Samsung WB150F review: Samsung WB150F

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The Good Built-in Wi-Fi that's easily set up for wireless sharing and backup. Abundant set of shooting and editing options.

The Bad Samsung's smartphone apps are only guaranteed to work with Samsung Galaxy devices. Auto-backup software is Windows-only. Photo quality is barely better than a smartphone. 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.

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6.6 Overall

Review Sections

Design and features

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

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 email; 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.

Samsung packed the WB150F with shooting modes, including semi-manual and manual options.
(Credit: CNET)

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.

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.

Samsung made setting up all of the WB150F's wireless capabilities very easy to set up and use, even without the help of a touchscreen.
(Credit: CNET)

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.

From left to right, top to bottom: Auto (no effects applied), Miniature, Vignetting, Ink Painting, Oil Painting, Ink Painting (again), Cartoonise, Sketch, Soft Focus, Fish-Eye, Cross Filter, Old Film, Half Tone Dot, Classic, Retro and Zooming Shot.
(Credit: Joshua Goldman/CNET)

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 1/2000 of a second. Apertures are selectable from f/3.2 to f/7.2 at the wide end and f/5.8 to f/7.5 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.

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.