Samsung introduced the WB150F in May, 2013 aiming for the traveller who wants something simple to operate, light to carry, and equipped with a good zoom to capture everything from a wide-angle group shot to birds nesting off in the distance. This camera has the specifications to fulfil the task: its metal body weighs 188.2g, lighter than most of its rivals, and its slim profile snugly fits into your back trouser pocket for easy access. Buttons and dials are clearly marked and thoughtfully placed, which allows for plenty of space around them and it packs a Schneider-Kreuznach varioplan 18x optical zoom, 24–432mm (35mm equivalent) lens. Images are captured at maximum 14.2 megapixel JPEGs and video is recorded at 1280×720 (30fps).
Meeting the needs of the discerning traveller, it has built-in Wi-Fi, providing numerous ways to transfer images sized 2MB or less and video clips up to 30 seconds long. The camera connects to Android smartphones to view up to 1000 files and can send a maximum of 100 at a time. The smartphone can also act as a remote shutter release.
Images can be backed up to a cloud server or wirelessly to a PC using Samsung’s Intelli-Studio software, which comes with the camera. This doesn’t help Mac users but there is a capability to send files to email accounts, which works well.
A rudimentary look could leave some thinking the Samsung WB150F is a basic point-and-shoot, yet it is packed with sophisticated options, like full manual mode, aperture and shutter priority and manual focus.
I like the arrangement of settings available on the camera’s top dial to access options, shooting modes, filters, Wi-Fi and preset programs. At the snow I relied on the Snow/Beach setting, found in the Scene menu where preloaded exposures are found. And an option labelled Smart does a good job of determining the subject and scene, and employing the appropriate setting. The camera handles exposures well, producing punchy images with vivid colours.
This camera was tested on a wide variety subjects and scenes and despite lengthy trials of each of the four focusing options, at times I found the autofocus sluggish to lock onto subjects. This often produced softly focused images, even when subjects sat perfectly still. Zooming in or cropping these soft images was disappointing.
For those who like to play, there are filter effects, Live Panorama, Magic Frame and Split Shot featuring among other well known tricks. Using the camera in full manual mode is very simple but manually focusing is fiddly. Adjustments to ISO, extending up to 3200, are done through the menu and the built-in flash does well but is slow to recharge.
This has been the year for producing compact cameras with built-in Wi-Fi, with zoom lenses and exposure options keeping them abreast of mobile phone technology. There are a few rivals to Samsung’s WB150F yet to arrive in New Zealand, but one option is Canon’s Powershot S110. To give an idea of where the Samsung sits in relation, the Canon is priced higher, weighs about the same, and has a lot smaller focal length and slightly less megapixels but boasts a touch screen and records HD movies.
This article is from D-Photo issue 51. Get your copy here.
- Image sensor: 1/2.3-inch CCD
- Lens: 18x optical zoom, 24–432mm (35mm equivalent)
- Shutter speed: 16–1/2,000 depending on exposure program
- Metering: Multi, spot, centre-weighted, face detection AE
- Focus points: Nine
- Continuous shooting: None
- ISO: 80–3200
- Monitor: Three-inch LCD, 460k dot
- Video: 1280×720 (30fps)
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 106.5×59.9×23.4mm
- Weight: 188.2g (body only)