in reducing the effects of camera shake. All the automatic features of the camera produce good results, with a sensitivity range of ISO 80-3200 helping to make sure that images are well exposed by the evaluative metering system, even in low light.

As you would expect from a consumer compact camera with a 16.15-million-pixel sensor, image noise is an issue. Even at low sensitivities luminance noise is visible, although images are sharp and with a good level of detail. As the sensitivity increases, the noise and noise reduction reduce the detail greatly, although at smaller 6x4in snapshot sizes this will not be noticeable.

Resolution chart


Clearly designed to be fun to use, the Samsung MV800 will appeal to those more used to a mobile phone. However, while the image quality is on a par with other similar cameras, the reliance on touchscreen controls will frustrate photographers more used to the handling of a DSLR.

That said, the articulated screen and secondary shutter button are great features that I hope to see on other cameras in the future. I just wish the MV800 had a control dial.

At ISO 800 the image quality of the MV800 is OK, however at the lowest ISO 80 sensitivity a lot of detail is resolved.