Samsung WB150F Review
Shoot Wow! Share Now! is the tagline that Samsung have put up for their new camera – the Samsung WB150F Smart Camera. The device specs look quite promising but there are a few glitches here and there that prevent the device from being a pure mini-powerhouse, but we cannot let that take away the fact that this device does provides tonnes of features and wi-fi connectivity.
Hardware,Build & Looks
The Device is a little bit on the heavier side with 188.2 grams, don’t expect a feather experience out of it. The plastic quality of the device is pretty impressive though. The Smart Camera is powered by a 14.2 Megapixel Schneider-KREUZNACH lems with 18X optical zoom. The chromatic finishing of the lens and the lens protector is fantastic and grants great visual appeal to the device. The outer shell has a tight grip finish which of course does not have any functional use but adds another dimension to the device.Otherwise as well, the device fairs good on the visual front. WB150F has a 7.62 cm(3.0) TFT screen which to our disappointment is not touch screen. The screen automatically detects environmental illumination and adjusts the LCD brightness for optimal image viewing. This is a major limitation of the device and it in turn affects the device’s performance on many other fronts which shall be discussed through the course of our review.
Talking about the ergonomics, the top of the device has the Camera Shutter Button which is quite flexible and responsible, and would be liked by all, the rotating shaft which is used to switch between various modes,setting, connectivity options is placed behind the shutter button, slightly towards the right, the power button in the middle adjacent to the microphone and the speaker on the left. The rotating shaft just might somewhere require you to raise your second hand to deal with the camera, otherwise the device can easily be operated with a single hand.
On the control panel, the buttons are very responsive, though they require a stern press. Its during the typing when you will actually hate the buttons, but they cannot be held responsible for it. Typing is not a 4-button job.
Image and Video Quality
The 14.2 megapixel German lens doesn’t disappoint a bit. Day-photography is fairly smooth and vivid. The WB150F’s OIS(Optical Image Stabilisation) is a phenomenal feature,the very second you shoot, the image is stabilised. So no matter how shaky your hands are, your photos won’t be. This comes quite handy in situations where you have to take rapid images and you loose control over the camera. Its during the time when you are zooming in very high is when the OIS helps you the most, that is the time when its the most hard to focus and the image is bound to shake. You still might not get a perfect shot, but the OIS makes sure you don’t get a bad one.
The device offers 18X optical zoom, though we were not really impressed with it beyond 7X in normal room light. Even on the device screen the quality deteriorates. In the sunlight though we were pretty impressed with the zoom ability of the device and could actually click neat pictures even at full zoom. Normal day-light HD video recording is super clear and brilliant, though the colour tone is a little on the dull side.
By using the precision-cut WB150F’s 24mm wide-angle lens, you will instantly cover a whole-horizon field of view. The panorama images clicked from the device cover a magnificent area, almost up to 250 degrees.
Full Manual gives you the ability to take complete control and capture the photos exactly as you want them to be. Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority settings let you experiment with shutter speeds and depth of field, so you can shoot fast-moving images in low light.
The WB150F artfully combines a professional-grade still camera with a compact HD video camera. You get 720p HD quality video at 30 frames per second and 4x longer recording time than MJPEG video. Use the 18x zoom to get up close and vividly personal. The video quality without zoom was overly satisfying and looked brilliant even on the computer.
SoundAlive, with special zoom noise reduction technology, ensures you crystal-clear, vibrant sound recordings. This feature actually works, we could even listen to precise sounds continuously and creeps and ticks were cancelled out by this feature. On seeing the video on a computer screen, the experience was enthralling. Such quality with a compact video camera is worth a mention.
The device has wi-fi connectivity and lets you upload your images and videos to social sharing platforms such as Facebook, Picasa, Photobucket, Youtube. You can mail the files and upload them onto cloud services such as SkyDrive. Now, this is a feature that has its own shares of trouble. The device doesn’t let upload videos beyond 30 seconds in the lowest resolution mode to Youtube. Panorama images can also not be uploaded to Picasa and Photobucket. Moreover, for any of the above actions, the typing in the device can get really frustrating. To log on to a platform or type in a mail address, you would have to move around the keyboard using the 4 scroll buttons and God forbid, if you mistakenly enter a wrong letter, you would have to get back to the top of the screen and again come back to continue. A standard image of the best quality resolution took about 20 seconds to upload and was instantly available on Photobucket.
Live Panorama lets you see the final image in advance, so you know you’re getting the picture you want. It’s as simple as holding down the shutter button and sweeping the camera across the scene. As mentioned before, the 24 mm lens really lets you take exceedingly wide shots, we were able to cover almost 75% wall area of our room in a single panorama shot.
Smart Auto 2.0 (still and movie) analyses key elements in the composition and automatically adjusts its 16 photo modes and 4 movie modes to capture the best shot. So, all you have to do is to switch to the Smart Mode and let the camera do the talking.
- Magic Frame: Gives you access to in-built frames such as billboards and magazine to click fancy images.
- Split Shot: Put multiple images in a single picture , includes various layouts to divide the image area.
- PIP(Picture in Picture): A Picture in Picture Shot lets you insert one image or movie within another.
- Artistic Brush:
- Picture Filter: Miniature, Vignetting, Ink Painting, Oil Painting, Cartoon, Cross Filter, Sketch, Soft Focus, Fish-eye, Old Film, Half Tone Dot, Classic, Retro, Zooming Shot
- Artistic Brush: Ink Painting, Cartoon, Sketch. The feature creates a video file where in an animation of a paint brush drawing your photo is created.
- Mobile Link: You would need to download ‘Samsung MobileLink’ application from the marketplace on your smartphone. The phone/tablet will connect to the the camera over a wireless connection (the camera creates a wi-fi network for the device to connect to).
- Remote Viewfinder: Again you would need to download ‘ Samsung Remote Viewfinder’ from the marketplace. This would allow you to see preview of images from your phone/tablet and capture images.
PC Auto Backup
Using your wi-fi connection, the pictures and videos can be backed-up on your computer automatically.
All the wi-fi tools worked without any troubles and are indeed a great utility. The processing is far from flash but its a camera, so no real worries. Though Samsung should be looking to enhance the processing ability of the future devices to indeed provide a ‘Smart’ camera to the user and a rich experience.