Samsung SCD103 Mini-DV Camcorder - Close Look at the Camera

Article Index
Samsung SCD103 Mini-DV Camcorder
Close Look at the Camera
LCD and Menu
Software, Testing and Conclusion

Camera Up Close:

I've taken quite a few pictures of this camera up close so you have a better idea of what you're getting if you decide to purchase this model.

The one thing that I really like about this camera is the large lens.  This large lens is able to gather more light that my Sony and as a result, video taken indoors or in poor lighting conditions, is clearer and less grainy.

Moving around to the back allows you to see the battery, "Camera/Off/Player" switch and the black and white viewfinder.  The viewfinder is quite clear, and can be used instead of the LCD to conserve battery power.  Here is my first real beef with the SCD103.  The viewfinder doesn't extend.  It tilts upwards, but if you have a nose, you can't leave it down and see through it.  (Look at the first picture on page 1 and you'll know what I mean).  Having to tilt it up to use it doesn't allow for a natural feel, as you must look down into the viewfinder while holding the camera horizontal.

I realize that most people will never use the viewfinder, but if you plan on it, this one is a little awkward.

Moving down to the bottom reveals the tripod mount, battery release lever, tape eject, and the Sony Memory Stick port.  Here lies my second personal complaint.  This is a Samsung Camcorder, not a Sony.  Sony Memory Sticks are not as popular as SD or MMC cards which are generally used in non-Sony cameras.  Samsung has chosen Sony, and although it's not a bad choice, it still seems a little odd to me. 


Unfortunately, I don't have any Sony Memory Sticks handy, and was unable to test this camera's digital camera features.  It does however take pictures that are only 640x480.  To reference, the images you see in this review are actually only 512x384, so for emailing or web-shots, it should do just fine.

Heading around right side reveals, the "Slow Shutter" button, the "Photo" button, and the I/O area.  Under this cover you've got plenty of interfaces to choose from.  Mini-Firewire, Mini-USB, Analog A/V, S-Video, as well as an external microphone jack.  Also under this cover is a battery door that contains a button cell battery used to remember time and date as well as camera settings.

The left side of the camera houses the LCD and a few other buttons.  Here you've got your main editing mode, and settings controls.  There is a speaker available to allow you to hear the video while you play back during editing.  The speaker is quite clear and goes fairly loud.  Beside the speaker is the DC input which allows you to run without the battery, or charge the battery.  Speaking of the battery - it lasts quite a while.  I'm not sure how many hours you can expect in reality, but it appears to be longer than my Sony.

Also pictured is the Tape/Memory Card switch that allows to you choose where pictures and video will be stored.  Yes, the camera can take pictures without a card, but they are recorded onto the tape.  Not a perfect solution, but at least there is an option.

On the next page, we'll take a quick look into the features and menus on the LCD.