Samsung WB30F Preview
by Mike Tomkins
Travel zoom cameras offer a pretty handy size advantage over most SLR-like ultrazooms and interchangeable-lens cameras, even mirrorless models. That makes them quite well-suited to trips where you need to pack light, but they're still not the smallest cameras around. The Samsung WB30F, though, aims to trim as much fat as possible from the long-zoom WB camera series. It's not a direct successor to any particular model, but rather a new concept that Samsung describes as a "mini model". Like its nearest siblings, it includes Wi-Fi connectivity, and to ease the process of setting up a connection, there's a Wi-Fi Direct Link button dedicated to the task.
The Samsung WB30F pairs a 1/2.3-inch, 16.2 megapixel CCD image sensor with a 10x optical zoom lens. The sensor's sensitivity range covers everything from ISO 80 to 3,200 equivalents.The lens carries Samsung branding, and provides a healthy 35mm-equivalent zoom range from a 24mm wide angle to a 240mm telephoto. Maximum aperture starts off at a f/3.1, and falls to f/6.3 by the tele position. Optical image stabilization is included in the design.
On the rear panel, there's a 3.0-inch LCD monitor, with a total resolution of around 320 x 240 pixels. By way of comparison, assuming three dots per color, that's equivalent to 230,000 dots -- about the norm these days, although some cameras have much higher dot counts, and a rare few still offer lower resolution.
The WB30F includes the latest iteration of Samsung's Smart Camera system. Now dubbed Smart Camera 2.0, the system allows for quick one-click sharing of images with a smartphone. It also lets you remotely control the camera using a free Samsung Smart Camera app, available on either Android or iOS operating systems. This provides not only for remote shutter release, but also for remote viewfinder, so you can confirm everybody's pose is OK before tripping the shutter. There's also a live panorama function to help with capturing and stitching multi-shot panos, plus a magic frame function as seen on last year's models that lets you overlay a variety of picture frames on your photos. The WB30F also allows for high-def movie capture, with videos saved using MPEG-4 AVC / H.264 compression.
The Samsung WB30F stores images and movies on Secure Digital cards, including the newer SDHC and SDXC types. Connectivity includes standard-def composite video output and USB 2.0 High Speed data. Power comes from a proprietary BP70A lithium-ion rechargeable battery. No information on battery life was available at press time.
The Samsung WB30F ships in the first quarter of 2013, with pricing set at around US$180. Five body colors will be offered: black, white, purple, pink, or red.