With 10x zoom the Samsung WB500 offers a weighty zoom, but what are its images like? The What Digital Camera Samsung WB500 review...
Alongside the WB550, reviewed back in August 2009, the WB500 is a similar yet slightly lower-spec camera at a suitably lower price point. Upon its release, the WB550 held the title as having the widest-angle 10x optical zoom lens – a trait that the WB500 also follows with its 24mm wide-angle. With the exception of a drop in both screen size and resolution from a 3in 460K-dot to 2.7in 230K-dot and the sensor dipping from a 12.1MP to 10.1MP resolution, almost everything else remains the same.
Although the cameras dimensions measure the same on the spec sheet, the two of them are actually subtly different in shape. A niggle with the WB550 was that the flash was in a rather absurd place, prompting unintentional cover with fingers by the grip. Whilst the WB500 still has a similar issue, its grip has a larger area with a rubberised-finish and curves outwards somewhat, making it more comfortable to hold. As such, I actually preferred using the WB500 over its WB550 counterpart, though the drop in screen size and resolution fails to actually make it a better camera. The placement of the shutter release and mode dials both to the right also felt a little alien, failing to weigh-up the camera’s proportions successfully.
Image quality is reasonable and the 10x 24-240mm lens is great to have, given it covers a wide range of photographic scenarios. Some modes, such as manual and scene, aren’t immediate to grasp given the menu construction, so the overall design is certainly the WB500’s shortcoming. However, given the less resolute screen, the cost of the WB500 is a lot fairer than the WB550, at around £50 cheaper.