Let me start out this installment by saying that this camera is probably the MOST feature packed compact camera that I have ever used! I will be going through the diffrent features – I will speed over the ones “ALL” cameras have if there is not anything special to say about it. As I said earlier I will be looking hard at usability and user friendliness – and giving Samsung Free advice! There is quite a “scoop” towards the end – just read on!
(By the way, I am using firmvare version 8261.)
Switching on is sort of alright at least in taking around 3 secs from switch on till the first picture is taken… BUT it takes 2 more secs for the gauges to reach their positions – making a total of 5 sec before you can show it to your friends! 😉 I should point out that none of the other buttons work until the gauges activate – that is a total of 5 secs – which is a tad slow overall– but at least the shutter release button seems to work a little earlier – if you keep it pressed when you switch the camera on!
Focusing is very quiet and quite fast – taking only around 1 sec for for focusing in wide angle – but as often is the case – beeing a little slower in tele taking around 2-3 secs before you have focus.
It can not focus on horisontal lines – in landscape mode! This is not uncommon with compacts but a little sad none the less. You will for instance have difficulties with focusing on the horizon over water. You can handle it by just tilting the camera slightly while focusing and then turn it back before you take the picture.
Normal focusing covers 15 cm – eternity in wide angle which is VERY good I think and very snappy! Handling most situations with standard focusing! Close up covers 7.5 – 42 cm in wide angle which is OK without beeing something extra. Tele standard focusing down to around 60 cm and close up setting is 35-113 cm. The camera with lens extended is roughly 3 cm thick – if you want the distance to the front lens deduct 3 cm from the above measurements that is to the “film plane” – the screen!
There is even manual focusing – implemented in quite an OK way – when you get the knack of it!
Zooming is also very smooth and quiet – even if it is not as quiet as focusing. You have around 3 secs from wide to full tele. There are 10 distinct “zoom positions” spread out over the full zoom range – would have been handy with a few more – but 10 is OK! With the mentioned close up setting you will cover in wide angel 5.5 cm and in tele 11 cm.
The digital zoom (which i do not like) can not be switched off! But it is disabled in Smart Auto, Dual Image Stabilization and Movie modes. Even Samsung have realized that you might not want to use the digital zoom so … to stop you from using it accidentaly you have to first zoom to full tele, release the zoom lever and then continue to zoom again – then you will use the digital zoom! Samsung rework this!Instead of having this awkward solution – making people NOT liking digital zoom unsure and making digital zoom affictionados (If they exist) NOT beeing able to have a smooth transition from optical to digital zoom. Make it switchable!
Now comes the most difficult thing – how do I go on …?
So much centers around the “Menu”! Press the button and you will have loads of settings and functions to choose from! You select by pressing “OK” and using the ring to move the highlight. Quite easy to use but it will not remember where you were if you leave the Menu – making you start all over at the top again – which is a tad tedious.
- Photo size: 9 settings from 10-1 Mpix including wide screen and even rectangular formats!
Very impressive I think!
- White balance: White balance: Automatic, Sun, Cloud, High Florescent, Low Florescent, Tungsten, Measure or Set Kelvin
Here the Set Kelvin stands out! Just set the colour temperature with the dial!
- Quality: Super fine, Fine and Normal – in jpg. And you can add RAW to all of these!
Quite impressive! Not many compact cameras have RAW!
- EV: exposure compensation +- 2 EV
- Face detection: Face, Self portrait (beeps when it detects a face – you press the shutter), Smile (Camera takes a picture when it sees a smile), Blink (it takes two pictures if it detects a blinking eye), Favorite Faces (Let registered faces take priority when focusing several people in the same picture)
Can be handy – I guess – but it can be slow in reacting to faces…
- Smart FR edit: Register faces that is to take priority when focusing several people in the same picture
- Smart Filter: Off, Miniature, Vignetting and Fish Eye
Cool functions – but has a number of restrictions!
- Focus: Centre, Multi focus, Select and Tracking
Tracking is quite cool – but like face detection – can be a little slow in reaction. Don’t know if I can trust it … will have to use it more to see
- Metering: Spot, Multi area and Center weighted average
Also a little impressing – not many compacts in this price range has all these to choose from!
- Photo style: Sketch, Distinct, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic (B&W), Negative and RGB
Except for sketch which offers a rather plesant charcoal type of B&W picture, all the others just changes either the saturation or hue.
- Image Adjust: Here you can set contrast, sharpness and saturation separately. +-2 values for all
- Smart Range: Would be HDR for most photographers. The camera takes two pictures with diffrent exposure and combines the best exposed parts from them into one picture. I hoped it would give me back my blue skies – but I seem to be having som fault with this function so I can not comment on how effective it is.
- Bracket: White balance – take 3 pics with diffrent wb, Exposure – take 3 pics with diffrent exposure or Photo style – one normal and pick a photo style.
Bracketing is impressive (WB and AE) in a compact camera and works well due to the high speed shooting. Photo style is more ore less a waste. You are to pic fron small thumbnails which extra style you want – very difficult to see!
- Interval: Set the camera to take pictures at intevals. You set up the interval from 1 min to 23 hours 59 min.
This is the first time I see this! Impressive!
- OIS: On or off
- Voice: Record a voice memo to your picture
Not a new thing but handy – or it would have been if you did not have to set it each time. It switches itself of after the first picture!
A VERY impressive set of settings! Samsung should have an applause for cramming so many cool features into such a small camera! If you take each setting above and tries it out separately most of them works as you would expect. I will be commenting on how good they work later with the test/sample pictures.
I know that what I will tell in the following section will be hard to believe – at least all of it. I hope that at least some of it is just some design mistake that Samsung made and that it will be corrected in the next firware update… we will see! And please correct me if I am wrong on what I write below … but I guess not – it is in the manual also! Talking of desparate hope: Maby it is just my sample of the WB2000 and my manual?! I DO hope it is – because I like the little feller!
The problem(s) appear when you want to use more then one of these settings at the same time! For example: Let us say I think the colours are a bit on the weak side so I set the “Photo Style” to “Vivid” to correct that – it does – because that is just why Samsung added such a setting! Good so far! Say that I now also want to use the Face Detection – not very unreasonable I think – but that is now blocked out! What adding a little extra colour has to do with face detection I do not know! But with Vivid set I can no longer use any of the Face detection settings! I could understand that the Sketch-setting would mess up face detection – but Vivid!!? The sad thing is that you can not use Smart Filter either … OR Image Adjust … OR Smart Range… I must say that it made me sad ….
These settings block each other out – use one – then you can not use any other at the same time! Face Detect … OR Photo Style … OR Smart Filter … OR Image Adjust … OR Smart Range… just ONE of these!
I can sort of accept when some functions interact and block each other out because you could not possibly want to combine them … but good design should not let that happen! I have NO clue as to how the firm- and hardware is implemented in this camera but it looks as if the microprocessor/imageprocessor is either not powerful enough to drive more than one feature at the time or … for ex Face detection should work on the RAW picture before any Picture style is applied that could disturb the Face detect algorithm …
Now this is one BIG free advice: Samsung PLEASE rework this! You have the beginning of a really SUPER camera in the WB2000!
With sooo many settings and sooo many features in this camera it will be REAL HARD to remember what settings that blocks other settings. I would not want this camera in the hands of the typical point-and-shooter – at least not the ones I know – and not in any other mood then “Smart Auto”. Not that a camera this feature packed ever is intended for everyone…!
I dont know if I am lucky or unlucky with this camera … I would not be using (well obvious from what I have written above) the above “interlocked” functions very often … but it still nags at me that they block each other out like that!
Well … the above sure taxed me … that will have to do for today!