Review: Samsung WB750

 
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Published: January 2, 2012 11:00 PM
Updated: January 3, 2012 9:28 AM
By Franck Mée
Translated by: Catherine Barraclough
Samsung's first superzoom cameras were a nice surprise. Then, the WB700 came along and let the side down—with no AMOLED screen and a CCD sensor, it was a bit disappointing for a supposedly top-end model. The Korean manufacturer is therefore hoping to put things right with the WB750, a model that's been brought back in line with its now numerous market rivals. The WB750 has, for example, been loaded with a new Samsung-made 12-Megapixel BSI CMOS sensor (... rather than the Sony sensor widely used in many competitors).

Handling

The WB750 is a pleasant camera to hold. Your fingers fit nicely around the handle (with good grip for the middle finger), the materials are good quality, and the camera has been finished with attention to detail—right down to the battery and memory card compartment doors. The scroll wheel moves easily but has nicely marked notches for improved control, and the four-way arrow buttons are well separated. It's obviously still some way off an expert compact, but the WB750 still feels like a great camera to use.

Samsung WB750 review - the screen


Unfortunately, things all go to pot when you switch the camera on, as the low-grade TN screen looks black when viewed from below. Given Samsung's track record of making great-quality and low-power AMOLED displays with near perfect viewing angles, how can the firm have even contemplated fitting this top-of-the-range camera with an LCD with such poor viewing angles? And how can Samsung expect to compete with the likes of the Sony HX9V, the Canon SX220/SX230 or the Fuji F600 EXR when you can't even take a shot with the camera held up above your head? We know that AMOLED technology is pretty pricey, but Samsung could have at least used its PVA panel factories to equip this snapper with a half-decent display.

Even when viewed straight on, the screen still isn't great, with an irregular grey scale, a dominant blue overtone in darker areas, excessive contrast and poorly reproduced colours (deltaE = 8.2).

The screen is even more of a let-down since the WB750 interface is otherwise very nicely designed. The GUI has a new tab-based menu system that feels both modern and clear, and there's an Fn menu that's nice to use (the settings wheel helps) and which has plenty of options. The camera also offers handy explanations of the various burst modes and the bracketing function.

Responsiveness

The WB750 is fairly quick to start up for a superzoom camera, as these are often slower to get going than more basic compacts. The two-second start-up makes the WB750 faster than several competitors, although it's still no match for the Nikon S9100.


Samsung WB750 review - responsiveness


Once it's up and running the WB750 offers pretty standard performances, with the autofocus working constantly at under half a second. Some cameras do better, but the WB750 certainly isn't slow. However, saving a photo takes 1.7 seconds, which could be better. The WB750 has an 8 fps burst mode, as well as two very handy slower continuous shooting options.

Picture Quality

The WB750 has the same lens as the WB700 but uses Samsung's new home-grown BSI CMOS sensor. In terms of picture quality, everything is riding on this new Samsung sensor and how well it compares to the excellent sensor used in the likes of the Canon SX220/SX230 and Casio ZR100.

Samsung WB750 review - ISO picture quality test


All in all, this new sensor does a pretty good job. If you compare the ISO test results above against those disappointingly fuzzy shots from the WB700, you can see that while the WB700 had problems with noise from 400 ISO, the WB750 still takes a reasonably clean, clear shot at 800 ISO. In fact, it's only at 1600 ISO that things really go downhill. That said, Canon's rival cameras do a better job, as does Sony's HX9V superzoom—so long as you don't mind the heavy-handed image processing. For a Samsung, though, it's excellent.

Samsung WB750 lens test
Compare the Samsung WB750 to other cameras in the Face-Off


The same can't be said about the lens. Although the lenses are, in theory, exactly the same, the WB750 we were sent actually managed to do a slightly worse job than the WB700 we reviewed six months ago. In general, 8" x 10" (20 x 27 cm) prints look slightly less sharp over the whole frame in the WB750. It's not a huge difference in quality, but it's certainly disappointing. Cropping shots is therefore pretty much out of the question with this camera

The new sensor is a little bit smaller than the CCD used in the previous model. As a result, at the widest-angle setting, the field of view covered is 66.5°, which equates to 26.5 mm rather than the 24 mm announced in the tech specs.

Video

The WB750 films Full HD video at 30 frames per second. Video images are reasonably detailed but the excessive contrast floods darker parts of the picture and overexposes bright or light zones. All in all, we've seen better.

It's the same story for the stereo sound too, as although it's reproduced relatively accurately and the stereo effect is audible, the microphones are susceptible to echoes—any noise happening over to the left of the camera causes an echo in the right channel.
3/5 Samsung WB750 DigitalVersus 2012-01-03 00:00:00

Pros

  • Good build quality, excellent grip
  • Decent responsiveness, start-up time on the better side of average
  • ISO settings handled well
  • User-friendly design: clear, attractive menus
  • PSAM modes

Cons

  • Screen looks black when viewed from below: not acceptable in a high-end camera
  • Lens quality inferior to rival superzoom compacts
  • No automatic image rotation

Conclusion

The Samsung WB750 is a good superzoom compact. It's not quite up there with the Sony HX9V or the Canon SX230 and it could certainly use a better lens, but otherwise it gives perfectly decent performances. The TN screen, however, is a real let-down for a top-end camera, and is ultimately to blame for the camera's three-star review.

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