Samsung's MultiView MV800 Camera

PHOTO: Samsungs MultiView MV800 camera is shown.
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The real fun of taking pictures these days lies in what can be done with photos after they've been snapped. Hipstamatic and Instagram are among the popular apps that provide on-the-fly effects for photos taken on smart phones, and offer some very cool results.

Samsung's answer to this craze of gussying up photos post-click is the new MultiView MV800, a compact, digital point-and-shoot camera. It's a decent choice for anyone in the market for an actual camera. But it's even more fun for those of you who love playing with your photos.

The MultiView comes preloaded with a variety of effects and filters that can be applied to the shots. The best part is how simple and easy they are to use. The camera's touchscreen menu takes a page from Apple's playbook and uses an app-centric interface that's easy to navigate.

Even bad photos can be salvaged when filters are applied. Take that so-so picture of your kids. With a few taps, convert it into a cartoon.

Voila! Your little ones are instantly transformed into a work of pop art. In my case, this particular filter made the blemishes on my chin disappear. A camera that instantly erases zits and gives a cool picture too? That alone makes the MV800 worth a look.

Vintage film, oil painting and tilt-shift are among the other filters available on the MultiView MV800. Effects can be applied to video as well, so channel your inner Richard Linklater and create your own "Waking Life."

The Funny Face feature is another fun option that lets users distort and warp facial features to achieve caricature-like results. Kids (and kids at heart) will love it.

Like most cameras in the compact, point-and-shoot category, the MV800 performs poorly in low-light situations. Going without a flash results in noisy, grainy shots, whereas using the flash results in harshly lit photos. Luckily, if you stick with outdoor and (well-lit) indoor shots, you'll be fine.

The MultiView MV800 does a great job capturing true-to-life colors and details. The 5X optical zoom is also excellent for long-distance shots. For scenic vistas, the Live Panorama feature is a cool trick for stitching together multiple landscape shots.

"MultiView" refers to the camera's special form factor. Here, the viewfinder is replaced with a 3-inch, LCD display/touchscreen that takes up the majority of the camera's backside. It swings out from behind the camera body to 180 degrees. The screen can also be used as a kickstand to prop the camera at various angles.

The main idea here is that you can snap photos from all kinds of angles, no matter how inconveniently positioned you are. Trying to get a shot of your favorite band when you're all the way at the back of the room? Hold the camera above you, turn it upside down and flip the viewfinder up. You'll be able to see above the crowd, preview the shot and zoom in if necessary.

Wanna grab a quick self-portrait of you with your friends? Swing the viewfinder all the way up, and you can immediately determine whether everyone's in the picture. A handy shutter release button behind the screen allows you to snap the pic easily.

In the end, the MultiView MV800 is all about simplicity and creativity. It brings the element of play back to cameras and is a good choice for those wanting to have some fun with their pictures. Photoshop skills are not required.

It retails for $280.

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