Samsung WB150F: Performance

June 8, 2012 by Allison Johnson Reads (5,056)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 5
    • Features
    • 8
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 7
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 6.75
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10


A “long zoom Wi-Fi camera” is how Samsung classifies its WB150F. That combination sounds appealing to just about anyone. Bringing the benefits of a big zoom range together with the instant gratification of sharing photos with your Facebook friends right in the camera? Sounds like a recipe for the ideal vacation and special occasion point-and-shoot. It’s certainly good on paper, but a camera needs to turn in a solid performance in terms of usability, speed and image quality to get a good recommendation.

Shooting Performance
We recorded no significant shutter lag for the WB150 and an average-ish 0.35 second auto focus acquisition time. Continuous shooting is there if you want it, but it’s not fast enough to be particularly useful.

AF Acquisition (press-to-capture, no pre-focus)

Camera Time (seconds)
Sony Cyber-shot HX200V 0.13
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 0.16
Samsung WB150F 0.35
Canon PowerShot SX150 0.53

Continuous Shooting

Camera Frames Framerate
Sony Cyber-shot HX200V 10 10.0
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 10 9.2
Samsung WB150F ?? 0.7
Canon PowerShot SX150 ?? 0.7

*Note: Continuous shooting framerates are based on the camera’s fastest full-resolution JPEG continuous shooting mode, using the fastest media type available (300x CF, SDHC, etc.). “Frames” notes the number of captures recorded per burst before the camera stops/slows to clear the buffer.

In terms of AF acquisition speed and reliability, I thought that the WB150F looked average for its class. In good light it’s fast enough for most applications, and in dim light AF acquisition slows down considerably. There’s an AF lamp for help in dark conditions. Several AF modes including tracking and face detection are available, as is a manual focus option. The camera’s on-board flash unit boasts a range of 3.35m at wide angle and 1.85m at telephoto.

The Samsung WB150F is capable of connecting to Wi-Fi networks. From there, photos and videos can be uploaded straight to Facebook, YouTube and Picasa. Samsung is no newbie in the world of wireless devices – with a full portfolio of smartphones, tablets, and even a few generations of wireless cameras, the WB150 benefits from many generations of trial and error. The result is a nearly flawless wireless camera, capable of integrating with compatible smartphones and tablets as part of a whole network of connected devices.

The problem is the smartphone. The phone has gotten so good and so quick at uploading photos, that anything slower seems unreasonable. I can take a photo, add a caption and a quirky filter, upload it for the viewing pleasure of 600 of my closest friends in less than a minute using only my smartphone. The WB150F is capable of doing all of these things – filters, photos, uploading – but it does them at a slower pace.
Samsung WB150F
There are two paths in the camera that will lead you to photo sharing. Either turn the mode dial to Wi-Fi and go forth, or bring up the playback menu as you’re viewing your photos to share. The camera will identify nearby wireless networks and present you with the opportunity to input a network password.

Once you’re connected, you’ll select the photos you want to share and send them to the social platform of your choice. On average uploading a photo took up to a minute. I encountered only a couple of Wi-Fi problems during the time I spent reviewing the WB150. Most times that I attempted to upload a picture to Facebook, it worked flawlessly.

The WB150F is clearly more capable than Wi-Fi cameras of three or four years ago. But again, it will still probably be viewed by customers as not fast enough. Consumers are used to the upload speeds of their smartphones, and once a photo is uploaded, being able to interact with that photo and read friends’ comments. The WB150F is quite capable at sharing, but not interacting. Pushing image files from the camera to your Android tablet or phone might just be the way to go. At present, iPhone owners aren’t able to use this feature, so that may deter some shoppers for a while.

Overall, wireless features of this camera were reliable, but it’s still nowhere near as convenient as shooting and interacting with photos on your smartphone or tablet. The WB150 will take much better pictures, so if you’re an Android user who doesn’t mind carrying around two devices, the WB150 might be a real option for you.

Image stabilization is present in two forms – digital and optical. This system seemed to perform alright at wide angle to mid-telephoto focal lengths, but full telephoto proved too challenging for optical stabilization to be of much help. Digital stabilization didn’t boost ISO too high, but even as low as ISO 400, there’s plenty of noise present in images. More on that later.

Samsung WB150F Sample Image
Wide Angle
Samsung WB150F Sample Image

The WB150F ships with an SLB-10A rechargeable battery. No estimated battery life is given. I did a fair amount of shooting and reviewing images, and I used the wireless features extensively. The battery didn’t seem to drain any quicker than other point-and-shoot cameras of this class.

Lens PerformanceSamsung WB150F Sample Image
The Schneider-Kreuznach 18x optical zoom lens covers a 24-432mm range in 35mm terms. It’s somewhat slow with a maximum aperture range of f/3.2-5.8. As mentioned before, the system offers optical stabilization, and shutter speed tops out at 1/2000 second.

Sharpness is nice at the center, but moving out toward the edges, especially at wide angle, some distortion and loss of sharpness appears. This is to be expected from a small 18x zoom lens. I saw some occasional chromatic aberration crop up, mostly when viewing high-contrast scenes at 100%. It’s generally well controlled by the camera’s processing system. There’s a slight bit of barrel distortion at wide angle, but virtually no pincushion distortion at full telephoto. Both ends of the zoom spectrum seem to be well under control.

Video Quality
Video resolution maxes out at 720p, definitely behind the competition in the travel zoom category. Most other compact cameras at this price point will include 1080p. However, 720p is more than sufficient for many needs, especially if all you’re really interested in is uploading short clips to the web. Video can be captured at 30 or 15 fps. Other resolution options include 640 x 480 and 320 x 240. Starting and stopping video couldn’t be more convenient, thanks to a dedicated video record button. The WB150F also includes a number of filter effects for video mode.

Image Quality
Typically, compact cameras like the WB150F will fare just fine in terms of sharpness and color when used outdoors under good light conditions. This was the case – to my eye, contrast is pleasant and color reproduction leans toward natural rather than over-saturated. Blue skies are preserved, and almost never blow out to white. Adjustments can be made in-camera to sharpness, contrast and saturation by two stops in either direction.

The most persistent problem I saw was a tendency to clip highlights. In scenes of great contrast between light and dark, it’s expected to see some blown out highlights, especially coming from such a small sensor. I tended to see more than usual, though. The flower in the coffee shop scene below is a good example. Everything else in the scene is pretty balanced except for the flower petals. Creases and wrinkles in the individual petals are visible toward the edges, but the light coming in from the window behind me overwhelms the camera’s sensor and processor, making it appear blown out.

Samsung WB150F Sample Image

This wouldn’t be a big cause for concern expect that based on my experience, there are many other cameras of this size that would handle this scene better. They would produce images with histograms that don’t spike quite so badly. I also ran into the stray color reproduction problem, with typically-troubling purple being rendered as blue.

Auto white balance was somewhat inconsistent. The camera would occasionally shoot the same scene both too warm and too cold, back-to-back, with virtually no movement on my part. I noticed this more under conditions with mixed lighting or indoors. Outside, auto white balance worked just fine. It recorded our still life a bit warm under our studio fluorescents. White balance pre-sets include Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent_H, Fluorescent_L, Tungsten, Custom and K.

Samsung WB150F Sample Image
Auto White Balance, 5500k fluorescent light

If most cameras small cameras are competent outside in ample light, they struggle when they move to the great indoors. The WB150F is no exception. In fact, ISO performance was worse than I expected to see. Image quality from ISO 80 to 200 looks about as good as it should for this class of camera. At ISO 400, some serious noise starts to creep in. The camera’s noise suppression system appears to be smoothing out a lot of digital artifacts and fine details in the process.

Samsung WB150F Sample Image
ISO 80
Samsung WB150F Sample Image
ISO 80, 100% crop
Samsung WB150F Sample Image
ISO 100
Samsung WB150F Sample Image
ISO 100, 100% crop
Samsung WB150F Sample Image
ISO 200
Samsung WB150F Sample Image
ISO 200, 100% crop
Samsung WB150F Sample Image
ISO 400
Samsung WB150F Sample Image
ISO 400, 100% crop
Samsung WB150F Sample Image
ISO 800
Samsung WB150F Sample Image
ISO 800, 100% crop
Samsung WB150F Sample Image
ISO 1600
Samsung WB150F Sample Image
ISO 1600, 100% crop
Samsung WB150F Sample Image
ISO 3200
Samsung WB150F Sample Image
ISO 3200, 100% crop

ISO 400 will probably be fine for small prints, but the jump up to ISO 800 is noticeable. Many competing camera systems will produce cleaner-looking images at ISO 800; the WB150F just isn’t keeping up with the competition here. Past ISO 800, noise and smoothing increases and those settings are best left alone.

Additional Sample Images

Samsung WB150F Sample Image Samsung WB150F Sample Image
Samsung WB150F Sample Image Samsung WB150F Sample Image
Samsung WB150F Sample Image Samsung WB150F Sample Image



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