Samsung WB350F Review

February 18, 2014 | Mark Goldstein | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

The Samsung WB350F's 16.3 effective megapixel images for the most part require little if any alteration straight out of the camera; colours are warm and performance is reasonably consistent. Iif we wanted to tweak anything, it would be to apply Photoshop's unsharp mask to the soft results more often than not delivered when handholding the camera at a lens setting toward the telephoto end of the zoom.

By contrast at maximum 23mm equivalent ultra wide angle on the WB350F, there is some obvious barrel distortion and a slight fisheye effect, but the extra scope does come in handy when sightseeing and taking crowd/group shots in being able to shoehorn more of your subject into frame than would otherwise be achievable.

In terms of the WB350F's low light performance, the available ISO light sensitivity selection here runs from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which is fairly modest in an age when rivals are offering ISO 12800. Up to ISO 400 noise isn't really a problem, but at ISO 800 we're seeing a very fine grain across the image without having to enlarge shadow areas to notice it. It is very fine though, so we'd argue ISO 800 is still usable. At ISO 1600 and especially 3200 the image is looking more noticeably speckled across the entire frame, and, whilst far from the worst example we've seen, you'd probably want to steer clear of both settings unless pushed.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Samsung WB350F. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso100.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso400.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso1600.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
iso3200.jpg  

Focal Range

The Samsung WB350F's 21x zoom lens provides a focal length of 23-483mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

23mm

483mm

focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

File Quality

The Samsung WB350F has 3 different JPEG image quality settings available, with SuperFine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

16M Superfine (5.57Mb) (100% Crop) 16M Fine (3.52Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_superfine.jpg quality_fine.jpg
   
16M Normal (2.33Mb) (100% Crop)  
quality_normal.jpg  

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Samsung WB350F handled chromatic aberrations well during the review, with limited purple fringing mainly present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Macro

The Samsung WB350F offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 10cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Samsung WB350F are Off, Auto, Red-eye, Fill in, Slow Sync and Red-eye Fix. Curiously only the Fill in and Slow Sync options are available in the A-S-M shooting modes - we have no idea why...

Flash Off - Wide Angle (23mm)

Auto - Wide Angle (23mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (483mm)

Auto - Telephoto (483mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Auto setting or the Red Eye Fix option caused any amount of red-eye.

Auto

Auto (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Red-Eye Fix

Red-Eye Fix (100% Crop)
flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

The Samsung WB350F's maximum shutter speed is 16 seconds in the Manual shooting mode, which is good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 16 seconds at ISO 80.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Optical Image Stabilisation

The Samsung WB350F has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, we took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

OIS Off (100% Crop)

OIS On (100% Crop)

1/6th / 23mm antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg
     
1/6th sec / 483mm antishake2.jpg antishake2a.jpg