Samsung WB1100F Review

June 27, 2014 | Jack Baker |
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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 6Mb.

The WB1100F’s 1/2.3” CCD sensor is a common size found in most compact and super-zoom cameras, and with 16.2 megapixels on tap it should be capable of decent results. Sadly this particular device is average at best and only resolves good detail at very close range. Pull back to around a metre from your subject and fine detail is already being blurred by image noise reduction. The problem is further exacerbated when shooting distant landscapes, where the extent of this smoothing effect can make fine detail appear rather painterly.

At least the camera’s vibrant colour reproduction gives images some instant appeal, though the auto white balance can occasionally scupper colour accuracy when shooting in mixed lighting conditions. The camera’s exposure metering is also good but not perfect. It usually produces the best balance of highlight and shadow detail from the sensor’s underwhelming dynamic range, but has a tendency to slightly underexposure in overcast conditions, leading to shots that look darker than they should.

Noise is also a problem for the WB1100F. Grain is visible even at the ISO100 sensitivity setting in shadow areas, along with minor colour speckling. By ISO400 noise levels are largely unchanged, but noise reduction processing has smeared noticeably more detail. It’s losing the battle at ISO800 where grain becomes more obvious, and by ISO1600 both grain and detail smearing are noticeable even when viewing at 50% image size. Colour speckling is well controlled though, however at the maximum ISO3200 setting it too is clearly visible. This setting is best avoided due to the atrocious levels of image noise, as well the miserable 3MP capture resolution enforced at this sensitivity.

The camera performs a bit better optically, with minimal lens distortion and reasonable corner sharpness. Unfortunately chromatic aberration is an issue, resulting in areas of purple fringing being relatively prominent on boundaries between high-contrast tones. Though rarely distracting, you don’t have to be the pickiest of pixel peepers to spot it.

Noise

The WB1100F has seven sensitivity settings available at full resolution, ranging between ISO80 and ISO3200. However at ISO3200 images are only captured at 3 megapixels, and despite this downsizing, they still look very noisy.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

 
iso100.jpg iso200.jpg  
     

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

 
iso400.jpg iso800.jpg  
     
     

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
iso1600.jpg iso3200.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
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Focal Range

The camera’s 35x optical zoom lens gives you a focal range of 25-875mm (in 35mm-camera terms) and an aperture of f/3.0 at wide angle, to f/5.9 when zoomed in.

25mm

875mm

focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

File Quality

Three JPEG compression options can be selected: Super Fine, Fine and Normal. These result in file sizes around 5.5MB, 4MB and 2.5MB respectively.

16M Super Fine (5.09Mb) (100% Crop) 16M Fine (3.07Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_superfine.jpg quality_fine.jpg
   
16M Normal (2.60Mb) (100% Crop)  
quality_normal.jpg  

Chromatic Aberrations

The Samsung WB1100F handled chromatic aberrations only fairly well during the review, with some obvious 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 WB1100F boasts a Super Macro mode that lets it focus down to 1cm from your subject. You’ll need to keep the zoom set to maximum wide angle to achieve this and expect plenty of barrel distortion when shooting subjects this close. You’ll also need plenty of light to compensate for the inevitable shadow cast by the camera.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg

Flash

The camera’s built-in flash includes six modes: Off, Auto, Red-eye, Fill in, Slow Sync and Red-eye fix. This last setting fires two flash bursts as in standard Red-eye mode, but also uses internal processing to remove red-eye.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (875mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (875mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

In our testing with the WB1100F successfully avoided red-eye and the flash produced only minor wide-angle vignetting from a distance of 1.5m.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Red Eye Fix

Red Eye Fix (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

The camera’s Smart mode includes a Night setting that’s designed to capture low-light scenes with reduced image noise.  This shot required a 2.5-second exposure time at ISO80, hence a tripod is essential to avoid blur from camera shake.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Image Stabilisation

Samsung’s optical image stabilisation (OIS) system does a great job at ironing out the effects of camera shake. It’s vital for maintaining sharp shots in low light and at the telephoto end of the WB1100F’s focal length range.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Image Stabilisation Off (100% Crop)

Image Stabilisation On (100% Crop)

1/23 sec / 25mm antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg

Smart Filters

Samsung equips the WB1100F with just six Smart Filter effects: Miniature, Vignetting, Fish Eye, Classic, Retro and Cross Filter.

Miniature

Vignetting

smart_filter_01.jpg smart_filter_02.jpg
   

Fisheye

Classic

smart_filter_03.jpg smart_filter_04.jpg
   

Retro

Cross Filter

smart_filter_05.jpg smart_filter_06.jpg

Panoramas

The WB1100F will automatically capture panoramic shots by pressing and holding the shutter release whilst sweeping right, left, up or down. Unlike many cameras which force you to keep panning for at least 120 degrees, the WB1100F will let you stop the pan wherever you like. But whatever the width, the end result will be under 700 vertical pixels in size, and that’s low even by the class standards.

panorama1.jpg