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Samsung WB2000 Digital Camera Review

samsung20100923.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Simon Vrantsis

 

Samsung has pushed the envelope quite a bit with their cameras of recent. Whether it’s the dual-screen compacts that made composing self-portraits a breeze for partygoers, or the technical feat that was the, first ever, interchangeable lens camera with a mirror-less cropped sensor, one thing Samsung can’t be labelled as, is lacking innovation. But as we all know, with innovations come the occasional kink that takes some time to iron out, and this is where balancing out these test cases with the tried and true becomes necessary. And it seems that with their most recent releases, the EX1 and, now, the WB2000, Samsung have listened to what photographers truly want from their compact cameras.

Fitted with a 10.2-megapixel BSI (Backside-illuminated) CMOS sensor, many may question the resolution being delivered by the WB2000, but being backlit by BSI does claim to produce a higher sensitivity level than the traditional front-illuminated sensors, resulting in what should be cleaner images in dim light. Another inclusion that compensates for the perceived ‘lower resolution’ is that of RAW capture, making the WB2000 quite unique at this end of the market.

The WB2000 has an ISO range up to 3200, and maintains its resolution quite well throughout. Admittedly, things slowly deteriorate as you head up the range with images getting softer but this is gradual and never dramatic at any stage. Use of the resulting images will vary depending on the need but the consistency delivered is great when compared to many compact cameras. The WB2000 tends to deliver warmer results with a slight tendency toward over-saturation, providing pleasing images if not lacking perfect real-life colour accuracy.

A charcoal metallic finish gives the WB2000 a solid feel and attractive look, with little of the cameras streamline, 21.7mm design going to waste. On the top panel, what seems to be an ode to the motoring enthusiasts can be found in the form of a mini dashboard that displays whether the battery and memory card are empty or full. Its an intriguing design choice but should appeal to the Formula 1 photographic market. Packing about two-thirds of the cameras 100mm wide front is the Schneider-Kreuznach Varioplan 5x optical zoom lens that covers a 35mm focal range equivalent to 24-120mm. Covering a range from wide-angle through to medium telephoto, users should be more the comfortable with the flexibility it delivers. The lens isn’t overly quick, however, when compare to its direct competition, with a maximum aperture range of f2.4-5.8.

As the lens dominates the front, the 3.0” AMOLED display does the same with the back. The WB2000 shares the same 641k-resolution display seen on the EX1 though, unlike the EX1, is not fully articulated. The display pans very smoothly and is a pleasure to use when combined with the cameras HD movie mode. The standard array of buttons can be found beside the display making for things such as playback and adjustments to camera settings including ISO, flash, display items, quite simple. Samsung have introduced a thumb dial not seen in their compacts previously, with control the drive modes. A simple rotation of the dial will allow the users to scroll through several drive options along the bottom of the display. These include self-timers, bracketing and continuous shooting modes.

Continuous shooting peaks at 10fps at the cameras, full, 10-megapixels. A novel feature included in the WB2000 continuous shooting is a Precapture mode that records eight frames when the shutter is half-pressed, completing the last shot in the sequence when the shutter is fully depressed.

Speed becomes a common theme flowing on to the movie mode allowing for 1000fps, 480fps, 240fps and the standard 30fps. The high-speed recording is a result of a dramatic drop in resolution, and while handy for slow-motion playback, may prove to be for entertainment purposes only. The full HD mode produces sharp video quality at 1920x1080 with panning, even while handheld, being quite smooth. Transitioning from bright to low light is also quite seamless, and the ability to zoom during recording is a nice addition.medal-platinum-r.jpg

Even though the WB2000 is attractive proposition overall, there are a few nagging issues that more knowledgeable photographers may pick up on. One of the more disappointing was the less than reliable auto focusing and exposure metering, with highlights having a tendency to blowout. Along with this, the need to use Samsung’s own RAW conversion software is a sign of some limitations over the standard non-proprietary RAW format.

Samsung has definitely tried to push the design and technical boundaries with their dual-screen compacts, and the market inventing NX10, but have shown with their most recently releases that they seem to be after a good balance of revolution and tradition. The WB2000 provides a RAW capture capability that doesn’t appear too often in this market segment and offers a nice array of manual controls for the more learned photographer. Its impressive movie recording provides icing to a full featured, competitively priced compact camera that is another notch to what is becoming a deep and diverse digital camera range by Samsung.

 

Appearance rating 4.5 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
View finder / LCD screen 4.5 stars
Value for money 4.5 stars
RRP (AUD) $449
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 10 Million mega pixels
Image Sizes 9 Sizes
Lens - zoom wide [mm] 24mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens -zoom tele [mm] 120mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens - Optical Zoom 5x
Resolution Settings From  3,648 x 2,736 to 1,024 x 768
Shooting Modes 6 Modes
Face Detection Yes
Metering Multi, Spot, Centre-weighted
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Focus Range [cm] Normal: 50cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 80cm ~ Infinity (Tele)
Macro: 5cm ~ 50cm (Wide), 50cm ~ 80cm (Tele)
Auto Macro: 5cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 50cm ~ Infinity (Tele)
Manual: 5cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 50cm ~ Infinity (Tele)
Aperture Range F2.4 (W) ~ F5.8 (T)
Aperture Priority Yes
Macro Macro: 5cm ~ 50cm (Wide), 50cm ~ 80cm (Tele)
Auto Macro: 5cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 50cm ~ Infinity (Tele)
Shutter Speeds Auto: 1 / 8 ~ 1 / 2,000seconds
Shutter Priority Yes
ISO Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600, 3,200 (TBD)
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 3-inch AMOLED
Viewfinder No
Flash Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash Off, Red-eye fix
Hot Shoe No
White balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent (x2), Tungsten, Custom Set, Colour Temperature adjustment
Self Timer Self-timer: 2 seconds., 10 seconds.
Movie Options Movie Size: 1,920 x 1,080 High / Standard Quality, 1,280 x 720 Standard Quality, 640 x 480, 320 x 240, 432 x 320, 224 x 160, 192 x 64 (2)
Video Out Yes, AV: NTSC, PAL (user selectable) HDMI 1.2: NTSC, PAL (user selectable) HDMI Type D
Audio Microphone: Stereo Internal Speaker: Mono
Storage Type External memory: SD Card (up to 4GB guaranteed) SDHC (up to 8GB guaranteed)
Storage Included [Mb]  
Capture Formats JPEG, DCF, EXIF 2.21, DPOF 1.1, PictBridge 1.0SRW (Samsung Raw File format) Movie Clip: Container: MP4, Video: H.264, Audio: AAC
Connectivity USB 2.0
Power Source Connector Type: 20pin Adaptor: SAC-48, USB / Charging Cable: CB34U05, AV Cable: SCC-AV34
Battery Options Rechargeable battery: SLB-11A (1,130mAh)
Dimensions (W) 99.5 x (H) 59.0 x (D) 21.7mm
Weight 153.3g 

 

 
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