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REVIEW: Samsung ES95, HD Camera on a Shoestring Budget

The Samsung ES95 is my earliest camera.
Not always the best image quality but it's there when you need it!

The Samsung ES95 was the second camera I bought (after the Samsung ES25 began making loko to me). I only started taking photography a little more seriously but not too seriously since July of 2012. At this time, venturing into professional gear was not one of my options. Read on if you're looking for a good camera on a shoestring budget...

Read my review of the affordable HD camera Samsung ES95.


SRP: PhP 5,000 (stores)

Release Dates:
January 2013 (Global)
February 7, 2013 (Philippines)

Image Source: SAMSUNG Tomorrow (Official Global Blog)
Colors: Black, White, Red, Pink
Effective megapixels: 16.2MP (4608 x 3456 pixels)
Internal memory: 70MB
Other features: DIS, Smart Auto, Picture-In-Picture, Panorama


Excerpts from the Press Release

"The Samsung ES95... promises to make great photography with a 16.2 megapixel sensor and 5x optical zoom lens. The 1280 x 720p movie recording function means that videos of family and friends can be enjoyed at leisure in crystal clear quality... designed explicitly to make photography a hassle free experience... and will help to take great action pictures with blur-free results."


Unboxing the ES95

Unboxing this camera was filled with excitement. I got this from a reputable online seller, so it was only P3,500 than the SRP of 5k. I wanted to be able to take good photos and the phone may not be a reliable tool for photography.

The box is very slim and it can easily fit in one hand!
It comes with a USB cable.
This side of the camera shows the micro USB slot with the protective lid opened.
The USB cable can be connected here for charging the camera.
It has a Europlug end and needs an adapter to fit into NEMA 1-15 type plug commonly found here in the Philippines.
The travel charger can handle anything from 100-240 volts.
There's a lock for the battery so that it doesn't slip out when you open the compartment.
It uses micro SD (up to 2GB) or SDHC (up to 8GB), and has an internal memory of 70MB.
It has a bright display and easy to use interface.
Ultra-slim and lightweight! The speaker and microphone are situated under the holes
(beside the model number and power button).
There's a little hole at the underside for attaching the tripod.
The cheapest tripod from CD-R King sells for P250.

With this powerful lithium battery, the camera would never die for more than 2 weeks on standby.
Event when used in events, it can take heavy non-stop use for 6 hours before reaching low.
The ES95 has a lock for the battery so that it doesn't slip out while the lid is open.
ES25 uses SD card, while ES95 uses micro SD card (up to 2GB) or SDHC (up to 8GB).

Switching between modes eg. Smart Auto, Program, Panorama or Video is easily done with a single 'Mode' button. The only downside with the ES95 is that it doesn't have a blinking light for the timer, but it does have a timer sound so you know when the clock is ticking.

Left: the timer light from the ES25. Right: the Mode Button for the ES95.

It has a very tiny 16 MegaPixel CCD sensor, which may not be my best friend when it comes to low light photography, even with its f/2.5 aperture. Unfortunately, it gets too dark with a maximum aperture of f/6.3 when you zoom up to its longest focal end. Good thing is, you can zoom up to far away and still get sharp details during daytime or a well-lit environment.

It has a 1/2.3" CCD image sensor.
CCD sensors are widely used in professional, medical and scientific applications.
CCD is much better than CMOS cameras, which have a less exacting quality.
Image settings: 16.2MP resolution, Normal Focus, ISO  400, Exposure +0.3, DIS mode
With its impressive zoom feature, I think we're all set to hunt for UFOs in the sky!
Shooting from the 27th floor or Regalia Tower.
Shooting from the 27th floor
Shooting from the 27th floor
From Regalia Tower along P. Tuazon... those are tall buildings in Ortigas!
Shooting the sky late in the afternoon
Using the zoom in with flash in broad daylight.
Shooting at night with flash, 25x digital zoom
Shooting at night without flash, 5x optical zoom

Image quality is decent, but not the best. Most of the time, I use the flash so that the images would look good. Without flash, lighted subjects appear harsh and out of balance. The biggest let down to the images is that the color range is limited. Yellows are captured very well, while magentas and pinks appear frustratingly pale.

Above: without flash. Below: with flash.
With flash, ISO 800. The best setting for shooting animals and fast moving objects.
Without flash, ISO 1600. Color looks washed out.

You can access the Video Recording mode via the Mode button. Once you're in video mode you can set its resolution to HD (1280 x 720), VGA (640 x 480) and QVGA (320 x 240). Frame rate can be 15 or 30 fps (frames per second). Other settings in Video Mode are Exposure, White Balance, Smart Filter, Metering, DIS, Smart Scene, and Sound.

You can access Panorama Mode via the Mode button. Once there, there's no setting for you to adjust. You just need to press and hold the shutter button and either move the camera horizontally or vertically. It will finish shooting once you reach the end of the status bar or release the shutter button. Take note that shooting will automatically be aborted when you change direction. Panorama Mode shoots in very low resolution and you can't adjust it unfortunately. I rarely use this mode.

Low resolution, but looks decent? I'm here at the 27th floor overlooking Ortigas to the right and SM Cubao to the left.


For those who are on a shoestring budget and are happy with decent images that are better than the ones from your phone, SAMSUNG ES95 is a great entry-level camera for you. You can't blame it for being limited in some features, but for the price, you really can't complain. You can really get good images and videos if you can figure out or be under the right lighting condition.

The main benefits of this camera are price, size and portability. It's there when you need to capture moments.

Selfie time!

This is a crop from my group photo.


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