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Samsung WB650 review
|DATE REVIEWED: 11th Aug 2010||Add Camera To Comparison Chart|
|Camera Type||Compact||Shutter Speeds||1 - 1/2000 sec|
|RRP||£299.99||ISO Range||80 - 3200|
|Megapixels||12||Focal Length||24 - 360mm|
|Weight||214g||Aperture||f3.2 - 5.8|
|Dimensions||107 x 61 x 28mm (WxHxD)||Focus Distance||3cm - inf|
|LCD Size||3 inches||Zoom (Opt)||15x|
|Max Resolution||4000 x 3000||Battery Type||Li-Ion|
It is fairly safe to say that the Samsung WB650 is not the best looking camera in the world. Next to some of the more handbag-oriented offerings currently on sale (available in a choice of lurid metallic colours) it looks like it was styled five years ago. There is nothing dated about the WB650’s features, though. One look at the box the camera comes in reveals exciting specification: GPS for geotagging; a 24mm wide (equivalent) wide-angle lens; 720p HD video capture. So is this is a case of substance over style?
Powering up the WB650 reveals more nice touches. The camera’s three-inch view screen – used for playing back pictures and accessing the menu system – is a bright AMOLED affair (Active-Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode), containing some 920,000 pixels. This makes it very usable, even in bright sunshine. The mode dial on top of the camera provides a good choice of exposure modes: Auto and Auto Scene for those with little photographic knowledge; 13 Scene modes for users who want a bit more control; Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual for photographers who want to experiment. More creative photographers will also appreciate the WP650’s zoom lens, which starts at an impressively wide-angle 24mm (equivalent).
If the ability to geotag pictures (ie. to have the longitude and latitude of where an image was shot inserted into its metadata) is important to you, then the WB650’s built-in GPS will no doubt cause some excitement. Switch on the GPS functionality using the dedicated switch on the top plate and the camera will attempt to find its position from a nearby satellite (a process which can take a long time for a new location). By downloading map information from the web to an SD or SDHC memory card you can even browse your pictures according to their location on a map (although it must be pointed out that doing this via www.samsung.com is one of the most tedious and frustrating things we have ever had the misfortune to do on the internet!)
Samsung must be congratulated for the zoom range they have given the WB650. Usually when ‘15x zoom’ is emblazoned over a camera’s specification sheet it means that it will have loads of reach at the telephoto end and very little at the wide end. However, the WB650 has a wide-angle view equivalent to a 24mm lens on a 35mm film camera or full-frame DSLR. This is great for getting more coverage in landscapes and architecture, and for giving close-quarters snaps that ‘reportage’ look. At the telephoto end of the lens range, the camera delivers an angle of view equivalent to a 360mm lens, which should get you close enough to the action for most purposes. Both digital and optical image stabilisation systems are included too.
The images we shot on the Samsung were, generally speaking, of pretty good quality for a compact camera. The WB650’s output is never going to rival that of a DSLR or large-sensor compact, but the lens resolves plenty of detail and distortion is not a problem in most real-life situations. Images are sharp and well exposed, while colours are rendered brightly, but not artificially. Noise is very well controlled by the camera’s internal noise reduction systems too, with photographs being perfectly usable up to ISO800.
Video capture is of reasonable, if not brilliant, quality. 720p HD footage of static objects is fine, although some jerkiness is seen when objects travel across the frame. It is possible to zoom during video capture, although you’ll hear the motor on the soundtrack. The only other grumble we had with the camera’s performance was with its AF system, which was slow to react, and would occasionally lock on to the wrong part of the scene. This is a good offering from Samsung. The WB650 has every feature you could reasonably ask for in a compact camera. It turns in good quality images in a variety of situations, and is built very well too.
A compact camera that has every feature you can think of. It won’t rival large-sensor compacts for image quality, but photographs from the WB650 are sharp and full of detail.
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|A compact camera that has every feature you can think of. It won’t rival large-sensor compacts for image quality, but photographs from the WB650 are sharp and full of detail.|
Ian Farrell is a journalist and photographer from Cambridge. He enjoys shooting street and travel photography using both digital and film cameras, and is currently developing a taste for portraiture and medium format.
|Total Camera Reviews||5|
|Average Camera Rating||4.4|
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