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Samsung WB2000 Digital Camera Review

Samsung WB2000 Digital Camera Review - A 10 megapixel compact for the advanced user sporting a high sensitivity CMOS sensor, 24mm wide angle 5x zoom lens, full manual plus aperture and shutter priority exposure modes and high speed video recording.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Samsung WB2000
Price : £320
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
ePHOTOzine verdict and ratings
Specification

Samsung WB2000: Click on the thumbnail for the larger image.
Gary Wolstenholme takes a look at Samsung's latest compact for advanced users, sporting a raft of features including a 24mm equivalent wide angle 5x zoom lens and high speed video recording.

This new advanced compact form Samsung costs around £320 and sports a Schneider branded 5x optical zoom lens with a 24mm equivalent wide angle, a 10 megapixel CMOS sensor and a raft of other features to keep the enthusiast happy. It's positioned just below their top of the range  EX1 compact.

Samsung WB2000: Features
Being a compact aimed at advanced users, the WB2000 is well specified, sporting a 10.1 megapixel high sensitivity CMOS sensor to record images up to ISO3200 and a Schneider branded 5x optically stabilised zoom lens which covers a range equivalent to 24-120mm on a 35mm camera. The CMOS sensor is also one of the new high speed ones that allows video recording at 1000 frames per second at reduced resolution and continuous shooting at speeds of up to 10 frames per second at the full 10Mp resolution.

Full manual exposure control is possible and two direct control dials make changing settings quick and easy. For a little more automation both shutter and aperture-priority exposure modes are also provided, alongside a fully automated smart auto mode, which uses scene detection to choose the correct automatic scene program. Those who wish to tinker will also be pleased to hear that this camera can record images in a RAW image format, allowing for more scope with editing afterwards and compression-free quality images.

It wouldn't be right to leave out the variety of detections that seem to come as standard on most recent digital cameras. Face Detection, Blink Detection and Smile Detection are all included. All that's missing is metal detection, to help you find hoards of Saxon treasure.

Samsung WB2000 Key features: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
The Schneider branded 5x zoom lens covers a range equivalent to 24-120mm on a 35mm camera. A bright 3inch AMOLED screen fills much of the rear of the WB2000.
The slightly quirky fuel gauges on top indicate battery power and remaining memory card space. Power is provided by a rechargeable SLB-11A 1130mAh Li-Ion battery.

High definition video recording is possible at 1080p resolution, for super-clear videos on your full-HD TV. HDMI connectivity is also included for seamless integration into your home cinema setup. The screen on the back is a bit special too, being a 3inch AMOLED screen, which is very clear, sharp due to its resolution of 614,000 dots and easy to see in bright daylight.

A sample video clip shot at 432 frames per second.

Samsung WB2000: Handling
As this is a compact aimed at advanced users, Samsung can't really afford to scrimp in this area, and luckily they haven't. The body has a tough textured black finish, which is quite tactile and gives a good grip of the camera body. An additional finger grip is also located on the front, making it possible to keep the camera steady with one hand.

Two dials for navigating menus and changing settings in the creative exposure modes are provided, and both are on the rear of the camera body. In use I found this design a little cramped and I often rubbed the top dial with my palm while holding the camera. Even so, I suppose this is the compromise you make for the compact size. It does only weigh 153.3g, which is quite lightweight for a camera of this level.

Samsung WB2000: Performance
In use I found the WB2000 to be a very responsive camera, focusing quickly and recording images with minimum shutter lag. When the face detection system is active the camera locks onto faces almost instantly.

The camera produces well-balanced exposures in a wide range of conditions, keeping just enough detail in the shadows in very high contrast situations. Unfortunately I found it renders images with an unnaturally low level of colour saturation. In some cases areas of green can look almost monochrome. Luckily this can be sorted afterwards in image editing software, and the RAW recording format is available for those who like to tweak their images afterwards. The levels of contrast in images varies by the scene, but generally punchy enough straight from the camera.

Samsung WB2000 Performance: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Colours often look desaturated, leading to slight drab looking images. This predominantly bright scene has been metered perfectly by the WB2000.
In good conditions, the WB2000 generally produces well-balanced exposures. There is just enough detail retained in the memorial in this harshly backlit scene.

ISO and noise performance
Images taken at the base ISO are clean and clear with every last detail rendered. A few light sharpening artefacts can be seen around high contrast edges, but these will pose few issues in print. Increasing the sensitivity has little effect on image quality until ISO400, where slight amounts of noise are visible on close inspection in flat areas of colour.

ISO800 still holds up pretty well for a compact camera, although the noise is starting to become quite noticeable and fine details are softened slightly. ISO1600 is still very usable, but you may wish to restrict the size at which images taken at this setting are reproduced due to the noise levels becoming more prevalent and edges becoming softened due to noise reduction. ISO3200 shows clear signs of image degradation due to noise and noise reduction and colour saturation takes a dive. Still images taken at this high ISO will still be suitable for sharing at low resolutions on the web, such as on Facebook.

Samsung WB2000 Outdoor ISO speed test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
ISO80 ISO100 ISO200 ISO400
 
ISO800 ISO1600 ISO3200  

Samsung WB2000 Test chart ISO speed test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
ISO80 ISO100 ISO200 ISO400
 
ISO800 ISO1600 ISO3200  

White-balance
The auto white balance on the WB2000 performs pretty well in a range of lighting conditions. Under incandescent lighting, a slight warm cast is left, but it isn't overly disturbing. In fact the preset for incandescent lighting takes the correction too far, producing a very cool hue in images. Under the warm white fluorescent lights in our studio AWB performs reasonably well, leaving a very slight magenta cast. The presets for fluorescent lighting do a reasonably good job, with the closest match of the two, leaving a feint green cast.

Samsung WB2000 White-balance test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Auto white-balance in incandescent lighting. Incandescent white-balance in incandescent lighting.
Auto white-balance in fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent white balance in Fluorescent lighting.

Buffer read/write times
On average the delay from shot to shot in single shot mode is around 2.3 seconds, which is quite respectable. For sports and action you may wish to take advantage of the continuous shooting option which allows full resolution shooting at 10 frames per second. The total time taken to take a burst of 10 shots, process them and write them to the Class 10 Lexar SDHC card used for testing was 13.21 seconds on average.

Lens performance
The Schneider branded 5x zoom lens of the WB2000 is capable of producing images that are plenty sharp enough from edge to edge. There isn't much barrel distortion at the 24mm wide angle either, but unfortunately pincushion distortion becomes a feature as the lens is zoomed in.

Areas of high contrast may be subject to quite noticeable colour fringing as can be seen on the example of the memorial below. It does only appear in areas of extreme contrast, so shots under normal conditions will remain unaffected.

The maximum aperture of the lens is an impressive f/2.4 at the wide end, falling to f/5.8 at the long end, which, coupled with the decent noise performance, should make for a capable low-light camera, at the wide end at least.

Samsung WB2000 Lens quality: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
The 24mm equivalent wide angle is great for capturing wide expanses. Taken from the same spot, this image shows the extent of the 120mm equivalent telephoto.
Images are generally sharp and contrasty from edge to edge. In situations of extreme contrast, magenta chromatic aberrations can be seen at the wide end of the zoom.

Samsung WB2000: Verdict
In testing the Samsung WB2000 proved itself to be a very capable camera with features that will appeal to advanced photographers and snap shooters alike. The HD and high speed video functions will certainly be enough to tempt many users.

The camera does have some weaknesses, such as occasional colour fringing at the wide end of the zoom, pincushion distortion at the telephoto end and weak colour saturation. These are weaknesses I'm sure many could live with as the image quality in most conditions is good, and the noise levels at mid to high ISOs is also very good for a compact.

The price tag of around £320 may put a few people off, but whether this camera represents good value will depend on your requirements. Do you prefer to shoot RAW and need a 24mm wide angle and high speed video? If so, you'll get your money's worth here.

Samsung WB2000: Pros
24mm wide angle
High speed video recording
Great noise performance
High speed continuous shooting
AMOLED screen
Great build quality
RAW file format

Samsung WB2000: Cons
Occasional colour fringing at 24mm
Pincushion distortion as lens is zoomed in
Images lack colour saturation

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE
OVERALL

Samsung WB2000: Specification
Price £320.00
What comes in the box USB/Charger Cable, SLB-11A Li-Ion Battery, Quick Start Guide, Software, Instructions, Wrist Strap.
Contact www.samsungcamera.co.uk
Lens Schneider – KREUZNACH Varioplan 4.3-21.5mm f/2.4-5.8 equivalent to 24-120mm on a 35mm camera
Resolution 10.1Mp
Sensor size 1/2.4in
Sensor type High Speed CMOS
Max. Image size 3648x2736
Aspect ratio 4:3
LCD monitor size 3inch AMOLED 614,000 dots
Focusing system Contrast Detection
Focusing modes Face Detection, Blink Detection, Smile Detection
File types JPEG, RAW
ISO sensitivity ISO80-3200
Metering system Multi, Spot, Center-weighted
Metering modes Smart Auto (Macro, Macro Text, White,
Landscape, Action, Tripod, Night, Night Portrait,
Backlight, Backlight Portrait, Portrait, Macro Portrait,
Macro Color, Fireworks, Blue Sky, Sunset, Natural
Green), Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority,
Manual, DUAL IS, Scene (Panorama, Beauty Shot,
Night, Portrait, Children, Landscape, Close Up,
Text, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight, Fireworks, Beach
& Snow)
White-balance Auto WB, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent_H, Fluorescent_L, Tungsten,
Custom Set, Color Temperature
Exposure compensation +/-2EV
Shutter speed range Auto: 1/8 - 1/2,000 sec.
Program: 1 - 1/2,000 sec.
Manual: 16 - 1/2,000 sec.
Night: 8 - 1/2,000 sec.
Fireworks: 2 sec.
Continuous shooting 10fps, 5fps, 3fps
Anti-shake mode Dual Image Stabilisation
Movie mode Size: 1920 X 1080 HQ, 1920 X 1080, 1280 X 720,
640 X 480, 320 X 240
Frame Rate: 1000 FPS, 480 FPS, 240 FPS,
30 FPS
Media type SD, SDHC
Interface USB, HDMI
Power SLB-11A Li-Ion Battery 1130mAh
Size (wxdxl) 99.5 x 59 x 21.7mm
Weight 153.3g

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Photographs taken using the Samsung Samsung WB2000

Spain.Zebra Swallowtail - Eurytides marcellusPraying MantisBlue eyesSpider flatsGot my sunglasses onMunchingGot milk?Coming to lifeBespokeCaught in the middleside by sideLooking downReflections at a car show

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