Performance

Speed

As in the earlier model (ST550), the Samsung ST600 did not disappoint in terms of operating speed apart from the average touchscreen. The camera started up in 1.3 seconds and auto focusing in low light stuttered a bit but there was no big issue under most lighting conditions. Touch to focus option is a smart feature and it worked amazingly. 

Shutter-lag with or without pre-focus was measured at 0.15 seconds and 0.45 seconds respectively. Shot to shot time was good at 0.45 seconds with flash on and 0.35 seconds without flash. The continuous drive mode was a little disappointing though as it could shoot at just 1.25fps in full resolution. Overall, the ST600 offers useable speed but not the best in this price range.

Lens

The lens showed good centre sharpness and corner softness on the left side was slightly noticeable. The lens distortion or pincushion is just slightly noticeable, but won't create an issue for casual photography. Sharpness in general is good for a compact camera.

Macro shooting also came out good and we could get as close as 5cm away from the subject which is above average. Chromatic aberration was also slightly noticeable.

The Dual IS as in the older ST550 worked as expected and was very effective at taking sharp images.

Image Quality

Color reproduction was very lively, rich and vivid with the Samsung ST600. Colours like red, blue and green were slightly over-saturated and images overall were slightly warm.

Outdoor images came out well exposed and showed good details across. The colors are punchy and shadow details are retained well, though with some noticeable noise.

The Samsung ST600 also has a problem with handling bright areas which is a common issue with most small sensor-size cameras. Bright areas in the images were easily blown out and over-exposed which resulted in loss in details.

Indoor shots show slight colour noise and also loss in details.

Noise level at ISO400 was still well-controlled but details started to degrade. At ISO800 and beyond, the loss in details and the noticeable noise reached a point where images were suited only for small size print or to be published on the web.

So, the Samsung ST600 is not the best for low light shooting but will be just fine for outdoors, where there is a sufficient amount of light. Flash range is sufficient and images within 10 feet came out well exposed, but not without noise.

Video

The 720p HD video clips we recorded indoors came out with noticeable noise and just sufficient amount of details. Frame rates were smooth but even outdoors, the video clip could not handle bright areas well, as clips were overexposed and easily looked blown out.

The mono audio was also average, which made it just good enough for casual shooting. Zooming also was possible but the audio-cut during the zoom-in is a downer.

The Samsung ST600 has a disappointing battery life as the fully charged battery let us capture just over 100 images. We believe the lower battery life must be because of the large touchscreen.

OUR VERDICT

The Samsung ST600 comes with many smart features like dual-display, gesture controlled UI and one touch shooting. As a compact camera, there are many likeable features for the casual shooter, like shooting good colours and good quality images outdoors. Our main issues are with its average low light performance, lack of manual controls, average HD video and the rather high price tag.