Samsung WB150F

If you're happy with the photos from your smartphone, but wish you had an actual camera with a long zoom lens and wireless sharing and backup, check out the Samsung WB150F.


6.6
CNET Rating
7.0
User Rating

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Design and features

While camera manufacturers like Sony, Panasonic and Canon are dabbling in Wi-Fi cameras, Samsung's really invested in the concept for 2012, offering several cameras with a big helping of wireless functionality. Included in those models is the WB150F compact superzoom.

The camera's built-in 802.11n wireless can be used to connect to your Wi-Fi network for automatic backups to a Windows computer or Microsoft SkyDrive, viewing photos and movie clips on DLNA-equipped devices, or sending them by email; to connect to other Samsung Wi-Fi cameras for direct sharing between cameras; to connect to hot spots or wirelessly tether to a smartphone; and to connect to an Android 2.2-powered Galaxy S smartphone or 7- or 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab.

Samsung packed the WB150F with shooting modes, including semi-manual and manual options.
(Credit: CNET)

That last option can be used to upload content to sharing sites, but it will also allow you to control the camera remotely. Your display turns into a viewfinder and you can move the camera's zoom lens as well as hit the shutter release. It'll also use the device's GPS receiver to geotag your shots. (Samsung plans to extend these features to other non-Samsung Android smartphones as well.)

Outside of the wireless features, the camera is a run-of-the-mill point-and-shoot with a 24-432mm lens (35mm equivalent). Shooting modes range from full manual with control over aperture and shutter speed to full automatic with an abundance of filters and simple editing tools. It's not a bad camera overall, but if you're hoping for fast shooting performance or stellar image quality, you'll have to keep looking.

The WB150F's design isn't anything out of the ordinary. Well, except for the mode dial on top, which has shooting modes as well as spots for Wi-Fi and general camera settings. If this isn't your first digital camera, it might take some time to adjust. The other oddity is the flash placement. It's partially in the grip on the right side of the camera. If you're not careful with your fingers, you can easily block it. And the textured rim around the lens barrel is purely for design.

Samsung made setting up all of the WB150F's wireless capabilities very easy to set up and use, even without the help of a touchscreen.
(Credit: CNET)

If you're the type to just leave your camera in Auto all the time, you might be a bit underwhelmed by the WB150F. It has a decent scene-recognition Smart Auto mode, but its value really comes from all the other options Samsung has packed into it.

For example, the WB150F has a big selection of photo filters, many of which are available for movies, too. They can be used before or after you take a photo, and Samsung gives you a live view of the effects when you shoot. Depending on the effect, images are either captured at full resolution or 5 megapixels, which is plenty for web sharing or small prints.

From left to right, top to bottom: Auto (no effects applied), Miniature, Vignetting, Ink Painting, Oil Painting, Ink Painting (again), Cartoonise, Sketch, Soft Focus, Fish-Eye, Cross Filter, Old Film, Half Tone Dot, Classic, Retro and Zooming Shot.
(Credit: Joshua Goldman/CNET)

Samsung also includes aperture- and shutter-speed-priority modes as well as a full manual mode on the WB150F. It's nice to have the extra control, but they're a bit superfluous given the camera's overall photo quality. Shutter speeds go from 16 seconds down to 1/2000 of a second. Apertures are selectable from f/3.2 to f/7.2 at the wide end and f/5.8 to f/7.5 at the tele end. You also get sliders for adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness and noise. You get these options in the camera's Program mode, too, which is more control than you usually get at this price.

As for the rest of the camera, it has a micro-USB port for connecting to a computer and charging its battery. Battery life is actually pretty good, though extended use of the Wi-Fi radio will cut into it. There is no Mini- or Micro-HDMI port, something I've come to expect even on lower-end models. If you want to connect to an external display, you'll need to use the wireless or the micro-USB port.

Performance

General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Start-up to first shot
  • JPEG shot-to-shot time
  • Shutter lag
  • 2.24.10.5
    Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H70
  • 1.82.60.4
    Samsung WB150F
  • 1.11.50.3
    Nikon Coolpix S8200
  • 1.51.40.4
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ18

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Continuous shooting speed (frames per second)

  • 7.2
    Nikon Coolpix S8200
  • 1.7
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ18
  • 1.7
    Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H70
  • 0.6
    Samsung WB150F

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Shooting performance is a bit mixed. The WB150F's shutter lag is low for its class at 0.4 second in bright lighting and 0.7 second in dim conditions. It takes about two seconds for it to start up and shoot, which is about average for a lower-end compact superzoom. Shot-to-shot times are pretty long, though: 2.6 seconds without the flash and 3.5 seconds with. Its continuous shooting speed averages 0.6 frame per second. While these times aren't horrible, they will make taking photos of active kids and pets trickier. You'll get a shot, but it might not be the shot you were after and there's a good chance it won't be in focus.

Image quality

Photo quality from the Samsung WB150F is good up to ISO 200. It's not a camera you'd want to use in low-light conditions or indoors without a flash. At ISO 400, a common sensitivity for well-lit indoor photos, subjects look soft, but are passable at small sizes. The photos get much worse above ISO 400, picking up a lot of noise and losing detail to the point where subjects look smeared.

(Credit: Joshua Goldman/CNET)

Actually, noise and artefacts are a bit of a problem even at its lowest ISO sensitivities when photos are viewed at full size; if you need to enlarge and heavily crop your photos, I wouldn't choose the WB150F. However, if you're considering this camera for its online-sharing capabilities and don't typically make large prints above A4, the WB150F's shots are OK. See more examples of images from the WB150F in our photo gallery.

Most long zoom cameras don't produce great photos when viewed at 100 per cent; the lenses can't resolve fine details and that's the case with this camera. Samsung appears to be using only the centre of this camera's sensor, too, making matters worse. This is a 100 per cent crop from the inset image taken at ISO 80. It's basically the best quality you're going to get from the telephoto end of the lens. Viewed at this size, it's not bad (though it's not great, either), but if you're the type to pixel peep, you likely won't want to see its photos at full-screen size.
(Credit: Joshua Goldman/CNET)

Video quality is good enough for web use at small sizes, but nothing you'd want to view at larger sizes on an HDTV. Panning the camera will create judder that's typical of the video from most compact cameras. The zoom lens does function during recording, but Samsung applies a noise filter while it's moving, which muffles the audio overall. It is reasonably fast to focus and adjust exposure. All in all, the WB150F is fine for short clips in good lighting.

The WB150F can focus as close as 2 inches from a subject. Again, for smaller prints and web use without a lot of enlarging and cropping, the results are decent. But if you look at them at larger sizes, things look slightly over-sharpened and crunchy.
(Credit: Joshua Goldman/CNET)

The wireless features in general are easy to set up and use, though without a touchscreen entering usernames and passwords can take some time. Thanks to a built-in mini browser, Wi-Fi networks that require you to agree to terms and conditions before you can connect — such as those at hotels and airports — will work with this camera. You can upload to Facebook, Picasa, YouTube and Photobucket. Up to 20 files at a time can be sent with the total size being 10MB or less. The catch is that photos must be 2 megapixels or smaller and video is limited to 30-second clips recorded at 320x240-pixel resolution. Photos shot at higher resolutions will automatically resize while uploading, but movies will not. Photos can be sent by email directly from the camera, too, but have the same restrictions.

The Remote Viewfinder feature is very cool, but its overall usefulness is debatable. It's good for setting up self-portraits and group shots, but because there's a significant lag between tapping your smartphone's screen and the camera responding you have to remain fairly still to get the shot you want. The app (a free download on the Android Market) can control flash, timer, resolution (2 or 10 megapixels) and the shutter release. Once you snap a photo it's stored on the camera, but you'll also see a small version on your phone screen. Tap it and you'll see a larger version that can be saved to your smartphone resized to VGA (640x480 pixels) quality.

Conclusion

Like Samsung's ultra-compact SH100 Wi-Fi camera from last year, the WB150F is good value. Instead of using Wi-Fi to upsell consumers, Samsung just includes it, which is how it should be done. Unfortunately, the camera's photo quality isn't much better than you see from a smartphone camera. You do get the ultra-wide-angle 18x zoom lens, though, and the camera is full of shooting options. If you're satisfied with your phone's image quality, but really want a long optical zoom and better control, the WB150F is worth considering.

Via CNET

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PavelM Facebook
6
Rating
 

"Good one, surprisingly..."

PavelM posted a review   

The Good:Good quality photos for my needs

The Bad:Not sure yet, maybe will have more in future :-)

Well, only owned one of these for 5 days and was really surprised with quality/resolution of details (well, for my needs) as well as with multitude of features.
However, left it in my suitcase luggage (not in cabin) on the airplane and after landing back home found out that zoom lever lost its spring-return action from "zoom-out" mode, i.e. when swang to left, the lever does not return back to normal (centre) position.
Can't say if the Samsung's design is poor or it was genuine luggage-handling issue by airport services. Arranged for Dead on Arrival return, but via the retail shop, as Samsung totally failed to give me proper support.
A word to say about that: contacted Samsung HelpDesk about the problem and found them MISERABLY BAD. They told me that they cannot replace the camera, as "they service centres can only repair, but not exchange goods", even though the camera was only 3 days old!!! In my situation, I purchased camera in the town of my travel destination, but had to deal with fault on arrival to my home town. So, beware of this when buying Samsung products.
I still will consider only Samsung TV's and some other of their products in the future, just have to wear the risk of dealing with their customer support (same as with many great product and services that offer value for money, but are not great with supporting customers).

MarkC2 Facebook
8
Rating
 

"Excellent Value for Money"

MarkC2 posted a review   

The Good:18x Optical Zoom but fits into your pocket, ease of menu use, WiFi is awesome.

The Bad:Cannot "force" flash on Smart mode (off or auto only)

I needed a new camera for work photos, and for travel photos to post on my webpage. It had to have a good optical zoom, yet be able to fit into my pocket.
This fits my usage requirements perfectly, and appears at this early stage (only one day old) to take clear colour correct photos.
The additional functionality of the WiFi connection to my smartphone is also perfect for capturing photos of family, or those candid party moments. I will try it out for night time sky (moon across water, etc) shots where pressing the shutter release is problematic and causes blurring.
The menus are self-explanatory, and the full manual mode is a very handy function which lets you get some of those otherwise difficult to achieve results from an auto camera.




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User Reviews / Comments  Samsung WB150F

  • PavelM

    PavelM

    Rating6

    "Well, only owned one of these for 5 days and was really surprised with quality/resolution of details (well, for my needs) as well as with multitude of features.
    However, left it in my suitcas..."

  • MarkC2

    MarkC2

    Rating8

    "I needed a new camera for work photos, and for travel photos to post on my webpage. It had to have a good optical zoom, yet be able to fit into my pocket.
    This fits my usage requirements per..."

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