Posts Tagged Samsung WB2000

Tamrac Camera Case

Having used an old camera case for some time for my Canon PowerShot S95 I decided to get a more suitable one. My requirements were: would allow easy access, would fit the camera snuggly, would have room for a spare battery and would attach to my belt securely. After googling and binging the web I settled for the Tamrac 5686 Ultra-Compact Digital Camera Pouch from Amazon for the reasonable price of  85 SEK/9 €. This is a review of it and what I thought.

First thing to notice was that it did not look as the illustration at either Amazon or at Tamrac. I actually liked the design I got better! Lucky me! 🙂

Yes, the camera fits snuggly – so snuggly it actually sticks out about 5-8 mm on top which I think is quite ok. I certainly prefer that to a bigger case! Width and depth is perfect for the S95. The shape of the case – ever so slightly arc-shaped in the front – fits the slightly protruding barrel of the S95 like it was constructed for it! It just slides into the case without a hinge! The “lid” closes perfectly over the top and the velcro is wide enough to grip very tightly.I do prefer the velcro type of lid to the zip when it comes to easy access! On the positive – or negative – side it does make a noise when you lift the lid!

There is a pocket in the front – about 5 x 7 cm – with an internal velcro about 1 cm down to keep things from sliding out – making the pocket about 5 x 5 cm – if you use the velcro. As you can see in the picture (above right) you might even let a flat object stick out of the pocket if you want to – making the usable size about 5 x 9 cm. The lid closes over the pocket. This pocket is ideal for the camera battery or an extra memory card or any other relatively flat object!

At the back of the case there is a sturdy strap to attach the camera case to your belt.  It is equipped with double velcro!  Both on the inside – like most camera cases I have had – but the Tamrac has an extra velcro on the outside of the strap with a security flap the you fold bach up over it – making the risk of losing the camera seem highly unlikely! This is something I appreciate a lot – having in the past thought of extra security solutions with sewn on carbide hooks and other complications to minimize the risk of dropping/losing the case – and my camera!

The velcro used in the case seems to be of good very sturdy and tightly gripping quality! Time will tell how well it lasts from repeated openings… The fabric also seems well-chosen for its use. Both soft and a little silky and sturdy at the same time. The case is also padded slightly to protect the camera.

The only hang up I have is the very thick plastic badge sewn onto the lid …

Conclusion

The Tamrac 5686 is a really good case that breathes quality and good thinking! I do recommend it for the Canon S95 or similarly sized cameras! (Like Canon S90, Ixus 750, Ixus 860IS, Samsung WB2000…)

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Sample Photos White Balance Samsung WB2000

I have been asked if I have more sample pictures from my Samsung WB2000. I have put up two more that shows how the WB2000 white balance for “Cloudy Weather” . Now, technically speaking these two pictures I took in the shade – not in cloudy weather – but there is no special white balance setting for “Shade” so “Cloudy Weather” had to do!

Both of these samples are full 10MPix and have not been edited in any way – except changing the filenames. Just click the picture to see the full size! The Exif info should give you all info on the picture. Both pictures have used the Program mode – P mode – with everything else set to automatic – but flash off. (Well – I changed the white balance in the second picture.)

Afternoon light. Standing in the shade of a house with the plants getting a mix of mostly light from the blue sky above with a little sunlight reflecting from sunlit trees.

Settings: Multi segment exposure metering. Auto white balance. Contrast normal. Sharpness normal. Saturation normal. Wide angle 24 mm used. P mode used. Set for auto ISO – which selected ISO 160. Shutter time 1/30 and f-stop 2.8.

Result: Exposure is a little overexposed, saturation is a little low and white balance is a little blueish! Contrast is a little low. Sharpness is quite good! Very little noise.

Settings: Multi segment exposure metering. Cloudy weather white balance. Contrast normal. Sharpness normal. Saturation normal. Wide angle 24 mm used. P mode used. Set for auto ISO – which selected ISO 120. Shutter time 1/30 and f-stop 2.8.

Result: Exposure is a little better, saturation is a little low and white balance is better but maybe a little too yellow! WB halfway in between would have been ideal. Sharpness is quite good! Very little noise.

There is a very slight difference in exposure between these two pictures – the camera chose to lower the ISO-value used from 160 to 120! This lowered the number of overexposed pixels from just over 74 000 to less than half. These pixels are mostly localized to the white on the window.

My feeling is that both of these pictures are too “light” – that is slightly overexposed, or at least they feel a bit unsaturated or maybe it is the contrast that is too low. Increasing contrast and saturation certainly makes these pictures more pleasing – to my eye. There is two other ways to change the white balance: measure white balance or set it manually! What I wanted to find out was this cameras ability to handle most settings automatically so I settled only for the simplest alternative: to select a preset white balance. I also do not want to have to process every picture after it is taken – therefore I want the pictures to look as great as possible out of the camera!

I have a really mysterious piece of software that I once got on a magazine cover: Ashampoo Photo Optimizer. This software has no settings whatsoever – you just click the “Optimize” button and it does its thing. It is really hit and miss – some pictures gets an impressively good “kick”, others turn out worse and others does not change at all! Note that it is NOT just changing the contrast, saturation, hue on the whole picture – it analyzes the picture and then applies its “magic” differently across the picture. I tried this out on the AWB picture and got this result! An improvement I think – slightly more saturated and slightly more contrast. I could have done something similar i IrfanView or Photoshop but this was soo simple. (It also cut the size in half …)

/Photoman

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Money back at last!

I am happy to say that the return of my Samsung WB2000 was accepted and I got my money back! That does not mean that I am ALL happy – it was a very nice little camera – but with a few small (?) things I could not accept! Orientation sensor missing and colourless rather cold pictures in shade and cloudy weather. I am still searching dpreview forums for other buyers opinions about the image quality – because a nagging hope/fear is that it was just my sample that was flawed! But so far very little from others to go by. The returned money anyhow  means that I will be able to look for a new compact camera (to complement my Canon EOS 550D)  very shortly! Any ideas to what cameras I should have on my shortlist?

/Photoman

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Sample Photos High ISO Samsung WB2000

All of these samples are full size and have not been edited in any way – except changing the filenames! I have taken a series of pictures of the same motif with two different cameras: Samsung WB2000 with Canon EOS 550D/Canon Digital Rebel T2i as comparison. I know it is VERY unfair because of sensor size, price … etc but at least there is something that can be used as a sort of “gold” reference. A compact would have to work VERY hard to surpass a decent DSLR as the ISO goes up and the light goes down! Give me sun and the pictures are very good from all cameras! I also threw in two samples from an OLD (4-5 years) Canon Ixus 750 (7 Mpix – that does not go any higher than max ISO 400!).

As all three cameras has different wide angles so I zoomed the Samsung and EOS to roughly the same focal length as the widest angle of the Ixus which was 37 mm. (550D was  used with the kit lens.) The day was cloudy with no visible variation in lighting during the test shots.

All cameras was set similarly: AWB, all other settings to normal. Note that the sharpening on 550D is normally set for “soft” from Canon – I did not change that!

Comparing camera pictures is SOO difficult – all cameras should really be set so that YOU think it gives the best possible result – not just left with what the maker thought was the best… well... Hands up all those that have left the setting at what it was out of the box! 😉 Taking into account that the three cameras all has different resolution is soo tricky – you will have to scale and then the sharpness changes…. but it does all the time that you look att pictures on a screen – very few 18 MPixel screens exist! This is intended to compare the noise increase at higher ISO. Printing the pictures on paper and then comparing them is, I guess, the most fair method…

 ISO 100 – included as base reference

Click on the pictures to see them full size!

Canon EOS 550D – The reference 

  

  

 

 

 

Canon Ixus 750 – the old-timer

 

 

 

 

 

Samsung WB2000

 

 

 

 

 

ISO 400

Canon EOS 550D – The reference 

 

 

 

 

Canon Ixus 750 – the old-timer

This is the last one – the Ixus does not go any higher!

 

 

 

 

Samsung WB2000

 

 

 

 

 

ISO 800

Canon EOS 550D – The reference 

 

 

 

 

Samsung WB2000

 

 

 

 

 

ISO 1600

 

Canon EOS 550D – The reference 

 

 

 

Samsung WB2000

 

 

 

 

 

ISO 3200

Canon EOS 550D – The reference 

 

 

 

 

Samsung WB2000

 

 

 

 

 

Below I have added 100% crops of small parts of some of the pictures above. Note that they are all of roughly the same area but they still have different sizes – that is because the cameras have different number of pixels. The Canon have 5184 x 3456 (18 MPix) and the Samsung 3072 x 2304 (10 Mpix).
To make the Canon equal i pixels I would have to reduce the size to 59% or enlarge the Samsung correspondingly. Note also that the Canon sharpness is set to “soft”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISO 100 Both cameras produce sharp pictures with little noise. Well done I think! Shows what the lenses are capable of! One obvious thing is that the Samsung is much less saturated and that it actually looks sharper then the Canon. As I said above the Canon is set to “soft” but you can still see that the Samsung lens is quite sharp in comparison!

ISO 400 Samsung passes the old Ixus (400 is as high as it will go) with lower noise! (This crop is not shown!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISO 800 The Samsung starts to show signs of noise in shadows but I think it still is acceptable! Also details are being blurred

ISO 1600 Here the Samsung starts showing noise in the lighter areas as well. This is the decency level I think – still OK but you can not be very picky and remember that one at least still can take a picture with ISO 1600! (This crop is not shown!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISO 3200 In the lighter part of the picture (with the sign) : Here it shows a lot of noise and it might definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea but if it can help you take a picture you would not otherwise be able to take – I think it is OK – but best avoided – if possible! Here you can still improve it a little – increasing the saturation.

In the darker part of the picture (with the plank wall) : Here it shows a lot of noise, most details are lost and is almost colourless – I don’t think there are many out there who likes this! BUT as I said above if it can help you take a picture – I think it is an emergency setting for those MUST have a picture! UFO:s and the like! 😉 Here you can do very little to improve it – there is very little colour so it is hard to increase the saturation!

Conclusion:
One general observation, that I also made earlier, was that the Samsung WB2000 (at least my sample) in the shade and under clouds gives pictures that strike me as a little on colourless and blueish side! And it gets worse as you ups the ISO-value. At least when used as the manufacturer has set it up. I myself would not want them like this out of the camera but would use one of the in-camera ways to add a little more saturation and maybe make the pictures a little warmer. The drawback is if you do this you will block several of the WB2000:s cool features!

/Photoman

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Sample Photos Samsung WB2000

All of these samples are full 10MPix and have not been edited in any way – except changing the filenames. Just click the picture to see the full size! The Exif info should give you all info on the picture. All of the pictures have used the Program mode – P mode – with everything else set to automatic – but flash off. (If you have not tried the IrfanView free software for viewing pictures, some image processing, etc – please do! It is quite good and very easy to use! Also has lossless jpg rotation!)

Afternoon light. Standing in the shade from the trees taking the picture upwards towards the small clouds. Focus is on the cloud in the middle.

Settings: Multi segment exposure metering. Auto white balance. Contrast normal. Sharpness normal. Saturation normal. Wide angle 24 mm used. P mode used. Set for auto ISO – which selected ISO 100. Shutter time 1/1500 and f-stop 4.0.

Result: Good exposure, good saturation and good white balance! Sharpness is quite good! Very little noise. Note! The sky is darker on the right hand side! It is not vingetting!

One thing to brood over is why the camera chose 1/1500 and f  4.0? It is such an extreme selection! Why choose such a short time? Why not stop down just a little? Or a lot? Chosing a shutter time around 1/250 – 1/500 would have been short enough – with a suitable aperture! Or settling for an f-stop of 8-11 with the suitable shutter time! With this camera you can get this if you just set it for S or A mode – pick your own shutter time or aperture or both with the M mode! The result turned out well enough anyhow in P mode – but it does not seem like it picked the best compromise between shutter time and f-stop.

Afternoon light. Standing in the shade of the trees and taking the picture out towards the open area that lays in a mix of shade and a little sunlight.

Settings: Multi segment exposure metering. Auto white balance. Contrast normal. Sharpness normal. Saturation normal. Wide angle 24 mm used. P mode used. Set for auto ISO – which selected ISO 100. Shutter time 1/45 and f-stop 3.1.

Result: Good exposure, saturation is a little low and white balance is a little too blueish! Sharpness is quite good! Very little noise.

In the 24 mm wide-angle setting 1/45 sec is just alright to prevent blur from shaking so why stop down to 3.1? Why not open up a little here and get a little shorter shutter time? It has a very good 2.4 lens! It used 4.0 to get 1/1500 in the very well-lit picture of the sky above! Or why not up the ISO a little? Maybe shorten the time a little …? Well due to my superb ability to hold the camera quite still this picture turned out alright – not super but OK! I would have prefered a warmer picture with a little more saturation. But it is not further off then this is easily fixable in IrfanView – or your favorite image processing software.

Afternoon light again. Taken with the sun behind the leaf in the middle. Exposure taken from that middle leaf where also focus lay.

Settings: Multi segment exposure metering. Auto white balance. Contrast normal. Sharpness normal. Saturation normal. Wide angle 24 mm used. P mode used. Set for auto ISO – which selected ISO 100. Shutter time 1/750 and f-stop 4.0.

Result: Good exposure, good saturation and good white balance! Sharpness is really good! Very little noise. This turned out a VERY good picture with really dynamic colors and a perfect exposure. Contrast is really super! Be impressed by the sharpness in the small 100% crop on the right hand side! This can be sharpened a little in your favorite software for even more astounding result! But you do not really need to!

Once again the selected exposure time and aperture in P mode really mystifies me! Why select such a very short time and such a big aperture? Why not stop down a little? 1/250 sec would be short enough and then we would get a few steps smaller aperture – which whould give us a little extra depth of field … Now this still turned out a very good picture so… I remain mystified – but impressed!

Soft late afternoon light. Flowers standing in the shade.

Settings: Multi segment exposure metering. Auto white balance. Contrast normal. Sharpness normal. Saturation normal. Wide angle 24 mm used. P mode used. Set for auto ISO – which selected ISO 160. Shutter time 1/30 and f-stop 2.8.

Result: Good exposure, saturation is a little low and white balance is a little too blueish! Sharpness is quite good! A little noise appearing. The picture has a “frosty” wintry look to it – should really be a little warmer. The AWB does not really handle this shady/cloudy light well – as does few cameras – you usually have to intervene by changing white balance to shady or cloudy! I have a feel though that the WB2000 gives one of the “frostiest” pictures of cameras I have used. I have several more pictures taken in the shade – and they all look like this picture – it is quite representative!

In this picture the camera chose reasonable compromise of ISO, shutter-time and aperture – I think. Just a slight increase in ISO to 160 to get the shutter time down to 1/30 sec – with almost fully open aperture at 2.8. Why not use that last bit of aperture though – could have brought down the ISO a little. This picture shapes up pretty well with a little treatment in IrfanView! (I seldom bother to start-up Photoshop for these small adjustments…)

Late afternoon light from a window facing from the sun so a lot of cold blue light is reflecting from the sky.

Settings: Multi segment exposure metering. Auto white balance. Contrast normal. Sharpness normal. Saturation normal. Wide angle 24 mm used. P mode used. Set for auto ISO – which selected ISO 100. Shutter time 1/60 and f-stop 3.3.

Result: Good exposure, quite OK saturation and good white balance! Sharpness is good! Noise is quite low – especially in the lighter and sharp areas – but a little noise can be seen in the unsharp and darker areas. In general one more good picture from the WB2000. Admittedly it can be improved further with upping the contrast and saturation and then it turns really super – but it is quite alright just straight out of the camera! Probably the colour of the glass balls help mask the frostiness that the WB2000 seems to want to give in the shade. Well – again a good picture!

Late afternoon. Mixed light – a little sun, a little sky and one distant tungsten light.

Settings: Multi segment exposure metering. Auto white balance. Contrast normal. Sharpness normal. Saturation normal. Wide angle 24 mm used. P mode used. Set for auto ISO – which selected ISO 400. Shutter time 1/30 and f-stop 2.6.

Result: Good exposure, quite good saturation and very good white balance – especially considering the mixed light! Sharpness is quite good! Noise is quite low – considering this is ISO 400! Noise can be seen in the unsharp and darker areas but it is not very disturbing.  It turned out a good picture!

In this picture the camera chose reasonable compromise of ISO, shutter time and aperture – with almost fully open aperture at 2.6. But why not use that last bit though?

Conclusion:
The GOOD: The Samsung WB2000 does really well in sunshine with good colours, saturation and contrast. Also handles mixed light indoors very well and gives very pleasing pictures in that difficult(?) light. It gives really good results with ISO up to 400, with noise ramping up in ISO 800 (still quite usable) but you have to lower your requirements at ISO:s higher than that! The lens is also a good one with good sharpness and good contrast and very little optical problems – it is not perfect (that is not to be expected either) but is well-chosen and well suited for this camera!

The BAD is – as you can see – pictures taken in the shade will have too low saturation and too blue white balance! It seldom produces pictures to my liking in the shade or when the clouds come out to play! (Is this just my specific sample of camera that gives these results…?) You might like them or you might not care…

The “frosty” pictures in the shade can be fixed either afterwards in you favorite image software (at least as long as there is some colour in the picture) or beforehand with the settings available in the camera! But you will have to reset them when the sun comes out again! 😉

This will have to do for today! More in a day or two!

/Photoman

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Sweep Panorama Mode

The Samsung WB2000 and many of this years crop of cameras has something they call “Sweep Panorama”. It works in similar ways on all of these cameras. On the WB2000 by going into the Scene-mode and selecting the panorama mode you will be able to use the very handy “Sweep Panorama” feature. You just point where to start (this locks the exposure and AWB) , press and keep the finger pressed and then just slowly sweep the camera either right, left, up or down. It will show you a bar that grows as you sweep the camera up till the maximum width. Then, when you let go of the shutter release button, the camera will automatically create the panorama picture! It is that easy!

The width of the picture depends on how wide arc you sweep the camera over and the height of the picture depends on how straight line you will move the camera in. Have you fluttered a little up and down during your sideways movement the camera will have to crop out a part of the height of the picture. With the tests I did on free hand (no tripod) the best that I got was 720 pixels in height on a standard sideways panorama but it can easily go below 600 pixels if you flutter too much! You can sweep it sideways in portrait mode and get a slightly higher resolution.

This is most certainly a fun and quite useful feature for some people! It is very easy to use and produces a panorama – as promised! BUT remember that the resolution is quite LOW and the stitching is not that great. Depending on motif and how smooth you move the camera you often get a number of “waves” in the pictures and also some “ghostly” artifacts! This is masked a little by the fact that the panoramas are relatively small so you won’t see these shortcomings too clearly – especially on the camera display! It definitely lands in the handy and funny but NOT high quality sector of features.  Is this of use for you? Depends on your requirements! I would use it every now and then – but  just for fun!

For me I would say that the low quality/resolution of the panorama piuctures from this “Sweep Panorama” mode  would normally have me going about it the usual way instead! I would take several overlapping 10 Mpixel pictures and stitch them together automatically in the computer afterwards with the free Microsoft ICE  panorama software – and get beautiful high resolution panoramas! The fact that the WB2000 can’t easily lock exposure and WB complicates matters slightly – either I repeatedly lock exposure and WB at the same point (shutter release halfway) and reposition the camera for each new picture in the series or I use manual settings … or I just let Microsoft ICE sort it out!

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Camera sent back!

After a good nights sleep – and looking through all the test photos I have taken so far, I decided to try and return the camera. It is now waiting for the shop to decide if the will take it back or not …

I can not help but feel a little sad for I had started to like the WB2000 for its cool retro design, its fantastic Amoled screen, silent handling of focus and zoom, its cool features and for its good photos in sunlight and indoors! As I have said before I take a lot of photos every year so having to manually rotate them i quite a big minus for me – but what really tipped my decision was the image quality – that I would have to interveen every time the clouds were out – and they are out far to often here in Sweden! 😉 The saturation and the white balance in cloudy and shady conditions is not very well handled automatically by this camera! Yes, I can fix it by changing the white balance and the saturation and maybe the exposure as well … Yes, this is something that is not handled perfectly by many cameras (if any?) but usually handled better! At least so well that I can fix it in my image software afterwards.

If they take it back I will have to start my selection all over again 🙂 – and I will write about that but I will also try and wrap the WB2000 review up. I will move all the WB2000 posts to a special WB2000-category nestled under “Camera Reviews”.

Till tomorrow…

/Photoman

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