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Samsung WB600 - Performance and Verdict

By Gavin Stoker



Our Score:


We also liked the fact that the full extent of the zoom is accessible when shooting video, despite the fact that there's a low operational buzz when adjustments are made. However, as a bit of a cheat, the WB600's audio drops out when zooming begins and then kicks in again when any adjustments are finished. So you can have the sound or the zoom, but not both at the same time. We see the logic here but ultimately think it’s a bad move.

Colours from the Samsung are generally on the warm side and flatteringly so, though we did notice some cool blue daylight tones creeping randomly into certain images. This is nit picking however, as in general terms and for general scenes image quality is much, much better than expected, sharpness well maintained from edge to edge even at maximum wide angle and crisp results achievable when shooting handheld at the maximum telephoto setting. Even bridge cameras costing two or three times the price deliver their fair share of soft results in similar circumstances. They also mostly suffer from barrel distortion at maximum wideangle. Even with its 24mm equivalent setting, the WB600 doesn't.

A bit of creative fun is provided by the regular Samsung feature of the Photo Style Selector digital effects options. With 'Normal' being the default setting, other options on the same toolbar allow colours to be rendered more vivid, appear 'retro', cool or even 'calm' in tone. A pleasant surprise on what is in most respects a beginner friendly auto everything snapper, even if at times some of the colours can start to look slightly unnatural. Furthermore, Smart Filters selected from further down the same toolbar allow the increasingly ubiquitous toy-town like 'miniature' effect to be applied to images, along with a vignetting (corner shading) and fisheye effect.

Slightly disappointing however is the WB600's low light performance. There is noise/grain even in evidence at the lower settings, which start out at ISO80 and incrementally progress towards a top whack ISO3200. Above ISO800 the results are verging on unusable for anything but the most casual of snaps intended for Facebook only.


With a build quality more robust than its asking price indicates, the WB600, whilst not exactly the 'sexiest' big zoom compact we've ever seen, comes across as offering exceptional value.

The plus points here are, obviously, a big internally stacked zoom with a broad focal range, pocket sized dimensions yet a robust and solid build, and a greater range of specifications, including some manual control options, than usually found for similar outlay. The 'only' negatives are the audio dropping out when zooming during video recording, some quite prohibitive noise which creeps in at lower ISO settings than one would expect, occasional white balance issues and the fact that design-wise it's a bit of a lump, though not prohibitively so if you really are looking for a capable 'travel zoom'.

So, chunkier than more fashion conscious rivals, the WB600 nevertheless offers more photo and video creation options than similarly priced competitors. This makes it very hard to knock it. Incidentally, if you have got a tad more to spend there's also a very similar WB650 model available, which boasts the same zoom range but adds GPS and an AMOLED view screen.


February 1, 2011, 5:18 pm


Can you tell us if you will be altering the ISO tests in the future? I recommend a subject that has an area of fine detail as well as the smooth area so we can see the effect of increased ISO usage on both parts. How the camera applies its noise reduction on fine detail is of interest.

Also could you include a full frame of the last ISO shot so that we can see the effect of the ISO increase on the full image? Sometimes, noise can resemble film grain which is normally pleasing but you can't see at 100%.



February 1, 2011, 5:34 pm

What's the flash / indoor performance like then? If low light performance is poor is the flash capable of doing anything to compensate?

This is something I miss in general in TR reviews of point and shoot cameras. There's a good chance a camera like this will be used indoors for family snaps and the like - how does it do at that?

Hans Gruber

February 1, 2011, 7:26 pm

Please can you retain a separate rating for image quality. Performance to me means general ease and responsiveness of use and may include such aspects as autofocus reliability, continuous shooting speed etc.

Image quality would cover ISO 'performance' and noise reduction (as indicated by Joose) as well as resolution/acutance, distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration etc. I think it's a pretty important factor in determining whether a camera performs well or not to have its own separate score. A camera might be blazingly fast at taking poor quality pictures but what good would that be?


February 2, 2011, 4:26 am


For 100pd and produces such excellent images shown here I would wholeheartedly recommend this model without hesitation. BTW I bought one unit for my son, I like it very much obviously it has its deficiencies. Overall I would buy it again and fully recommend it to anyone as a travel camera or general purpose photography.

An excellent P&S camera at such a low price.


February 2, 2011, 9:31 pm

As an owner of this camera I would like to point out to any potential buyers there is a menu option to keep the microphone on while zooming in video mode - it is the first setting I altered! Since TR saw this as one of the main negatives, hopefully this will help make up some people's minds. Obviously you can hear it zooming, but it's not that intrusive and certainly not as annoying as the sound cutting out.

Also a fairly minor point although one end of the charging cable is USB the end that plugs in to the camera is proprietary so if you are travelling you may be able to share the plug with your mobile phone/other gadgets but you will need to take the cable.

One more thing, if you look around the web you will see the GPS feature of the WB650 is idiosyncratic to say the least so unless you are desperate for the AMOLED screen you should save yourself the money and get this one.


February 3, 2011, 2:44 pm

Forgot to mention the hideous chrome effect around the outside of the shell - it's like a 1950's car.

Ian Porter

February 4, 2011, 8:45 pm

I have to agree with Joose. Even at the lowest of ISO settings the toy cars look out of focus to me. Wouldn't a straight line pattern, something akin to the old BBC test card be better. Until the cars look in sharp focus I cannot judge ISO properly.


February 14, 2011, 10:30 pm

to all potential buyers, having red a review a few months back I suggest to get wb600 over the wb650, if picture quality is the top priority for you over GPS/AMOLED screen...the simultaneous laboratory tests had shown slightly better picture quality of wb600, initially I didn't believe but after having a closer look to sample pictures taken in various shooting environments (the same objects) by both cameras I could see the difference clearly ...the crops out of wb600, when zoomed in, were less 'blurry' with a little bit lower amount of noise...overall slightly better looking...anyway whatever choice you'll make out of these 2 - wb600/wb650, hope serves well ... :-)

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