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Samsung WB500 review: Samsung WB500

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The Good Zoom range; good lens quality; 'customisable command' lever.

The Bad Over-smoothed images; small and slippery buttons.

The Bottom Line There's nothing about the Samsung WB500 that's likely to particularly grab you. It's a smart purchase because it ticks all the boxes, doesn't have any serious flaws and is pretty cheap for what it is. But, when you've got superzooms like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ6 on the market, it's hard to get excited about this one

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Samsung says the WB500 has the world's first 24mm ultra-wideangle lens with a 10x zoom. But Panasonic's Lumix DMC-TZ6 has a 25mm 12x zoom, so we're talking fractions here. It pays not to get too taken in by headlines and specs. Still, for around £200, the 10-megapixel WB500 does look like a pretty good deal.

We like the TZ6, which is something of a benchmark for compact superzooms, so the WB500 has plenty to live up to. It's a good deal chunkier for a start and doesn't have the TZ6's high-quality feel, but it's easy to grip and there's more room for the controls.

The WB500's lens is sharp right across the frame, with little distortion or fringing. It turns in good results at maximum zoom, too, where most superzooms' images are starting to soften up (click image to enlarge)

These include a rather neat 'command lever' on the back that can be used to apply EV compensation in tricky shooting conditions or, if you dip into the set-up menus, you can configure it to adjust the ISO or white balance instead.

On the top of the camera, the mode dial shows off another feature the TZ6 doesn't have -- a manual exposure mode. Admittedly, there are only two lens apertures to choose from, but it's something.

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