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Samsung WB550 review

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Samsung WB550
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  • WB550 12.1 Megapixel Compact Camera - 4.20 mm-42 mm - Black (7.6 cm 3" LCD - 10x Optical Zoom - 4000 x 3000 Image - 1280 x 720 Video - HDMI)

Summary

Our Score:

9

Last month I reviewed one of Samsung's latest range of cameras, the WB500. Today I'm taking a look at its big brother, the new WB550. Like the WB500 the WB550 is a medium-sized compact featuring a 10x zoom f/3.3-f/5.8 Schneider-Kreuznach lens with a 24mm-equivalent wide-angle, 720p high-definition video recording and limited manual exposure controls. The WB550 has a superior specification though, with a 12.2-megapixel 1/2.33-inch CCD sensor and a sharp 3.0-inch 460k LCD monitor. Naturally the improved spec demands a higher price, and the WB550 is currently selling for around £220, which is very cheap for such an impressive list of features. The class-leading Panasonic TZ7, which has a 10MP sensor but a 12x wide-zoom lens, sells for around £250.

Samsung was a relatively late entrant into the digital camera market, launching its first 1.2-megapixel non-zoom compact in 2002. For the first few years the Samsung name could be found on a fairly uninspiring series of cheap, ugly low-performance cameras, and the company generally gave the impression that it didn't really take the whole camera thing seriously, and was only making them to compete with arch-rivals Panasonic and Sony. However around 2005 there was a major change in Samsung's attitude toward its digital camera brand, and it started devoting serious development and marketing funds towards carving itself a bigger share of a lucrative and growing market.

The results included the stylish and innovative NV series, as well as a development partnership with Pentax, producing the GX series of digital SLRs. Samsung is now in the midst of its second major range-revamp, and the results so far have been pretty impressive. The WB550 is a good looking, well made camera with a range of features that can match any of the longer-established brands at a price few of them can match. It bodes well for the forthcoming Samsung NX APS-C mirrorless system camera, due to launch next month.

interpleb

November 24, 2009, 10:41 am

How stiff is the mode selector switch? The loose one on my TZ6 is doing my head in, it is pretty much guaranteed to have moved to the wrong setting no matter what you have done with it.





Also, what is the battery life like?

PStar

November 24, 2009, 2:50 pm

Which would you choose Cliff and why?


Samsung WB550 or Panasonic TZ7? (£220 vs £230). The choice gets harder!

Cliff Smith

November 24, 2009, 3:19 pm

The mode dial is nice and clunky, and partly recessed, very unlikely to get jogged by accident. The battery is the same 3.7v 1050mAh Li-ion as the WB500. I'm not sure of the exact duration, but it's showing 2/3rds charge after a week's use and about 150 shots.

GordonDownie

November 24, 2009, 3:22 pm

It is a shame that going from 10MP on the WB500 to 12MP on this one is considered to be a superior specification. So many pixels on such a tiny sensors mean that all you are likely to get for the extra money is (even) less dynamic range, poorer noise control and bigger files that are slower to do everything with. Picture quality certainly won't be any better.

Tony 3

November 24, 2009, 6:11 pm

Great review Cliff, but does the extra pixels and the better screen warrant the extra £50 or so over the WB500?

PS3½

November 24, 2009, 8:37 pm

Thanks for the review Cliff. One question, how would you compare the video performance of this camera to the Panasonic TZ7? Does the 50/60p frame rate of the Panasonic (albeit achieved through frame doubling) make much difference?

Zero

December 7, 2009, 12:07 am

@TR Which out of these two performs better via HD movie Samsung WB550 or Fujifilm S2000HD ???

Xamph

May 17, 2010, 2:42 pm

Just to point out that amazon.co.uk is flogging this camera as part of this week's 'Deals of the Week' for 139 quid, which should bump up the value for money a notch or two...

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