As Samsung's latest Smart camera, the WB850F arrives with specification which matches almost any other compact on the market. The question is, is it all for show or does the WB850F offer performance to match?
The WB850F is the latest camera from Samsung to boast the ‘Smart Camera’ moniker, and offers the full feature-set that said label implies. The model features built-in WiFi functionality for sharing and back-up of images on the go, as well as GPS tagging of images.
Alongside this ‘Smart’ technology sits a strong imaging specification. The WB850F features a 1/2.3in BSI CMOS sensor which offers an ISO range of 100 to 3200, and also supports HD video capture at 1080p resolution and 30fps.
The sensor is paired with an impressive 21x Schneider-Kreuznach optical zoom covering a focal range of 23-483mm in 35mm equivalent terms, complete with Dual IS image stabilisation.
One of the crowning glories of the WB850F is found on the rear of the camera. The model features an impressive 3in AMOLED display that, with a resolution of 614k dots, offers an impressive image viewing experience.
Where the Samsung WB850F really distinguishes itself from similar models is in its aforementioned ‘Smart’ functionality. The model’s built-in WiFi connectivity allows for direct upload to social networks, as well as emailing direct from the camera and back-up to cloud services on the go.
Despite the bulky size, the WB850F benefits from good design and generally handles well. Much of the camera’s functionality is controlled via the now-common command dial and d-pad combination and, unlike various other compacts, the mode dial is solid enough so as not to be easily knocked in operation.
While the compact is well designed, unfortunately it features several niggling usability issues. Processing times are unreasonably slow, even with a fast memory card employed, resulting in a delay of several seconds between shots. During this delay, the camera has something of a brain freeze and although it is possible to compose images on the LCD and indeed capture them, the WB850F’s zoom freezes. There are also issues with focus, with the camera struggling in PASM modes, although more reliability is offered through the utilisation of Smart Auto mode.
Image quality is reasonable on the whole, especially when utilising the camera’s Smart Auto setting. A good dynamic range is displayed, while the Auto White Balance performs well. The 21x optical zoom is also generally good, although in harsh lighting lens flare is an issue, resulting in a peculiar series of glowing round orbs.
The WB850F arrives with a ‘Smart’ moniker and more features than you can shake a stick at. Unfortunately several usability issues hamper the shooting experience but overall its pros outweigh its cons.