Samsung WB250F Review

August 7, 2013 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Samsung WB250F is a chunky digital compact camera with an 18x optical zoom, 14 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, a suite of wi-fi options, Full HD movie recording and a hybrid touch-screen interface. On the surface it looks like a very capable camera. In this test, we'll put the Samsung WB250F through it's paces to see if it has the mettle to be owned by you. The Samsung WB250F retails for around £199 / $249.

Ease of Use

Usually, Samsung think up a nice name for their products such as Jet or Galaxy. But the WB250F has nothing. Just the name WB250F. Quite a sterile approach to what looks like a nice little camera. The front design is not too dissimilar to a prosumer with its large lens bezel dominating the majority of the façade To the side is a handy grip for one handed shooting.

Staying at the grip, but examining the top plate, the Samsung WB250F camera features a small, round shutter release button with the zoom wrapped around it. Behind this is a command dial and a flash activation button is located to the side of that. A small secret panel is actually the hidden flash unit that pops up when the previously mentioned button is pressed. The power button takes pride of place in the centre of the top plate with the wi-fi direct link button secluding itself away from all others in the opposite corner.

The majority of real estate on the back of the Samsung WB250F is occupied by the touch-screen. The term “hybrid” has been applied because the camera uses a mixture of touch-screen and button operation.

The wi-fi Direct Link button on the top of the camera allows you to connect easier to apps and upload your photographs to the internet. The Samsung WB250F uses the wi-fi via your smart phone and first you have to download the Samsung Smart Camera app. It's free to download from the Google Play Store. Pressing the Direct Link button will start the application on the camera. The app then has to be initialised on the phone for the connection to take place. Selecting the camera from the list of devices on the phone will pair them. Once you're connected, as long as there's a wi-fi signal, the camera will automatically transfer them to your phone while the app is open.

Samsung WB250F Samsung WB250F
Front Rear

There's an interesting feature for portraiture with the WB250F. It's called Best Face and will take a number of photographs of a scene. If you find that someone is blinking or looking the other way on your favourite shot (as is usually the case with group shots or young children), then Best Face will allow you to search through the pictures you've taken, select the best face from the shots, cut it out and paste it on the favourite photograph.

Cinegraphs have been making a rise in popularity recently. They're a mixture of a photograph and looping video, similar to a gif animation. However, the trick is to get someone or something that could loop. This is then cut out and used as video while the rest is frozen as a photograph. Done properly, it's a wonderful technique and it's great to see that Samsung are still including it on their cameras. It also incorporates the touch-screen of the camera. Once the video has been shot, you can erase the area you want to be moving. The motion animation will appear and you can refine it with different size brushes and hardness.

The Samsung WB250F' exterior is plastic, but the camera still feels solid enough. Aside from a metal lens barrel, there's no visible metal parts to the camera. Despite what seems like a cheap way of constructing a camera, a few additions suggest at least a level of quality. The battery door is metal backed for rigidity and also bears a locking switch to keep it in place. The USB port is also covered by a snapping lid instead of a rubber type.

We found the touch-screen to be hit and miss, although it could be something other than the screen. We found that moving from one process to another left a delay in between them where we simply had to wait for it to sort itself out. Arguably, the worst part of this is the zoom and focus lock system. Zooming in can take a couple of times twisting the ring on top of the camera before it finally starts to zoom. Once the focus has finally done its job, the focusing can sometimes take one or two attempts to get going. It can be convenient to leave the camera in macro mode if you're in a rush, but the WB250F doesn't have infinite macro focusing, so if the subject falls out of its range, it won't give you the green square.

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Pop-up Flash Top

There are many menus available on the Samsung WB250F. Actually, that's not entirely accurate. A reasonable amount of them are simply the same menu either streamlined or expanded depending on the mode you're in. The most expansive is when in program mode, so that's what we'll look at. Samsung are big on sharing your photos with this camera and so they've put the Autoshare feature at the top of the menu system. It's also on the main screen as a touch operation.

In this menu, you can also adjust the ISO, focus features, white-balance, resolution (interestingly placed way down the scale), metering and burst modes. There's no set-up menu in this area. If you want to change more in-depth features, such as the sound, display or connectivity options, you have to select the Settings on the command dial (the cog icon). The menus use a white, grey and blue colour scheme which is clean, attractive and easy to see. The options are clearly labelled with no jargon.

The WB250F has two settings for continuous shooting. Actually, the first is a burst mode because it will rattle off six pictures at full resolution in around half a second. The unusual part is that the slower setting also runs in a burst mode. We expected it to be continuous for at least ten seconds. But instead it takes six images over two seconds then stops to download. We do wonder why you'd ever need this with a faster option available. From start up, the camera takes just over 2.5sec to power up and take a picture. That's around average and we're not displeased with the camera's performance on that score.

Pressing the playback button on the back of the Samsung WB250F will allow you to review your pictures regardless of whether the camera is on or off. If it is off, simply hold the button down for a moment so that it knows that you haven't just caught it. The screen has two touch-screen buttons, one in each corner.

Samsung WB250F Samsung WB250F
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

The grid icon will change the larger sized images into thumbnails so that they're easier to see en-masse. By doing this, you can then filter the pictures according to date or file type (JPEG, GIF, video etc). The way to get out of viewing the thumbnail grid isn't the way to reverse it. It's done by using the zoom switch on the front of the camera. An easy enough operation in itself, just removed from the rest of the actions, so it's more of an annoyance than anything.

The menu button on the screen or on the back of the camera access the same area. In this menu, you can still share images using the wi-fi technology. You can also delete pictures you don't want, start a slide-show to amaze your friends, protect images or copy them from the internal memory onto the card. There's also an interesting editing area. It allows you to crop, rotate and resize images. You can also add the smart filters if you like. That's actually very handy. It means you can have an original picture and one with an effect on it.

By normal camera box standards, the WB250F is relatively small. Good from an eco point of view, although we suspect it's been done that way to resemble a smart phone box and the smaller packaging is simply a happy accident. The camera sits on the top shelf which then folds out of the box to reveal the USB charger and software CD. Or at least that's what we'd normally put here. Except that the WB250F doesn't have a CD. It's a bold move by Samsung to assume everyone has an OS that will provide automatic drivers. Also, there's no full manual or editing software. The manual can be downloaded from the WB250F Support page of the Samsung website.

Image Quality

All pictures were taken at full resolution on the Superfine compression setting unless otherwise stated. There are three settings of compression: Superfine, Fine and Normal. Superfine gives a response of around 4.8Mb. Fine produces 3.15Mb images while the Normal setting drops that down to around 2Mb. The actual dimensions of the image remain the same, but JPEGs are “lossy” files, so will dump data that it deems unnecessary. In order to preserve space, you can drop the quality.


Pictures from the Samsung WB250F aren't the highest quality at ISO 100 – the lowest setting available. While there's no colour noise evident, we can detect slight amounts of salt & pepper noise. The image doesn't look as sharp as what it could. Thankfully, it doesn't get any worse at ISO 200, but we do see a slight decrease in image quality at ISO 400, which is disappointing. Colour noise is starting to seep in at this stage, which we expected anyway.

At ISO 1600, primary colours start to dissipate as the noise reduction software removes the colour noise. Edge definition is hit quite hard. The whole image is speckled with noise and large blobs of colour invade the area. But let's look at this comparably. ISO 3200 is a mess, but it's not the worst we've seen at that setting. Samsung seem to have taken an approach to muting the whole image over attempting to keep it bright and vivid while still trying to control noise. ISO 3200 isn't going to work on a tiny sensor any time soon, but as far as current performances go, this is one of the better ones.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

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ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

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ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

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Focal Range

The 18x optical zoom on the Samsung WB250F starts at a wide-angle 24mm and zooms out to an impressive 432mm in 35mm equivalent. The 35mm equivalent is the easiest and most convenient measure to use. However, the actual focal range of the camera because of the smaller sensor is 4mm – 72mm. To get the 35mm equivalent, you simply scale up the sensor to 35mm size. By this calculation, we can deduce that the Samsung sensor is 6x smaller than a 35mm sensor.



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg


Because of the amount of noise visible on most pictures, it's simply exacerbated when sharpening is added. If you manage to get a picture without noise (bright sunlight, if at all) then it will benefit to a degree.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

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Chromatic Aberrations

We had no problem detecting chromatic aberrations on hard edges. Even from the centre of the frame, if the contrasting lines were hard enough, it showed up.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

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Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 4 (100% Crop)

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Samsung cameras are a bit funny with their focusing. The macro mode can get as close as 5cm, although we seemed to get in a bit closer than that. If you remain in macro mode and choose to shoot a landscape, the camera has trouble focusing. Nothing wrong with that, except the camera should be able to focus to infinity. Macro at full zoom is 180cm and flowers or portraits at this setting look great because of the compression throwing the background out of focus.


Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


There's a bit of vignetting found at the wide-angle setting of the Samsung WB250F. It remains when the flash is turned on and – in fact – becomes more noticeable. The reason behind this is that the flash stabilises and boosts the available light, making any drop off become darker. Any vignetting is eradicated once the camera is at full zoom and that can be said for when the flash is both on and off.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Auto - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (432mm)

Auto - Telephoto (432mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

We found that the WB250F doesn't suffer from red-eye problems. Even when the red-eye option is switched off, we didn't get any in the picture.


Auto (100% Crop)
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Red-eye fix

Red-eye fix (100% Crop)

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The WB250F has manual modes on it, so we tested the night scene with three settings: Program mode, Shutter priority and the Night scene. All three settings used the same aperture and the two programmable modes (program and shutter priority) selected the same 1/3sec shutter speed. To enable the photographer to take a steady shot, the Night scene mode will choose a faster shutter speed and it does this by ramping up the ISO. In this case, it chose ISO 1280 and the results speak for themselves. The manual modes both have a little stuffiness about them as noise creeps in (most likely due to the extended shutter speed) but the Night scene mode is a different kettle of fish.

No noise shows on the picture because the noise reduction software has been so aggressive, it's smoothed out any details in the picture. As photographers, it's difficult to like it, but we can't help but think that a regular user will just be happy at the cleanliness of it.

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

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Night Program

Night Program (100% Crop)

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Night Shutter Priority

Night Shutter Priority (100% Crop)

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Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Samsung WB250F camera, which were all taken using the 14.2 megapixel Superfine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 40 second movie is 67.4Mb in size.

Product Images

Samsung WB250F

Front of the Samsung WB250F

Samsung WB250F

Front of the Samsung WB250F / Lens Extended

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Front of the Samsung WB250F / Flash Raised

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Side of the Samsung WB250F

Samsung WB250F

Side of the Samsung WB250F

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Rear of the Samsung WB250F

Samsung WB250F

Rear of the Samsung WB250F / Turned On

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Rear of the Samsung WB250F / Main Menu

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Rear of the Samsung WB250F / Settings Menu

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Rear of the Samsung WB250F / Wi-Fi Menu

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Rear of the Samsung WB250F / Effects Menu

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Rear of the Samsung WB250F / Touchscreen Menu

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Top of the Samsung WB250F

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Bottom of the Samsung WB250F

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Side of the Samsung WB250F

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Side of the Samsung WB250F

Samsung WB250F

Memory Card Slot

Samsung WB250F

Battery Compartment


From the outside, the Samsung WB250F digital compact camera looks great. It's an attractive square of picture taking technology, filled with all sorts of features, filters and options. The optical zoom is impressive enough for a camera of this size and price point and the instant upload facility using the built-in wi-fi will attract anyone wanting a camera to go travelling with.

Looking closer at the Samsung WB250F, though, there are a number of flaws. For instance, the lens quality isn't very good. While there's not a great deal of barrel distortion or pincushion, image drop off comes early and chromatic aberration was so obvious, it came up to us and shook our hands.

Coping with noise isn't very good either. Well, that depends on which way you look at it. Our night test showed that the noise was removed completely from the picture at high ISO and a smooth picture was left in it's place. So the noise reduction actually works very well at doing what it's supposed to do. What is it with back-illuminated sensors? We've heard such amazing things about their wonderful ability to collect light, but when it comes to the noise test, we're left disappointed.

In everyday shooting, the Samsung WB250F takes lovely pictures. Colours are nice and the focusing is sharp enough. That's when it works, though. A few too many times, we found that the focusing wouldn't respond when we wanted it to. The zoom has the same issue. We'd have to flick it a couple of times before the zoom started working.

Despite the all over plastic construction, it doesn't feel badly made. Plastic bodies generally feel frail and malleable, but the WB250F feels solid. The buttons are firm and the battery door is solid. It also has a lock and metal plate for added rigidity. We like the idea of the pop-up flash, it's a quirky little feature that will amuse people. It always fascinates people when they see a moving part on a camera.

The Samsung WB250F currently sits just under the £200 mark. That's a little high for a camera of this construction, but the tech makes up for it. From a geek point of view, there's plenty to do with lots of little features and settings to test and play with. From a photographer's point of view, it's a plastic camera with a bad lens and noise at low ISO. If you can look past that, or you don't see what we see, then you'd be perfectly happy with the Samsung WB250F.

3.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 3
Value for money 3.5

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Samsung WB250F.

Canon IXUS 140

The Canon IXUS 140 (also known as the PowerShot ELPH 130 IS) is a stylish new point-and-shoot compact camera that won't break the bank. Stand-out features include a 16 megapixel sensor, built-in wi-fi connectivity, a 3 inch LCD screen, 8x wide-angle zoom lens and a metal body. Read our in-depth Canon IXUS 140 review to find out if it offers a winning combination of style and substance...

Fujifilm Finepix F800EXR

The FinePix F800EXR is the latest travel-zoom camera from Fujifilm, sporting a 20x lens with a versatile focal range of 25-500mm. The 16 megapixel F800 EXR also features wireless image transfer, GPS support, full 1080p movies, a high-contrast 3 inch LCD screen and 8fps continuous shooting. Read our in-depth Fujifilm FinePix F800 EXR review to find out if it's the ultimate travel camera...

Nikon Coolpix S9500

The Nikon Coolpix S9500 is an affordable, full-featured travel-zoom compact camera. Featuring a 22x zoom lens with a focal range of 25-550mm, the slimline Coolpix S9500 has a 18 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, high-resolution 3-inch OLED screen and boasts GPS tracking and wi-fi connectivity. Read our detailed Nikon Coolpix S9500 review now...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ25

The Lumix DMC-TZ25 is Panasonic's new entry-level travel-zoom compact camera for 2012. The TZ25 (also known as the ZS15) packs a 12 megapixel MOS sensor, 16x wide-angle zoom lens, 3 inch LCD screen, 1080i HD movies, 10fps burst shooting and full manual controls into its pocketable body. Available in silver, red or black for £289 / $279, read our Panasonic DMC-TZ25 / ZS15 review to find out if it's the right travel camera for you.

Pentax Optio VS20

The Pentax VS20 is an innovative travel-zoom compact camera featuring a 20x image-stabilized zoom lens, 16 megapixel sensor, 3-inch LCD screen, 720p HD movies and not one but two shutter release buttons. Retailing for around £200 / $250, read our Pentax VS20 review to find out if it can take on its many travelzoom rivals...

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300 is an affordable travel-zoom compact camera. A 20x zoom lens, 18 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor, 10fps continuous shooting, built-in wi-fi, Full HD movie recording and 500 shot battery life are all on offer. Priced at around £250 / $300, read our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300 review to find out if it lives up to its full promise.

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Samsung WB250F from around the web. »

You get an unbelievable amount of kit for your money with the Samsung WB250F, and it's all packed into an attractive, easy-to-use and conveniently sized body. There have inevitably been a few compromises, but Samsung has done well to balance features, price and performance to produce a competent all-rounder.
Read the full review » »

The Samsung WB250F boasts built-in Wi-Fi, a 3 inch touch screen and 18x optical zoom. With the ability to easily share photos and an extremely versatile zoom lens, it is an ideal travel camera. It is available in white, black, blue and red for around £200.00.
Read the full review » »

The Samsung WB250F ($249.99 direct) is a compact camera with a long 18x zoom lens, built-in Wi-Fi, a 14-megapixel CMOS image sensor, and a responsive touch screen. It doesn't skimp on the physical controls, so you don't have to navigate by touch, and it doesn't sacrifice wide-angle coverage in order to achieve its powerful zoom factor.
Read the full review »


Image Sensor

Sensor Type 1/2.33'' (Approx. 7.67mm) BSI CMOS
Effective Pixel Approx. 14.2 Mega pixels
Total Pixel Approx. 16.4 Mega pixels


Focal Length Samsung LENS 18x Zoom Lens f = 4.0 ~ 72mm (35mm film equivalent : 24 ~ 432mm)
F No. 3.2 (W) ~ 5.8 (T)
Optical Zoom 18x Optical Zoom
Digital Zoom Still Image mode : 1x ~ 5x (Optical * Digital : 90x), Intelli-Zoom : 2x (Optical * itelli : 36x)

Image Stabilisation

Mode Optical Image Stabilisation


Type TFT LCD (C-Type Touch)
Size 75mm (3"), 460K dots


Type TTL Auto Focus (Centre AF, Multi AF, Tracking AF, Face Detection AF, Touch AF), Manual Focus
Range Normal : 80cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 350cm ~ Infinity (Tele) Macro : 5cm ~ 80cm (Wide), 180cm ~ 350cm (Tele) Auto Macro : 5cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 180cm ~ Infinity (Tele) Manual : 5cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 180cm ~ Infinity (Tele)

Shutter Speed

Smart Auto : 1/8 ~ 1/2000 sec., Program : 1 ~ 1/2000 sec., Manual : 16 ~ 1/2000 sec.


Control Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual Exposure
Metering System Multi, Spot, Centre-weighted, Face Detection AE
Compensation ±2EV (1/3EV steps)
ISO Equivalent Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200


Mode Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash Off, Red-eye fix
Range Wide : 0.3m ~ 3.38m (ISO Auto), Tele : 0.5m ~ 1.51m (ISO Auto)
Recharging Time Approx. 4 sec.

White Balance

Mode Auto WB, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent_H, Fluorescent_L, Tungsten, Custom, K

Still Image

Mode * Mode (Dial) : 1) Auto 2) Program 3) A / S / M 4) Smart 5) Magic Plus 6) Best Face 7) Settings 8) Wi-Fi * Auto : Portrait, Night Portrait, Night, Backlight Portrait, Backlight, Landscape, White, Macro, Macro Text, Tripod, Action, Macro Colour, Natural Green, Blue Sky, Sunset, Fireworks, lowlight, spotlight, spotlight macro, spotlight portrait * Smart : Beauty Face, Landscape, Action Freeze, Panorama, Waterfall, Silhouette, Sunset, Fireworks, Light Trace, Low Light Shot, Rich tone, Contiuous Shot, Macro * Magic Plus : My Magic Frame, Split Shot, Motion Photo, Photo Filter, Movie Filter, Photo Editor * Wi-Fi : MobileLink, Remote Viewfinder, SNS & Cloud, E-mail, Auto Backup, AllShare Play, S / W Upgrade Notifier, AutoShare * Drive : Single, Continuous (8fps, 3fps), BKT (AE) * Self timer : Off, 2 sec., 10 sec.

Image Play

Single image, Thumbnails, Advanced Slide Show, Movie Clip, Smart Album

Date Imprinting

Date&Time, Date, Off (user selectable)

Movie Clip

Recording * Smart Movie : Landscape, Blue Sky, Natural Green, Sunset * Movie Size : 1920 x 1080 (30fps), 1280 x 720 (30fps), 640 x 480 (30fps), 320 x 240 (30fps), 240 web * 18x optical zoom (Max. recording time : 20min) * Audio : Sound Alive On / Sound Alive Off / Mute * Dual Capture (Movie 1080p@30pfs & Still 2Mpixels)
Effect * Smart Filter : Miniature, Vignetting, Sketch, Fish-eye, Classic, Retro, Palette Effect 1, Palette Effect 2, Palette Effect 3, Palette Effect 4
Edit Pause during recording and playing, Still Image Capture, Time Trimming


Media Internal memory : Approximately 9.5MB External Memory : SDSC (up to 2GB guaranteed), SDHC (up to 32GB guaranteed), SDXC (up to 64GB guaranteed)
File Format * Still Image : JPEG (DCF), EXIF 2.21 * Movie Clip : MP4 (Video : MPEG4, AVC / H.264, Audio : AAC)
Image Size 14M : 4320 x 3240 12M P : 4320 x 2880 10M W : 4320 x 2432 10M : 3648 x 2736 8M (1:1) : 2832 x 2832 5M : 2592 x 1944 3M : 1984 x 1488 2M W : 1920 x 1080 1M : 1024 x 768


Digital Output Connector USB 2.0
Audio Microphone : Mono Internal Speaker : Mono
Video Output AV : NTSC, PAL (User selectable)
DC Power Input 5V


Power Source Type Rechargeable battery : SLB-10A Connector Type : micro USB (5 pin)

Physical Specification

Dimension Dimension (WxHxD) 106.05 x 61.65 x 21.65 (32.6) mm
Weight 184g (without battery and memory card media)
Operating Temperature 0 ~ 40°C
Operating Humidity 5 ~ 85%

S/W and PC OS

Bundle PC S/W i-Launcher
Compatible OS Windows XP SP2 / Vista / 7 / 8


Wireless MobileLink, Remote Viewfinder, Auto Backup, Email, SNS & Cloud, AllShare Play, AutoShare, Wi-Fi Direct, S / W Upgrade Notifier

System Requirement in General

For Macintosh Power Mac G3 or later Mac OS 10.5 or higher Minimum 256MB RAM 110MB of available hard-disk space USB port CD-ROM drive
For Windows PC with processor better than Intel Core 2 Duo 1.66GHz / AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core 2.2GHz or higher Minimum 512MB RAM (Over 1GB recommended) Windows XP SP2 / Vista / 7 / 8 250MB of available hard-disk space (Over 1GB recommend) USB 2.0 port CD-ROM drive nVIDIA Geforce 7600GT or later / Ati X1600 series or later 1024 x 768 pixels, 16-bit colour display compatible monitor (1280 x 1024, 32-bit colour display recommended) Microsoft DirectX 9.0c or later

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