Home / Cameras / Camera / Samsung WB550 / Samsung WB550

Samsung WB550 - Samsung WB550

By Cliff Smith

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Samsung WB550

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Apart from the more powerful sensor and larger, sharper LCD screen the WB550 is identical to the WB500. The body is mostly aluminium with only the trim strip on the top and the hatch covers being made of plastic, and the battery hatch has a strong metal hinge. The overall build quality is excellent, and the camera feels strong and durable. It's quite large and heavy compared to other long-zoom compacts, measuring 105 × 61.4 × 36.5 mm and weighing approximately 250g including card and battery. The shape of the body includes a flared handgrip and a raised thumbgrip area on the back, and it is very comfortable to hold.

The controls are well laid out, but like the WB500 they do have some problems. The buttons are quite small, and are labelled with embossed chrome-on-chrome symbols that are hard to make out in dim light. The menu system provides a lot of creative control, with multiple filters and colour options, but it is needlessly complicated, with various functions spread over three separate menus each with its own button, as well as several secondary functions on the D-pad. There is also a small and rather fiddly rocker switch control on the thumb rest, the function of which can be customised, controlling exposure compensation, ISO setting or white balance.

Unusually for a long-zoom compact the WB550 has a manual exposure option. It's rather limited compared to more advanced cameras, offering only minimum or maximum aperture and shutter speeds from 16 seconds to 1/1500th of a second, but it's better than nothing and does provide some creative potential for more adventurous photographers.

The WB550 also features the now obligatory HD video recording mode, in this case 1280 x 720 resolution at 30fps with mono audio. The zoom lens can be used while recording, but as with the WB500 it does produce a loud mechanical whirring that can be clearly heard on the soundtrack. Video and still images can be displayed on a digital TV via the HDMI output socket. Like all of Samsung's current compact camera range the WB550 can be charged from a powered USB socket, so if you take your laptop on holiday you don't need to take the camera charger.

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...

comments powered by Disqus