Dual View Camera: Perfecting Self-Portraits

Photo: Gadget Guide: Samsung Dual ViewCourtesy Samsung
The Samsung Dual View camera.

Shooting the perfect profile picture for your Facebook or Twitter account is easy with the Samsung Dual View digital camera.

The Dual View TL225 boasts a spectacular 3.5-inch rear LCD display as well as a 1.5-inch display on the front of the camera. A simple finger tap on the front display will show you exactly where you stand in your picture. In the age of social media and profile pictures, this is a very practical feature to have.

Because of the generous 3.5-inch back display, Samsung has integrated all the usual buttons -- flash, delete, macro, etc. -- into a touch-screen format. Some tend to shy away from touch-screen gadgets, but it was easy to navigate the menus on the responsive Dual View. The camera includes a haptic vibration response system that lets the user know when a menu selection has been registered.

Tapping the back LCD display brings up the various menu options on three sides of the camera. A few seconds later, if you don't select anything, they go away and all that's left is the image display itself.

It seemed only a short time ago that one was hard pressed to find an inexpensive point-and-shoot camera with more than 8 megapixels and a 3x optical zoom. The Dual View comes with a12.2 megapixel resolution and a 4.6x optical zoom, as well as a 27mm wide angle lens.

The camera can shoot video, too. 720p HD quality video, that is. Users who buy the optional HDMI adapter can display their movies and photos on high-definition television sets.

The camera comes with a default picture file size of 9 megabytes. Users can toggle the size from 1 megabyte (appropriate for e-mail attachments) all the way up to 12 megabytes (appropriate for A-1 sized prints).

Dual View Digital Camera Offers 'Smile Detection'

One of the other neat features of the Dual View is the smile detection option. Instead of pressing the shutter button to take a picture, the camera can automatically capture the picture when it detects a smiling face.

While the front display is useful for framing up your self portrait, it also serves other purposes as well. For parents with fidgety children, toggling the camera into "child mode" changes the front display to an animated clown that is meant to attract their attention. With the self-timer selected, a large 3-2-1 countdown display lets you know when to smile.

The Dual View offers quite a few options for previewing captured photos. Since everything is touch-screen navigated, you can tap the left or right buttons to toggle between photos, or you can slide your finger across the screen to advance to the next picture. Making an 'X' gesture on the screen allows you to delete the photo and drawing a circle on the display rotates the picture. For those not interested in the finger-flicking, the garbage can icon on the left side of the screen serves the same delete purpose. You can either delete a single photo or select as many thumbnails as you want to do a batch delete.

One of the downsides to the Dual View is the memory format. Rather than go with the usual SD format that is standard in most cameras today, Samsung designed this camera for Micro SD cards. Users who plan on frequently extracting the card to transfer pictures to their computer should be careful to not to lose it -- they don't call it a micro card for nothing.

Samsung decided to not include a viewfinder in the Dual View, but for most consumers this won't be an issue since they rely on the LCD display to frame their photos. Because of the generous back LCD display, the zoom lever is just a little knob on top of the camera right next to the shutter button. It took a while to get used to balancing the camera with one hand while zooming in to take photos.

The minor downsides, however, don't outweigh the Dual View's fun features. The front-LCD display alone makes it a great gift for any social media guru. On the Samsung site, it retails for $349.99.