Samsung WB650 review

Ben Pitt
13 May 2010
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Samsung WB650
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Image quality is typical for a compact ultra-zoom camera, but a generous helping of desirable features helps the WB650 to stand out



1/2.3in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 15.0x zoom (24-360mm equivalent), 240g

The WB650 demonstrates Samsung’s recent flair for packing its cameras with impressive features. The 15x zoom lens is the biggest ever to be fitted into a compact-sized camera. The 3in screen has a 910,000-dot resolution, which is as sharp as the eye can see and is a treat to use. There’s a full complement of priority and manual exposure modes, exposure bracketing and manual focus. Surprisingly, there’s no orientation sensor, so portrait-shaped photos must be rotated manually.

A built-in GPS radio tags photos so they can be plotted on maps in Picasa and other compatible software. It took half an hour to lock onto a new location, but from then on, coordinates were extremely accurate.

There’s also an option to download detailed map data to SDHC card so photos can be plotted on a map in the camera. Plus, there’s even an option to check your current position. Registering on the website, locating the map downloads and copying them correctly to the card was ridiculously laborious, but the results were worth it.

The 720p video mode produced decent but not exceptional results. Videos were a little noisy and not as sharp as from the best cameras, but colours were bright and vibrant. The zoom and autofocus motors were picked up by the microphone but they weren’t as intrusive as on some cameras.

We're certain the WB650 uses digital processing to sharpen photos and remove lens distortions and chromatic aberrations – this would account for the two-second wait for photos seconds to appear on the screen after capture. It’s the end result that counts, though, and details were excellent, particularly for telephoto shots. There was little evidence of noise at ISO 100, and noise reduction gave usable results at ISO 800. Optical stabilisation wasn’t quite as reliable in our tests as on other cameras, but the Smart Auto mode managed to turn in attractive automatic exposures.

With little to choose between the WB650 and its rivals for image quality, its the great screen, geo-tagging and competitive price that makes it a Best Buy.

Basic Specifications

CCD effective megapixels12.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution921,000 pixels
Articulated screenNo
Live viewYes
Optical zoom15.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent24-360mm
Image stabilisationoptical, lens based
Maximum image resolution4,000x3,000
Maximum movie resolution1280x720
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; MP4 (AVC)


Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied128MB internal
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)240 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV, micro HDMI
HDMI output resolution1080i
Body materialaluminium
Lens mountN/A
Focal length multiplierN/A
Kit lens model nameN/A
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables

Buying Information

Warrantyone-year RTB

Camera Controls

Exposure modesprogram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed16 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/3.2-11.6 (wide), f/5.8-12 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)80 to 3200
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controlscontrast, saturation, sharpness, Auto Contrast Balance, flash compensation
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus3cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, spot, tracking, face detect
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, smile detect

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