Samsung WB500 digital camera
10.2-megapixel Samsung digital camera with a 10x optical zoom
- Attractive design, good array of modes and features, superb wide-angle lens and 10x optical zoom
- A bit bulky for a compact camera, troublesome menu, picture quality is merely adequate for the asking price
The Samsung WB500 is an interesting and versatile compact digital camera that comes packed with advanced features. Its wide-angle lens and 10x optical zoom make up for its various shortcomings.
Price$ 529.00 (AUD)
The Samsung WB500 is a 10.2-megapixel compact digital camera aimed at enthusiasts with a penchant for panoramas. Its main claim to fame is its 24mm wide-angle lens with a powerful 10x optical zoom — the first of its kind in the compact realm if Samsung is to be believed.
Other noteworthy features include a 720p HD movie mode, a dual-image stabiliser for reduced image blur, a useful smart album mode that optimises browsing and a hefty array of manual controls. Most importantly, it also takes a pretty good photo. But do the results justify the $529 price tag? Sort of.
Aesthetically speaking, the Samsung WB500 wears its high-end credentials on its khaki sleeve. With its huge Schneider Kreuznach lens, all-black metal casing and rubber finger pad, it looks like a lovechild of a regular compact and a digital SLR. It is consequently a lot bulkier than the average compact camera. With dimensions of 105x61.4x36.5mm, it’s not an especially portable unit, despite Samsung’s assurances that it "can fit neatly within your pocket so it goes wherever you do". The guys at Samsung must have pretty big pockets. All that extra real-estate does have one benefit though: it translates to large and spacious controls. We especially liked the dinky command lever, which can be used to adjust ISO, white balance or EV compensation without having to access the menu.
This is just as well, as we weren’t particularly fond of the Samsung WB500’s menu system; the less we had to deal with it the better. Rather than simply blanking out the irrelevant functions, the menu layout completely changes whenever you move the camera's mode dial. This means you’re essentially forced to learn eight different menus with multiple tables in each. Samsung has also elected to overlay a transparent menu on top of the LCD screen, which can occasionally make things difficult to read (e.g. when there’s lots of colour and movement in front of the camera). It’s not the worst camera menu we’ve encountered, but it’s a long way from the best.
On the plus side, the menu offers plenty of useful modes and features for those who are determined enough to find them. These include manual exposure, focus and shutter speeds, adjustable aperture, four composition grid overlays, adjustable sharpness/contrast/saturation, a range of colour and picture options (including a great black and white ‘classic’ mode), a dual IS mode and a 720p HD movie mode tailored to high-def YouTube uploads. It also comes with all the latest trends in automatic wiz-bang alchemy, including face detection, smile detection, blink detection and beauty shot. The beauty shot mode is supposed to ‘pretty up’ unsightly faces, but we found it gave us an alarmingly waxy appearance. (Perhaps we confused it by being too pretty to begin with?)
Like most current cameras (see the Canon IXUS 110 IS, Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FT1 and Olympus Mju 9000), the Samsung WB500 comes with an advanced automatic mode that the company has dubbed Smart Picture. (They also could have called it Dumb Photographer, but we suppose that wouldn’t have gone down too well.) This mode automatically adjusts the brightness and exposure to suit the situation at hand. It will even swap between Macro and Landscape mode unprompted.
Another standout feature is smart album, which helps you to keep track of stored photos. It categorises photos into different, er, categories (date, colour, theme, city, etc.) to make browsing more streamlined and user-friendly. It includes a timeline tool that lets you jump to particular dates. The Samsung WB500 also comes with inbuilt editing software that lets you adjust colours, crop photos and create fancy slideshows complete with music.
The Samsung WB500 offers a similar imaging performance to the Samsung NV24HD; another high-end model that comes with an identical pixel count and sensor. The 10.2-megapixel CCD sensor is capable of capturing good quality photos. Chromatic aberration was barely noticeable, with minimal haloing or purple fringing in high-contrast images.
Although our test shots were reasonably sharp, we did notice some detail loss in complex areas, such as bushy, overlapping tree branches. However, this was only noticeable when we magnified the affected area. It should therefore still be capable of making largish prints. Noise control was adequate for a camera in this price range, with images becoming noticeably speckled at ISO 800 and above. While we wouldn’t call them 100 per cent accurate, the colours produced by the Samsung WB500 were vibrant and pleasing to the eye.
All up, the image quality of the Samsung WB500 is average for a camera in this price range — it's neither bad, nor exceptionally good. However, the wide-angle lens and ultra-powerful zoom go some way to make up for any shortcomings. The 24mm wide-angle lens (35mm equivalent) is ideal for group photos and landscape shots; a boon for tourists. The 10x optical zoom is equally impressive. While we did find it difficult to hold the camera steady at full zoom, the dual-image stabiliser and super speed sensitivity mode helped to keep our photos blur-free. If your photographic aspirations extend beyond close-ups and happy snaps, you really can’t go wrong with this lens/zoom combo. It makes for an exceptionally versatile camera.
Join the newsletter!
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
cloudandco Smart Cane
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Apple iPhone X
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Toys for Boys
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Bose SoundLink Micro
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Xbox One X
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Panasonic Announces Compact, Lightweight ultra-telephoto LEICA Lens
- Panasonic announce still-shooter flagship G9
- Sony Announces Development of New G Master Super-Telephoto Full-Frame E-Mount Lens
- Sony Expands Full-frame E-mount lens lineup
- Sony’s New Full-Frame α7R III Interchangeable Lens Camera promises to delivers both resolution and speed
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCDesktop Support EngineerNSW
- CCSystems / Storage EngineerWA
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- FTJava Software Engineers wanted (Melbourne CBD location)VIC
- TPSenior Project Manager (Applications/Business)NSW
- TPIT OfficerVIC
- FTOnboarding Specialist / Service Design - ITIL | ServiceNowOther
- FTProgram CoordinatorACT
- CCProject Delivery Lead - Oracle Banking Platform - Contract - SydneyNSW
- CCTest Engineer - Insurance BackgroundQLD
- TPProject ManagerNSW
- FTMachine Learning Project ManagerACT
- FTSenior Siebel DeveloperACT
- FTNetwork SpecialistQLD
- FTSenior Network ArchitectOther
- CCAutomation Test ManagerVIC
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCSenior MySQL Database AdministratorNSW
- CCAutomation Designer (Solutions Architect) - Robotics (RPA) - SydneyNSW
- CCOracle DeveloperVIC
- CCData ScientistVIC
- FTSenior Business AnalystOther
- FTAutomation TesterQLD
- FTDeveloper - TallymanOther
- FTService Desk ConsultantOther