Samsung WB700 review
1/2.33in 14.0-megapixel sensor, 18.0x zoom (24-432mm equivalent), 203g
The WB700 is an update to the Samsung WB600, an impressive compact ultra-zoom camera that undercut its competitors on price without compromising image quality.
Things have moved on a great deal since summer 2010. The WB600's 15x optical zoom was the biggest ever to grace a compact-shaped camera. The WB700 has an 18x zoom, but that's not so remarkable by today's standards. Nikon got to 18x first with the excellent S9100 and the Olympus SZ-30MR recently smashed that record with its 24x zoom.
Samsung's camera should be a little cheaper than its rivals, but with the Nikon S9100 currently available for £200, the minimal difference is unlikely to sway many shoppers. The WB700 looks distinctly budget, though. The 3in, 230,000-pixel screen looks blocky, the back of the camera makes no concessions for aesthetics and the etched button labels are hard to see.
We like cameras that respond quickly to user input. Sadly, this isn't one of them. Just over two seconds to switch on a take a picture is acceptable, but 4.2 seconds on average between shots is far too slow. Switching from Smart to Program mode improved shot-to-shot time to 2.9 seconds, but that's still twice as slow as the Nikon S9100. The lack of an orientation sensor is another obstacle to expedient use, as it means that portrait orientated photos must be rotated manually after copying to a computer.
The amount of photographic control is more impressive. Technically minded photographers will appreciate the full complement of priority and manual exposure modes, manual focus and even automatic exposure bracketing. Casual users aren't forgotten, with a range of fun effects such as Soft Focus and Old Film. However, considering that selecting Old Film adds animated scratches to the live preview, it's disappointing that it's only available for photos and not videos.