I bought this snapper sealed fresh and spanking brand new from a friend of mine working as an FA of the Korean Airlines. She got this at the Duty Free, and when she reached home, she received the same unit as a gift. So she has to dispose what she had bought.
So timely because at the time, I was looking for a digital camera compact enough that I can lug around with me especially in the area where photography using DSLR is not allowed. Oh yes, such places exist.
In Ayala properties, for example, you need to acquire permit before you can shoot anything. So weird because the guards are singling out DSLR or professional-grade camera only. They will let it slide if you're using cellphone cam or a digicam(Point&Shoot). Prowl around Greenbelt, even in the entire Salcedo area, start taking photos, and the guards will confront you. Even in SM MOA, as one of my friends accounts, they will ask you to delete all your captured materials, or worse, sequester your storage cards.
So the only answer is to carry inconspicuous sub-compacts(like Panasonic Lumix semi-pro) or P&S cam to express your shutterbug tendencies. I found the ST500 an answer to that need. For one, it isn't so expensive, but let me outline different factors of me considering this:
1) it uses Schneider-KREUZNACH lens already, unlike other Samsung P&S which only uses Samsung Zoom camera that are not as quality lens compared to Schneider. German brand lenses are really dependable, remember Carl Zeiss? And Leica?
2) Smart Gesture Interface with integrated orientation sensors complimenting its touchscreen advantage. A simple tap or any hand gestures can make you access features easily.
3) no need to hunt around power outlets. You can charge it via USB. And even if the battery is still inside the camera, unlike other digicams which make use of a different charger set that you have to take the entire battery pack out. Such separate charging dock will add up to the overall cost.
4) HDMI support for high-def viewing on your external screen. And speaking of screen, it has smaller LCD screen compared to its successor ST550, 0.5inches short, which means that it has a more robust battery life.
5) front LCD for narcissistic, camwhoring sessions which I know the vanity in all of you will surely love
The only gripe that I have is that the installation CD is only for Windows, no Mac installer. And the manuals are all Korean. But the techno-jack that I am, I know I can get around its full features by just fiddling it overnight.