Samsung Digimax U-CA 3; Easy And Fun Page 2

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 nice touch.

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.

Power Play
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