While camera manufacturers like Sony, Panasonic, and Canon are dabbling in Wi-Fi cameras, Samsung's really invested in the concept for 2012, offering four cameras with a big helping of wireless functionality. Included in those models is the WB150F compact megazoom.
The camera's built-in 802.11n wireless can be used to connect to your Wi-Fi network for automatic backups to a Windows computer or Microsoft SkyDrive, viewing photos and movie clips on DLNA-equipped devices, or sending them by e-mail; to connect to other Samsung Wi-Fi cameras for direct sharing between cameras; to connect to hot spots or wirelessly tether to a smartphone; and to connect to an Android 2.2-powered Galaxy S smartphone or 7- or 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab.
That last option can be used to upload content to sharing sites, but it will also allow you to control the camera remotely. Your display turns into a viewfinder and you can move the camera's zoom lens as well as hit the shutter release. It'll also use the device's GPS receiver to geotag your shots. (Samsung plans to extend these features to other non-Samsung Android smartphones as well.)
Outside of the wireless features, the camera is a run-of-the-mill point-and-shoot with a 24-432mm lens (35mm equivalent). Shooting modes range from full manual with control over aperture and shutter speed to full automatic with an abundance of filters and simple editing tools. It's not a bad camera overall, but if you're hoping for fast shooting performance or stellar image quality, you'll have to keep looking.
|Key specs||Samsung WB150F|
|Dimensions (WHD)||4.2 inches by 2.4 inches by 0.9 inch|
|Weight (with battery and media)||6.8 ounces|
|Megapixels, image sensor size, type||14 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD (16 megapixels total)|
|LCD size, resolution/viewfinder||3-inch LCD, 460K dots/None|
|Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length)||18x, f3.2-5.8, 24-432mm (35mm equivalent)|
|File format (still/video)||JPEG/H.264 AAC (.MP4)|
|Highest resolution size (still/video)||4,320x3,240 pixels/ 1,280x720 at 30fps|
|Image stabilization type||Optical and digital|
|Battery type, CIPA rated life||Li-ion rechargeable, 270 shots|
|Battery charged in camera||Yes; Micro-USB cable, wall adapter supplied|
|Bundled software||Intelli-studio, PC Auto Backup (Windows)|
Photo quality from the Samsung WB150F is good up to ISO 200. It's not a camera you'd want to use in low-light conditions or indoors without a flash. At ISO 400, a common sensitivity for well-lit indoor photos, subjects look soft, but are passable at small sizes. The photos get much worse above ISO 400, picking up a lot of noise and losing detail to the point where subjects look smeared.
Actually, noise and artifacts are a bit of a problem even at its lowest ISO sensitivities when photos are viewed at full size; if you need to enlarge and heavily crop your photos, I wouldn't choose the WB150F. However, if you're considering this camera for its online-sharing capabilities and don't typically make large prints above 8x10s, the WB150F's shots are OK.
Video quality is good enough for Web use at small sizes, but nothing you'd want to view at larger sizes on an HDTV. Panning the camera will create judder that's typical of the video from most compact cameras. The zoom lens does function during recording, but Samsung applies a noise filter while it's moving, which muffles the audio overall. It is reasonably fast to focus and adjust exposure. All in all, the WB150F is fine for short clips in good lighting.
|General shooting options||Samsung WB150F|
|ISO sensitivity (full resolution)||Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200|
|Photo Filter)||Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent H, Fluorescent L, Tungsten, Custom, Color Temp|
|Recording modes||Smart Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Scene, Magic Plus (Live Panorama, Magic Frame, Split Shot, Picture in Picture, Artistic Brush,|
|Focus modes||Center AF, Multi AF, Tracking AF, Face Detection AF, Face Recognition AF, Selection AF, Manual Focus|
|Macro||2 inches (Wide); 5.9 feet (Tele)|
|Metering modes||Multi, Spot, Center-weighted, Face Detection AE|
|Color effects||Custom RGB, multiple photo and movie filters|
|Burst mode shot limit (full resolution)||Unlimited continuous|
If you're the type to just leave your camera in Auto all the time, you might be a bit underwhelmed by the WB150F. It has a decent scene-recognition Smart Auto mode, but its value really comes from all the other options Samsung has packed into it.
For example, the WB150F has a big selection of photo filters, many of which are available for movies, too. They can be used before or after you take a photo, and Samsung gives you a live view of the effects when you shoot. Depending on the effect, images are either captured at full resolution or 5 megapixels, which is plenty for Web sharing or small prints.