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Samsung WP10 - Performance and Results
The WP10's overall performance is fairly average. It can start up and be ready to shoot in approximately three seconds, but it does shut down again almost instantly, thanks mainly to not having an external lens to fold up. Shot-to-shot time in single shot mode is approximately 4.2 seconds, which is very slow by recent standards, but in continuous shooting mode it can manage a shot every 1.1 seconds, which isn't exactly blistering but is at least faster than some rivals.
As to why the camera is so slow, for a culprit look no further than the autofocus system. In low light it takes over a second to achieve focus, which isn't too bad, but in good light it still takes just as long. It does at least have a decent AF assist lamp, so it can focus even in very dark conditions. The built-in flash is pretty decent, easily surpassing its claimed three metre maximum range. The recharge time is approximately seven seconds, which is reasonable.
Since it will be used mainly for travel and holidays, it's rather surprising that the WP10 is powered by a puny 740mAh battery. After shooting around 150 shots and a few short video clips over the course of four or five days, with some flash usage but minimal image reviewing, the battery was exhausted. Now it is a fact that Lithium-ion batteries do take a few charge cycles to reach their full capacity, but the difference is only about ten percent, so it would probably be good for only around 170 shots on a full charge.
Overall image quality is a also fairly typical of a cheap pocket compact. In good light and normal shooting conditions it can turn out a decent snapshot, but it doesn't cope at all well with strong backlighting. One problem is the glass cover protecting the lens; unless this is spotlessly clean it causes severe blooming and lens flare.
The actual optical quality is surprisingly good for an internal periscope lens, with minimal distortion or chromatic aberration. The level of detail recorded is not great though, surprising since the highest quality setting has very low compression. Dynamic range is about average for a 12MP small-sensor camera, in other words not very good, and colour rendition is also muted and under-saturated. It is image noise however that is the worst problem, with visible noise effects at all ISO settings, and a distinct loss of detail at 400 ISO. The 3200 ISO maximum setting is effectively useless due to excessive noise.
While the WP10 is a cheaper alternative to the premium waterproof cameras from other brands, its lack of features, slow performance and inferior image quality prove that you do usually get what you pay for. The limited battery life is also a major drawback.