The WB1000’s overall performance is reasonably good, although it does look a little sluggish compared to some other recent high-spec compacts. The start-up time of under two seconds is good, and the shot-to-shot time in single-shot mode of approximately 2.1 seconds is comfortably above average. In continuous shooting mode it can maintain approximately one shot per second, but the monitor screen remains annoyingly blank while shooting, so trying to follow any action is rather hit-or-miss.
The autofocus system is also a little slower than some market rivals, although not enough to cause any problems, and it is extremely reliable even at maximum zoom. Low light focusing is also extremely good, and isn’t noticeably slower than daylight focusing. Again, this is true even at the longest zoom setting.
The WB1000 scores well for overall image quality. The Schneider Kreuznach lens is exceptionally good, with superb corner-to-corner sharpness, good contrast and no barrel distortion even at the 24mm wide angle end. Dynamic range is much better than expected, which is just as well since the ACB contrast-balancing feature doesn’t appear to work especially well. Exposure metering is very reliable, and colour rendition is also excellent.
The only real fly in the ointment is, as usual, image noise. While the level of detail is excellent, there is some colour mottling even at the lowest ISO setting, and this persists at higher settings. While image quality is good at 200 ISO, noise reduction causes significant reduction in sharpness at 400 ISO, and colour is very blotchy at 800. The 3200 ISO maximum setting, available at 3MP, is very poor, and should probably not have been included in a camera with aspirations of quality.
The Samsung WB1000 is an ambitious camera with a lot to commend it. Build quality is excellent, it handles well and the range of features offers a lot of creative potential. Performance is well up to scratch, the lens is superb and the AMOLED monitor is a revelation. The only disappointment is the lacklustre high ISO noise performance. If Samsung can crack that they’ve got it made.