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A simple, stylish shooter with a colossal 18x zoom and a host of creative filters
In a line-up of pocketable compacts, the attractive Samsung WB700 would certainly catch your eye, but fire up the 18x optical zoom and it will nearly knock your eye out. With a hushed whir, the lens concertinas outwards to reach subjects in the distance, capturing impressive close-ups. The mode dial aims to please both beginners and advanced users looking for a second shooter with its auto, scene, and manual controls.
There is the expected HD movie mode to accompany the 14MP stills, but there isn’t too much beyond this. The WB700 forgoes 3D modes, panoramas and GPS tracking systems in favour of a creative box of filters. You can choose effects such as Vignette, Soft Focus and Old Film to transform your photos once they’ve been taken. While these are great fun to experiment with, it would have been better to apply the filter before capturing the image to reap the benefits of a fish-eye effect.
It’s difficult to fault the design with its hinged compartments that lock, and there are minimal buttons spoiling its smooth metal chassis (available in silver and black). However, the power button was easily knocked from within its case during review, causing a dead battery when it came to the shoot on one occasion. A simple switch could have prevented this frustration.
Images feature a punchy colour rendition and a decent amount of detail recorded in good conditions, but a stagger in sharpness once the sun goes down. Distortion is present in low-light shots taken with ISO 400 and above, and those taken with the full 18x zoom are less usable at large sizes. It’s easy to navigate your way through settings, however, thanks to the clear menu. The reduced price point (you can pick it up for less than £200) works in the WB700’s favour, but rival models from the Panasonic TZ and Canon PowerShot ranges are more than a match.
Superb build quality and an affordable price are the WB700s best features. Image quality is average though, but at the online price point of £200, you cant go far wrong