Samsung WB850F Review

4.0
August 16, 2012 | Gavin Stoker |

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 WB850F's 16.2 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. If we're being picky they're lacking the finely processed punch and detail that Sony's competing HX20V delivers in a head to head comparison though. And, if 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 WB850F, 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 WB850F's low light performance, the available ISO light sensitivity selection here runs from ISO100 to ISO3200, which is fairly modest in an age when rivals are offering ISO12800. Up to ISO800 noise isn't really a problem, but at ISO1600 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 ISO1600 is still usable. At ISO3200 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 unless pushed.

Overall the Samsung WB850F delivers a perfectly respectable performance for what is basically a point and shot camera with a physically small sensor and lens. Most casual users will therefore be more than pleased with the results. Those however who have tried Sony's HX20V, may be less enthusiastic if it's a straight toss up.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Samsung WB850F. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Samsung WB850F's 21x zoom lens provides a focal length of 23-483mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

23mm

483mm

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)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Samsung WB850F 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 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Samsung WB850F offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 5cms 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

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Samsung WB850F are Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash off, and Red eye fix.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (23mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (23mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Forced Off - Telephoto (483mm)

Forced On - 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)
   

Red eye fix

Red eye fix (100% Crop)

Night

The Samsung WB850F's maximum shutter speed is 16 seconds in the Night Scene 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 100.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact, 1080p, hdmi, wi-fi, wireless, manual, travel-zoom, travel, 10fps, travel zoom, GPS, wi fi, CMOS, bsi, AMOLED, 21x zoom, 23mm, 21x, 16.2 megapixel, compass, WB850, Samsung WB850 Review