I will be splitting this review up in diffrent areas as I go along – might even change/update the areas as I write – and hopefully getting a little feedback from you out there! I do want to cover areas that you find interesting – I know I would have valued input from other WB2000 owners before my purchase! I will give my view on whether I like or do not like something! Some of you might agree with me and others might not! What I am trying to do is to describe and point out things that others might miss out on – so that you will know and be able to decide if that particular thing matters to you … or not! Towards the end of the review I will give a short(er) summary.
The Camera design – Top and Front
I chose the black model and it is a handsome little thing weighing 178 gr with battery, memory card and handstrap. It is really jet black with a matte finish and a few flashy stainless steel buttons and ring around the lens. I do like the retro design of the top of the camera – and so do all of of my friends – always commenting first about the cute little battery and memory gauges with their red hands! Mostly a gimmic but still giving a rough estimate of battery power and memory left! The manual states that “The remaining capacity of the battery and memory card may appear different from the gauge.” So I guess it is not to be a trusted precision instrument – but it sure is COOL! Talking about cool – next to the gauges is the powerbutton wich lights up with a really bright clear blue light circle around it when you power the camera on – maybe a little too strong so it sure is visible – no “discrete” pictures taken here! Next to it is the shutter release button with the zoom lever around it. Both feeling quite robust. A well balanced pressure point when you are focusing – so that you know that if you press harder a picture will be taken. The zoom lever works well and the zoom goes from wide to full 5x tele is in under 3 secs.
Then at the rightmost position is the mode dial that lets you chose from 8 diffrent modes: Smart Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Full Manual, Dual Image Stabilization, Scene and Movie. Most of these diffrent modes does what you expect – the “Smart Auto” mode beeing the green mode in most cameras. Worth noting is that this camera has Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and FULL Manual settings – both shutter times and f-stop – all of these VERY unusual in most compact cameras – at least now! GOOD!
One very odd mode is the “Dual Image Stabilization” which of course should have been a setting in the P, A, S and M modes. (And it IS – it is called Auto ISO!) Why Samsung has chosen to implement it in this mysterious way beats me! (Hint: The marketing people had their say… I wonder how many people they fool by this…?) All I can see it does is allow the ISO Auto to go up to ISO 800 instead of stopping at ISO 400. MUCH more useful had been if I could set max ISO value for the ISO Auto! Now, THAT would have been handy!
Please Samsung – rework this!
Rounding of the exploration of the top is first two small holes – about 35 mm apart – situated on either side of the gauges – for the stereo microphones – and a group of three similar holes for the little speaker at the very left.
Moving over to the front (seen as in the picture above): The front is dominated by the lens and the trimmings around it, the small flash window to the left of the lens and the orange/yellow focusing light to the right. There is a rubberized grip on the left edge where the camera widens a little bit giving you a good grip of the camera. All the controlls are well laid out and at least my fingers did not seem to get in the way. Thanks to wanting to hold on to the rubberized grip my fingers did not seem to block the flash. The most probable thing would be me blocking one of the microphones on the top right hand side…
The Camera design – Bottom and Back
The back is dominated by the wonderful 3″ Amoled screen – sporting a good 614 000 pixels. It is really sharp, contrasty and coloufull! Resonably resistant to fingerprints – easy to wipe off with a soft cloth.
On the right hand side there is a little space for fingers, buttons, rings and wheels. On the top is a finger rest and a wheel. The wheel is used for setting some parameters in each mode. Rotate it and a menu will appear. Roll it to the chosen setting and either wait a second or press the OK-button. This wheel is not very well implemented – it lags in reaction making you wonder what you are doing! Please Samsung – rework this! With a quicker, more direct respons it would be good, now it just confuses!
There is not much printed on the back but the “AMOLED” (you know like it said “5 gears” on cars when 4 gears was the norm…), “MENU” and a small wastebasket-symbol. The rest is either not marked at all or has symbols on the buttons themselves – as you can see on the picture on the right. The “MENU”-button brings up the menu where you can do all sorts of settings, the button with a red ring around it is the movie recording button – press it in any mode and it will start recording a movie! Quite handy! But to press this button without the camera shaking is near impossible – it is implemented like this in most cameras with a dedicated button for movie. What minimizes the shake problem is that it takes about 2 secs for the filming to start. Then there is a combination “thingy” with 5 combined functions and a fluted selection ring. Pressing the top of the fluted ring changes the information displayed on the screen in a cyclic manner. Pressing the ring beside the “Flash”-symbol on the left brings up a “small” menu with no less then 6 diffrent flash modes! Pressing the ring beside the ISO text on the right brings up a menu with all the diffrent ISO settings from 80 – 3200 and Auto ISO! Lastly by pressing the ring by the “Flower/close up”-symbol at the bottom brings upp three alternatives: normal focusing (15 cm – eternity), close up (7.5 – 42 cm) or manual focusing! The camera with lens is roughly 3 cm thick – if you want the distance to the front lens deduct 3 cm from the above mesurements that is to the “film plane” – the screen! In the middle is a button marked “OK” that you use every now and then. Now on to the two last buttons on the bottom row – the left one is “Play” so that you can show your pictures and movies. The right one “Fn” is similar to the “MENU”-button but much quicker and easier to set a number of settings.
The bottom is not so full of things exactly! There is a tripod mount – but NOT exactly in line with the lens – about 5 mm off centre. The mount seems to be made of plastic. Then there is a lid over the battery and memory compartment – with a small locking button to keep the lid closed. There is spring action on the lid and you just slide the locking button one way to lock the lid and the other way to unlock it. Very small bumps on the bottom plate gives the camera four very small feet to stand on when placed on an even surface.
When you open the battery and memory compartment you will find there is a small (blue) plastic lever to stop the battery from popping out. Move it to its side and the battery will slide out. The memory card is spring loaded push it once to release it, push it again to lock it in place.
In the next installment I will cover the diffrent settings and features of the camera. After that I think I will add some sample pictures.