Samsung AF 105 XL – Shape of things to come

In 1998 Samsung weren’t exactly the obvious name for a camera.  Whereas these days Samsung and Japanese competitors Panasonic & Sony are often top dogs at photoshows, back in ’98 they were better known for non camera stuff.  Samsung’s modest range of compact point and shoots including this one were hardly stars of 1998 Photokina show in an era still dominated by Japanese marquees.

Samsung AF 105XL
Samsung AF 105XL late 90’s AF 35mm compact

But the AF 105 XL (aka Fino 105 AF) perhaps illustrate why the sands were shiftingI’ve had this camera for sometime. It came in a job lot of film and cameras and oddly is still with me instead of a Olympus Mju II Zoom. At first glance it is an uninspiring brick of a camera looking pretty much like any other of it’s era and in a now naff champagne colour.

Gracefield I
Gracefield Art Centre, Dumfries. Nov 2015. Samsung AF 105 AF with Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200

But this is a pretty well specced camera. We’ll leave the just under x3 zoom for the moment. You’ve the usual controls which are well laid out (zoom toggle on rear, shutter on top and settings controls by top LCD). You get a dioptre adjustment on the viewfinder and the camera has the usual DX coding, easy load and motorwind features.

Attack of the killer ducks
Rheged, near Penrith. 2014. Taken on a Samsung AF 105XL with Kodak BW400CN

Samsung AF 105 XL Known Specs

  • Lens: 38-105mm
  • Focus: Active AF
  • Battery : CR123A 3V Lithium
  • erm…..
 I can’t find a manual and given the fact I did the specs on camera-wiki little is known about this camera. It has a series of mind numbing modes. Unfortunately the LCD is not the easiest to follow so these aren’t always clear but all the usual suspect seem to be there (timer, a double shot setting on timer- wide and tele, landscape mode, multiple shots etc.) as well as some others like portrait and weirdly a fuzzy mode (pre-dating instagram). A second button toggles flash auto on/off/red-eye/night mode (this allows you to take a slow exposure shot at night with fill in flash for people).
Triangular wood
Rheged, near Penrith. 2014. Taken on a Samsung AF 105XL with Kodak BW400CN

More modes than the 1992 Espio but that is a more stylish and more importantly has a +1.5 EV backlight adjustment which is more handy than Fuzzy.  The Espio also can DX code from 25-3200 ISO. It isn’t clear if the Samsung has the same range but like the Espio it has 4 DX pins in the same position so maybe it does (given I rarely shoot anything out with 100-400 ISO I’m not the best to judge).

Homebase
Dumfries. Nov 2015. Samsung AF 105 AF with Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200

Performance-wise this camera performed as well as most cameras from the turn of the century. A quick measure of performance is to turn on the camera without film and move to full zoom and take a shot. I did this indoors which meant the flash was automatically triggered. The Samsung took 4.8secs whilst the shorter zoom Espio took 7.5 secs. In fairness to the Pentax some of the delay related more to a prolonged flash charge but nevertheless the Samsung does well here.  Like most it puts on the flash around EV 11 at 100ISO and  like others you run the risk of judder without it. It also is pretty sharp in good conditions marginally better at wider angles as you would expect. Like all 90’s AF compact zoom it makes a funny  little electronic noise when shooting.

Viewfinder has usual focus square and on the edge a focus LED that goes solid when focused (or Blinks if too close or not focused) and flash ready LED

Noir Portal
Rheged, near Penrith. 2014. Taken on a Samsung AF 105XL with Kodak BW400CN

One nice feature is the lens cover closes when rewinds (most irritatingly stayed open)

All in a not bad camera if a bit dull & bulky for the end of the 90’s but it takes fine enough shots and has diopter adjustment. My main gripe is the LCD is at times not the easiest to read and a backlight adjust would have been nice but otherwise ticks all the boxes. I’m guessing sold for £100-170 in UK give other model pricing. Not ground-breaking but showed Samsung could make cameras and 2 decades later they are a much bigger player

Why Buy ?

  • Competent
  • Cheap
  • Good shots

Why not ?

  • Styling
  • Lack of EV adjust

What I Paid

  • Paid £5.50 plus postage for this and several cameras and film as job lot  on eBay

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