I’ve recently had the opportunity to test out Samsung’s WB100, a 16.2 megapixel super-zoom camera that provides an impressive 26x of zoom, costs Php9,990 and is available in black and red.
Out of the Box
The camera accepts SD cards and comes with a 4GB microSD card with adapter, a microUSB cable, a camera strap, lens cover, four AA batteries and a quick-start guide and warranty documentation. The user manual is downloadable from their website, which is rather odd, but for the purposes of this review I will assume that it’s because this camera would be easy enough to figure out as to not need one (more on this later).
Best for Travel
The WB100 seems to be a camera well-suited for travel, not for rugged features (it doesn’t have any), but for the fact that it has an impressive optical zoom range, from 22.3mm up to 26x.
Paparazzi shots anyone?
Also, it uses AA size batteries that makes it easily replaceable. I would have wished that they used AAA instead, the size is easily available almost anywhere, plus the fact that it would have helped make the camera lighter; the camera already weighs near half a kilo even without the battery.
This camera has a 26x optical zoom range which I find really great (see pics). As we know that the bigger the magnification, the more harder it is to keep things sharp; this is solved with their Dual IS (Image Stabilization) feature. It help keeps the the photos reasonably sharp even when I use the longest focal length (26x).
Somehow I find that the whole experience of using this camera is a little sluggish. I would often encounter “Processing Image…” notifications on many of the shots that I take. Switching between modes prompts the screen to display an intro screen about that mode, which is a real drag when you want to take shots quickly between modes.
Smart mode allows you to take pictures without having to fumble with the settings. The camera determines all of that for you. This works mostly as advertised, but I did notice that it tends to shoot portraits with a yellowish cast on low-light situations so white balance correction is not that smart in this mode.
One of the fun features of this camera is Live Panorama. This allows you to take panoramic shots by simply sweeping the the camera from top to bottom or from side to side as you press on the shutter, and the camera will do the stitching of the photos for you when you’re done. It handles this impressively and I find it a delight to use. The only downside is that it scales down the photos every time.
The camera also includes a slew of photo editors and effects, which is standard with most of their cameras. While this is a great add-on on paper, I find the implementation a little hard to use, as you have to press a lot of buttons to scroll and then dig through menus to be able to do the work. A touch screen implementation would be easier for these settings.
720p video recording is a decent and a welcome feature, but you again get that processing notification when you press the shutter halfway to compensate for exposure during recording.
Overall, this Samsung WB100 is a good camera to take with you on your travels. It provides a decent feature set with its 26x zoom, Dual IS, Live Panorama and photo effects, with the only letdown being the sluggish performance and slightly obtrusive notification screens. Still, at only Php9,990, it’s already quite a deal for the features it can give you.
Editor’s note: This review is contributed by Ferlin Hicarte with some slight revisions by the editor. Ferlin is a digital designer who moonlights as a hardworking corporate worker. He likes long bike rides at the beach, a road or anything that has a path on it. He loves to take photos with his Canon G12 (not like the hipster kids who bring along their DSLR wherever they go). He would one day be a great chef that also does triathlons, if he ever gets time off from designing websites and user interfaces. Visit his site at www.ferlinhicarte.com.