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The digital camera market is constantly on the hunt for new and exciting features. In recent years, we’ve seen more and more consumer-level cameras implement such things as GPS geotagging, HD video recording, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Offering a refreshing take on the form factor is the Samsung ST550 digital camera.

The single greatest feature that sets this particular picture-taker apart from the competition is the secondary display mounted to the front of the camera. This way, there is no more second guessing when it comes to those extended-arm self-portraits.

Features and Specifications

The Samsung ST550 is a 12.2 megapixel camera featuring a Schneider-Kreuznach VarioPlan 27mm wide angle lens good for up to 4.6x optical zoom. This is the world’s first camera to feature a dual LCD display configuration.

Around the back, you’ll find the main 3.5-inch touchscreen display and this is where you will be doing most of your interaction with the camera. It is through this touchscreen that you can change the mode, adjust your options, activate the flash, and so on.

On the front is the smaller 1.5″ LCD display. The primary purpose of this screen is for self-portraits, but there are other modes wherein the display will show goofy pictures (children mode), the self-timer countdown, shutter info, and function info.

Other quick highlights include the smart gesture UI (using the built-in acceleration/tilt sensor), HDMI connectivity, Smart Auto mode, face and smile recognition, touch-to-focus, dual image stabilization, up to ISO 3200, and a recycle bin feature.

What’s Included in the Box?

Along with the Samsung ST550 digital camera itself, the retail box contains a handy wrist strap, USB connection cable, standard AV cable, wall charger adapter, rechargeable lithium-ion battery (720mAh), quick start manual, warranty information, and user manual CD-ROM.

It’s notable that while there is a little bit of internal memory (55MB) in the Samsung ST550, you will need to invest in your own memory card if you plan on taking more than a handful of photos. Rather than using the standard SD format, Samsung opted for microSD (and microSDHC) for this camera.

First Impressions

This version of the Samsung ST550 features an extra glossy black front with gold trim on either side, but the camera is also available in your choice of red, blue, or purple trim too. From what I can gather, the specs are the same regardless of color.

Measuring just 18.6mm thick, this camera clearly fits in the “sleek and thin” niche, but it is heavier than I expected. It’s from being the lightest camera on the market, so don’t let its thin profile deceive you in that respect. The added weight and the choice of materials give a sense of great build quality though; it certainly feels better than the decidedly cheaper and older Samsung S850.

It should be noted that there is quite the discrepancy in pricing, depending on where you choose to buy this camera. Poking around on the Internet, I found that Amazon (USA) had the Samsung ST550 listed at just $230. By contrast, Future Shop (Canada) is selling the same camera for $400. Go figure.

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