Samsung F90 Black Camcorder with 2.7" LCD Screen and HD Video Recording
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- 52x Optical Zoom
- 720p HD Video
- 5MP Still Images
- Warranty Terms - Parts: 1 year limited,Warranty Terms - Labor: 90 days limited
- . 1 Year Manufacturer's Warranty
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The Samsung F90 will change the way you share and capture your memories. Get unbelievably close to the action from far away with the 52x optical zoom, and perfectly capture lifelike images with HD rec
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I recommend that you BEWARE of ridiculously high prices currently being offered by a few 'price-gougers' as of this date. If you're planning to spend $250.00 or more, there are many more current and more capable (and unfortunately more complicated to use) models from which to choose (this simple F90 model has probably been discontinued). It certainly isn't worth more than about $150.00 as a brand-new left-over model. On May 6, 2014, when it was still in production, I paid $129.95 to Amazon for it and that was NOT a special deal-of-the-day. It was their regular price. Please keep that in mind when considering purchasing this camcorder. I do hope that the price will be lowered to a reasonable level during this holiday season. The rest of this review is as I originally wrote it and I should mention that I remain completely satisfied with this camcorder.
I am very pleased with my new Samsung F90 Black Camcorder with 2.7" LCD Screen and HD Video Recording.
I did not want a camcorder capable of producing the next STAR WARS movie. I just wanted an ordinary easy-to-use camcorder strictly for home video.
After a great deal of investigation, I chose this one - and I'm glad I did. It's inexpensive, very easy to use, and does exactly what I want from a camcorder.
I have filmed scenes from our latest vacation including scenes of the convention we attended as well as some museums we visited and I have taken videos of our granddaughter (who never seems to sit still!).
All of my videos so far have come out perfectly, even those taken under low-light. In fact, I took some video in a restaurant (which featured some entertainment) and, even though the lighting was mixed - relatively low artificial light supplemented by early evening daylight coming through windows in certain places - the video turned out fine.
So did the sound quality. I have found that even though this camcorder has no facility for attaching an external microphone (an added complication that I, and, I think, most ordinary people like myself, do not need), the sound its built-in microphone produces is very good.
I have had only rare minimal problems with focus and those under relatively difficult situations. The focus has always corrected itself in a second or two without any effort on my part; I'm sure that most people won't even notice those occasional lapses. Colors are balanced and excellent. Sharpness is also excellent. Ease of use of the camcorder is exemplary. I generally leave the 'Smart Auto' function turned on (the only time I turn it off is when I want to make some adjustments in the Menu; you must disengage 'Smart Auto' to access the Menu) and I have had, thus far, no video that I needed to delete due to camcorder problems (my own "videographer" deficiencies being something else!).
It is very lightweight and, after you read the instruction manual (you can download one from Samsung's site if you want to read it before purchase), you will find the controls to be straightforward. The light weight has an advantage, at least for me, of allowing me to hold the camcorder very steadily during an extended shooting period. I have not had to activate the image stabilization circuit thus far and one of my individual videos was 20 minutes in length! There is only minimal, hardly noticeable, unsteadiness. My wife has been pleased with our videos so far and, take my word for it, she is a severe critic!
We watch our video on a 108" diagonal (16:9) screen using a video projector and, let me tell you, considering that these are "home movies," I couldn't ask for anything more.
Some may wish for 'full HD' - 1920x1080 video - but, at least in my opinion, this is unnecessary for ordinary home movies and the files produced by 1080i or 1080P video are much, much larger than the 720P MP4 files produced by this camcorder (I convert the MP4s to MKVs via computer software because I prefer that format). Unless you were doing a side-by-side critical comparison, I doubt that most people could tell the difference.
I bought two accessories for my unit: a Samsung HMX-F80 Camcorder Case Camcorder and Digital Camera Case - Carry Handle & Adjustable Shoulder Strap - Black / Grey - Replacement by Synergy which holds the camcorder and my other accessory perfectly, and a Kapaxen Two Samsung IA-BP210R Replacement Battery Packs + Charger Kit + Bonus Mini Tripod for Select Samsung Camcorders which gives me two spare (larger capacity) batteries and a charger which can function in a car as well as from an AC outlet. Both of these accessories, which I highly recommend to you, are quite inexpensive.
And unless you have some lying about (I did) you'll need to buy at least one SD memory card; it need not be an elaborate one but it should be a Class 10 type. Actually I recommend that you carry (buy if necessary) two of these cards just in case one were to become corrupted during a vacation or another such situation. I use ordinary 32 GB Class 10 cards.
If Samsung's Intelli Studio program is incompatible with your computer's operating system, you merely remove the SD card from the camcorder, plug it into your computer, and copy & paste the videos. This is simple. I have read some comments stating that the included program does not work with Mac; I do not know from personal experience about the veracity of these comments (though I'm sure they're correct) but I can tell you that it definitely does NOT work with Xubuntu, a GNU/Linux OS, which is the operating system I use. Nonetheless, copying & pasting the videos from the SD card is very easy. Anyone could do this, if desired, with whichever OS one is using, even Windows. Copying & pasting may even be faster than using Samsung's transfer program.
Battery life with the replacement BP210R batteries is excellent (I have not used the standard BP105 battery); I took well over 45 minutes of video via that BP210R without needing to recharge. After that session, I did recharge the battery (I always do) so I have no idea as to how long it would have actually lasted. As the camcorder was still showing 'full charge,' I'm sure it would have been plenty of time. (Of course you have to ask is the camcorder's power gauge accurate? I don't know.)
All in all, within its category (and if you do not have grandiose dreams of being the next George Lucas or Steven Spielberg), I can wholeheartedly recommend this excellent camcorder to anyone who wishes to create nice home movies.
Thank you for reading this.
Lawrence H. Bulk
===== Update: December 7, 2014
I have read quite a few reviews which complain about "poor video quality," especially under difficult low-light conditions. Some even claim that their cell-phone does better. Frankly, I believe that this claim cannot be substantiated. I have NEVER seen ANY cell-phone video which is worthy of archiving as home movies except where that's all that's available. While cell-phone videos are improving somewhat, they have a long way to go before they even approach the video quality which is possible today with a camcorder such as this one. It is my opinion (my opinion only) that at least some of these people may not be using common sense when taking video under such conditions.
Since I have owned this camcorder, I have taken various kinds of very difficult low-light video many times (it's generally easy to determine these conditions by eye) and, first of all, when I am attempting to take video under such really tough conditions, I now ALWAYS set the focus to manual. (The 'Smart Auto' function must be disabled to do this from within the menu.) I have learned from experience. It is much more difficult, sometimes impossible, for any auto-focus system, even on expensive DSLRs, to operate in very low light situations. There will almost always be 'pumping' in and out of focus or the shot will be completely out of focus which is annoying to viewers. When you focus manually, the focus stays exactly where you have set it.
You must remember that manual focus is just that: it will not 'follow' a subject. You must constantly reset it manually to the appropriate distance setting for your various scenes. Therefore it is most suitable for static scenes, such as people sitting at a table.
This Samsung camcorder has a fast f/1.8 maximum lens aperture which is plenty wide - if you know what you're doing. You must also remember that a camera cannot 'see' (nor adjust to) exactly what the human eye does - so, if you are taking pictures or video under certain very low light conditions and are unsure of whether there is sufficient lighting, it is advisable to take a practice shot first and, if it is not satisfactory, adjust the lighting or add supplemental lighting. Is this a 'pain?' Of course it is - but have you ever seen a professional photographer taking pictures or video under low light who was NOT using supplemental lighting? I myself have taken low-light videos and I have changed my standing or sitting position and even turned on extra lamps in the room when necessary to maximize the use of the light available.
Most of the time indoors or outdoors at night the conditions are not what I would call really tough (as I mentioned above). I have found that making these adjustments (manual focus, extra lighting) is not necessary; the 'Smart Auto' takes care of everything. But of course sometimes, it just will not. You must use your eyes and your own judgment. I repeat: if you're not sure, a quick test shot will tell you.
As you gain experience with this camcorder under various conditions, you will learn just what should be done in future equivalent situations. That's how I have learned!
It is important to keep in mind that videos taken under extremely low-light WILL turn out somewhat 'noisy' (grainy). This is a fact of life (and it applies to cell-phone video as well, even more so). You and you alone must determine, assuming that there is no way of adding additional lighting, whether it is better to have a 'noisy' video rather than none at all. (And if you think your cell-phone will do better in a particular scene, by all means use it. But I think it won't!)
Again in my opinion (and all of what I have written is, of course, just my opinion), if you use just a little bit of common sense in conjunction with this camcorder, your videos will almost certainly turn out just as fine and as satisfying as mine have.
===== Update: May 29, 2015
If you want to see an example of what this Samsung F90 camcorder can do under "impossible" conditions, please watch this video which has been posted on YouTube: < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpP2CF2SP2M >.
I took it at Cinevent 2015 in Columbus, Ohio using this Samsung camcorder. The screening room was dimly lit as you will see and the video is very noisy (grainy). There was no possibility of adding extra lighting. But the video came out and is watchable and it is, of course, better than having nothing. Michael Haynes was very grateful that someone had taken video of his speech in tribute to his father, who was one of the founders of Cinevent and who had passed away just a month previously. (You can also directly navigate to YouTube and search for "Tribute to Steven E Haynes by his son Michael at Cinevent 2015." if that is more convenient for you.) I think that, all things considered, the sound quality is fine too.
I took this video because I had known Steve Haynes for a number of years and my wife and I were shocked and saddened that he had passed away. Plus I felt that someone should record his son's tribute. Steve was one of the nicest people we had ever met at a film festival. We hope that his son Michael will continue to build on what his father helped found.
And if you want "proof" that I actually took this video, just go to Cinevent's Facebook Page < https://www.facebook.com/cineventconvention > and, at least for the moment, you will see this video along with the attribution to me.
The video is too large to post directly in this review which is why I direct you to YouTube (and/or the Cinevent Facebook Page).
I suppose there are some people who will still complain about "poor video" in low-light conditions but I believe that this video will demonstrate what can be accomplished when you REALLY need to do it. I do not believe ANY cell-phone would have done as well and in addition there may even be some more expensive camcorders which might not have done as well.
I hope you will see and appreciate why I am so satisfied with this Samsung F90.
Lawrence H. Bulk
After the file size reaches approximately 1.29 GB, the video camera closes out the file and starts a new segment. The camera is very easy to use, and did well when the sun was at my back, in my eyes, and it did even better at night when the field was lit up by lights.
If you want an inexpensive video camera that gives high quality video, you should like this one.
I had researched video recorders for quite some time and finally settled on this model and it proved to be a great choice.
I'm planning a motorcycle trip to Monument Valley this fall and storage space will be at a premium.
The compact size of this video recorder makes it very east to pack.
Once again Samsung proves it ability to produce quality electronics.
The video and sound quality are excellent.
If you're looking for a digital device to capture your memories but don't want to spend a fortune but get a decent quality, I would recommend this. Yes, there are cheaper options ($40 or less) but the quality and zoom is not as good.
If anything changes about this review (we've only had it a little over one month so it's still pretty new) I will update this.
This camera is extremely light and easy to use. Most is self explanatory or easily understood. The screen does have to be open in order to plug this camera in to charge, but that is also something that doesn't matter to me. I'm not using it while it's charging, so who cares if the door is open?
Again, I will say that you get what you pay for so do not expect a $600 camcorder for this price. But for what you do pay I feel that you get a bargain with this camera.