Review: Samsung HZ35W

Take a compass on a trip and you’ll spend a lot of time wandering around trying to find out which way is north. Take a camera with a built-in GPS receiver and you’ll get tons of tasty geotagged photos that can be automatically dropped onto interactive digital maps in programs such as Apple’s iPhoto or Aperture.

The problem is, not all GPS cameras are created equal. While testing several models on a five-borough photo tour in New York City, we got some interesting results, to say the least.

Is Nathan’s Hot Dogs in Kyrgyzstan? The GPS-enabled 12-megapixel Samsung HZ35W certainly seemed to think so, placing Coney Island’s culinary landmark in the mountains of Central Asia when we pulled our images into Apple Aperture 3’s “Places” mapping feature. When the same thing happened with a replacement camera, we switched to Apple’s iPhoto, which also has Places, and the geotagged photos were dropped properly into a map of New York City. Go figure.

Despite the glitch, the slightly chunky Samsung camera had the most extensive GPS features of the models we tested including Map View mode which displays your location and where your photos were taken on a map on the camera’s 3-inch LCD. The mapping feature on our camera confusingly defaulted to Washington, D.C., though, showing us walking down F Street instead of 181st in Washington Heights. (Once the camera locked in on the GPS signal, the map switched to the current location.)

Images captured by the HZ35W were only so-so with oversaturated color and blurry edge detail. We loved the 15x optical zoom though, which went as wide as 24mm for capturing landscapes and bridges.

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