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Samsung WB700 Review

Updated on November 1, 2012

If you are wondering whether to buy a Samsung WB700; take a look at some of the photographs I've taken with mine over the past six months and see from the notes if it would suit the sort of pictures you like to take. Overall I have been pleased with it, but there are some quirks and weak points.

The most notable quirk is that sometimes in automatic mode, because it's trying so hard to work out what sort of picture you're taking, it freezes and refuses to take the shot at all. This can occur apparently at random, but especially when there is a scene of high contrast - bright sun and shade or low contrast and it can't tell what's most important to focus on.

Portability

I like to travel light without a bag most of the time so It's absolutely crucial to me that I can slip the camera into a pocket every time I go out and therefore have it with me when unexpected photo opportunities arise. Even with its protective case it will slip into my jeans pocket - it feels a bit bulky, but not uncomfortable. It passes my portability test, but if you wear tight jeans it might not fit.

Closeups

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Buff tailed bumble bee on borageWhite tailed bumble bee on dandelionEmperor gooseSmall tortoiseshell on knapweedPoppies and hoverflies
Buff tailed bumble bee on borage
Buff tailed bumble bee on borage | Source
White tailed bumble bee on dandelion
White tailed bumble bee on dandelion | Source
Emperor goose
Emperor goose | Source
Small tortoiseshell on knapweed
Small tortoiseshell on knapweed | Source
Poppies and hoverflies
Poppies and hoverflies | Source

Closeup Pictures

I've made a lot of use of the Samsung WB700 this summer for taking pictures of insects. It doesn't have a true macro lens but I have none the less been generally pleased with the results.

A representative selection of shots can be seen to the right.

Landscapes

Click thumbnail to view full-size
View from Clitheroe CastleRainbow from Pendle HillAutumn colourHameldon HillMoorland and clouds
View from Clitheroe Castle
View from Clitheroe Castle | Source
Rainbow from Pendle Hill
Rainbow from Pendle Hill | Source
Autumn colour
Autumn colour | Source
Hameldon Hill
Hameldon Hill | Source
Moorland and clouds
Moorland and clouds | Source

Landscape Shots

It is excellent for landscape shots, with the range of the zoom you get plenty of opportunity to play about with framing a portion of the landscape and of course the beauty of digital is that you can try several options and then refine them further by some basic cropping on your home computer.

Action Shots

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bob the dog!Geese in flightKestrel hoveringAir ambulanceJousting knight
Bob the dog!
Bob the dog! | Source
Geese in flight
Geese in flight | Source
Kestrel hovering
Kestrel hovering | Source
Air ambulance
Air ambulance | Source
Jousting knight
Jousting knight | Source

Action Shots

Taking action shots with this camera is a very hit and miss affair. Because you only have autofocus to work with, the camera can struggle to focus itself fast enough to catch an action shot and this is especially true in dull weather if there isn't much contrast between the moving object and the background.

Dog wrestling photo with flash
Dog wrestling photo with flash | Source
without zoom - you can hardly make out the goalposts
without zoom - you can hardly make out the goalposts | Source
with zoom - you can clearly see the gull on the goal posts.
with zoom - you can clearly see the gull on the goal posts. | Source

Shots with Flash

The flash is ok but takes a frustratingly long time to 'warm up' for each shot. This makes it difficult to take action shots because by the time the flash agrees to flash the action is gone!

Flash also uses up a lot of battery - you may only get 20 or so pictures with flash from one charge. I would recommend having a spare battery if you plan to use flash a lot.

Zoom Lens and image stabilization

The Samsung WB700 has an 18x zoom lens. This produces quite impressive results. Often if I am out walking the dogs and bird watching and a bird is too far away for me to identify I can take a quick photo of it and then identify it when I download the picture on to my computer. You can see the effect of the zoom in the pictures on the right. Without the zoom activated you can barley see the goal post let alone black headed gull sitting on it which was about 40 yards from where I was standing. With the full zoom the bird is very clear.

One of the best aspects for me is the image stabilization. With digital and manual cameras that I've had before using the zoom for the second picture would have required use of a tripod, but the Samsung WB700 does away with the need for one. This makes it really handy for those shots which I come across day to day when I don't want to be carrying a bulky camera with bigger lenses, tripod and so on.

On the downside, I have found the image stabilization isn't 100% reliable, it's often worth taking two shots of the same thing in case one is a bit blurry.

Video

I've been pleased with the video and even with its ability to record sound if I am trying to capture a bird's song to identify when I get home. It doesn't produce video of a good enough quality that you would want to watch 20 minutes of it, but is good enough to demonstrate a point or to raise a chuckle if you capture an opportune moment.

You can see from the video included that it has a problem with a bright light source coming directly at it, in this case from sunlight coming in through an open door which causes the purplish line down the right hand side.

Overall Rating

3 stars for SamsungWB70

Useful Extras

SAMSUNG WB700 Digital Camera Battery - Premium SLB-11A Battery
SAMSUNG WB700 Digital Camera Battery - Premium SLB-11A Battery

Very handy to have a spare battery especially if you use the flash a lot

 
Case Logic TBC-302BLACK Black Ultra-Compact Camera Case With Storage
Case Logic TBC-302BLACK Black Ultra-Compact Camera Case With Storage

I strongly recommend you get a protective case for the camera

 
Transcend 8 GB Class 10 SDHC Flash Memory Card Up to 30MB/s (TS8GSDHC10E)
Transcend 8 GB Class 10 SDHC Flash Memory Card Up to 30MB/s (TS8GSDHC10E)

I like to have a couple of memory cards, that way when I take one out to download pics I can put the spare one straight in the camera.

 

Other Features

There are various other features you can play around with, for example setting shutter speeds, which I have to be honest, I've not experimented with much.

I find silent mode useful which means you can switch off the beep sounds, for example when photographing from a public hide at a bird reserve, when it can be annoying if everyone's cameras are beeping away.

The LCD screen is OK, but I in bright light conditions it can be hard to see exactly what you're getting in your shot, so it's a long way from being a useful as the most basic of viewfinders on an old point and shoot manual camera in my opinion.

A word of caution - it has minimal memory of its own to store photos, so if you take it out without a memory card you will be sorely disappointed about missing photo opportunities. To guard against this I always have two memory cards on the go. I put the spare one in at the moment I take the other card out to download the pictures on to the computer.

The overall rating of three I've given it is a little mean, 3.5 would be fairer, but the ratings capsule doesn't allow for that and I didn't want to give it a 4.

Comments

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    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

      Excellent review! I appreciate hearing the good as well as negative points. I have some trouble deciding whether I like digitals better than film or not. I've seen the same issues you mention (stalling, etc.).

      Voted up!

    • Nettlemere profile image
      Author

      Nettlemere 4 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Thanks Marcy - I was very slow to come round to digital and still have an manual SLR camera that I use sometimes, but I'm a digital convert now due to being able to use the pictures immediately - which is jolly handy for hubbing!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Great job on writing this article, Nettlemere!

      I think the Hub Apprenticeship program has definitely upped your game here in Hubsville! Good for you!

      Aloha and mahalo!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Great hub and helpful info here. Wonderful photos. Congrats on the win!

    • Nettlemere profile image
      Author

      Nettlemere 4 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Thank you Hawaiianodysseus, your positive comments are always much appreciated.

      Denise - Thank you for visiting - I'm so glad you liked the pictures (I had fun choosing them!) and found it useful.

    • cashmere profile image

      cashmere 4 years ago from India

      Congrats on being the first winner of the new contest. Its a great review

    • snakeslane profile image

      snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

      Nettlemere, Good job! Nice in depth review, photos are great, video is fun. Much appreciated. Regards, snakeslane

    • seanorjohn profile image

      seanorjohn 4 years ago

      Excellent review and a good tip to have a spare memory card. Voted up and useful.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 4 years ago from South Carolina

      Congrats on the contest win for this very useful and well written review. I particularly liked the fact that you included so many photos that you took with this camera and critiqued the circumstances and ease or difficulty of getting a good shot.

      Voted up across the board except for funny.

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 4 years ago from Arizona

      Looking for a new camera. The one I have now is a GE 15x optical and a display you can put your eye up to instead of the LCD screen on really bright days. Does this camera have that feature?

      I also like to take pictures of lightening. I put it on the slowest ISO and the longest exposure at 15 or 30 seconds - yes counter intuitive for lightening but I just shoot and pray something happens in front of the lens. What is the longest exposure time?

      What I hate about my camera: there is no close/far preset so if taking pictures in the dark for lightening - it has to focus on something in order to focus - I hate this. Does this camera have an Infinity setting like my old Canon Powershot used to have?

      What I am really looking for is a champagne camera on a beer budget. I like the fact that it is 18x optical zoom but I think the ones that can be remotely controlled ( such as a motion sensor) are only on the expensive SLR's.

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 4 years ago from Arizona

      Is it an 18x optical zoo, a 18x digital zoom?

    • Nettlemere profile image
      Author

      Nettlemere 4 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Hi ptosis, thanks for your sensible questions, hopefully I can answer them all and help with your decision. It's an 18x optical zoom. It doesn't have a display you can put your eye up to on bright days - I can see that would be really useful - I miss viewfinders.

      Lowest ISO is 80 highest 3200.

      I don't think it's got an infinity setting, there is a sort of manuel focus - which I don't find very intuitive to use - I've just been fiddling with it now with limited success.

      16 seconds is its longest exposure time - I haven't done any night photography really with it yet. I meant to have a go around bonfire night, when lots of fireworks go off, but was too busy trying to contain the dog's stress at all the noise!

      I find it really fiddly to use messing about with pressing all the little buttons - but I have got klutzy fingers and am maybe just a bit impatient, but I would struggle with doing it in the dark for sure.

      Hope this helps a bit anyhow.

    • ElizaDoole profile image

      Lisa McKnight 4 years ago from London

      Great review Nettlemere and congratulations on winning the Daily best Rigorous review entry! Voted up and useful x

    • Nettlemere profile image
      Author

      Nettlemere 4 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Thank you everyone for the kind comments - sorry I have got behind with my replying, but they are all very much appreciated.

    • dndswordsmith profile image

      Nique 4 years ago from Philadelphia County PA

      I enjoyed your review. Congratulations on your win, you did an excellent job. It is been very informative. Voted useful, up and liked on FB w/tweet.

    • Nettlemere profile image
      Author

      Nettlemere 4 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Thankyou so much for the congratulations, facebook like and tweet dndwordsmith. I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

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