I already knew from previous experience that the flash did a nice job. In
fact, exposures made with the built-in flash proved very effective. Still, many
cameras fall down on the job when it comes to mixing flash with the available
light exposure. In this case, I was treated to some very respectable images.
My colleague agreed.
During Fleet Week in New York City, I came upon these USO performers
in Times Square. I intentionally used the person in the foreground
for both framing and perspective. The camera did well in capturing
the singers with hands raised.
Just The Facts--And Beyond
The Samsung U-CA 3 is pretty much bare bones, from a features standpoint, but
does add a few useful color effects. An uncomplicated design makes for uncomplicated
operation, which goes a long way toward making this digicam very user-friendly.
Compact size lends this camera to any occasion--home, party, or travel.
I took it with me on a trip to Keene, New Hampshire, keeping it tucked away
in a vest pocket, ready for use. And we can't overlook the supplied pouch--a
Next, a modest 3.3 megapixels will let you take a fair (not generous) number
of pictures on the supplied 32MB Memory Stick Duo (Memory Stick Duo adapter
included--to fit standard Memory Stick slots). The lens sports the typical
3x optical/digital plus macro settings--good enough for a wide range of
subjects. And you can shoot video clips and audio.
The owners of the Carriage Barn Bed&Breakfast in Keene, New
Hampshire, especially liked this shot of their sitting room. The
U-CA 3 did an amazing job of capturing the contrast, showing us
both the outdoor view and the room itself, albeit in a subdued
manner, since interior lights were turned off.
Performance was admirable for a point-and-shoot of this ilk. Shutter lag was
acceptable, as were shot-to-shot times. One thing I did note is that images
shot under Auto White Balance could use a bit more warmth, such as with one
of Photoshop's photo warming filters (No. 81 at 10-25 percent density).
Aside from that, the camera delivered sharp, crisp images.
The camera is marketed with either a rechargeable or single-use Duracell Prismatic
battery. Ordinarily, I'd opt for rechargeables. The package I received
contained the Prismatic battery. I have to admit, it was nice not having to
worry about charging batteries for a change. (See sidebar for more details on
this battery and the U-CA 3.)
The camera did a very nice job in capturing the quiet blue tones
of this scene in Keene, New Hampshire, under a bright blue sky.
At the time of this writing, I learned that Samsung plans to introduce the
U-CA 4, a 4 megapixel version of this camera (intro date to be announced). Both
models will be sold side by side for the foreseeable future. Between you and
me, I'd grab up the current model: the price is a steal, and you won't
benefit that much more from the added megapixel.
One of the most impressive features in the Samsung U-CA 3 is the battery.
This is among the first digital cameras to support the new flat Duracell CP1
Prismatic battery. To promote the battery at a recent trade show, Duracell handed
out samples--except that under the wrapping was not a power cell but several
sticks of Trident gum. It was that flat!
With the camera on a tripod, I used slow-sync flash to freeze
this Spiderman like character in New York City's Times Square,
with the intent of blurring passersby in the background.
Battery life in this camera was surprisingly long, lasting easily through
more than 100 exposures--most with flash and the display on. Even sitting
idly in the camera for weeks, the camera came instantly to life with a touch
of the power button.
Pricing & Information
· Street price on the Samsung U-CA 3: $200.
· Contact: Samsung www.samsungcamerausa.com