I know, I know. You have a great camera in your phone and don’t need a point-and-shoot. Or you already have a great camera phone AND a fantastic DSLR. Why in the world would you possibly need to shell out for yet another camera?
After plunking down for a Canon Rebel XSi five years ago, and having my phone’s camera quality steadily improve with every new purchase (which for me is every six months or so), I felt the same way and never thought I would purchase another point and shoot. Yet, often I dread having to lug the DSLR around. And cell phone cameras, despite fantastic results in many situations, have some serious drawbacks.
Samsung’s line of cameras have absolutely hit the ball out of the park lately offering superior optics and a slew of features that have left other camera manufactures scrambling to keep up. One such device is the WB150F which in addition to great image quality, also has built in WiFi for easy image transfers and sharing, great photo editing software built into the device, video, and fantastic telephoto and macro results.
Samsung’ WB150F Camera
Let’s face it- iPhones, Androids, and Windows Phones can take some pretty remarkable snapshots. But regardless of which silly filters you use to add to your pictures and how well you compose your masterpiece, your mobile device has some serious shortcomings. A handful of limitations and reasons to consider a point and shoot:
- No Optical Zoom and Poor Macro Results- Anytime you “zoom” with your mobile, you are not doing it with the lens. So while you can digitally bring your subject closer, you will lose image quaility. Creating depth of field and using zoom to create desired image size of subject is also lost with digital zooming. Similarly, getting within a few centimeters and getting outstanding macro results is not really possible with camera phones.
- Battery Killer – Sure, a few dozen pics of an event or some snapshots for your favorite social site isn’t going to kill your battery. However, there’s times when heading to a photo intensive event that you can’t count on your phone battery lasting.
- Horrendous Flash- The tiny LED on your phone (if it has one) produces some of the harshest and most unpleasant lighting possible in photos.
- Overall Performance- Time between photos, start-up time, focusing time, low light situations and awkward photo taking are all symptoms of most mobile phone cameras. I was incensed a couple weeks ago when taking a video without a second chance to get the shot, and right in the middle of filming- I got an incoming call! This stopped the video and deleted the previously filmed two minutes. Phones are definitely designed as phones first. You won’t have that issue with a camera. Nor will you be inclined to accidentally hold it in the incorrect position resulting in either an upside down photo or a video with just a narrow strip. (Ironically, it seems that ever bystander that captures amazing footage that gets used in a news story or video that goes viral is holding their phone wrong).
Again, I am perfectly happy with many of the pictures I have taken with my mobile phone camera. Likewise, I certainly love my Canon. But point-and-shoots can still fill a sweet spot when you want mobility and consistently superior results.
Here’s a few reasons why I am absolutely thrilled with the first non-DSLR camera I have bought in over six years.
Value The MSRP of the WB150F is $229 but I found mine on sale at Best Buy a few weeks ago for $160. You can even find it on Amazon for as little as $140. Shop and around and find this around $140 and you are getting a fantastic camera for a great price. This camera blows away most of the competition in both feature set and image quality at this price point.
Outstanding Telephoto & Macro Results The 18x optical zoom (which equates to over a 400mm lens in a DSLR equivalent) produces sharp results and crisp images. Again, one of the major limitations of cell phone cameras. Likewise, macro photos turn out great. Below are two photos taken in full-auto mode. The bike from 100′ away and the sunflower from about 1″.
100′ at full zoom
Great Specs The WB150F has specs and settings not usually found on inexpensive cameras in this category.
- Shutter speeds as fast as 1/2000 sec
- ISO setting up to 3,200
- Full manual mode, aperture priority, shutter priority
- Metering mode options of spot, multi, center weighted and Face Detection
- Many white balance modes
- Optical image stabilization and digital
- Sensor Resolution 14 MP
Comfortable to hold & Easy To Use Despite most of the same options available on high end DSLR cameras, the functions and controls are all very intuitive and easy to control. Menus are understandable and the buttons and dials all work very well and easy to use. At approximately 4″ x 2″ x 1″, it is easy to pop into a pocket and carry around. The dimensions and shutter release are positioned and designed well to feel great in the hand.
Great editing software & Creative Suite There are a ton of great filters & effects that you can use ranging from panorama mode, picture-in-picture, sketch, oil painting and a slew of others. Additionally, intuitive editing is possible from the camera itself without having to download to a computer.
WiFi and Sharing With WiFi built in, sharing to social sites, sync to PC, emailing and other features are relatively easy. Though one caveat is that the first time you sign into a service (like Facebook for example), the process can be a little tedious with difficult typing without touchscreen and having to enter characters with a four way D-Pad. However, once you are set up, the WiFi works really well and the transfers are relatively quick. I transferred 275 pictures from camera to my laptop in a matter of a couple minutes.
Additional features that can be used with the WiFi functionality is remote viewfinder (Allows you to view your viewfinder from a smartphone app and compose and take pictures remotely which is great for self portraits/group shots), AllShare (quickly display on AllShare equipped TV’s or other devices) and MobileLink (easy transfer to your mobile phone). While I have fully tested all these features, and they all work great on my Samsung Galaxy SII, I have not tested any of them on any other mobile devices like an iPhone.
A Few Final Thoughts
- Charging the battery, or connecting to computer, is via ubiquitous micro-USB (most other point and shoots in this price range are charged via an external charger necessitating battery removal which is inconvenient and prone to being lost) .
- Video quality is very good at 1280×720 (30fps) with reasonable sound quality but not the best.
- LCD viewfinder is a 3″ TFT display of decent quality.
- Overall construction and build quality is outstanding- nothing feels cheap about it.
Bottom Line The WB150F is an outstanding choice for those wanting a camera affording a full range of features, great image quality and the convenience of WiFi built into a camera. While the image quality is not quite the same as high end DSLRs, the optical 16x zoom provides extraordinary results for a point and shoot. A bevy of features make this a pretty powerful camera to carry along and a worthwhile addition to your existing devices to capture life’s precious moments.
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