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Samsung Smart Camera WB350F review:

Wi-Fi, filters and effects aplenty

It's fast and efficient once you get used to using it, which can be tricky if you're used to another manufacturer's interface. Also, Samsung includes many of the same shooting options laid out in a regular vertical menu system when you press the Menu button, which is unnecessary and potentially confusing. On top of that, there are two ways to select options with the Smart Panel UI.

Something else that might cause some confusion or frustration at first is Samsung's placement of Wi-Fi and general camera settings on the shooting mode dial. Time after time, I'd go to connect to my smartphone and forget that I actually had to change out of my shooting mode in order to get to the Wi-Fi settings and instead, would hit the Menu button on back. This is something you would probably stop doing after a lot of use.

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Lastly, battery performance is good; CIPA-rated for 310 photos. However, using the zoom lens a lot, recording video, burst shooting, or turning on the Wi-Fi can really cut into that shot count. If you regularly go out for a full day of shooting, you'll want to get an extra battery -- and probably an external charger, too, since the battery is charged in the camera.

General shooting options Samsung WB350F
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
White balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent H, Fluorescent L, Tungsten, Custom, Color Temp
Recording modes Smart Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Magic Plus (My Magic Frame, Effect Artist, Color Brush, Motion Photo, Movie Filter, Photo Filter), Best Face, Smart (Beauty face, Continuous shot, Fireworks, Landscape, Low light shot, Panorama, Sunset, Macro, Action freeze, Light trace, Rich tones, Silhouette, Waterfall)
Focus modes Center AF, Multi AF, Face Detection AF, Touch AF, Tracking AF, Manual Focus
Macro 4 inches (Wide); 4.9 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) Six

Though the WB350F has a good fully automatic mode as well as program auto, shutter-speed-priority, aperture-priority, and full manual modes, much of what you'll want to consider this for is all of its live-view filters and effects for photos and movies and also for its Smart modes. The Smart modes are a mix of standard scene modes such as Macro, Landscape, and Sunset, and some automatic ways to do things like freeze action or create light trails without messing with shutter speeds on your own.

Magic Plus mode is where you'll find the camera's large selection of filters and effects, not to mention a Motion Photo option for creating animated GIFs on the fly. Also included is Samsung's Best Face mode that lets you take a group shot -- firing off five frames in quick succession -- and then pick the best faces for everyone in the shot, seamlessly combining them into one photo.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you like to control shutter speed and aperture, shutter speeds can be set from 16 seconds to 1/2,000 second. Available apertures at the wide end are f2.8, f3.2, f3.5, f4.0, f4.5, f5.0, f5.6, f6.3, f7.1, and f8.0; in telephoto you have just f5.9, f6.9, f7.5, and f8.5.

Being a Smart Camera, the WB350F's wireless features are a key part of the package here. If you connect the camera directly to a Wi-Fi network, you can send pictures and video by e-mail; upload to Evernote, Facebook, Picasa, YouTube, and Dropbox; and share content to DLNA-enabled devices as well as sync to a personal Samung Link cloud storage account, which you can also access from other devices.

If the camera is connected to a wireless network with a Windows PC on it, you can set up Samsung's i-Launcher software and do wireless auto-backups to your computer (though you're probably better off connecting via USB). If you connect to the same network as the camera with a smartphone or tablet, you can use the camera as a baby monitor, which is fine if you're on vacation or just in a pinch, but the performance isn't good enough for regular use.

What you'll probably use most, though, are the camera's Remote Viewfinder, AutoShare, and MobileLink features. MobileLink lets you transfer files from a smartphone or send files from the camera to one or more smartphones. AutoShare gives you the option to automatically send photos to a smartphone as you shoot them with the camera. The Remote Viewfinder turns your smartphone or tablet into a viewfinder, and you can also move the camera's zoom lens as well as hit the shutter release. However, that's about all you can do with this feature, and you're limited to capturing 12- or 2-megapixel images. Other camera manufacturers allow you to capture at full resolution, start and stop video, and use shooting modes other than auto.

Establishing a Wi-Fi connection with Android and iOS devices is pretty straightforward: Start the feature that you want to use on the camera, use your device's Wi-Fi settings to connect to the camera, and launch the Samsung Smart Camera app on your device. But, for Android devices with NFC, the procedure is even easier -- you just have to tap the two together, and they'll start the connection.

The Samsung Smart Camera WB350F is a good package if you want to add an affordable long-zoom point-and-shoot to supplement your smartphone photography. Just don't look too closely at the photos.

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