The fact that travel compact cameras are now a common sight does not come across as a surprise. Practically, all camera manufacturers have released their own model and are in the process of pushing the envelope further, as far as optical zoom lenses are concerned. We recently reviewed the Panasonic DMC- TZ25 and the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS, both of which did well in our reviews. So what does a brand have to do to set itself apart from the competition? Samsung now has an answer to this in their latest travel compact, the WB150F that comes with an 18x zoom lens and the feature that lends it novelty in a crowded segment is Wi-Fi connectivity. Read on to know more about this point and shoot option.
Rounded sides add to the look of the camera
Design and Build Quality
The Samsung WB150F is a pocket sized point and shoot option that is quite compact and can easily fit in the pocket of a jeans or a shirt. Even as the trend of skinny cameras is growing, this one is quite chunky in comparison to the rest. However, it is quite slim, for a camera featured in the travel compact genre. The camera features curved sides, which add to the aesthetic appeal of the model.
On video: Samsung WB150F
The model is available in two colour options, that are black and white and the WB150F model that we received was the black version. The camera with its matte finish is pleasing to look at and does not retain fingerprints that are common on devices with a glossy finish. The front of the camera features the large hand grip that helps in the handling. The face of the camera also features the lens that occupies most of this area. Other than that, the front of the unit features an LED flash and an AF assist.
The rear of the WB150F is dominated by the large 3-inch screen that is flush against the body of the camera. The display features a resolution of 460,000 dots, which is really good and is slowly becoming a common feature in above entry level cameras. The fact that this model uses a screen with this resolution gives it a major advantage over many other cameras in this price range. Alongside the screen, there are various buttons that help in navigating through the interface. Samsung has done a good job of adding only a few buttons at the back and this helps in them being spaced well. Apart from the standard buttons found on virtually all compact cameras, there is a dedicated video recording button as well, which can help in easily starting to record video clips. The mode dial for the camera is located at the top and there are a range of modes one can use for convenient shooting. The shutter release button is located next to the zoom rocker and also featured at the top is the power button. The build quality for all these buttons is really good and we had no complaints.
Can shoot images at 18x zoom
Connectivity options lie in a bay at the side, comprising just a mini USB 2.0 port that can be used to transfer files onto a PC or simply to connect it to a television and playback content. The battery bay is located underneath the camera and the memory card is located in this area, too. The flaps for both the battery bay and the USB port have been built well. The overall build quality of the camera is really good and it could definitely come out on top, if it were to be faced with a few accidental drops. The design of the camera is not that breathtaking and though it is not one of the best looking models, it is certainly not the ugliest. However, this bit is purely subjective and some may actually love the look of this camera.
Samsung cameras are known for their abundant features and the WB150F is no exception. If one has to point out the main feature then it undoubtedly is the 18x optical zoom capability. With this point and shoot, travelers or practically anyone for that matter can aim to get close up shots by just shifting the zoom rocker to the right. At this price, one is usually hard pressed to find a pocketable camera that has this zoom capability, but Samsung has offered a solution for this dilemma by offering this model. The camera covers a focal range of wide angle 27mm to 486mm telephoto on a 35mm equivalent lens. The camera also features an image stabilizer, which aims to keep images blur free.
The 3-inch screen at the back provides a lot of detail
Though the 18x zoom is the main feature, the Wi-Fi connectivity option can be termed as a close second. There is a dedicated mode on the camera allowing one to use the different Wi-Fi capabilities of the WB150F. In this mode, one can upload pictures to social networking sites like Facebook, Picasa or Photobucket or upload videos directly onto YouTube. The procedure to do this is very simple and all one needs to do is connect to the W-Fi, select the picture, login to the social networking site and then press OK to upload. This can actually save the hassle of first copying images onto a computer and then uploading it. Another feature of the Wi-Fi mode includes the ability to e-mail images and videos directly from the camera. Mobile link is a feature that allows one to connect the camera wirelessly to a smartphone to download images on the mobile. This can be a neat feature as one can store the images on the handset as an option when the camera is not taken out. There are other features found here as well, which include TV Link, Cloud, Auto backup and Remote Viewfinder.
The camera features a 14.2mm CCD sensor measuring 1/2.3-inches. This sensor size is common for point and shoot compact cameras. However most manufacturers use CMOS sensors on their cameras, as they offer better quality images in low light; the use of a CCD sensor is not as great in comparison. By using a 14.2MP sensor, one can record images at a resolution of 4320 ×3240 pixels and this is more than sufficient to print on large format papers.
The interface on Samsung cameras can arguably be called the best in the world. The layout of the menu is similar to those found on smartphones with there being widgets denoting each mode. This is a neat feature as one can practically pick up the camera and navigate through it in a jiffy. Like most superzoom cameras, this one, too has manual functionalities, allowing one to adjust settings, like aperture priority, shutter priority as well as full manual controls. Another interesting feature found on this camera is the mode, which has different photography options, such as live panorama, magic frame, split shot and a host of other creative shooting modes. With this, one can easily click artistic shots and upload them to the above mentioned social networking sites. Apart from these creative modes, there are a range of scene modes that allow one to shoot images, according to the environment they are in or based on what subject is to be shot. There are a range of photo filters found on this camera and they include Miniature, Vignetting, Ink Painting, Oil Painting, Cartoonize, Cross Filter and many more. This can be great to capture and upload on hugely popular photo sharing sites, such as Instagram, Flickr and other. This can be done by either linking it to an Android smartphone using the Mobile Link or by copying it to a PC and then transferring it to a phone using a USB cable.
The various features can be accessed through the mode dial at the top
The camera can shoot videos in HD 720p at 30fps. This is one of the shortcomings of this camera as its competitors can record videos at full HD 1080p. The camera can store images on a SD or SDHC card upto a capacity of 32GB or an SDXC card with a maximum capacity of 64GB. Rounding up this bit of the review, the camera is loaded with features that would leave one more than satisfied.
The performance of the Samsung WB150F was tested in a number of ways from handling to image performance. Here is a look at how it fared.
The camera is light and weighs approximately 188g without a battery and memory card, so by bundling these two components, the weight does not go up drastically. This allows one to easily carry the camera around and click pictures without any difficulty. With the buttons well spaced, one can easily use a single hand and click pictures as well as adjust the zoom. The camera takes a significant amount of time to start up, which is a kind of let down, as it does not allow one to click pictures immediately.
During outdoor shots, we noticed that the image quality was good, but not the best that we have seen on a travel compact. There were some major image stabilization issues and the camera took time to focus. This was a bit disappointing, as the camera packs features that would easily enthrall anyone. In outdoor shots after the subject came in focus, the image quality was good and there were no real complaints. All colours appeared natural and there was hardly any colour fringing visible when images of dark objects with bright backgrounds were shot. During indoor shots, we observed that there was an amount of grain that was noticed in the pictures, this shows that the camera cannot handle high ISO sensitivities. In macro shots, we had difficulty focusing on an object, but when the subject came into focus, the detail was great.
ISO sensitivity test
ISO Sensitivity Test
The ISO on this superzoom camera ranges from 80 to 3200. With the ISO sensitivity set at 80, we observed that the image was devoid of any noise. Noise levels rise from ISO 800 and then at ISO 1600 and above, the image tends to get unusable. However, there was no colour bleeding visible in the shots.
The aperture ranges from F/3.2 at its widest to F/7.2 at its narrowest. At the widest aperture, we observed that there was sufficient depth of field.
Aperture priority test
The main feature of this camera is its zoom capabilities. With the zoom set to 18x, we noticed that there was no blur in the images and the overall performance, while capturing far off shots was good.
While recording videos in HD 720, we observed that there was no transition issues, while moving from a dark area to a bright one and all the colours appeared accurately. A neat feature, but not uncommon is that while video recording, one can zoom into a subject, however, when shooting indoors, the video becomes a bit grainy, but not unusable.
The flash is pretty good and can light up an area of around 10 feet in a dark room. This is sufficient for capturing images in a nightclub or a house party with the lights turned low. Samsung bundles a 1030mAh battery with the camera and with around two days of usage and practically continuous clicking we managed to get just over 200 shots and some video clips before the battery died out.
Features a matte black finish
The Samsung WB150F is a mixed bag. It does decent in design, excellently in build quality, extremely well in features, but not that great when it comes to the overall performance. This camera has been designed for travelers who do not want to spend too much on a superzoom camera and have priced it really attractively at an MRP of 12,900; one may also find this camera for a lower street price. This camera, though having fair amount of quirks, did well in our review mainly because of its price and the amount of options it has on offer, which are almost smartphone-like. If one is in the market willing to spend 13,000 or less on a travel compact camera with great zoom capabilities, then this is an option that is worth considering. If not and you are willing to raise your expenditure a bit further, then the Panasonic TZ25 is a great option. It is not as power packed with features, but delivers excellent performance.
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