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Morgane Alzieu Published on February 7, 2012
Translated by Catherine Barraclough


  • Sensor CCD 16 Mpx, 1/2.3" , 56 Mpx/cm
  • Lens 5x 26-130 mm f/3.3 -5.9
  • Stabilisation Optical
  • Viewfinder NA
  • Screen 7.62 cm, not TN, 230000 dots, 4:3, Monopoint
  • Sensitivity (ISO range) 80 - 3200 ISO ext. 47 mm
With its flip-out screen, the Samsung MV800 is definitely an innovative camera. Apart from a few exceptions (like Canon's G12, for example), movable screens are more commonly seen in SLRs, mirrorless cameras and bridges, making it a pretty unique selling point in today's compact camera market. The MV800 has almost identical tech specs to the ST95, including a 5x zoom lens with 26 mm wide-angle, a 16-Megapixel CCD sensor and 720p HD video with mono sound. There is, however, one key difference—this model has built-in optical stabilisation system.


The MV800 is a nice-looking little compact. The brushed metal finish on the front face looks pretty sleek, and the rear face is a smooth, seamless panel housing the screen, its surround and two flat buttons set flush to the surface. Flipping the screen up (as below) reveals a plain, textured surface with a second shutter release button for taking self-portraits (see right). All in all, the camera is a bit too smooth to maintain good grip, but the design and build quality don't disappoint.

Samsung MV800 review - screen

The LCD screen is a little less impressive, as the definition of just 288,000 dots makes onscreen images look visibly pixelated. Viewing angles, on the other hand, are nice and wide. The screen isn't quite bright enough for comfortable use outdoors, as in strong sunlight it's hard to see what's going on. Plus, the contrast is too high, which means dark areas of the picture flood together and light areas are soon washed out to white. There's a slight blue overtone and colour fidelity could be a whole lot better too. To sum up, you can't rely on the MV800 screen to reproduce images 100% correctly, so take care when sorting through and deleting photos!

The touchscreen interface is much the same as in the ST95. In other words, it's quite similar to a touchscreen smartphone interface, as you can scroll through lists and menus with a simple swipe of your finger. The transparent background effect in the menus is pretty stylish. However, you still have to press the physical 'Home' button in the bottom right corner of the camera's rear face to change the shooting mode—you can't just press the relevant icon onscreen, which would be a lot more practical.

The camera has a series of fun creative functions, such as a storyboard maker, a pose guide, and various filters and frames. You'll also find the usual bunch of shooting modes like auto, programme and scene mode. With all these options spread over four pages in the menu, you'll be spoilt for choice!

Note that the MV800 is only compatible with microSD cards, which are slower and less practical to handle than regular SD cards. Note too that the battery charge melts away like a snowball in the sun, which in turn makes the MV800 lose its fourth star in this part of the review.


The MV800 has the same internal electronics as the ST95, so it's no surprise to see similar results in this field. The start-up time and photo saving time are a little quicker, both coming in closer to two seconds rather than pushing three seconds like in the ST95.

Samsung MV800 review - speed

The autofocus does a good job with our still test-lab scenes, working in under a second even in low light. In real-life situations, however, the MV800 is a little less responsive, which could soon become annoying.

Picture Quality

The Samsung MV800 has a 16-Megapixel CCD sensor and a 26-130 mm lens, making it identical to the ST95 ... on paper, at least.

Samsung MV800 review - ISO test, picture quality

As with all Samsung compacts loaded with this CCD, sensitivity is nothing to write home about. Noise is kept in check up to 400 ISO, but at this setting a speckling of noise and some smoothing do start to appear. From then on, everything basically becomes a fuzzy haze, with detail heavily smoothed out in an attempt to counteract digital noise.

Although the MV800 uses the same lens as the ST95, we did spot a few differences in quality. At wide-angle settings, for example, quality proved even less consistent across the frame, with blurring in the corners visible on an 8" x 10" print (20 x 27 cm). At 130 mm, the MV800 is no better than at wide-angle settings, with a passable level of sharpness in the middle of the frame that descends into blurring around the edges.

The optical stabilisation system does give this camera a very slight advantage over the ST95, as we managed a clear and consistently sharp shot in our Barbie without flash test at 1/8 ths of a second. It's nothing all that special (the Canon Ixus 115 HS, for example, does much better), but it's still better than the ST95.


The MV800 films 720p HD video, which is the minimum for a compact camera in 2012 really. The zoom is active in video mode but, unfortunately, image quality is only just acceptable due to the excessive contrast which floods dark areas and overexposes lighter zones. Audio quality is pretty bad too, as the mono mic captures muffled-sounding noises, as well as a kind of hissing sound that seems especially noticeable when you zoom.

Samsung MV800 review - video quality

Handy For Self Portraits
This isn't Samsung's first attempt at making a fun and interactive compact, as you may remember that the ST550 had a second screen on the front of the camera for help taking self-portraits or distracting children. Here, the MV800 has a flip-out screen. When flipped up onto the top of the camera, the screen covers the on/off button and shutter-release, which is why there's a second shutter-release button on the back of the camera.

Apart from help with self-portraits (see above), the hinged screen can be used to take shots at waist height, which can be handy for shooting kids, animals or even macro pictures. It's not quite so practical for taking photos up above your head, though (you have the flip the camera round). Plus, the screen only flips out vertically—you can't pull it out horizontally. All in all, it's not quite as versatile as a full swivel screen, as seen in Canon's A-series cameras or in high-end models like the Canon G12 ... not to mention the Samsung EX1.


  • Very good build quality
  • Original flip-out screen
  • Compact design


  • Poor sensitivity (800 ISO best avoided, 1600 ISO unusable)
  • Responsiveness in real-life situations
  • Touchscreen interface isn't always logical (e.g. choosing shooting mode)
  • Low-grade mono sound
  • No video record button, video image too contrasted


The Samsung MV800 is a stylish, attractive compact with a sleek touchscreen interface and an original flip-out screen. However, in spite of its physical charm, the MV800 isn't a camera we'd recommend—picture quality isn't up to scratch, it's too slow and the video mode is barely acceptable by today's standards.
2 Samsung MV800 DigitalVersus 2012-02-07 09:58:00
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