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Samsung WB5000 - Samsung WB5000

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


Although Samsung has made a lot of progress in design, build quality and specification it still has some way to go in overall performance. The WB5000 starts up fast enough in just under three seconds, but the single shot mode shot-to-shot time of nearly four seconds is pretty slow. In continuous shooting mode it can manage just under a frame a second, but the shooting rate is erratic and slows down noticeably after eight shots.

The autofocus system is also somewhat slower than most of its competitors, although it is still pretty quick by most standards. Low light focusing is slower still, but it is reliably accurate. The AF assist lamp has a range of around three metres. The pop-up flash is quite powerful and has good frame coverage even at wide angle. It has a recycle time of approximately six seconds after a full power flash.

The WB 5000 is powered by a 3.8V 1130mAh lithium ion rechargeable battery, which should be powerful enough, but it is moving a lot of glass around whenever the zoom control is operated. Samsung's official spec sheet doesn't list any tested battery duration, but I found that after a full charge the battery indicator was down to one bar after around 100 shots, which is a bit worrying.

Another area where Samsung needs to do some more work is overall picture quality. The quality of the Schneider Keuznach lens is very good with excellent edge-to-edge sharpness, and the software distortion control means that even at the wide-angle end there is no visible barrel distortion. The sensor is of the small 1/2.33-inch type, and dynamic range is very limited, with very little shadow or highlight detail. The camera has a Dynamic Range Optimiser feature, but it's not particularly effective, only boosting exposure to increase shadow detail, and colour saturation is also rather lacking. There are also some problems with image noise, or rather noise control. There are distortions in colour gradients and visible noise at 200 ISO, and significant loss of detail at 400 ISO. The 3200 and 6400 ISO high-sensitivity settings are available at lower resolution (5MP and 3MP respectively) but the image quality is very poor.


For a first attempt at a superzoom camera the WB5000 is a very good camera. Design and build quality are excellent, it a list of features comparable with its market rivals, and like most Samsung cameras it is competitively priced. Its only weak points are its overall performance and its mediocre image quality.


March 2, 2010, 5:17 am

A photograph of children outside a primary school?! How dare you, I'm off to form an angry mob right now! We'll be looking for you outside Exeter Cathedral's West Window tomorrow, complete with flaming torches and misspelt placards..

More seriously though Cliff, are you sure that "Samsung has never made a superzoom camera" before? What about the (quite good) 15X Zoom Pro815 you reviewed in August 2006?


March 2, 2010, 7:03 am

I saw samsung just announced the HZ50W in the PMA 2010 which should be the successor of this model I think.


March 2, 2010, 9:51 pm

... err does it have a viewfinder? Another thing it seems there are no super superzooms as image quality is often around the "7" mark...? Going back awhile I remember that fixed focus lenses were considered way better quality than zoom lenses... Nevertheless superzoom cameras are fun and capable of some really good photos.

Cliff Smith

March 5, 2010, 8:30 pm

Noodles - Your memory is clearly better than mine, I'd forgotten all about the Pro815. What a bizarre contraption that was; two LCD monitors, one of them 3.8 inches, a 15x zoom with no stabilisation and the slowest AF ever. Pretty decent picture quality for the time though.

Kai - Yes, you're probably correct. The photos I've seen of the HZ50W do look a lot like the WB5000, and the speed with which Samsung has been updating its camera range recently make it likely that an updated 14MP version will appear soon.

Terry - 3rd paragraph, page 2. It has an electronic viewfinder, although not a particularly good one.


March 6, 2010, 12:14 am

Terry - Another thing it seems there are no super superzooms as image quality is often around the "7"

my thougths too, until I remembered this:



March 6, 2010, 12:45 am

@Cliff: Hah, the only reason I remembered it existed was because of it's complete and utter breeze-block like weirdness. Almost bought one once, but ended up being boring and got an S9500 instead..


March 6, 2010, 8:41 pm

Thanks for the link Splogbust... and another thing!... why do electronic "viewfinders" have to be such a shoddy compromise on an instrument where optics take prime place...? A camera is all about the "view" before your eyes surely? I have a superzoom that has an awful electronic viewfinder...


March 7, 2010, 5:48 am

I struggle with the review.

Why award the camera 8/10 overall when the thing that is most important - the image quality - is so poor I wouldn't change my Fuji S602 (now 6 years old) for it as the images look at least as good as the Samsung, if not better!

I can't even understand how it got 7/10 for image quality when the test shots are clearly poor by any standard, especially the ISO tests - mottling at 64ISO???

If that was me it'd be marked down a couple of points on image quality alone and at the price I'd say it was pretty poor value for money.


March 7, 2010, 8:08 pm

The price is very good actually, consider the feature it offers. Many other superzooms are more expensive than this one.

For image quality, I'd mark down one point to 6. but 7 is still fair. We should understand the score is relative. When u look at the score of compact camera, u are comparing to other compact camera. When u look at score of entry-level DSL, U are comparing to other entry-level DSL. as well as superzooms, When u look at the score, it is comparing with other superzooms. The score is not a absolute value for all kinds of camera.

And most superzooms have lower image quality. So the standard is also lower.


March 9, 2010, 4:08 am

... time to find your 35mm SLRs, buy a roll of film, put your fixed focus 28mm or 50mm on the front and take some quality photos...?!

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