Samsung WP10 Review

September 29, 2010 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Samsung WP10 (also known as the Samsung AQ100) is a 12 megapixel waterproof digital camera. Samsung's first waterproof model, the WP10 can be used in up to 3 meters / 10 feet of water and has a dedicated Aqua mode for underwater photography. In addition the WP10 offer a 5x optical inner zoom lens with Digital Image Stabilization, a 2.7 inch TFT-LCD screen and can record 720p HD video complete with a HDMI port for easy connection to a HDTV. The Samsung WP10 / AQ100 is available in a range of different colours for an official RRP of £179.99 / $199.99.

Ease of Use

First impressions of the WP10 are pleasing. The eye-searing aqua blue colour of our review model aside, this is a well-constructed camera with a high-quality plastic body that looks and feels more expensive than its budget price-tag would suggest. Officially measuring 93.8 x 61 x 18.5mm and weighing just 120g, the WP10 is a very conventional and compact digicam that won't confuse the beginner audience that it's likely to attract.

The front of the WP10 is quite sparsely populated thanks largely to the internal 5x lens, which sits neatly in the top-right corner and provides a focal range of 35-175mm in 35mm terms. The 35mm wide-angle lens makes this one of the more limited compacts around in terms of focal range, especially compared to some of its main rivals which offer a wider field of view. On the plus side the telephoto end is more versatile, with the 175mm setting providing an angle of view that allows for candid close-ups, especially as the non-extending lens gives the impression to the casual observer that you can't zoom in that far. The WP10 only offers a Digitial Image Stabilisation mode rather than a more effective mechanical system, using in-camera digital techniques (increasing the ISO speed up to ISO 800) to ensure that your images remain sharp.

Also located on the front of the camera are an AF-assist light/Timer lamp and the built-in flash unit, which offers a range of 0.2m - 3.0m and recharges in around 4 seconds. The top of the WP10 is similarly uncluttered, with a small recessed button for turning the camera on/off - a little too small for reliable use underwater - and a raised and responsive shutter release button. There's also a small opening for the mono speaker.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90
Front Rear

The start-up time from turning the WP10 on to being ready to take a photo is fairly quick at around 2 seconds. Zooming from the widest focal length to the longest is a lot slower though at over 4 seconds - I'm not sure why zooming just 5x takes so long, especially given that the WP10 uses an internal lens mechanism. Focusing is fairly quick in good light and the camera achieves focus most of the time indoors or in low-light situations, helped by the focus-assist lamp. It takes about 3 seconds to store a JPEG image, during which you can't take another shot until the first is recorded onto the memory card. The WP10 has a Burst mode which enables you to take 1 frame per second for an unlimited number of JPEG images up to the capacity of the memory card. There is a faster 5fps mode, but the image resolution is drastically reduced to just 1 megapixel.

In addition to the standard Program mode, there's an extensive range of scene modes on offer. One of those is Samsung's 'beauty shot' mode, useful for both acne-d adolescents and those of us who have over indulged by automatically retouching out spots and blemishes. Spotlighting the WP10's intended audience as the family, Samsung clearly wants its users to have to spend as little time post-processing images as possible - if any.

Samsung's Smart Face Recognition technology automatically adjusts the camera's focus and exposure for up to 20 faces, and it can even recognise the most photographed faces in your photos and focus on them. Smart Face Recognition also lets you quickly search for specific people in your photo album without having to browse through every single photo. The video mode offers 1280x720, 640x480 or 320x240 pixel footage at 30fps or 15fps, and also includes an HDMI port for easy connection to a HDTV set and the ability to use the 5x optical zoom during recording.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90
Front Side

The final shooting mode is the clever Smart Auto. As it sounds, this is the manufacturer's equivalent of the intelligent auto modes on competitors from Panasonic (its Lumix range), Sony (the latest T-series Cyber-shots) and Canon (Digital IXUS family). The camera automatically chooses the appropriate settings based on the detected type of scene, detecting 17 different types of scene, so beginners can use this mode and rarely have to choose the right mode themselves. Incidentally, as you turn the shooting dial, a virtual version with the same settings rotates in tandem on screen, highlighting and explaining each one as you select it.

The rear of the Samsung WP10 is dominated by the hum-drum 2.7 inch LCD screen which has a standard resolution of 230k dots, with seven controls located at its right. The LCD screen is very bright, so bright in fact that images look over-exposed, even though they look fine when viewed on a computer monitor. On the flip side it is easier to see underwater and in darker environments than a "standard" screen.

At the top of the run of controls on the right of the screen is the fairly responsive thumb-operated zoom lever. Underneath is the Menu button which provides a range of selectable options, the brevity or otherwise of which is dependant on the particular mode the user is in. Alongside is a button for setting the shooting mode, with Smart Auto, Scene, Program and Movie on offer. Directly underneath is a four-way directional Navigation pad with an OK button at its centre. This will be familiar to just about anyone who has ever used a digital compact before. Ranged around the four points are options for toggling the Display modes to show a nine zone compositional grid, all shooting information or just the very basics (i.e simply the number of shots remaining), self-timer, macro and focus modes, and the various flash settings.

Below the Navigation pad is a self-explanatory Playback button and the useful Function button, which handily doubles up as a delete button in playback mode. As expected the amount of information and options accessed via a press of 'Fn' varies dependant on which shooting mode is selected. For example in Smart Auto mode the user merely has the ability to adjust the image size. Select the Program mode however and there's the ability to adjust the image size, set the white balance, swap focus area, choose a photo style and smart filter, turn image stabilisation on or off, and turn the ubiquitous face detection mode on or off. Like its rivals, Samsung also allows user access to blink detection and smile shot in this mode.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T90
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

On the right hand side (if viewing from the rear) of the WP10 an mini-HDMI port is included for hooking the camera up to an HDTV, protected by a a lockable cover. Increasingly common for DSLRs that also shoot movies, it's still a comparative rarity to find such on a digital compact. The required HDMI cable is an optional extra though, so bear in mind if you're on a budget. This also doubles up as the connector for Samsung's power and sync cable - the WP10 is recharged with the battery in-camera, either from an electrical socket or or alternatively straight from a USB port connected to your computer, rather than via an external recharger, which means that annoyingly you can't use the camera with a second battery whilst charging the first.

Battery life is only good for approximately 150 shots from a full charge, a disappointing lifespan which means you must purchase an additional battery for day-long excursions. Note that there is no port for USB and AV out. The bottom of the Samsung WP10 houses a centrally located plastic tripod mount and a lockable cover for protecting for the shared rechargeable battery / SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compartment, and there's also 20Mb of internal memory. Also in the box is a quick-start guide as a hard copy, the full manual on CD ROM, plus a wrist strap.

Once you have captured a photo, the Samsung WP10 has a good range of options when it comes to playing, reviewing and managing your images. You can instantly scroll through the images that you have taken, view thumbnails (up to 20 onscreen at the same time and in a special Calendar view), zoom in and out up to 11.4x magnification, resize, rotate, change the photo style, apply a smart filter, and adjust apply redeye fix and face retouch, and adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation and even add noise. You can also view slideshows with various effects, delete, protect, add a voice memo, set the print order and copy to a card. The Display button toggles detailed settings information about each picture on and off, such as the ISO rating and aperture / shutter speed.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel Superfine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

The Samsung WP10 produced images of good quality during the review period. Noise doesn't become obvious until ISO 400, along with a slight softening of fine detail, and then becomes progressively worse at the fastest settings of ISO 800 and 1600, with ISO 3200 best avoided.

Chromatic aberrations were well controlled, with some limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The 12 megapixel images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting and require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, as you can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Macro performance is fine, allowing you to focus as close as 5cms away from the subject. The built-in flash worked fairly well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate exposure. The maximum shutter speed of 8 seconds allows the camera to capture enough light for most after-dark situations.


There are 7 ISO settings available on the Samsung WP10. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)


ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)


ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)


ISO 3200 (100% Crop)



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't change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The Samsung WP10's 5x zoom lens provides a focal length of 35-175mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.



File Quality

The Samsung WP10 has 3 different 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.

12M Superfine (6.07Mb) (100% Crop) 12M Fine (3.85Mb) (100% Crop)
12M Normal (2.56Mb) (100% Crop)  

Chromatic Aberrations

The Samsung WP10 handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review, with limited purple fringing mainly present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)


The Samsung WP10 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 Shot

100% Crop


The flash settings on the Samsung WP10 are Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash off, and Red eye fix. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (35mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (35mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (175mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (175mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And 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.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red Eye Fix

Red Eye Fix (100% Crop)


The Samsung WP10's maximum shutter speed is 8 seconds in the Night Scene mode, which is fairly good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 8 seconds at ISO 80.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Smart Filters

There are 2 Smart Filter effects that you can apply to your JPEG images.



Photo Styles

There are 10 Photo Style preset effects that you can use to change the look of your images, and you can also create your own Custom Color.















Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Samsung WP10 camera, which were all taken using the 12 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 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 10 second movie is 12.6Mb in size.

Product Images

Samsung WP10

Front of the Camera

Samsung WP10

Isometric View

Samsung WP10

Isometric View

Samsung WP10

Rear of the Camera

Samsung WP10

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Samsung WP10

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Samsung WP10

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Samsung WP10

Rear of the Camera / Function Menu

Samsung WP10

Top of the Camera


Samsung WP10

Bottom of the Camera

Samsung WP10
Side of the Camera
Samsung WP10
Side of the Camera
Samsung WP10
Front of the Camera
Samsung WP10
Front of the Camera
Samsung WP10
Memory Card Slot
Samsung WP10
Battery Compartment


To all intents and purposes the Samsung WP10 looks and performs just like any other compact digital camera from the last few years, inheriting many of Samsung's core technologies and adding a robust, waterproof build-quality. Unlike many of its key competitors, though, the WP10 isn't shock or freeze, so it won't survive everything that you throw at it.

The WP10 shares a lot in common with its Samsung compact relatives, making it easy to pick-up and use if you've ever owned a recent model from the Korean giant. A few corners have been cut to accommodate the WP10's protective features - the 5x, 35-175mm zoom lens and 2.7 inch LCD screen are rather hum-drum for a 2010 camera, even a waterproof one. It's also not the most responsive of models, with slow shot-to-shot and burst shooting times, making it best suited to a more laid-back approach. Another disappointing feature is the lacklustre battery life, with a backup required for anything longer than a few hours shooting. On a more positive note, the screen is bright enough to be clearly seen in all but the murkiest of conditions, albeit at the expense of accuracy.

Considered as just a compact camera, the Samsung WP10 is pretty run-of-the-mill despite its ease-of-use, good build quality and satisfactory images. Throw in the waterproofness and Samsung's usual competitive price-tag and things suddenly get more interesting - there are very few waterproof cameras at the budget end of the market. In this light the Samsung WP10 makes sense as a relatively inexpensive yet still capable compact that you can take to places that most cameras can't venture.

4 stars

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

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Samsung WP10 from around the web. »

Samsung's WP10 costs around £120 and is a water resistant camera capable of depths of up to three metres, which should make it ideal for use by the beach, swimming pool or even for a bit of snorkelling. It's the only water resistant compact Samsung currently make, but is priced so that it is not out of reach of those on a budget.
Read the full review »



Usage note
(1) Under Samsung test conditions.
(2) Slide show: Slide show with Effect & Music
(3) Internal memory capacity is subject to change without prior notice.
(4) Included battery may vary depending on sales region.

Image sensor Type 1/2.33″ (Approx. 7.79mm) CCD
Effective Pixel Approx. 12.2 Mega-pixel
Total Pixel Approx.12.4 Mega-pixel
Lens Focal Length Samsung 5x Lens f = 6.3 ~ 31.5mm (35mm film equivalent: 35~175mm)
F No. F3.6 (W) ~ 4.8 (T)
Digital Zoom Still Image mode: 1.0x ~ 5.0x Play mode: 1.0x ~ 12.5x (depends on image size)
Image Stabilization   DIS
Display Type TFT LCD
Feature 2.7" (6.9cm) (230000 pixel)
Waterproof   3M (IEC protection class "IPX8" equivalent).
Dustproof   Yes (IEC protection class "IP6X" equivalent.)
Focusing Type TTL auto focus (Multi AF, Centre AF, Face Detection AF, Tracking AF)
Range Normal: 80cm ~ infinity Macro: 5cm ~ 80cm (Wide), 50cm ~ 80cm (Tele) Auto Macro: 5cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 50cm ~ Infinity (Tele)
Shutter Speed   Smart Auto: 1/8 ~ 1/1000 sec. Program: 1 ~ 1/1000 sec. (Night Scene: 8 ~ 1/1000 sec.)
Exposure Control Program AE
Metering Multi, Spot, Centre Weighted, Face Detection AE
Compensation ±2EV (1/3EV steps)
ISO Equivalent Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Flash Modes Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash off, Red eye fix
Range Wide: 0.2m ~ 3.0m, Tele: 0.5m ~ 2.0m (ISO AUTO)
Recharging Time Approx. 4 sec.
Sharpness   Soft+, Soft, Normal, Vivid, Vivid+
White Balance   Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent_H, Fluorescent_L, Tungsten, Custom
Still Image Shooting Mode: Smart Auto, P, Scene, *Smart Auto: Portrait, Night Portrait, Night, Backlight Portrait, Backlight, Landscape, White, Macro, Macro Portrait, Macro Text, Macro Colour, Tripod, Action, Natural Green, Blue Sky, Sunset *Scene: Aqua, Beautyshot, Night, Frame Guide, Portrait, Children, Landscape, Close-up, Text, Sunset, Dawn, Back light, Firework, Beach & Snow Continuous: Single, Continuous, AEB, Motion Capture Self-timer: 2 sec., 10 sec., Double
Effect Photo Style Selector: Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, Custom, Defog Smart Filter: Vignetting, Fish Eye Image Adjust: Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation (5 steps), Beauty shot, ACB
Edit Image Edit: Resize, Rotate, Trimming Photo Style Selector: Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, Custom, Sketch, Defog Smart Filter: Vignetting, Fish Eye, Miniature Image Adjust: Face Retouch, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Red Eye Fix, ACB
Image Play   Single image, Thumbnails, Advanced Slide show, Movie Clip, Smart Album
Voice Recording   Voice Recording (max. 10 hours) Voice Memo in Still Image (max. 10 sec.)
Date Imprinting   Date & Time, Date, Off (user selectable)
Movie Clip Recording *Smart Scene Detection SelectableScene Recognition : Landscape, Natural Green, Blue Sky, SunsetWith Audio or without Audio (Max Recording time (HQ Recording): 20min) Size: High Quality-1280 x 720 (30fps & 15fps) Standard Quality-640 x 480 (30fps & 15fps), 320 x 240 (60fps & 30fps & 15fps) (5x Optical Zoom with sound recording) *Due to the noise while optical zooming, user can select to record sound or not.
Effect Photo Style Selector: Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative, Custom, Defog Smart Filter: Vignetting, Fish Eye Setting: Movie Stabilizer
Edit Pause during Playing, Still Image Capture, Time Trimming
Storage Media Internal Memory: About 20MBExternal Memory (Optional): SD (up to 2GB guaranteed) SDHC (up to 32GB guaranteed) (3)
File format Still Image: JPEG (DCF), EXIF 2.21, DPOF 1.1, PictBridge 1.0Movie Clip: MP4 (H.264)Audio: WAV
Image Size 12M: 4000 x 3000 pixels, 10M P: 3984 x 2656 pixels, 9M W: 3968 x 2232 pixels, 8M: 3264 x 2448 pixels, 5M: 2592 x 1944 pixels, 3M: 2048 x 1536 pixels, 1M: 1024 x 768 pixels
Interface Digital output connector USB 2.0
Audio Microphone: MonoInternal Speaker: Mono
Video Out NTSC, PAL (user selectable)
DC power input 4.2V
Power Source   Rechargeable battery: BP-70AAdaptor: SAC-48, CB20U05AConnector Type: 20pin
Physical Specification Dimensions (WxHxD) 93.8 x 61 x 18.5mm (Excluding protrusions)
Weight 121g (without battery and card)
Operating Temperature 0 ~ 40°C
Operationg Humidity 5 ~ 85%
Software   Intelli-studio, Adobe Reader
Special Feature   Waterproof & Compact slim Design· Waterproof (3M), Aqua Mode· 12Mege Pixels· 5x Optical Zoom Lens & DIS· 2.7" LCD (230K)· H.264, 720p, 30fps· ISO 3200· Smart Auto (Still & Movie) & Face Recognition· Face Detection & Self Portrait· Smart Album· Blink Detection & Smile Detection· Beauty Shot · Frame Guide · Function Description· Smart Filter : Miniature, Vignetting, Fish Eye
System Requirement in general For Windows PC with processor better than Pentium? 500MHz (Pentiumlll 800MHz recommended) Windows XP/Vista, Windows 7 250MB of available hard-disk space (Over 1GB recommend) Minimum 256MB RAM (Over 512MB recommended) USB port CD-ROM drive 1024 x 768 pixels, 16-bit colour display compatible monitor (24-bit colour display recommended) Microsoft DirectX 9.0C or later
For Macintosh Power Mac G3 or later Mac OS 10.3 or higher Minimum 256MB RAM 110MB of available hard-disk space USB port CD-ROM drive

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