Editors' note: Several of the design elements, features, and shooting options are identical between the Samsung WB800F and the WB250F we reviewed earlier, so readers may experience some deja vu when reading the same sections below.
To those familiar with Samsung's point-and-shoot cameras, the Samsung WB800F Smart Camera might look a whole lot like Samsung's Android-powered Galaxy Camera.
The cameras share the same 21x zoom lens and 16-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. They also have many of the same shooting options, and the WB800F has built-in Wi-Fi for easy shooting and sharing among other things. But other than general appearance, that's pretty much where the similarities end.
The WB800F doesn't have a SIM card slot for mobile broadband and there's no Bluetooth, GPS, or NFC; it's not running on Android; and its 3-inch touch screen is dwarfed by the 4.8-inch one on the Galaxy. It is, however, considerably less expensive because of all this and the photo quality and performance are for the most part the same (actually the WB800F performs a bit better in some respects).
So, if you like the idea of having a connected camera to complement your smartphone shooting, consider the Samsung WB800F Smart Camera.
The Samsung WB800F's picture quality is very good for its class. As usual, the more light you have, the better your photos will be, so if you're considering this primarily for daylight shooting, you'll likely be very satisfied with the results.
Subjects do get noticeably softer as you increase ISO, which means with less light you'll lose sharpness and fine details, and things start to look flat. (They definitely benefit from some light post-shoot sharpening.) On the other hand, the f2.8 lens and the BSI CMOS sensor keeps the camera from immediately ratcheting up ISO, so you can take low-light photos (at least at the wide end of the lens) with better results than with some competing models.
Basically, if you're considering this for its online-sharing capabilities and don't typically make large prints above 8x10s, regularly enlarge and heavily crop pictures, or view them at large sizes on screen, it's a fine choice. You can read more about picture quality and shooting features in the slideshow above.
The zoom lens does function while shooting. It can be heard moving while recording, but Samsung includes an option to damp the audio when you zoom. The continuous autofocus can be slow to adjust and may pulse in and out of focus, so it might be best to zoom in first and then start shooting; you can always pause the recording (yes, the camera lets you pause) and zoom out and start capturing again.
If you're feeling like you're not getting the shots you want from your smartphone because it's just not fast enough, you won't fare much better with the WB800F (or most other point-and-shoots in its class); it's not slow, but it isn't lightning-fast, either. From off to first shot takes 3.7 seconds, which is longer than competing cameras take, and the lag from shot to shot averaged 1.9 seconds. Using the flash tacks on another second to that time. The time from pressing the shutter release to capture without prefocusing is low, though, 0.3 second in bright lighting and 0.4 second in dim conditions. Keep in mind that this is with the lens at its widest position and focusing with the lens zoomed it takes slightly longer.
If you're trying to capture a burst of action, the camera's continuous mode is capable of capturing up to six photos at 8 frames per second (my lab tests clocked it at 9.5fps). However, focus and exposure are set with the first shot, so depending on how much subject movement there is, all of the shots may not be in focus. This is typical of most burst modes on point-and-shoots.
Design and features
Despite what the numbering might indicate, the WB800F is actually the successor to the WB850F. While some of that camera's features transferred over to the WB800F (the lens and sensor, for example), much of the design is different, which is for the best.
The WB850F's flash was poorly placed on the top of the camera, but that's been replaced by a handy pop-up flash that can be pulled back and aimed up so you can bounce the flash; a feature few, if any, cameras have at this price level. However, you do have to press the flash button on top next to the mode dial to use it; it won't release on its own.