By December 10, 2009

Samsung ST550 review

Dual screen – Useful or just a novelty ?


There’s been a lot of hype about the Samsung ST550 because of its Dual Screen innovation. Lots of TV advertising telling us that we need this camera to make our lives more fun. Let’s see if it does then.

The Samsung ST550

The Samsung ST550


Not only is the ST550 well specified in the lens and sensor department, with a 4.6x optical zoom, 12 megapixel sensor and 3.5" touchscreen on the rear but the ST550’s real party piece is the forward facing LCD screen right next to the lens. When you first see this in action you realise what a simple idea it is and wonder why on earth it’s never been done before. How many times have you tried to take a picture of yourself with friends or family holding the camera at arms-length to take shot? Well this makes the process a little easier!


What’s in the Box?

  • Samsung ST550 Camera
  • AV Cable
  • USB UK 3pin mains plug with USB cable
  • Battery
  • Wrist Strap
  • Quick start Manual, Guarantee and Software CD (PDF Manual)

See also Matt’s Samsung ST550 unboxing video for a tour of the camera and the box contents.


Samsung ST550 specification:

  • Style: Ultra Compact
  • Megapixels: 12
  • Print Ratios: 4:3, 16:9, 3:2
  • File Formats: JPEG
  • Memory Cards: Micro SD/ Micro SDHC
  • Zoom: 4.6x
  • Focal Length Equivalent: 27-124.2mm
  • Shutter Speed: 8 – 1/2000 seconds
  • Aperture: F3.5(W) – F5.9(T)
  • Sensitivity: Auto, ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
  • White Balance Settings: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent_H, Fluorescent_L, Tungsten, Custom
  • ExposureCompensation: -2EV to +2EV (in 1/3EV steps)
  • LCD Screen: 3.5 inches
  • Flash Modes: Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash off, Red eye fix
  • Flash Range: 3.4m
  • Shooting Modes: Portrait, Night Portrait, Backlight Portrait, Macro Portrait, Backlight, Landscape, White, Action, Tripod, Night, Macro, Macro Text, Blue Sky, Sunset Sky, Natural Portrait, Natural Green, Beauty shot, Frame Guidet, Portrait, Children, Night, Landscape,Close up Text, Sunset, Dawn, Back Light, Fireworks, Beach, Snow
  • Maximum Movie Resolution: 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Maximum Movie Frames Per Second: 30 fps
  • Maximum Movie Duration: To capacity of memory card
  • Macro Focus: 3cms
  • Metering: Multi-pattern, centre weighted, spot
  • Image Stabilisation: Yes
  • Video Out (TV Playback): Yes
  • Computer Connection: Yes
  • Batteries: Lithium-ion Rechargeable
  • Dimensions: 99.8 x 59.8 x 18.6mm
  • Weight: 165.7g

See the Samsung ST550 page for the full spec.



Front – Houses the Lens, flash and of course the front 1.5″ LED screen



Rear – Large 3.5″ Haptic feedback LED Touchscreen



Top – Power button, Shutter Button, Zoom switch, mic and play button

ST550_top2 ST550-top


Bottom – Connector Socket, tripod mount and battery latch which incorporates Micro SD slot


Left Side – Speaker

Right Side – Wrist Strap loop



  • Very clear, sharp and detailed touch-screen display
  • Built in software
  • Dual Screen
  • Strong, Sturdy build
  • Good quality stills and video
  • Fairly slim and compact


  • Very short USB cable
  • Optional HD cable
  • Easily chipped case
  • Fiddly controls



First thing that strikes you about this camera is the nice slim compact design with the red border on one side and chic gloss black front with which they have managed to make the front screen nigh-on invisible, the perfect black tint to match the colour of the case. The next is the super large 3.5″ touchscreen which is virtually the same size as the camera with it’s gentle haptic feedback and easy to use menus. Being a metal case it’s also a bit heavier at 165g (without card or battery) than some compacts of the same size, but personally I prefer that to a piece of plastic that looks nowhere near as plush and is nowhere near as durable or sturdy. Being heavier gives me a confidence in the product, knowing that it’s not going to break with the slightest knock. My one observation and slight concern was that I was obviously not the first to review this camera and as such there were a few chips out of the camera case revealing the shiny metal underneath. I’m not too worried about this as I have no idea what this camera had been through previously and that if I did drop it I’d rather my camera chip slightly than crack or break into pieces.

Pictures where well focused, sharp and detailed with good colour representation especially on the highest 12 megapixel setting. The 4.6x optical zoom was nice and smooth and progressive although for those of us with, how can I say? chunkier fingers the zoom control switch was a bit small and fiddly to use. The video was also good as it records in 720p, nice feature considering this is predominantly a stills camera and when played back through the PS3 via the Micro SD card the video and sound was pretty close to that of a dedicated budget HD camcorder, but through the supplied AV cable it made the video and photos look a lot poorer quality than they actually were as you are only getting standard def. I really wish manufacturers would supply an HD cable of some sort with their HD products because all you are doing is downgrading the quality when viewed on an HDTV. Anyway enough of my rant, back to the review.

Other great features that stand out are face detection (up to 12 at a time), smile detection, blink detection, touch focus and automatic red-eye fix which all worked remarkably well, I had great fun trying these out in front of the camera part smiling and blinking until the camera automatically took the shot when I posed properly.

Talking of self portraits you turn on the front screen with a couple of firm taps or through the menu system and once the camera is focused and happy with your smile it takes the picture automatically. The only slight issue I have with the screen is that I think it could have done with being a little bit bigger as at arms length you can just about squeeze two heads into the frame, even though this is the main selling point of the camera.

A plus point for Samsung is the flexible charging, giving you the facility to charge the camera via USB so that when you are plugged into your laptop or PC to download your photos and videos you can also charge the camera at the same time. Alternatively you could use a USB car charger or just plug into the mains using the USB 3 pin plug. Another criticism would be is that it comes with the shortest USB cable known to man.



As I said earlier, I was quite eager to get my hands on the Dual Screen Samsung ST550 to see if it was something I would consider paying over £200 for, just for the extra portrait screen. For me personally I don’t think so. Now don’t get me wrong this is a very capable camera with great innovative features and good picture quality, I just wouldn’t get that much use out of the portrait screen, but for all those youngsters who are forever taking photos and videos of themselves and putting them online. Yes, I think it would give endless amounts of fun.


Review by: Charlie

[ Post Tags: Samsung ST550, Digital Camera, compact camera,, photography ]

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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