Review Price £229.95
The WB2000's overall performance is very good. It starts up and is ready to take a picture in just under three seconds, and shuts down again in about one and a half seconds. In single-shot mode the shot-to-shot time is approximately 2.4 seconds, which could possibly be a little faster, and the control logic means that if you press the shutter button before it's finished processing the previous shot it doesn't register and you have to press it again, which can be a bit annoying until you get used to it. The camera has several continuous shooting modes, shooting at 3fps, 5fps or 10fps for a maximum of 10 frames, as well as auto bracketing.
The autofocus system is very fast and reliable in almost all lighting conditions, and has no trouble focusing even in nightclub lighting levels. For shooting in even dimmer light it has a good AF assist lamp, a bright orange LED with a range of around four metres.
Recent Samsung cameras have shown a welcome improvement in general image quality, and the WB2000 continues this trend, producing superb results time after time. The Schneider-Kreuznach lens is particularly good, producing pin-sharp detail from corner to corner with no trace of chromatic aberration. There is a little barrel distortion at the 24mm-equivalent wide angle end, but it is fairly mild. It is a bit prone to lens flare when shooting towards the sun, but it's easy to avoid if you're careful.
Colour reproduction in standard colour mode is a little muted, with a pleasant film-like quality, but it is much brighter in vivid mode. Dynamic range is also very good for a small-sensor compact, producing better results in similar circumstances than the Canon IXUS 1000 HS, another 10MP B.I. CMOS camera which I was testing on the same day. The WB2000 can also shoot in Raw mode, and is supplied with Raw processing software for both PC and Mac.
The biggest surprise however is the camera's excellent performance at higher ISO settings. Back-illuminated sensors have a higher signal-to-noise ratio and are inherently more sensitive, and the one in the WB2000 produces printable detailed pictures at 1600 ISO. Even shots taken at the maximum 3200 ISO are far from useless. There is a little loss of colour depth at higher settings, but the overall results are very impressive.
Although the Samsung WB2000 is expensive it can certainly deliver the goods, with outstanding image quality and creative versatility, and among of the best high-ISO performance in its class. Build quality is excellent, the AMOLED monitor is superb, autofocus is good in all lighting conditions, and the full HD video with stereo sound is an added bonus.
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