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.