When we were first introduced to Samsung’s MultiView series with last year’s MV800, we were certainly intrigued by the original design — the LCD flips up to face directly forward, resting just above the main camera module and enabling front-sided operation, for self-portraits and the like. What the camera appeared to offer in ingenuity, however, it lacked in image quality — shots looked quite mediocre during PC-based reviews, and when viewed on the low-res capacitive touchscreen display. This year’s iteration, the MV900F, promises improvements down the 800’s list of shortcomings, ranging from an f/2.5-6.3, 25mm 5x optical zoom lens to added WiFi, which brings the model’s social feature set in line with otherSamsung SMART cameras. There’s also a 16.3-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor on board, along with that 180-degree MultiView display, this time equipped with a 3.3-inch WVGA AMOLED panel. Physically, the camera is similar in appearance, but it’s noticeably larger, to accommodate that larger touchscreen (the MV800 included a 3-inch display).
We were able to take an early look at the MV900F, and the display improvements were immediately noticeable. We weren’t permitted to review sample shots on a computer, but with so much room to grow from its predecessor, it’s safe to say that this lens/sensor combo should yield a noticeable image quality boost. The front-facing display is certainly the star of the show, even enabling gesture controls — you can zoom in and out or capture a shot just by waving your hand (there’s a tutorial on-board, but the movements aren’t difficult to master). There’s also a handful of WiFi options, including Facebook integration, along with instant uploading to sites like Picasa and YouTube, and integration with Samsung’s other products, including TVs and Galaxy smartphones. Video capture has also been boosted from 720p to 1080p, letting you take full advantage of HDTV playback, while a variety of photo and movie filters let you get creative in-camera, including a twilight mode that combines three sequential frames in order to snap steady shots in low light. The camera is set to ship in late August for $349.99, and will be available in black and white, so if you were considering the MV800 but opted to hold out while Samsung worked out the kinks, this may be the time to jump. Catch the MV900F in action, including those nifty gesture controls, in our hands-on video after the break.
By Zach Honig