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Samsung WB850F Overview

Posted: 01/09/2012

According to its manufacturer, the Samsung WB850F digital camera is a "compact, light and durable" travel zoom camera. We can't comment on the size and weight, as details weren't available at press time, but with built-in wifi connectivity and a GPS receiver, the feature-set certainly looks useful for the photographer on the go.

At the heart of the WB850F sits a 16.2 megapixel, backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor, which is coupled with an optically stabilized, Schneider-branded 21x zoom lens with an f/2.8 maximum aperture at wide angle. Information on sensor size, focal lengths and the like wasn't available at press time. On the rear panel is a 3.0-inch diagonal AMOLED display with VGA (640 x 480 pixel) resolution.

The Samsung WB850F's "SMART"-branded wifi functionality, allows it to offer an Auto Backup function that can upload photos to the newly-launched Samsung AllShare Play cloud service, which will work with all of Samsung's connected devices, from phones and tablets to TVs and even refrigerators, not just cameras. The WB850F also now includes a login browser, allowing use with wireless networks that require a web login before an Internet connection can be established--something particularly common on hotel and restaurant wifi networks--greatly increasing the number of venues in which the camera's wifi is useful.

The built-in GPS and digital compass, meanwhile, don't only allow geotagging of photos. There's also a "Live Landmark" function that lets photographers get the distance and direction to nearby attractions, and it's also possible to download maps to the camera and find info on nearby locations.

As well as Samsung AllShare Play, the WB850F can also backup images on Microsoft Sky Drive. Additionally, it's possible to email images straight from the camera, share them on Facebook or Picasa, and even to upload videos directly to YouTube.

Features of the Samsung WB850F include full manual control, a Live Panorama function similar to the sweep pano function found on some competing cameras, which automatically captures and stitches a panorama in-camera by simply sweeping the field of view across a scene while holding the shutter button. There's also a Smart Auto function which selects from a variety of scene modes, and identifies one that's closest to the current conditions, then configures the camera appropriately helping keep things simple for less experienced photographers.

Some more unusual features include a Split Shot function (which divides the screen into three separate sections, and lets you frame a different image in each, then combines the results), a Magic Frame function (which overlays your image on a background, with options including Wall Art, Full Moon, Magazine, and Holiday), and a Picture-in-Picture mode that lets you overlay one shot on another, choosing an area where the second image should be visible. Perhaps most curious though is the Funny Face function, which uses face detection to locate facial features and then warps them in real time on the live preview. By using the multi-controller on the camera's rear, you can create effects such as making your subject's head or nose larger. We understand the WB850F also includes in-camera image editing functionality, although specifics weren't available at press time.

As well as still image capture, the Samsung WB850F can also record high definition movies. Videos are saved at up to 1080p resolution--that's 1,920 x 1,080 pixels--with a frame rate of 30 frames per second. There are also High Speed movie modes which capture low resolution clips at up to 480 frames per second.

Pricing for the Samsung WB850F is set at US$379, with availability from April 2012. The only body color option for the WB850F is black.