The Samsung WB700 is a compact digital zoom camera with an 18x optical zoom lens and 14.2 megapixel sensor and is an upgrade to the WB600. It is available in black and silver for around £170.00.
Samsung WB700 Features
The WB700 has an 18x optical zoom lens which is a 35mm equivalent of 24 - 432mm and is extendible to 24x using smart zoom. This makes it an ideal compact camera to shoot landscapes and objects in the distance.
There is a 14.2 megapixel sensor and to help avoid blurry pictures, Dual Image Stabilisation and ISO up to ISO 3200. Whether you are new to photography or upgrading to a new camera, the WB700 is ideal as Smart Auto 2.0 automatically adjusts the settings for both images and videos. The camera also gives full manual controls, meaning you can set the Aperture and Shutter speeds to your own preference, giving the camera a DSLR feel.
To add creativity to your images there are a range of Smart Filters available, including: Miniature, Vignetting, Soft-focus, Old Film 1, Old Film 2, Half Tone Dot, Sketch, Fish-eye, Defog, Classic, Retro and Negative. Scene modes available are Beauty Shot, Night, Landscape, Text, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight and Beach & Snow.
HD movies can be recorded at 720p HD at 30 fps, with Sound Alive and optical zoom available during recording. The Smart Filters are also available during recording. To view your videos, the WB700 can be connected to a HD television via a HDMI cable.
18x optical zoom (35mm equiv: 24 - 432mm)
14.2 megapixel sensor
3 inch TFT LCD screen
Full manual controls
Dual Image Stabilisation
ISO80 - 3200
720p HD movie recording
Smart Auto 2.0
Motion capture mode
Samsung WB700 Handling
The WB700 feels like a well built camera and the metal, centralised tripod socket is a feature not usually seen on cheaper compacts although the camera would benefit from a rubber grip around the front. The buttons are easy to press with dedicated buttons for movie recording and a custom button, which can be set to adjust exposure compensation, ISO or white-balance preset. There is also a mode dial on the top of the camera which gives it that DSLR feel. The 3 inch LCD is easy to view in varying lighting conditions. Samsung have designed a clear menu system which is really easy to navigate.
There isn't a CIPA rating on the battery life of the WB700 but it didn't disappoint during testing. The camera is reasonably quick to focus and is ready to shoot within a couple of seconds of switching on. In continuous shooting mode, the WB700 shoots full size images at 1 fps. If you want more, the camera has motion capture mode, which shoots 5 fps, with the image size restricted to 640 x480, so not ideal for large prints.
Battery and memory card
Samsung WB700 Performance
When viewing images at full size, the detail is stronger in images taken with the lens at its longest, rather than shooting wide. There is a touch of purple fringing in places, particularly in the trees in the wide-angle shot. The minimum focus distance is 3cm in macro mode therefore it is possible to take pleasant looking close-up shots.
Samsung WB700 Lens test images
Noise is minimal at both ISO 80 and ISO 100 and it doesn't get much worse at ISO 200. There is a clear lost of detail at ISO 400. Images taken at ISO 800 have significant noise and sharpness is really effected and it's unlikely you'd want to use images at this ISO setting for large prints. The camera has both ISO 1600 and ISO 3200. ISO 1600 isn't much worse than ISO 800, but both these ISOs are best used for small prints and web use only.
Samsung WB700 ISO test images
Landscape mode has taken a decent picture despite it being a fairly dull day. The WB700 also takes a good portrait picture, with no red-eye. The fourth picture was taken using AEB, which takes three pictures at different exposures, the images were then merged using Photoshop to create a HDR picture.
Samsung WB700 Scene modes
The first image below was taken using shutter-priority mode, using a fast speed to capture the water rising from the fountain. The second picture was part of a series of images using Motion Capture, which fires 5fps and has been able to capture the motion of the batsmen without blur. It's a shame the image size is limited to VGA quality. The final two images were shot using Smart Auto 2.0 and the lens at its longest.
Samsung WB700 Sample Photos
The auto white-balance (AWB) performs excellently in all lighting conditions. Under our studio lights, the respective incandescent and fluorescent presets gave a green cast in the images.
Samsung WB700 White-balance test images
The images below are examples using the range of small filters available on the Samsung WB700.
Samsung WB700 Digital filters
The WB700 shoots videos at 720p and allows the use of optical zoom, an example can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.
Value For Money
The Samsung WB700 is available for around £170.00. Other cameras with an 18x optical zoom lens are the Nikon Coolpix S9100 (12.1 megapixels, £224.99), Fujifilm FinePix S2950 (14 megapixels, £136.99) and the Olympus SZ-10 (14 megapixels, £148.99). The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 (14.1 megapixel, £248.99) and Leica V-Lux 30 (14.1 megapixels, £549.99) both have 16x optical zoom but cost more, especially the Leica.
Samsung WB700 Verdict
With its full manual controls and large amount of optical zoom the WB700 is an ideal camera for those who are wanting a more advanced camera than a simple compact. Image quality is OK, colour reproduction is good and so is noise performance. It's unfortunate that Motion Capture mode can only shoot VGA quality images which means decent sports pictures are only going to be possible in good light by setting the shutter speed manually. If you are looking for a compact for travelling and aren't likely to be capturing fast moving subjects then the WB700 comes recommended.
The Samsung WB700 is a good introduction to an ultra-zoom camera with manual controls.
Samsung WB700 Pros
ISO 80 - 3200
Full Manual Controls
Metal, centralised tripod socket
Samsung WB700 Cons
Motion capture mode only captures VGA quality images
Would benefit from rubber grips to aid handling