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Samsung WB650 review

Samsung WB650
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £250
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

Rating *****
CCD effective megapixels 12.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.3in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 921,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 15.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 24-360mm
Image stabilisation optical, lens based
Maximum image resolution 4,000×3,000
Maximum movie resolution 1280×720
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; MP4 (AVC)


Memory slot SDHC
Mermory supplied 128MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 240 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, micro HDMI
HDMI output resolution 1080i
Body material aluminium
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 240g
Size 61x107x28mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £250

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 16 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture range f/3.2-11.6 (wide), f/5.8-12 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 3200
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, Auto Contrast Balance, flash compensation
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 3cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, spot, tracking, face detect
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, smile detect

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