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Samsung WB500 Digital Camera Review

Samsung WB500 Digital Camera Review

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Published by Yurika
Samsung WB500 Review - No-one knows what the WB stands for in the Samsung WB500. Matt Grayson thinks it stands for Wide Body. It's a match made in Heaven.
The largest electronics company in the world brings us a camera with a lens from one of the oldest lens makers in the world.
Samsung WB500 Review - No-one knows what the WB stands for in the Samsung WB500. Matt Grayson thinks it stands for Wide Body. It's a match made in Heaven.
The largest electronics company in the world brings us a camera with a lens from one of the oldest lens makers in the world.

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Published by: Yurika on Jul 14, 2009
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Samsung WB500 Digital Camera Review
Samsung WB500 Review - No-one knows what the WB stands for in the Samsung WB500. Matt Grayson thinks itstands for Wide Body. It's a match made in Heaven.The largest electronics company in the world brings us a camera with a lens from one of the oldest lens makers in theworld.
Samsung WB500: Specification
 
Zoom: 10x optical
Resolution: 10.2Mp
Sensor size: 1/2.33in
Sensor type: CCD
Max. image size: 3648x2736
File type: JPEG
Sensitivity: ISO80-1600
Storage: Internal, SD, SDHC
Focus types: Centre, multi, selection, manual, face detection
Normal focusing: 50cm-infinity
Close focusing: 5cm-50cm
Metering types: Multi, spot, centre-weighted, face detection
Exposure compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3 step increments
Shutter speed: 16sec-1/1500sec
Flash: Built-in, Wide: 0.3-4.7m, Tele: 0.5-2.7m (ISO auto)
Monitor: 2.7in TFT LCD screen
Interface:USB 2.0
Power: Li-Ion battery
Size: 105x61.4x36.5mm
Weight: 219g (excl. battery and card)For £197, you get a 10Mp sensor, 10x optical zoom, 2.7in LCD screen and the backing of the largest electronicscompany in the world. For £2 more, the Canon Powershot A2100 offers a higher 12.1Mp sensor, only a 6x optical zoom,a 3in LCD screen and takes AA batteries.Alternatively, the Olympus Mju 7000 is £209 and has the sameresolution as the Canon, a 7x optical zoom and 3in LCD screen.The Samsung also offers the widest field of view at 24mm.
Samsung WB500: Features
There are a few cameras out there that have massive zoom barrelson and for the most part they look good. The Samsung WB500doesn't fall outside this area as I think it suits the camera's shapemore. It's worth noting that with a 10x optical zoom built in to arelatively small body, the lens will need to be bigger. Somecompanies have the lens poking out more while some think upinnovative ways of packing it into a barrel that sits flush. Thesetypes of lenses generally tend to sit at around 5x optical.The lens is made by Schneider who have been providing lenses for anything from medium format to cinematic cameras since 1913. The
The lens pops out quite far thanks to the largezoom.
 
Varioplan lens is a higher grade than Kreuznach. I've seen reviews that specify the lens as HD but Samsung haveconfirmed to ePHOTOzine that while HD lenses are usually found on digital camcorders, the lenses on digital camerasare better.It has a wide angle of 24mm in 35mm terms which means it can telescope out to 240mm. A tripod will be likely at thistop end but it sort of defeats the object of a pocket camera if you need to take a massive Manfrotto job strapped to your back. Luckily smaller tripods are available that sit on a table top or wall and are small enough to slide into a camerapouch.A relatively small 10Mp resolutioncompared to other cameras available sits inside but a small 1/2.33in sensor has been used and the higher resolution cameras tend to suffer noise so this could be Samsung's way of showing them jumpingout of a pixel race.On the outside, it's pretty big for a compact but then at the same time, it's not oversized. We've been bombarded somuch with tiny cameras recently, it's refreshing to see a camera that doesn't mind being that bit different.The top plate houses a command dial, shutter release and power button with the zoom rocker wrapped around the shutter release for easier use. On the back is a small switch that Samsung call theCommand lever. It's a dedicated rocker switch that can be reset tocommand different features such as white balance, ISO andexposure compensation. Below that is a function button and thenavigation pad for moving around the menu. This also doubles asaccess to features such as flash, self timer, macro and displayoptions.At the bottom are two buttons for playback and special effects suchas vivid, soft, forest, retro, cool, calm and classic. These are thesame effects as found on the ultra-cool Samsung NV-9but with some expanded options.In Normal, you can expand your options and choose colour tonessuch as red, green and blue or add sharpness, contrast andsaturation.There are a few innovations on the WB500 such as the SmartAlbum and Frame guide. The Smart Album is designed to help youfind the photographs you want quickly and easily and is banded intofour individual segments including time, colour, content or theme.One of the features I think interesting is the frame guide. On thesurface I thought it was a tool for compositing an image of yourself over a previously taken background. In actual fact, it's used as atemplate and the idea is to take a picture of the background that youwant which then stays on the screen, but the camera drops theopacity so it's semi-transparent.You then give the camera to a friend or partner to take a picture of you and they align the background to the level you want so you cando all those quirky “leaning against the Tower of Pisa” shots whenyou're holidaying alone. It means that if you want a certain amountof ground or sky in the shot then you'll get it. Of course you can'tcompensate for if you crop your own head off because you don'tknow how tall you are in the frame.The Samsung WB500 has high definition recording although this isat the 720p so isn't full HD but still has enough detail to be regardedas HD. Samsung have developed a method of compression for video which means the higher quality of HD can be compacteddown and they say it doubles the efficiency of the camera.Samsung have integrated two types of image stabilisation into thecamera to ensure sharp images. Optical image stabilisation and digital image stabilisation which uses complexalgorithms to ensure a sharp image work in conjunction with each other so if one fails, the other can back it up.
Samsung WB500: Build and handling
There's a degree of weight to the camera which could put some people off but I think those same people will also haveissues with the larger lens barrel. Schneider have been making lenses for around 90 years and also provide glass for Kodak.
 A small command dial sits next to the shutter release which could get in the way if you'reinexperienced.The back boasts a large LCD screen and a simplelayout.Rear controls are firm and responsive.
 
I like the curve of the front allowing fingers to get purchase for single handed shooting and while there's space for athumb rest, some of it is taken up by the function rocker switch. Buttons are firm and positive and although thecommand dial is a little small indenting into the body making it harder to turn, it's not resistant.One area I always pick cameras up on, especially large zoom cameras such as this one, is the tripod bush. With a largezoom, you're going to use the tripod quite a lot and some cameras in the past have been fitted with plastic bushesmeaning they won't have as long a life span.I'm happy to report that the Samsung WB500 has a metal tripodbush which means a longer lasting camera that won't need newparts fitting.
Samsung WB500: Performance
Shutter lag is relatively slow compared to other compact camerasof this classification. It sits at around 0.15sec which is roughlydouble the 0.08sec found on other cameras.The Samsung WB500 has two burst modes, one for continuousshooting which will keep taking pictures until you run out of cardspace and a hi-speed which performs a short burst of imagesbefore having to download from the buffer to the memory card. Incontinuous mode it only managed a meagre total of six whichtranslates to around 0.6fps (frames per second). In the hi-speedmode, the camera took 16 high resolution images in ten seconds.There's no apparent reasoning from Samsung to include both options other than the hi-speed version won't work inmanual mode or if the shutter speed is lower than 1/4sec.Looking at the colour test chart, the usual boosts to primary colours have been applied by the processor with bluebursting out of the image making orange look comparably pale.Red and yellow look nice and bright though and I like the colour of the skin tone tile. Earth brown and forest green arerich while the mono tones are balanced. I like the fact that it's brought some colour out in the pastel tiles down the leftside of brown, orange and blue.
Lovely colour rendition with bright primaries and good mono tones makes for a successful result.No Chromatic Aberration is present on the whitebars and only a mild amount on the leaves which isexcellent.
I also noticed that on the writing seen on the colour test chart, there's nochromatic aberration so I looked for it on the landscape image. Usually, thecontrast between the white bars and the dark of the lock will throw up someinconsistency, but this camera has none.Instead, I looked at the leaves in the top left corner to see if there was any andit is noticeable mildly but the control is very good.I took a close up shot of the vintage camera to get the detail and see how theSamsung manages with close focusing. The specification lists the camera ashaving a minimum focusing of 5cm but I think I managed to get closer. Not bymuch but definitely closer.The problem is that I could close in and get focus, so I'd then move the camerain a millimetre closer and get focus. If I went too far and lost focus, I'd move thecamera back to its previous position but it still wouldn't catch focus even thoughit had done before. It's unusual but not alien to me as I've seen it on other 
Saints alive! The tripod bush is metal! 
 
Focusing had issues if I got too closebut I'm sure I was closer than 5cmhere.

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