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Samsung WB150F (Black) review: Samsung WB150F (Black)

Samsung WB150F (Black)

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Joshua Goldman
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Joshua Goldman

Managing Editor / Advice

Josh Goldman helps people find the best laptop at the best price -- from simple Chromebooks to high-end gaming laptops. He's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software for more than two decades.

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7 min read

While camera manufacturers like Sony, Panasonic, and Canon are dabbling in Wi-Fi cameras, Samsung's really invested in the concept for 2012, offering four cameras with a big helping of wireless functionality. Included in those models is the WB150F compact megazoom.

Samsung WB150F (Black)
6.6

Samsung WB150F (Black)

The Good

The <b>Samsung WB150F</b> has built-in Wi-Fi that's easily set up for wireless sharing and backup. It has an abundant set of shooting and editing options.

The Bad

Samsung's smartphone apps are only guaranteed to work with Samsung Galaxy devices and its autobackup software is Windows-only. The camera's photo quality is barely better than a smartphone's and its shooting performance is somewhat slow.

The Bottom Line

If you're happy with the photos from your smartphone, but wish you had an actual camera with a long zoom lens and wireless sharing and backup, check out the Samsung WB150F.

The camera's built-in 802.11n wireless can be used to connect to your Wi-Fi network for automatic backups to a Windows computer or Microsoft SkyDrive, viewing photos and movie clips on DLNA-equipped devices, or sending them by e-mail; to connect to other Samsung Wi-Fi cameras for direct sharing between cameras; to connect to hot spots or wirelessly tether to a smartphone; and to connect to an Android 2.2-powered Galaxy S smartphone or 7- or 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab.

That last option can be used to upload content to sharing sites, but it will also allow you to control the camera remotely. Your display turns into a viewfinder and you can move the camera's zoom lens as well as hit the shutter release. It'll also use the device's GPS receiver to geotag your shots. (Samsung plans to extend these features to other non-Samsung Android smartphones as well.)

Outside of the wireless features, the camera is a run-of-the-mill point-and-shoot with a 24-432mm lens (35mm equivalent). Shooting modes range from full manual with control over aperture and shutter speed to full automatic with an abundance of filters and simple editing tools. It's not a bad camera overall, but if you're hoping for fast shooting performance or stellar image quality, you'll have to keep looking.

Key specs Samsung WB150F
Price (MSRP) $229.99
Dimensions (WHD) 4.2 inches by 2.4 inches by 0.9 inch
Weight (with battery and media) 6.8 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 14 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD (16 megapixels total)
LCD size, resolution/viewfinder 3-inch LCD, 460K dots/None
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 18x, f3.2-5.8, 24-432mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/H.264 AAC (.MP4)
Highest resolution size (still/video) 4,320x3,240 pixels/ 1,280x720 at 30fps
Image stabilization type Optical and digital
Battery type, CIPA rated life Li-ion rechargeable, 270 shots
Battery charged in camera Yes; Micro-USB cable, wall adapter supplied
Storage media SD/SDHC/SDXC
Bundled software Intelli-studio, PC Auto Backup (Windows)

Photo quality from the Samsung WB150F is good up to ISO 200. It's not a camera you'd want to use in low-light conditions or indoors without a flash. At ISO 400, a common sensitivity for well-lit indoor photos, subjects look soft, but are passable at small sizes. The photos get much worse above ISO 400, picking up a lot of noise and losing detail to the point where subjects look smeared.

Actually, noise and artifacts are a bit of a problem even at its lowest ISO sensitivities when photos are viewed at full size; if you need to enlarge and heavily crop your photos, I wouldn't choose the WB150F. However, if you're considering this camera for its online-sharing capabilities and don't typically make large prints above 8x10s, the WB150F's shots are OK.

Video quality is good enough for Web use at small sizes, but nothing you'd want to view at larger sizes on an HDTV. Panning the camera will create judder that's typical of the video from most compact cameras. The zoom lens does function during recording, but Samsung applies a noise filter while it's moving, which muffles the audio overall. It is reasonably fast to focus and adjust exposure. All in all, the WB150F is fine for short clips in good lighting.

General shooting options Samsung WB150F
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Photo Filter) Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent H, Fluorescent L, Tungsten, Custom, Color Temp
Recording modes Smart Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Scene, Magic Plus (Live Panorama, Magic Frame, Split Shot, Picture in Picture, Artistic Brush,
n/a n/a
Focus modes Center AF, Multi AF, Tracking AF, Face Detection AF, Face Recognition AF, Selection AF, Manual Focus
Macro 2 inches (Wide); 5.9 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) Unlimited continuous

If you're the type to just leave your camera in Auto all the time, you might be a bit underwhelmed by the WB150F. It has a decent scene-recognition Smart Auto mode, but its value really comes from all the other options Samsung has packed into it.

For example, the WB150F has a big selection of photo filters, many of which are available for movies, too. They can be used before or after you take a photo, and Samsung gives you a live view of the effects when you shoot. Depending on the effect, images are either captured at full resolution or 5 megapixels, which is plenty for Web sharing or small prints.

Shooting modes on the WB150F
Samsung packed the WB150F with shooting modes, including semimanual and manual options.

Samsung also includes aperture- and shutter-speed-priority modes as well as a full manual mode on the WB150F. It's nice to have the extra control, but they're a bit superfluous given the camera's overall photo quality. Shutter speeds go from 16 seconds down to 1/2,000 of a second. Apertures are selectable from f3.2 to f7.2 at the wide end and f5.8 to f7.5 at the tele end. You also get sliders for adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, and noise. You get these options in the camera's Program mode, too, which is more control than you usually get at this price.

Shooting performance is a bit mixed. The WB150F's shutter lag is low for its class at 0.4 second in bright lighting and 0.7 second in dim conditions. It takes about 2 seconds for it to start up and shoot, which is about average for a lower-end compact megazoom. Shot-to-shot times are pretty long, though: 2.6 seconds without the flash and 3.5 seconds with. Its continuous shooting speed averages 0.6 frame per second. While these times aren't horrible, they will make taking photos of active kids and pets trickier. You'll get a shot, but it might not be the shot you were after and there's a good chance it won't be in focus.

Wi-Fi services
Samsung made setting up all of the WB150F's wireless capabilities very easy to set up and use, even without the help of a touch screen.

The WB150F's design isn't anything out of the ordinary. Well, except for the mode dial on top, which has shooting modes as well as spots for Wi-Fi and general camera settings. If this isn't your first digital camera, it might take some time to adjust. The other oddity is the flash placement. It's partially in the grip on the right side of the camera. If you're not careful with your fingers, you can easily block it. And the textured rim around the lens barrel is purely for design.

The wireless features in general are easy to set up and use, though without a touch screen entering usernames and passwords can take some time. Thanks to a built-in minibrowser, Wi-Fi networks that require you to agree to terms and conditions before you can connect--such as those at hotels and airports--will work with this camera. You can upload to Facebook, Picasa, YouTube, and Photobucket. Up to 20 files at a time can be sent with the total size being 10MB or less. The catch is that photos must be 2 megapixels or smaller and video is limited to 30-second clips recorded at 320x240-pixel resolution. Photos shot at higher resolutions will automatically resize while uploading, but movies will not. Photos can be sent by e-mail directly from the camera, too, but have the same restrictions.

The Remote Viewfinder feature is very cool, but its overall usefulness is debatable. It's good for setting up self-portraits and group shots, but because there's a significant lag between tapping your smartphone's screen and the camera responding you have to remain fairly still to get the shot you want. The app (a free download on the Android Market) can control flash, timer, resolution (2 or 10 megapixels), and the shutter release. Once you snap a photo it's stored on the camera, but you'll also see a small version on your phone screen. Tap it and you'll see a larger version that can be saved to your smartphone resized to VGA (640x480 pixels) quality.

As for the rest of the camera, it has a Micro-USB port for connecting to a computer and charging its battery. Battery life is actually pretty good, though extended use of the Wi-Fi radio will cut into it. There is no Mini- or Micro-HDMI port, something I've come to expect even on lower-end models. If you want to connect to an external display, you'll need to use the wireless or the Micro-USB port.

Conclusion
Like Samsung's ultracompact SH100 Wi-Fi camera from last year, the WB150F is a good value. Instead of using Wi-Fi to upsell consumers, Samsung just includes it, which is how it should be done. Unfortunately, the camera's photo quality isn't much better than you see from a smartphone camera. You do get the ultrawide-angle 18x zoom lens, though, and the camera is full of shooting options. If you're satisfied with your phone's image quality, but really want a long optical zoom and better control, the WB150F is worth considering.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Typical shot-to-shot time (flash)  
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8
1.5 
2.1 
1.4 
0.8 
0.4 
Nikon Coolpix S8200
1.1 
1.7 
1.5 
0.6 
0.3 
Samsung WB150F
1.8 
3.5 
2.6 
0.7 
0.4 
Canon PowerShot SX150 IS
2.1 
6.3 
3.1 
0.8 
0.4 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H70
2.2 
4.8 
4.1 
0.9 
0.5 

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test digital cameras.

Samsung WB150F (Black)
6.6

Samsung WB150F (Black)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 6Image quality 5
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