Review Price £229.95
As with Samsung's other high-spec cameras the build quality is very good, with a strong all-aluminium body finished in either gunmetal grey or matt black, and a unique design that is a combination of practicality and whimsy. It has a small but effective textured handgrip on the front and a thumbgrip on the back, and the controls include a rotary bezel around the D-pad, and a (rather fiddly) roller control next to the thumbgrip that is used to alter frame rate and drive modes. The whimsy comes in the shape of two red-needled analogue dials on the top panel, which display remaining battery capacity and storage space. These are unnecessary, since it also has a display on the monitor which also shows this information, but they are an attractive and interesting feature that help to set the WB2000 apart among a vast number of very similar compact cameras.
The WB2000 has a good range of useful features, including multiple focusing and exposure metering options, a range of filter effects and photo styles including a manually adjustable RGB filter, and adjustable contrast, sharpness and saturation. These are controlled via two menu systems, a sidebar function menu for the most commonly used features, and a full and very comprehensive main menu for everything else. The menus have been redesigned with better graphics and some animated effects, and look very slick. The scene mode, selected via the main mode dial on the top, also has very nice thumbnails to aid selection.
The WB2000 has advanced manual exposure controls, including aperture and shutter priority as well as full manual exposure. It has a range of aperture values from f/2.4 to f/7.2 at wide angle in 1/3EV increments, and shutter speeds from 16 seconds to 1/2000th of a second, also in 1/3EV steps. Exposure values are adjusted via the rotary bezel around the D-pad. I'm slightly surprised that the roller control cannot be set to adjust exposure values, since this would be very useful in full manual mode.
The monitor is of particular interest. It is a 7.6cm AMOLED screen with a resolution of 640 x 480, or 306,000 pixels. It is exceptionally clear and bright with superb colour rendition, and a very wide angle of view in all directions.
The WB2000 is the latest compact camera to feature full 1920 x 1080 HD video recording, with stereo sound recorded via a pair of microphones on the top panel. Full optical zoom can be used while recording, but the autofocus only operates at the start of recording. It is possible to shoot up to five full-resolution still images while simultaneously recording video. Both video and audio quality are very good, although the microphones do pick up a lot of background noise and are quite prone to wind noise. There are also several high-speed video modes, capable of shooting at 240, 480 or 1000fps, although obviously at greatly reduced resolution. The 1000fps mode shoots at a tiny 192 x 64 size.