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Samsung DuoCam SC-D6040

>> Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Though the performance of both camera and camcorder are less than you'd get from dedicated devices in this price range, the Samsung DuoCam SC-D6040 is an attractive option if all in one convenience is your No. 1 priority. Samsung's first DuoCam, the SC-D5000, was an odd looking, bulky affair with a pivoting dual lens mechanism that would have fit in perfectly in the old Transformers cartoon.

The dark gray, plastic shell of the Samsung DuoCam SC-D6040 on the other hand, resembles, at first glance, a typical midsize DV camcorder.

Only the presence of the second lens at the front of the camera gives away the fact that the SC-D6040 isn't a typical camcorder.

Like Ray Milland and Rosie Greer in The Thing with Two Heads, the camera and camcorder share a body but are different in many ways.

For example, while the still camera lens features a convenient, built in lens cover, the camcorder lens has a separate, tethered lens cap. The camera has a solid, hefty feel, likely because Samsung has, essentially, added the components of a digital camera to a compact DV camcorder chassis. Though it has a sturdy feel, at 1.2 pounds, it's no heavier than typical middle size camcorders.

The still camera's controls are easy to use, but expect confused looks if you ask a stranger to take a picture for you and you hand them what looks like a camcorder. When examining the controls, the only hint of the SC-D6040's dual functionality is a dedicated still camera style mode dial for selecting the shooting mode when using the still camera functions.

The remaining photo settings, such as flash mode and automatic exposure lock, are doubled up onto the camcorder buttons. The buttons are logically laid out, with the most common functions on the sides of the camera and playback controls behind the LCD screen's door. The zoom, start or stop, and still photo buttons are all comfortably placed for one handed operation.

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