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Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Wi-Fi and GPS enabled Samsung WB850F digital camera, which also has a 21x optical zoom lens.

| Samsung WB850F in Compact Cameras
Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review: Samsung Wb850f Lens Extended 1

The WB850F was released by Samsung in January 2012 and is a compact camera which packs in a 21x optical zoom lens, 16.2 megapixel BSI sensor as well as Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS. It is available in black, with prices starting at around £215.00.

Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review: Samsung Wb850f Front 1

Samsung WB850F Features

The WB850F has a 16.2 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and 21x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 23 - 483mm. The other headlining feature it has is the built-in Wi-Fi, making it possible to share your images quickly and easily to places such as Facebook, Picasa, Photobucket or by email directly from the camera. Videos can be uploaded to YouTube.

There is also GPS with Live Landmark, a location-based augmented reality feature, lets you access information about points of interest right in front of you. You can also download maps and find your way with MapView. The Digital Compass lets you see which direction you’re facing and how far you are from your destination. 

When shooting, you have the option to use Full Manual mode, meaning you can set the aperture and/or shutter speed. Live Panorama means you can take 180º panoramic images, viewing it on the screen during recording. To take more unusual and creative pictures you can turn to Artistic Brush mode, which includes cartoon, sketch and ink painting. Other shooting modes include Picture in Picture Shot, HDR and Split Shot.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with stereo sound, the camera can be connected to a HD TV to watch them back. Dual Capture mode allows you to take six 10 megapixel images when recorded videos

Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review: Samsung Wb850f Top 2

Key Features

  • 16.2 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
  • 21x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 23 - 483mm)
  • Dual IS (Optical + Digital Image Stabilisation)
  • 3 inch VGA screen
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
  • Full 1080p video recording
  • ISO 100-3200
  • 5cm minimum focusing distance
  • Live Panorama Mode
Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review: Samsung Wb850f Rear 1

Samsung WB850F Handling

The WB850F has an extremely solid body and is quite chunky and heavy, but small enough to carry in your pocket. There is a substantial rubber grip on the front of the camera, with a rubberised area for your thumb on the rear.

There are plenty of buttons, with the power button, zoom rocker and shutter released placed on the top of the camera, where you'll also find a mode dial and a switch which releases the pop-up flash. The flash needs to be pushed back to put it away again.

On the rear of the camera is a d-pad, this also acts as a rotating wheel, making it easier to toggle through the settings. Other buttons on the rear are the menu, fn, playback and delete button. The fn button allows you to change some shooting menus, such as ISO, exposure compensation, white-balance and more. The last button to mention is the dedicated movie record button, it has a lever surrounding it which allows you to change the speed of recording (30, 240 and 480 fps).

The menu system is easy to navigate, made much easier by the large number of buttons which mean you don't need to go through a number of menus to change basic settings. The 3 inch LCD screen is bright, clear and colourful, making it a pleasure to use when both shooting and looking back through your pictures.

The battery has a CIPA rating of 280 shots. Unfortunately we had to recharge the battery a number of times during testing as all too often we came back to it and the battery was dead. Usually this happens when the GPS is accidentally left on, but we can rule that out in this case.

We tested the camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average.

Shutter Response   0.1 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
  0.35 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
0.65 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.35 secs
Shot to Shot (without flash)   1.7 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   3.4 secs
Continuous Shooting 3fps
  2.9 fps
Continuous Shooting 5fps   5 fps
Continuous Shooting 10fps   10 fps

All three continuous shooting modes record at full 16 megapixel resolution.

Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review: Samsung Remote Viewfinder Screenshot 3   Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review: Facebook Screenshot
Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review: Wi Fi Screenshot 1 | 1/160 sec | f/5.6 | 55.0 mm | ISO 400  

The main attractions when using the W-Fi are the ability to upload straight to Facebook and connecting to a smartphone to transfer pictures and use as a mobile viewfinder. It's all as simple as connecting to your Wi-Fi and following the on-screen instructions. To work with smartphones, you'll also need to download apps on those devices.

Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review: Samsung Wb850f Battery And Memory Card

Samsung WB850F Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Samsung WB850F Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The WB850F takes pictures that are well exposed with excellent colour reproduction. Portraits have good skin tones and are free from red-eye when using the flash. Landscape mode allows you to shoot landscapes with superb blues and greens. HDR mode automatically combines three shots and the results are good.

Samsung WB850F Lens test images

Lens Performance - Images have a good level of detail throughout the zoom range, but there is some purple fringing in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 5cm, which allows the camera to get close enough to take impressive macro shots.

Samsung WB850F ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - There is no noise at ISO 100, with a little appearing at ISO 200. Again there is a small amount of extra noise at ISO 400, but it is not until you get to ISO 800 where you see images become a little softer. Images at ISO 1600 and 3200 show a significant loss in detail, these two settings are best used for sharing on the web, rather than for large prints.

These ISO shots do highlight some chroma noise which is visible in the mid to dark greys, with most other colours appearing fairly reasonable. The ISO shots have been taken using our incandescent lights, with the chroma noise virtually gone under other lighting.

Samsung WB850F White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights, the AWB and incandescent presets produce very similar results, with a very slight colour cast appearing, but not enough to overly affect the image. The AWB setting performs excellently under the fluorescent lights, with the two fluorescent presets both taking images with a colour cast.

Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review: Panorama | 1/750 sec | f/4.0 | 4.1 mm | ISO 100
Panorama | 1/750 sec | f/4.0 | 4.1 mm | ISO 100

Panorama mode - Panorama images look particularly impressive when viewed on the web, there isn't enough detail when viewing large, but there are stitched together extremely well.

Samsung WB850F Outdoor images

The images above have been taken in bright, sunny conditions, with a fast shutter speed used in the second image to capture the water flowing from the fountain.

Samsung WB850F Digital filters

Digital Filters - The WB850F has a number of Smart Filters to make your pictures more creative and unique, examples of which can be seen above.

Video - Below is a video recorded at full 1080p HD, you can use optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube Page. Videos can also be recorded with Smart Filters and can record high-speed videos at 240 and 480 fps, click the links for examples.

Value For Money

The Samsung WB850F is available for around £215.00. Below are a number of cameras with a similar amount of zoom, with only the Olympus not having GPS. Other cameras with Wi-Fi include the Samsung ST200F at £105.00, Samsung DV300F at £108.50, Samsung WB150F at £129.99, Fujfilm FinePix Z1000 EXR at £184.00, Canon IXUS 240 HS at £204.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90 at £204.95 and Canon IXUS 510 HS at £275.00.

Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review: Olympus VG-170 Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review: Canon PowerShot A1300 Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S3300 Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review: Canon PowerShot A3200 IS Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45
Olympus SP-620UZ
Fujifilm FinePix F770
Canon PowerShot SX260 HS
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30
Sony Cybershot DSC-HX20V
£127.00 £219.00 £249.95 £264.00 £269.00

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Samsung WB850F Verdict

The Samsung WB850F scores really well for features, given its ample zoom lens as well as both GPS and Wi-Fi functionality. It is currently available for around £215.00, which represents decent value for money. We did find the battery ran out quickly when the camera wasn't in use and it is frustrating to switch to GPS and be told you needed to download maps, although it was easy enough to do via PC. Image quality is good, with excellent colour reproduction. Overall it's an ideal travel zoom camera, if you are able to charge the battery regularly.

  Samsung WB850F Digital Camera Review:
  The Samsung WB850F is a feature packed travel compact, with images that will please the user.

Samsung WB850F Pros

Feature packed
Wi-Fi functions work really well
Plenty of buttons make it easy to change settings
Rubber grip on front of camera makes it easy to hold
Colourful images with decent amount of detail
Decent value for money

Samsung WB850F Cons

Camera is quite heavy
Dodgy battery life
GPS needs maps downloading prior to use


Samsung WB850F Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.8 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent23mm - 483mm
Optical Zoom21x
Image Sensor
Pixels16.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.16mm
Sensor Size (height)4.62mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921,000
Touch ScreenYes
Min Focus5cm
Focusing modes
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest16sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shootingNo Data
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable battery : SLB-10A
Battery Life (CIPA rating)No Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
WeightNo Data

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Photographs taken using the Samsung WB850F

A Peaceful Place  (best viewed large)In the ShadowsBuddiesSml.TortoiseshellWoodyLove-in-the-mistFlesh-flyVitamin-CEristalix-PertenaxReady to take offAlstroemeriaSunbathingReady-to-openThistle

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Niknut Avatar
Niknut Plus
13 3.7k 82 United Kingdom
28 Aug 2012 6:16PM
Mmmmm....that's impressive for a compact !!!....the Hi-res images are superb !!

Plenty of manual control, & a nice big rear screen....& still very pocketable !!!

Very, very tempting for a carry-at-all-times compact camera !!!!!

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